The 2021 Guide to PPC

The Ultimate Guide to PPC in 2021

Let’s face it – 2020 was a year unlike any other.  Life as we knew it transformed into a virtual one, and it was clear to businesses that if they wanted to survive, promotion through digital marketing was essential. Now we begin a new year but not much has changed. We are still primarily virtual in terms of our work, education, social lives, and shopping habits. Consumers have gotten used to the increased digital promotions, which is why in order to remain competitive, businesses must participate in digital advertising. One of the most influential and easy-to-use forms of digital marketing is pay-per-click advertising.

What is PPC?

Pay-per-click advertising, or PPC, is when an advertiser is charged only when a consumer clicks on an ad. The advertiser will bid on what he/she believes the is the value of a click in relation to the type of audience, keywords, and platforms. The advertiser can then use a PPC ad campaign to optimize their ad spend and yield the best possible results.

PPC can be used for a number of different goals, such as brand awareness, lead generation, and increasing sales. The key to success is making sure the PPC campaign is relevant, which can be done though targeting.

Main Platforms

Google Ads is the biggest and most popular PPC platform. Running on Search Partner Sites, Display Network Sites, and Google, it has grown and updated greatly since its founding in 2000 and is perfect for any business size. Whether you are a small company with five employees or a large enterprise of 500+, Google Ads has a place for your campaign.

Microsoft advertising is another widely used advertising platform, as pay-per-click ads can be displayed on Microsoft and Yahoo Networks. Microsoft Ads also use Search Partners, a great tool to maximize your audience.

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PPC Management

A common mistake to avoid with PPC is thinking you are done after you set up your campaign on your desired platform. Like SEO, PPC is an ongoing process that must be routinely monitored and edited. PPC Management tools are essential to ensure that the campaign is success. The best way to handle PPC Management is to categorize the campaign into four groups: keyword research, Ad Copy/Media, Landing Pages, and Keyword Grouping. Breaking it down like this is a great PPC tip because it lets you prioritize one factor at a time keeping you organized and improving workflow. This will also be beneficial for advertisers who manage multiple accounts.

PPC Management software is another useful tool for an ad campaign. WordStream Advisor offers saving alerts, which are weekly notifications about savings opportunities and pause keyword alerts, which indicates when a keyword is not delivering a high return, to name a few services. This, along with Google AdWords, which also supplies a range of tools and data enable PPC best practices.

What’s New in 2021?

Now that we understand what PPC is and the utilization of PPC Management, we can now focus on how to apply it this year. Like all ad campaigns, PPC has trends, which are important to follow if you want to be successful. Here are PPC tips and PPC best practices, as well as the top 10 trends to watch out for this year:

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  • Data limits. Last year we saw a shift in data trends which continues this year, as Google Ads limits access to search query data. In addition, Google Ads is also limiting tracking cookies, which makes it harder for advertisers to make informed decisions. This will force advertisers to rely more and Google than additional sources which can affect how decisions are made. The best PPC tip for this trend is to be flexible as you adapt to these changes.
  •  Look at the Bigger Picture. In order to run a successful campaign, you have to understand your target audience. PPC competition is high this year and with automated data and artificial intelligence, it is becoming more and more difficult for an advertiser to gain control and an understanding about their target audience. Therefore, we must dig a little deeper into their buying journey. Who are they? Where are they from? What are their needs? What do they search? What are they doing that got them to this ad? What will intrigue them enough to click
  • Powerful Platforms. Platforms are gaining more and more power while the advertiser is gaining less and less control. Many advertisers will rely on the platforms for mostly everything, which can be dangerous. While they are a great tool, human intelligence and an understanding of what you need for your business is always a big success factor. A good PPC tip is to make sure the platforms are assisting you with your goals – not the other way around.
  • Changes in how data is sourced. Private policy changes and third-party cookie restrictions have shifted how data’s sourced. This new landscape might be complicated, which is why outsourcing your campaign might be a good idea.
  • Other Platforms Emerging. Google is not the only player in PPC advertising anymore. As previously stated, Microsoft is getting more and more traction, as well as other smaller platforms that are beginning to gain popularity. PPC best practices would be to keep researching all platforms and make sure that you are not just relying on Google. Advertising through Microsoft Ads is definitely a PPC trend this year.
  • Instagram is everything. Although it will probably come of no surprise to most, Instagram advertising is continuing to increase as the platform continues to soar in popularity. Their features such as Stories, IGTV, and Reels keep them in competition with rival platforms while giving opportunity for a variety of different ad campaigns.
person on instagram
  • Campaign Structure is key. Having a solid and organized structure will help you understand your data and yield the best possible results. Use behaviors and demographics to find your target audience and make sure that your ad, audience, and copy, and media align with your campaign goals. Using a relevant and eye-catching creative and grouping campaigns thematically are also great PPC tips to ensure success.
  • Copy Like, creative, you want a message that will draw the user in. It should lead them to the call-to-action button. By this step, if you have convinced the user with your image and copy, they will go click the call-to-action button. However, they won’t unless they are intrigued to do so, which is why compelling copy is key.
  • Test, test, test! Never stop testing your ads. A/b testing is always of the upmost importance to see what specifically is holding your ads back. Are all your ads performing well? Great – a/b test anyway to make them even better!
  • Make sure your mobile friendly. Obviously these PPC tips and PPC best practices revolve around the mobile user! Many people will be viewing the ad from their phone, so make sure your ad looks good for desktop and mobile viewings. Post photos vertically rather than horizontally and add closed captions to videos, as most mobile users will view without sound.

These trends are important to stay ahead of the competition this year. You now have all the tools and information to make some awesome campaigns for 2021! However, if this is daunting, or you don’t have the time, we can help! At aha! We pride ourselves on our knowledge and experience of PPC management. No matter what, don’t stop advertising! It’s is clear that PPC is a great way to gain more customers, brand awareness, and drive traffic to your site.