How To Start An Online Business

If you’re thinking of starting an online business, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s no need to start from scratch. The internet has been around for over two decades now and so it’s possible to build up a substantial income online without having to invest in any new equipment or software.

The most important thing when it comes to building an online business is to focus on your niche market. Your niche market will be the group of people who will buy your products or services. If you sell dog food then you can only make money if there are people who own dogs. If you have a website selling dog food then you will need to target this audience.

You will also need to consider how you plan to promote your business. There are many different methods that you can use to drive traffic to your site. These include SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay per click) advertising, article marketing, social media and blogging. It’s important to choose one method and stick with it. You should avoid trying to do too much at once as this can lead to confusion and wasted time.

There are several different ways to generate revenue online. One of these is by using affiliate marketing. This involves you selling other people’s products. The beauty of this is that you don’t need to create any products yourself. All you need to do is get people to visit your website and then direct them to the merchant’s website. Once they purchase something from the merchant, you will receive a commission.

When it comes to generating income, it’s important to understand the difference between passive and active income. Passive income is generated by a website that generates an ongoing stream of income. For example, if you sell a product that costs $50 then you will receive a 50% commission. However, if you sell a product which costs $500 then you will only receive a 50% commission on the first sale. After this point, you won’t earn any further commissions.

Active income is generated by an offline business. An example of this would be a restaurant where you pay rent and employ staff. Once again, the more expensive the item that you sell, the less you will earn.

If you want to generate a significant income, you will need to focus on your niche market and find a way to promote your business. Affiliate marketing is a great way to generate income but you will need to make sure that you choose a reputable company to work with.

Ways to Make Money Online

Are you looking for a way to make money online? There are so many ways that you can do this. The most popular way is by selling other people’s products and services. This is called affiliate marketing. You will be an affiliate of a company or business. If they sell something, you sell it for them. It is a very simple process.

You can also build your own product. If you have some skill, you can create your own product and sell it. It does not matter if you are good at writing, programming, web design, etc. You can start a business with any of these skills. You can even buy other peoples’ products and resell them. You can sell almost anything on the internet. You can also become an affiliate of another person’s product.

Another way to make money online is to join a program that allows you to promote other peoples’ products. These programs are called pay per click (PPC) advertising programs. These are the ones that pay you for each time someone clicks on your link. This type of advertising is very effective. It is usually done in the form of text links or banners. These are the ones that appear on websites that you visit. When you click on the banner or text link, you are taken to the advertiser’s website. The advertiser pays the website owner for every time someone clicks on their link.

There are many different types of PPC programs. They range from free to expensive. Some of the more expensive programs offer you the ability to target specific keywords. This means that you can advertise on certain terms. For example, if you are selling a weight loss product, you could advertise using the term “weight loss”. This would allow you to reach only people who were searching for weight loss information. The cost of the ads vary as well.

There are many ways to make money online. You can choose the one that suits you best. If you want to get started today, I suggest that you read the following article.

Everything Our Paid Team Learned From Attempting a Reddit Advertising Strategy

With a ranking as one of the top ten most popular sites on the internet, Reddit is undoubtedly an intriguing channel for advertising purposes.

However, the site can often seem intimidating, and perhaps even too random to create a cohesive advertising strategy. Plus, since its primary purpose is to expose viewers to the top-trending content of the moment, Reddit users are notoriously anti-marketing.

Regardless of its challenges, its potential advantages proved too good an opportunity to pass up. At HubSpot, we decided to implement a strategy to see for ourselves whether Reddit can serve as a promising channel for the future.

Here, learn what our team figured out about advertising on Reddit, and whether it’s worth the attempt for your own company. Plus, we’ve provided a step-by-step tutorial on how you can advertise on Reddit if you determine it’s a valuable option for your own company. 

Download Now: Free Ad Campaign Planning Kit

The Strategy Behind Reddit Advertising

1. Identify subreddit topics which are well-aligned with your target audience.

To investigate the benefits of advertising on Reddit, I first spoke with Josh Chang, a Senior Marketing Manager at HubSpot. He told me HubSpot’s initial strategy on Reddit involved highly targeted campaigns on specific subreddits, including r/entrepreneur and r/sales.

“The goal of the campaign,” Chang explained, “was to drive awareness and conversion for our products. In terms of results, we saw cost-per-acquisition similar to what we’ve achieved on Facebook in North America, although we did notice a lower activation rate from Reddit — suggesting lower-quality conversions.”

If you’re interested in testing out a campaign for yourself, then, you’ll want to start by identifying subreddits which can likely help foster genuine connections between your brand and your ideal audience. Consider topics your target audience is most interested in, and make a list. Then, narrow your list by investigating how many subscribers each subreddit topic has, whether it’s relatively active, and whether self-promotion or sharing content is allowed on the subreddit topic.

