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When pay-per-click first rolled out, it seemed almost magical. You set up a list of keywords, and voila! Clicks to your website. Well, things have changed a little bit over the last few years, and it’s not as easy as it used to be. It’s way more competitive, you can spend a ton of money on it and get nominal results, and it’s no longer a set-it-and-forget-it type of thing.

Today we’re beginning a two-part episode series about pay-per-click, with special guest Lillie Beiting of CribMaster at Stanley Black & Decker. Lillie, who was previously in automotive, is now a digital marketing manager in vending solutions who’s going to share her experience and her process on PPC with us, as well as some tips and tricks on how to get the results that you’re after.

1. WHAT COUNTS AS PPC NOW?

There’s a ton of misinformation out there about pay-per-click. In short, though, it’s just that. It’s a click you pay for; and it’s more than just keywords or search engine promotions now. Facebook can be pay-per-click. Display can be pay-per-click. LinkedIn can be pay-per-click. Arguably, even boosted content can be pay-per-click, too. Video can be pay-per-click.

Pay-per-click any medium in which you purchase Internet advertising now.

People don’t really recognize channels as much as they do anymore. For example, YouTube is a search engine. People don’t tend to think of YouTube as such, but it is one; and pre-roll ads are an example of pay-per-click for that particular medium. So PPC has really turned into a bit of an abstract concept as far as how a business can purchase digital advertising.

2. HOW DO YOU USE PPC?

At bare minimum for a business, brand protection is the way to go. Always, always, always protect your name; because if you have competitors, they’re bidding on your name. That is the (unfortunate) way of the world now.

“So if you’re buying keywords, Google would be a place you buy keywords. Bing, Yahoo… make sure that you’re protecting your name there. ‘CribMaster,’ for example. We buy ‘CribMaster.’ That specific word. And then you want buy your own products too, so it tends to be a pretty cheap click if it’s your own stuff.”

So on the very surface level, if you do nothing else: protect your names, your properties, and your intellectual content. After that, the next level is “conquesting,” which involves going after your competitors and their keywords. However, while it is certainly a protective method for yourself, Lillie doesn’t always recommend it.

“Conquesting is essentially buying somebody else’s names or products. Be very careful about that, because if you don’t do it right, you might as well just burn your money…You’re wasting it, essentially, if you’re not extremely targeted and careful.”

And PPC isn’t just for B2C companies, either. It’s not unique to somebody looking up shoes on their phone; it’s the way the world – and that includes the world of business – is going.

While we B2B Marketers like to view ourselves as different from B2C, we need to remember that everyone is glued to some kind of electronic device now.

Just like B2C customers, B2B decision-makers also tend to go through search engines – whether it’s Google, whether it’s YouTube, or whatever else online online. Make sure that you’re ready for that, and make sure that you’re prepared to have a very nurturing relationship, because a lot of B2B decisions take a long time. So where B2B is concerned, pay-per-click means making sure that you’re touching somebody at a regular point and nurturing them throughout the entire process.

3. KEY PPC TERMS TO KNOW

Different platforms have different key performance indicators, so it’s important to be aware of their variety. An impression load in Facebook is a little bit different than an impression load in AdWords, which is different than it would be in DoubleClick, for example.

Lillie’s personal preference to monitor? Impression-shares, which are specific to paid searches on engines Bing, Google, or Yahoo; and they can tell you how much of the market you own.

Impressions are essentially how many times your ad show up, period. Not its ranking, or its clicks – just its frequency of appearance.

Since there’s usually more than one person or entity in the market, figuring out what percentage that you own is some really valuable information to understand how people are interacting with your business.

Once you’re aware of your impressions, you can take a look at click-through rates: how frequently people actually visit your site through your ads.

Knowing your medium can help you process the numbers on click-through rates. Generally AdWords (the little paid ads at the top of every Google search) have a higher CTR than Display ad: those little “digital billboards” that follow us around the internet. And then there are different CTR averages for pre-roll ads (the mini-commercials appear before our cat videos). Then on Facebook and other social media platforms there are business pages that you can pay for, and then you can the boost posts of your business page, and those also result in different CTR results as well.

If you just want to build awareness, you may care more about impressions for your campaign. If you really want to drive traffic to a landing page for a webinar or new product, the click-through rate will be more important.

Knowing the difference between these items will help you determine what campaigns to run and how much they might cost. On the AdWords side, you’re always going to be paying for the clicks. Sometimes you may see what’s called a CPM model, or “Cost-Per-Thousand,” model. That may mean they’ll charge you for every thousand impressions or click-throughs.

If you are someone who’s product based, click-through rate is extremely important for you because you can very clearly trace when someone engages with your ad, and eventually converts to buy something. But at the same time, if you’ve got somebody who is a customer who has already been to your site, so you cookie them and you’re able to keep serving them up that ad… then impressions might be more valuable there.

Sometimes it’s just as important to see how many times you’ve hit an existing customer with your ad. Maybe you’ve hit them too much.

Make sure you identify what you care about before you take a look at these metrics, because there’s tons of numbers, and they all kind of click together with each other, and understanding how they work is very critical to seeing what’s profitable for you.

Then there are cookies, which essentially allow for re-targeting. Google accounts can essentially identify individual people on the net and help track them for any companies they might be subscribed to. Once you have people identified, then you can divide them by demographic and figure out what your current prospects really look like.

So, to recap…

PPC has definitely changed since it first appeared, and now it is anything but simple. But if you know what falls under it as a category, and if you start to understand the terms around it, that may give you a brief bird’s eye view of how to use it and where you can go from there.

In the next episode, the gang is going to jump into the more technical side of pay-per-click: the process, different use-cases on how you might want to use it, and how to really set up the framework and get some results.

 

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