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Shift Your PPC Results into Overdrive

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Whether you’re a buyer or a seller of PPC ads, your highest priority will always be getting better results from PPC campaigns. More clicks equals more revenue, provided that whatever is being sold is something consumers can actually see value in.

As an ad seller, it is therefore in your interest to align yourself with the best quality advertisers, because that way you’ll achieve higher earnings. As an ad buyer, you will want to align yourself with the best quality content producers, because they’ll attract the most viewers for your advertisements, and if their work is good enough, it will drive more traffic to your site.

What is true for both is that this ideal scenario is not achievable through the use of automated PPC services like Google AdWords. Such services don’t normally give you the option to choose who you’re going to work with. In fact Google actually pushes the angle that your ad can get shown on any relevant site or that your content could feature ads from any relevant advertiser. This isn’t always a positive, however.

Let’s consider the case of a website that has been created to push a strong anti-gun message and an online merchant that sells guns. Each of these parties with very different agendas will have keywords in common (guns, shooting, ammunition), and while Google’s algorithms are constantly improving, it’s still possible for the gun shop ad to show up on the anti-gun website, and things like this have actually happened.

Such a scenario can potentially be detrimental to both parties for reasons that may not be immediately obvious. For one thing, it’s highly unlikely that many visitors who have come to the anti-gun site are going to purchase any guns from the merchant. Beyond that, there’s a problem that some users may click on the ad as a form of protest, knowing that the advertiser may have to pay for the click.

If enough people do that, it is eating into the advertising budget of the merchant, and eventually it is going to get noticed because there’s a higher-than-normal volume of clicks but lower-than-normal volume of sales. Potentially making this problem worse is that Google’s robots, upon detecting that the site is getting good results for the advertiser, may send ads for that advertiser to the same site more often and place them more prominently. This should at some point prompt a complaint from the advertiser, and now the content publisher will come under suspicion from Google of having directed a malicious click campaign to raise revenue for themselves and cause problems for the merchant.

So automated advertising solutions aren’t exactly the worst thing and they certainly save you a lot of effort and bother, but they’re also not necessarily the best way to get results. There’s also the problem that these kinds of ads are not the most effective way to advertise, and only a small percentage of people who see them will actually click on them, and actually not many people will see them at all, because of something called “ad blindness”.

A person suffering from ad blindness has a curious affliction which makes them oblivious to advertisements appearing within a web page (there are other variations of ad blindness, but those are not relevant to the topic at hand).   Essentially what is happening is the ad is filtered out because it is annoying and familiar.

The more familiar the ad is, or the more familiar the format of it is, the more likely it is to be filtered out. This doesn’t even include those individuals who are part of a growing community that use ad-blocking software specifically designed to prevent them from seeing your ads in the first place.

Such software is a disaster for those who rely on automated ad providing services and/or those who aren’t prepared to invest sufficient resources into proper development of content based marketing. The software reduces even further the potential number of people who could genuinely be interested in your products and services, but have been steered towards the belief that all advertising is bad for them.

And it is this—content marketing—that has the potential to save you. Marketing that appears in the form of a message within an article, where it isn’t blatantly obvious that it’s an ad, will get responses and won’t be filtered out by software or by human readers. This is because the advertising message is relevant to them and it is not detracting from their reading experience. In fact it may even be enhancing their experience by promising them something that they’re genuinely interested in.

It’s not a technique that just anybody can apply, however. It requires some writing skills and you certainly shouldn’t take the traditional approach of just slamming keywords together and throwing random links into a body of text without any real indication of why they belong there. That old SEO trick of writing a fake article containing no genuinely useful information and which exists only as a vehicle for links is really not the way to go with this.

What you need is professionally written content that has been crafted by an expert in both writing and marketing. If that’s not you, then you’ll need to hire someone. Doing this will make a world of difference to your results. You can also add in professionally designed infographics and quality relevant images, and if you have the budget for it, you might even want to get a video made. On the topic of video, it’s important to understand that just like your text content, it must be professionally produced.

The bottom line is that for ads to work, they have to not appear to be ads. This doesn’t mean being sneaky and underhanded. It doesn’t mean using blackhat tactics to trick users into clicking on things they wouldn’t normally click on. It means providing genuinely informative and interesting articles that inspire users to find out more, and which make recommendations as part of their information delivery. The fact that the merchant and the site publisher are making money as a result of that recommendation is purely a side effect, and thus won’t produce a negative reaction in the audience.

The audience resents traditional ad formats because these ads are intrusive upon the page, they get in the way, they’re annoying, obnoxious, and often ugly. They steal bandwidth and increase page loading times. Most importantly, the advertising message is disconnected from the page content, and so they won’t normally engage an average reader’s interest in a positive way.

Andre

Posted by Andre Pierrie

PPC & SEO Account Manager

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