Chang told me, “One of the main things we learned was targeting subreddits specifically was much more effective than broader interest targeting. However, this strategy requires a lot of research, and getting to know which subreddits are most relevant to your audience.”

Additionally, Chang said, “We noticed tailoring our ad creative for individual subreddits helped improve our conversion rates.”

2. Begin engaging with your subreddit communities.

Once you’ve cultivated a list of subreddits that are likely of interest to your target audience, it’s time to start engaging with those subreddit communities.

However, it’s critical you don’t begin by promoting your own content.

To build a level of trust and authentic connection, begin by upvoting other submissions you find interesting and that align well with your brand. Next, share valuable content — but not your own. Instead, post interesting content produced by other media outlets or blogs that you believe will be useful to your subreddit community.

It’s vital you genuinely use the Reddit platform as an opportunity to get to know your target audience before you offer them your own content. Not only will this show your community you’re not simply joining the site to self-promote, but it will also help you tailor your content more accurately down-the-road.

3. Begin promoting your own content, paid or otherwise, on the subreddit platforms.

At this point, you might consider simply posting valuable content from your company that you feel will benefit your community — for free.

However, you might alternatively try spending money on a paid sponsored post, which essentially guarantees your post will be pinned to the top of the subreddit. Here’s what a sponsored post looks like, for context:

In many ways, this post looks similar to all other Reddit content. However, there’s a blue “Promoted” tag in the top left, signifying it’s a paid ad.

In HubSpot’s case, we decided to test out the power of paid advertising on the site. However, it’s still critical you follow the steps listed above to cultivate authentic relationships with your subreddit communities.

Think of it this way — if I begin engaging with a brand on one of the subreddit groups I’ve joined, and notice they typically post helpful content (including content from other publications), then I’m much more likely to take notice when they pay for a sponsored post. If they appear out of nowhere, I have no sense of brand awareness and probably won’t trust the advertisement.

Reddit Advertising Cost

As of right now, the minimum daily spend for an ad on Reddit is $5.

Additionally, Reddit FAQ states, “The Reddit Ads platform uses a second price auction based system, which means you pay a cent higher than the next highest bidder. Because we are using an auction based system, there is a risk of 20% over-delivery when setting up an individual campaign.”

However, as of January 2019, Reddit changed their pricing model from CPM (cost-per-impression) bidding to CPC (cost-per-click). The CPC model will likely make it easier for brands to track conversion or traffic goals, and could result in changes in prices over time.

Advertising on Reddit: Worth it?

When I asked Chang whether he felt advertising on Reddit is a worthwhile investment, he offered a candid response, admitting HubSpot has temporarily halted its efforts on Reddit.

“We saw promising results,” Chang told me, “But because we were targeting specific subreddits, it wasn’t crazy volume that could really move the needle. However, we have on our docket to re-test Reddit to see if we can improve performance and scalability in the future.”

It’s important to note, there have been success stories — Findlay Hats, for instance, drove $28,000 in sales from one viral Reddit post.

However, most brands see better results simply by relying on Reddit for community engagement and brand awareness. Alex Berman found one of his free, unpromoted videos got 25,000 views when it hit the top of a subreddit — but, when he put $250 behind his Reddit posts, he acquired zero leads.

1. Make a company profile.

You’ll want to ensure you’re running advertising campaigns on your company profile, not your personal Reddit account.

Along with evoking a sense of professionalism, a company Reddit profile is necessary since users can click on your account and see other content you’ve viewed and upvoted — so you want to ensure that content aligns well with your brand. Additionally, when responding to comments on your ad, you’ll want to be able to respond from a company profile, not a personal one.

To set up a profile, go to and fill out the Sign Up form, shown below:


2. Set up an advertising account.

To start advertising on Reddit, you’ll need to set up an advertising account. To do this, go to and fill out the necessary fields:


Once you’ve inputted your information and selected “Sign Up”, you’ll see an advertising dashboard, as shown below:


Before you can begin advertising on Reddit, you’ll want to add your billing information by clicking the drop-down menu on your username and selecting “Billing”:


Additionally, if multiple people on your team will be involved in advertising on Reddit, ensure you add users by clicking “Manage permissions” underneath your username, and then adding their emails and permission level (including “Analyst”, “Creator”, and “Administrator”):


Once you’ve clicked the blue “Invite” button, your colleagues should receive an email with next steps.

