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Exploring PPC Campaigns in Google and Yahoo!

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Google AdWords and Yahoo! Advertising have quickly become two of the premier online advertising vehicles for online businesses for several reasons. First and foremost, why wouldn’t you want to place targeted ads on the Internet’s top search engines to generate exposure for your business and your related products and services? In addition, by sponsoring keywords and phrases on a cost-per-click basis on such prominent Web portals, you are guaranteed one thing—targeted exposure.

Some PPC programs provide businesses with the opportunity to outbid each other for top placement of their ads. This means that businesses with large advertising budgets can dominate the top placements using these particular programs, which is not exactly fair to those businesses that cannot afford a high CPC.

Google AdWords and Yahoo! Advertising help to create a level playing field for all advertisers, meaning that even small businesses with a minimal budget can compete with large enterprises for premium listings. Businesses with large advertising budgets can set their CPC for particular keywords well above their competition, but this doesn’t mean that their ads will appear above the competition. Google AdWords and Yahoo! Advertising rank each ad based on a combination of the ad’s CPC and the ad’s click-through rate. What this means is that if a business with a high CPC creates an irrelevant ad that does not generate any clicks, that ad slowly moves to the bottom of the listing of ads that appear on Google’s search results page and on Yahoo!’s search results page and is ultimately removed. This enables businesses with a lower CPC, but more relevant ads, to position higher—at no extra cost!

CPC
Cost per click refers to the price paid by the advertiser each time a visitor clicks on the advertiser’s ad or sponsored listing.

How PPC Campaigns Work

Setting up a PPC campaign account in both Google and Yahoo! can be accomplished in 15 to 20 minutes by following a few simple steps. When preparing to launch a campaign, you first determine where you would like your ads to appear on the search engine’s network of Web sites, and which languages you plan to target with your ads. You can choose to communicate your ads to the masses, or you can opt to geographically target your ads to specific locations—some even offer advertising to locations within a specific distance from your business’s physical location. Now that’s targeted advertising!

You then need to design an ad group for your PPC campaign in Google or Yahoo!. An ad group is a collection of one or more ads that you wish to display on the network of sites. Each ad consists of a headline and description that, if designed correctly, relate specifically to the keywords that are associated with the overall ad group. Once each ad in a given ad group is designed, you select targeted keywords that you wish to be associated with the ad group.

Why does an ad group contain one or more ads? Google’s AdWords program and Yahoo!’s Advertising program are both designed to work effectively for advertisers, weeding out ads that are not generating targeted traffic for them. To illustrate, assume that a given ad group consists of five different ads relating to a specific topic, each with a unique headline and description. When an advertiser launches a campaign, Google AdWords and Yahoo! Advertising randomly
display each ad in the ad group to the advertiser’s target market. Eventually, certain ads in the ad group perform better than others, generating more clickthroughs. When this happens, Google AdWords and Yahoo! Advertising then
display only ads within the ad group that are generating results for the client, and they slowly remove the others from the rotation. This helps to maximize the effectiveness of the overall ad campaign.

When launching an ad campaign, you are given the opportunity to set a budget for your campaign. You can set a maximum CPC for each ad group along with a maximum daily budget for your campaigns.

If you are unsure of what your maximum CPC should be, or if you simply do not have the time to spend on such decisions, Google AdWords provides the “automatic bidding” feature. With sutomatic bidding you simply set your target
budget, and the Adwords system does the rest, seeking out and delivering the most clicks possible within that budget. The automatic bidding tool considers keywords, competitive bids, ad positions, time of day, and many other factors
to give you the most possible clicks for your money—automatically.

Both Google AdWords and Yahoo! Advertising offer excellent trafficestimation tools that can help you estimate daily traffic for selected keywords and phrases. The traffic-estimation tool helps you fine-tune what your maximum CPC should be, based on your overall online advertising budget and campaign objectives. By manipulating the maximum CPC, you are able to determine what your daily expenditures would be based on traffic patterns associated with the
keywords that you have selected, along with where your ads will be positioned during the campaign.

Where Do Your Ads Appear?

These paid listings usually appear separately from the organic results— sometimes these sponsored listings appear at the top of the page, sometimes they appear as a sidebar to the right of the page, and sometimes they appear at the bottom of the page.

When you implement a campaign on the Google AdWords network, your ads appear in more places than just within Google’s search results. Through building relationships with some of today’s top industry-specific Web sites and search portals, Google expands the reach of your ads to the masses. Popular Web sites such as the New York Times, AOL, Ask.com, and Earthlink all display AdWords’ advertisements when a Web surfer conducts a search using those sites’ search tools.

Similarly, when you implement a campaign on the Yahoo! Advertising network, your ads appear on all of the advertising partners’ sites as well.

The network sites change from time to time, so if you want to appear on a specific site it is best to check for the latest list of sites included in the major search engine’s advertising partner network.

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