With so many different search engines and social media platforms available for digital advertising, it can be overwhelming when trying to devise a solid pay per click game plan.

To make it easier, think of PPC like a tree with branches. There are three key branches of your PPC tree that will make your campaign a success. Along with covering each vital branch, here are a few tips to help you water your PPC tree.

1. Search Engines: The Big 3

There are three big search engines: Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. These big players are the larger, more popular search engines. One major advantage these search engines provide is high visibility with a large audience. After all, “Google” has become lingo for “search” (i.e.: “You can Google that”).

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By incorporating these large search engines into your PPC campaign, you’ll be able to show your brand to a whole lot of potential customers, and hopefully, if you optimize correctly, get a whole lot of clicks.

Tips for Using The “Big 3” Platforms

To make your large network branch strong:

Don’t Cut Corners With Spend. It takes money to make money. If you only invest $20, how much ROI do you think you’ll get? Not much, if any. If you’re going to be competing with the big boys for coveted keywords like competitor terms, it’s going to cost more. But by putting in some extra money in the beginning, you’ll be able to see what works (and what doesn’t) and adjust what needs to be optimized.

Don’t Set and Forget. You can’t set and forget your PPC advertising. Digital marketing is always changing. Make sure you’re using an analytics tool to monitor progress and optimize your campaign as needed.

Don’t Use Just One Search Engine. Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket. Diversify and test out other platforms to not only reach more potential customers but to see if another platform has better results for your needs.

2. Alternative Search Engines

Your smaller search engines are known as alternative search engines. These ad networks are the ones you’re probably not-so-familiar with, but you should be. Alternative search engines are significantly smaller than search engines like Google, but they offer PPC advertising just like the big boys. Even though these search engines are smaller, it’s important to remember that great things also come in small packages.

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As you know, the "Big 3" cover your broad market visibility, but what about the niche markets?

With a lot of alternative ad networks, the niche market is already defined. Let’s say you’re focusing on auto insurance. Here, an alternative network might be a better choice than a broad search engine, because you’ll be able to target a smaller audience that is more likely to be interested in your offer.

Targeted audiences can be beneficial to your business if you’re advertising something to a specific market. If people already have auto insurance, they’ll just scroll past your PPC ad. However, if you only target people who need insurance, you’ll be less likely to advertise to a mass of people who could care less about your product.

Alternative search engines are also less expensive than the “Big 3,” and who doesn’t appreciate that? Although there’s less traffic on these sites, the upside is lower cost-per-click (CPC) and a higher return on investment (ROI).

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Tips for Using Alternative Platforms

To grow your alternative branches, be sure to:

Use Long-Tail Keywords. They’re easier to rank for in search engines and have better conversion rates than broad keywords.

Utilize Your Account Rep. Alternative search engine account reps will be more accessible to you than the larger players. They may be able to provide a more involved experience and offer helpful advice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and use your rep as a resource to help you optimize your campaign. Working with smaller search engines gives you a personal experience that you won’t always get from bigger search engines.

Allocate Your Time Wisely. Like with the larger platforms, you don’t want to set it and forget it. However, that doesn’t mean you should be devoting all of your time to your alternative platforms.

3. Social PPC

2.46 billion people around the globe have at least one social media account, and the number just keeps growing. That’s a lot of potential customers that can be reached through social media. Through popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more, you can target and reach a vast audience.

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Through social shopping with Instagram and Facebook advertising, customers can click and buy your products without ever leaving the app. Not only does social PPC reach a lot of people, but it involves no effort on the user's part. Your ads show up on their news feed, and if they like what they see, they’ll click.

With a huge diverse user base and high engagement rates (especially on Instagram), you can't go wrong with Social PPC.

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Tips for Using Social PPC

Don’t forget to water your social PPC branch by:

Focusing on Your Target Audience. It doesn’t make sense to advertise on Snapchat if your target audience only uses Twitter. Focus on the social platforms where your ideal audience will be.

Optimizing Your Content. Include relevant keywords, and make your visuals and CTA enticing so users will click. Social networks also allow search by hashtag, so be sure to include relevant hashtags. Using hashtags on social platforms like Instagram gives you exposure to an audience beyond just your followers. When users search a hashtag related to your ad, they’ll see your post in the results. Hashtags are an effortless way to expose your brand to a larger audience.

Tracking Your Progress. Use an analytics program to measure your results, then adjust your campaign as needed. It can be easy to get sucked into social PPC just because everyone else is doing it, but you need to have measurable metrics assigned to your goals to determine if social PPC is cost-effective for your bottom line.

For starters, you'll want to track things like:

  • Reach. This will show you how many unique accounts your ad reached.
  • Engagement. Study your engagement rate including likes, comments, follows, and shares.
  • Acquisition. This will show you your visitor frequency rate. It’s important to know if your customers are returning or are buying once and forgetting about you.
  • Conversion. Research your clicks versus conversions.
  • Activity. Compare social media activity with your business profits. Ideally, you should see a correlation between activity and profits. For example, you can expect high activity to reel in higher profits. However, don’t shy away if this takes some time to surface.

While 63% of advertisers put out ads without measuring performance, I can’t stress enough how vital it is to the success of your campaign. Tools like Google Analytics allow you to precisely track your progress, including demographic information and user interests. The social networks you’ll be using also have insights tools. Use these resources frequently to make sure you’re on the right track to social PPC success.

These are the three most important branches of your PPC campaign tree. Follow these tips so your tree’s branches will grow big and strong, hopefully turning into a “money tree.” Good luck!

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