3. Find your audience on subreddits.

It’s important to note, you don’t want to spend money advertising on the homepage of Reddit. Reddit users visit the homepage to browse popular posts and trending news, so it’s too big of an audience for you to target your ideal persona.

Instead, you’ll want to explore subreddits to find your ideal Reddit audience. For instance, let’s say you sell e-commerce software. To find an interested audience, then, you’ll want to explore retail-related subreddits, such as r/retail (8.2K members), r/AskRetail (4.5K members), or even r/retailmemes (733 members).

Make a list of subreddits that might fit your audience, and then spend some time perusing the content that already exists on that subreddit. Does it seem to match content your customer would be interested in? Additionally, does it look like the subreddit community could be filled with high-intent prospects (like a retail advice subreddit), or is it too superficial for your needs (like retail memes)?

To help you find your audience, try a tool like RedditList to sort through various reddit communities and find the ones of highest value for you.

4. Ensure the subreddit(s) you find have enough page views.

This is important enough to warrant its own section: you can’t necessarily advertise on any subreddit you want. Once you make your list of potential subreddits, you’ll need to ensure it has enough page views to be eligible for advertising.

To figure out whether a subreddit has enough page views, consider that one Reddit advertising campaign has a minimum spend of $5, and it costs $0.75 per thousand page views. Additionally, you can purchase up to three months out.

With those requirements, you’ll need roughly 6,700 page views over three months to achieve the $5 minimum spend.

To figure out how many page views you’re likely to receive on a subreddit, take a look at how many users are currently on the subreddit. For instance, you can see at 2 p.m. on a Monday, there are roughly 2K users on the r/marketing subreddit:


Dividing 6,700 by 90, you’ll note you need roughly 74 viewers per day on a subreddit to reach the minimum requirement — r/marketing, then, is way over the daily required page views, but there are other smaller subreddits with only 5-10 users per day, which could make it more difficult for you to reach minimum spend. Plus, you want to choose subreddits that enable you to have the highest reach possible.

5. Set up your campaign.

Once you’ve chosen your subreddits, it’s now time to set up your campaign. In your account, start by clicking on “Dashboard” in the top left of your screen, and then select “Create Campaign”.


Next, you’ll need to create a name for your campaign, a funding instrument, and a campaign objective:


After you click “Continue”, you’ll need to narrow down your audience — including interests, communities, and device type — your budget, and your bid (the maximum price you’re willing to pay per 1,000 impressions). Additionally, you’ll need to figure out a schedule for your ad, including what time(s) of day you want it to appear, and when you want your campaign to end.


Once you click “Continue” again, you’ll be able to add third-party trackers to distinguish how many unique web page visits or social media viewers you’ve gained from your Reddit advertisement.

Here, you’ll also either create a new post or upload an existing advertisement that you might’ve designed for another platform. Feel free to take a look at Reddit’s internal advertising resources — including Reddit’s Advertising Help page — to learn best practices when designing an ad for Reddit.

Once you’re happy with the creative assets, click “Review”:


Once you’ve reviewed all the information regarding your campaign and have determined it’s accurate, click the blue “Submit” button to submit your advertisement for consideration. You’ll get an email once your ad is live.

6. Analyze your campaign performance to improve over time.

Once your campaign is up-and-running, you’ll want to track its performance. You can monitor within the Reddit advertising dashboard itself, as well as through third-party tools like Google Analytics. Additionally, ensure you’re taking the time to respond to any comments left on your ad.

As with any advertising campaign you run, you’ll want to use analytics on this campaign to iterate and improve for the next one.

Ultimately, it’s worth considering using Reddit as a platform for sharing content for the sake of helpfulness and audience engagement, rather than as a cost-effective advertising strategy.

advertising plan

Originally published Sep 3, 2020 10:00:00 AM, updated September 03 2020



Bing PPC Ads: How They Work (and Compare to Google Ads)

If Googling has ever let you down, you may have come across another search engine called Bing.

This search engine is powered by Microsoft and strives to outdo Google at every turn. Bing wants to revolutionize digital search and rival the industry’s long-standing powerhouse.

It’s an ambitious goal, but one place where Bing differentiates itself is through its Pay Per Click ads, or PPC. According to our guide, Pay Per Click ads are, “a form of search engine marketing (SEM) where the advertiser pays for clicks on an ad.”

Simply put, the advertiser has to pay the publisher whenever a visitor interacts with the ad. In exchange, the ad is added to the search engine’s database, which displays the ad whenever the content matches a visitor’s searched keyword.

While Google Ads offers a popular PPC feature, Bing’s has unique advantages that distinguish itself from the search engine giant. And, if you’re the owner of a small- to medium-sized business, you may be more interested in Bing’s PPC benefits than Google’s.

