3 Questions You Need To Answer Before Beginning Paid Advertising

By Kristin Vick | @krisvick | Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

So you’ve you decided you want to start PPC advertising, but now you are asking, “Where do I start?” 3 of the most common questions you should ask are:


  • Where should I advertise?
  • How much should I spend?
  • What should my goals be?


We will discuss these questions and hopefully give you some answers to help you get started.


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1) Where Should I Advertise?


When it comes to PPC, there is no larger platform than Google. Google has spent millions of dollars in time and development to create a powerful engine, but is it right for you?  Is your market highly competitive? Are you an innovative product or service that no one knows they need yet? It may sound cliché, but really the answer is, “it depends.”


If you are a local clothing boutique you might choose to advertise on Facebook so that you can stretch your dollar, as well as target a more niche audience. If you are a well known financial institution you might choose to use Google, to target a broad range of financial services. There is no “one size fits all” and the platforms available today are as varied as the advertisers using them. Here are highlights of four major paid search platforms:


  • Google: Google offers the largest “network” and reach. It easily connects to analytics to help with tracking and there is no minimum buy-in – so spend as little or as much as you want.
  • Bing: Almost a mirror image of Google, Bing allows advertisers to easily reach users who might not be on Google, and generally allows for lower spends and higher returns
  • Facebook: The largest social network. If you are a B2C business, more than likely, your audience is here. Facebook allows for very targeted campaigns and allows advertisers to hit new audience members they may not have reached before.
  • LinkedIn: Like Facebook, you can target niche groups for your adverting goals. LinkedIn is great to target business-minded professionals, however, do not expect the cost to be as low as Facebook. Most advertisers can expect to pay $4 – $5 per click, with a lower click through rate.


2) How Much Should I Spend?


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Just as important as where, how much is not the same for everyone. You can ask your agency or you can research yourself, but there are many factors that can impact the effectiveness and the amount of your budget:


  • Competition: How many competitors are in your space? Are you trying to compete with big box stores?
  • Seasonality: What are you selling? You might be a seasonal business who only needs to advertise a few months a year versus another advertiser who needs their budget to cover all 12 calendar months.
  • Location: Some areas are more expensive than others. A pool maintenance company in Florida might need to spend double the amount than one in Ohio.
  • Reach: Are you only looking to reach a targeted audience? Are you only performing radius targeting? The smaller the area and reach the more effective a small budget can be.
  • Goals: Are you looking for brand awareness? Or are you looking for direct actions? Depending on what your goals are, you might have different budget needs.


3) What Should My Goals Be?


It is very easy to have information overload and try to focus on all metrics all of the time. However, as true as it was before, every business is different. If you are building your sales pipeline, then you would focus on conversions. If you are on online retailer, you would focus on sales. It is also OK to adjust goals as you further flush out your strategy.


Final Thoughts


Getting started in PPC doesn’t have to be an expensive learning lesson. It is important to do your research or work with an agency that understands your goals and can help launch an effective strategy. Just remember that what works for one business or competitor, may not always work for you and your business. Your plan should be as unique as your organization.