Paid Traffic – SMEs Online
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Paid Traffic

Search Engine Ads / Pay Per Click

There are lots of people with lots of traffic that they want to convert into money by selling you some advertising space.  There are three main places to look for advertising –Search Engines, Facebook and Other.

Google has three places you can advertise:

  • AdWords in the Search network – ads shown with search engine results
  • AdWords in the Display network
  • YouTube Ads

Bing /Yahoo also does advertising but obviously doesn’t have a YouTube offering

Someone searching for content is in an entirely differently frame of mind than someone browsing or reading their email (the Display network) – you should run separate advertising campaigns on Search and Display networks.

On the Search engine advertising you choose your audience by picking a keyword or phrase and then choosing a location, language and device (desktop / mobile).  You can group keywords together (if you think that they will appeal to the buyer) and show the same advertisement to that group and you then set your daily budget.  Your advertisement consists of four lines – a headline, two lines of text and a hyperlink – be concise !  The other setting you need to choose is whether to go for ‘broad match’, ‘phrase match’ or ‘exact match’:

  • Broad match – similar terms, synonyms, plurals, misspellings – more traffic but lower converting.  tennis shoes may be matched with running shoes, training shoes
  • Phrase match – like exact match but may also show your ad to people who search for your keyphrase with modifiers such as cheap or discount – eg cheap tennis shoes – not good if you’re selling high end tennis shoes
  • Exact match – what it says on the tin.  But you can add extra keywords / phrases into your ad group to ensure you get enough traffic

Some people also use negative keywords to eliminate traffic they don’t want – eg the top end tennis shoes advertisers might put ‘discount’ and ‘cheap’ into the negative keywords list.

The position of your advertisement on the search results page depends on the bid you make (known as Cost Per Click) and your Quality Score (your QS depends on how well the advertisements converts – clicks and conversions).

Once the campaign has been running for a while, you will have had a number of views and it will become obvious which words are working for this offer.  If the conversion is OK for some words, kill off the words it isn’t working for as soon as possible – these words will drag down your Quality Score.  Once you have a campaign that is profitable, then spend more – Google and YouTube have plenty more traffic for you where that lot came from !

YouTube is basically a search engine for the uploaded videos  and YouTube Ads work in a very similar way to the Google Ads

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are similar to Google ads in that you have a very small space which must have a picture, a headline, some copy and a URL.  You target your user in a quite different way – you can set up the demographics of the user by their characteristics (age, gender, income, location, language) and interests (Group memberships, Pages Followed, stated interests),  their relationship to you or members of Groups , Followers of Pages, etc or even People who have ‘liked’  something or someone.

You then submit your ad (and Facebook seem to look at them all) and when it is approved, give Facebook a daily budget and if the ad converts then the cost per click drops and the ad is shown more often.  Facebook prefers you to send visitors to a page inside Facebook (a Page, a Group or Profile).  Again there are good analytics which allow you to see how well your campaign is working and allowing to modify your audience targeting factors.

Facebook has another facility which makes its advertising powerful – Custom Audiences.  If you have group of people who have responded positively to your offer, you can load their Facebook ids into the Custom Audience systems and Facebook will identify similar people and make them a custom audience to whom you can then advertise.

Facebook also has plenty of traffic to go around.

Media Buying

Online Media Buying is more similar to Google Ads, but is harder to set up and manage.  You can buy space on high traffic websites, such as Huffington Post.  You are depending on that website’s audience being attracted to your offer.  Being rather less targeted than Google and Facebook, these advertisements don’t convert so well but can be much cheaper depending on the site.  Once again, you monitor performance of each ad carefully and prune the ones that aren’t working.  For the time being, traffic is limited only by your budget and your ability to find relevant sites.

Most big sites sell advertising space through ad networks,  media buyers or media buying agency.  Media buying takes some time to get setup and campaigns may lose money until the following factors are right:

  • The Offer – does it sell well enough ?  is it profitable enough ?
  • The Ad Copy – how is it converting ?
  • The Ad placement – is the ad on the right site (s)?
  • Your landing page – Your ad sends leads to the landing page – what do they do next ?
  • Target geographically to find your customers
  • Are your competitors running similar campaigns?

Paid Traffic is a matter to testing and tuning what works before scaling up the effort.  It takes a little bit of experience / confidence to commit budget to a particular campaign. When done right, traffic can be generated quickly and is sometimes worth using on order to build a social media following or optin list which enable you to use free traffic methods.

If your business would benefit from a rapid injection of traffic and leads and you would like some help with paid traffic , get in touch via our contact form or +44(0)7855 406652


About the Author James Gunn

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