In this post, let’s break down how Bing PPC ads work, as well as how they compare to Google Ads.

Free Guide, Template & Planner: How to Use Google Ads for Business

Bing PPC

Bing PPC ads operate on Microsoft’s three popular search engines: Bing, Yahoo, and AOL. When you use Bing campaigns, your content is shared across all of these platforms at once. With over five billion monthly searches being made on the Microsoft network, this makes Bing PPC a notable marketing tool for paid ad campaigns.

In terms of functionality, Bing PPC ads work similarly to Google ads. You bid on keywords based on their traffic volume, then your ad is displayed when that keyword is searched, and finally, you pay Bing whenever a visitor clicks on your ad. Like Google, your ad’s copy can have up to 80 characters and Bing even has support tools that can help your team build a cost-effective keyword list, so you never waste money on ads that aren’t being displayed.


With Bing, you can also set up targeting filters that determine where and when an ad will be published. For example, if you want your ad to only appear on mobile devices, you can select the mobile traffic option. Or, if you want the ad to appear solely on Yahoo, you could filter it from Bing and AOL. This gives your team more flexibility and optimizes the effectiveness of your PPC campaign.

Bing PPC ads present a timely opportunity for marketing teams. It’s less competitive than Google AdWords, and its users shop online 36% more than any other search engine. While Google AdWords is still a very powerful tool, there are some advantages of Bing that makes it attractive for small- to medium-sized businesses. So, now that we’re familiar with how Bing PPC ads work, let’s discuss some of the key differences between Bing PPC and Google AdWords.

1. Bing Ads offers unique filter options and social extensions.

While both Bing PPC and Google AdWords allow you to filter your ad’s targeting, Bing’s software has a unique innovation that sets it apart from Google. With Bing, you can set age filters for your search ads, so only visitors of a certain age group will see them. Or, you can set up a location filter so visitors in a certain part of the world see your content. This way, you’ll ensure qualified leads are being exposed to your marketing campaigns.


Another key feature that Bing has an advantage in is its social extensions. Social extensions are a line of copy on your ad that tells the visitor how many social media followers your business has. On Bing, this feature shows your social following for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Google AdWords, however, can only show you the number of Google+ followers.

2. Google has a bigger reach, but Bing’s audience is older and tends to have higher income.

According to Microsoft, Bing represents more than 34% of the world’s desktop search engine marketplace. That means about one in every three people will use Bing over another search engine.

And, more importantly, Bing’s PPC ads can reach 60 million users that Google AdWords cannot.

In terms of the largest audience, Google is the outright favorite. But, that doesn’t mean Bing isn’t worth your investment. Bing has over 137 million users who search roughly six billion times each month. These people tend to be older than Google’s users, and have an income of more than $100K.

So, even though Google has a larger audience, Bing works with users who have substantial buying power.

bing-demographicsImage Source

3. Bing users are interested in financial and shopping services, so you might see higher conversion rates on Bing depending on your industry.

When tested by Blue Corona, Bing PPC experienced a 34% higher click-through rate than Google ads.

Additionally, new research found that financial and shopping services have experienced the most success with Bing PPC. This is mostly attributed to MSN’s and Yahoo’s popular financial reporting, which yields more keywords related to online shopping and business reports.


Bing users tend to be more engaged with sites after ad clicks, as well. In one industry, Bing ads had a 56% higher conversion rate than Google AdWords. That’s because Bing users typically have more interest in e-commerce and are willing to spend money online.

4. Bing Ads often appear higher on the search results page.

Since there are fewer users on Bing, its ads tend to display higher on search results than Google AdWords. In fact, Bing ads appear 35% higher in search results than Google ads.

Bing copies Google’s keyword auction technique, which favors its users because they don’t have to outbid Google’s massive user base. With Bing’s less-competitive market, you won’t have to bid as much on keywords to maintain your spot on the search results page.

5. Bing has lower cost-per-click.

With fewer competitors bidding on keywords, you can expect to spend less on your Bing ads. In fact, one business spent 35% less on Bing ads than it did on Google AdWords.

In terms of cost-per-click (CPC), ReportGarden found that the average CPC for Bing was $7.99 whereas Google’s was $20.08. Since there’s less overall traffic occurring on Bing, CPC is typically less expensive.

This presents an opportunity to obtain a strong ROI if you can capitalize on the right keyword at the right time.

Google Ads vs. Bing Ads: Which One is Right for Your Business?

If you’re choosing between Google AdWords and Bing PPC, both tools can be valuable assets to your marketing team.

With Google, you have access to a massive audience with users from many demographics, and you can trust that your content will be displayed on the world’s preferred search engine.

