25. What is Adwords or Pay per click (PPC)?

Google AdWords popularly known as Adwords or Pay Per Click Marketing is a unique marketing opportunity on the Internet. Popularised by Google and now used extensively by small and large businesses and professionals worldwide, PPC has been a great marketing medium for years.

So what is adwords really? Let’s start with the very basic answer – where do we see the adwords or PPC marketing ads. The answer is – Search Engine Results pages or SERPs. Remember every time you enter a search query on Google, Yahoo or Bing you see search results for the query you entered but on the right hand side of the page (and these days on top) you will see some small, smartly crafted content ads. Yes these are ads and you will see the words ‘Sponsored Ads’ mentioned. It is the placement and management of these ads which is referred to as Adwords or PPC marketing.

What are the BIG benefits of Adwords or pay-per-click marketing?

1. Get started immediately. Your ads can be live on adwords campaigns almost immediately.

2. Budget no constraint. whatever your budget you can get started with adwords. Agencies charge you campaign management fees.

3. There is no cost for visibility. Yes, it’s true, you do not pay when someone has seen your ad, you only pay when someone clicks on the ad to arrive at your website or landing page specifically designed for the adwords campaign.

4. Show your ads to relevant audiences only – Intent Targeting. How many times have you wondered when advertising on traditional mediums about the audience mix? Sure traditional media has its niche mediums catering to audiences, but what about reach? With adwords you target search user INTENT. Yes while it's not be possible to know who is searching, we can surely know what he/she is looking for. Let’s say someone wants to buy a TV, ideally he would be looking for information about types of television and latest models, reviews etc. Thus if you are a TV Manufacturer distributer or dealer you can reach this specific audience by targeting the search terms they would use on search engines. This way you are able to generate better leads and, conversion rates will be higher isn’t it!

5. Content targeting - You can choose to display your ads on Display Network sites which are a part of the Google Network. These can be in the form of text ads as also image ads. So with adwords you can also do good visually appealing ads. You can choose to place your ads on select sites which are more contextually suited to your product/service.

6. Geo Targeting – Decide where you want to advertise. Country, State, City (not available in all countries) or if you want to better geo focus, use lat-long targeting.

7. Variety of ad formats - including text, image, and video ads are available on adwords.

8. You decide time bands you want the campaigns to run. Not only can you schedule daily budgets, but you can also customize the campaigns to run on different time bands. Great for global marketing.

9. Live reporting and campaign optimization. Google analytics alongwith adwords make for a fantastic combination, you get data which is as recent as a few hours old and you can find out which keywords are performing and which are not. Remove the non-performing keywords and get better results.

10. Ad management was never so easy. You can have ads per keyword, multiple ads per keyword or you can have a bunch of ads on rotation. Keep looking at data and you will realize which combination of keywords + ads is working and pump up the budgets.

11. A brilliant bidding model. Yes you read it right, you don’t buy ads on adwords you have to bid to be there. This means inventory is open. But it is not just as easy and about out-bidding someone else. Bid management involves a lot of expertise and comprises of a good website/landing page, Effective SEO, good relevant content and relevant ad text. Thus you may have bid high and still not get ad impressions, because you are not able to match up on other parameters. Google has a ‘quality score’ parameter which evaluates the campaigns and assigns quality scores. Higher quality scores means better results can be expected if the account is managed well

12. Stop and start when you want. You can decide when you want to pause a campaign and restart the same. No penalties, no worries.

All efforts have been made by search engines to make AdWords extremely user friendly, but for a novice it can take a little time to manage a campaign effectively. Though anyone with time and inclination can run an ad campaign though AdWords, few people acquire the skill it requires to monitor and optimize campaigns. It calls for data analysis, experimenting with ads and ad formats, monitor and manage budgets, and tweak keywords and landing pages for exemplary campaign performance.