However, this space is highly competitive, and you’ll need to monitor your campaign diligently if you want to see a positive return on your investment. Your marketing team will need plenty of means and experience to make Google AdWords a reliable source of lead generation.

Bing PPC presents a lower-risk option for paid ad campaigns. You still have access to a large audience, but keyword bidding isn’t as competitive as Google.

The tradeoff here is that Bing traffic is significantly lower than Google’s. So, while your ads may be positioned higher and cost less, they may not be seen by as many people. That limitation may be discouraging to larger companies that have bigger marketing budgets.

For more information about PPC ads, read these PPC campaign tips.

kit for how to use Google Ads

Originally published Aug 28, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated August 28 2020



The Ultimate Guide to PPC

Marketers, can we be honest with each other for a second? On a scale of 1-10, how much do you really understand the world of paid advertising?

Despite the fact that 45% of small businesses use paid ads, pay-per-click is still a concept that eludes many of us. But if half of small businesses are using it, we just can’t afford to ignore this channel, no matter how perplexing.

As a marketer, PPC is a skill that you should have in your tool belt — or at least have a basic understanding of.

This guide will help you grasp pay-per-click marketing in its entirety. To start, we’ll begin with the benefits of paid advertising and then get into some key definitions that you’ll need to know.

Free Guide, Template & Planner: How to Use Google Ads for Business

When done right, PPC can earn you quality leads. If you can create a seamless user journey (which you’ll learn how to do later in this piece), it could mean a huge ROI for your PPC efforts.

Pay-per-click advertising is most common in search engine results pages (SERPs), like Google or Bing, but is also used on social channels (although CPM is more common). If you’re wondering where you can find pay-per-click ads, they’re the results you see before and to the right of the organic search results. For instance, check out the ad that came up in my search for “cards”.

example of paid vs organic ads

Benefits of PPC

So, why would you pay for ads when you can reach your audience organically through great content and strategically-placed keywords (otherwise known as SEO)?

The answer is: keywords have become increasingly competitive. This makes it more difficult for a business that doesn’t have the domain authority to get them into the top rankings on a search engine or in front of their target audience on a social platform. In fact, so many businesses are using ads that organic results often don’t even start until you’re further down the page.

That doesn’t mean you should ditch all SEO efforts completely — your paid advertising should complement your SEO strategy as opposed to replace it.

“When people search for your keywords, you know their search intent and can display the most relevant ad to your audience. This means more clicks and a greater chance of conversion.” – Laura Mittelmann, Paid Acquisition at HubSpot

Paid advertising will help you rise to the top in a competitive market and be seen by potential customers who may not know that you exist. It can help you promote your next marketing initiative, improve brand awareness, or rank for difficult keyword terms. In other words, PPC is your shortcut to getting to the top within your niche. And, if done responsibly, PPC can be integral to your inbound marketing strategy.

PPC-Related Terms You Should Know

What’s a marketing channel without a few acronyms and a little jargon? If you’re going to enter the paid advertising space, there are a few terms you should know. Below, we review the main elements of a PPC campaign, ranging from broad to the more specific.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The objective of all forms of digital advertising is to rank for a target keyword, and that can be done in a number of ways. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to any digital marketing (paid or unpaid) done on a search engine, like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. SEM is an umbrella term that encompasses both paid advertising and search engine optimization, that is, ranking organically for keywords. It’s important to note that not all PPC occurs on search engines — social media has PPC ads, too (think: Facebook Ads).


Cost-per-click (CPC) is the amount that an advertiser pays for each click on your ad. CPC acts as your bid in an auction that determines where your ad will be placed. As you can imagine, a higher bid equates to better ad placement. You set your CPC at the maximum price you are willing to pay per click on your ad. What you actually pay is determined by the following formula: (Competitor’s Ad Rank / Your Quality Score) + 0.01 = Actual CPC. Let’s go over the terms in this equation so you know what you’re paying for:

Ad Rank

This value determines the position of an ad on a search engine results page. It’s equal to Maximum Bid x Quality Score.

Quality Score

This is the score that search engines give to your ad based on your clickthrough rate (CTR) — measured against the average CTR of ads in that position — the relevance of your keywords, the quality of your landing page, and your past performance on the SERP.

Maximum Bid

This is the maximum you’re willing to pay per click on you ad.

Here’s an image by WordStream that illustrates what I mean:

maximum ad bid example


You can set your CPC to manual, where you determine the maximum bid for your ads, or enhanced, which allows the search engines to adjust your bid based on your goals. One of these enhanced options involves bid strategies that automatically adjust your bids based on either clicks or conversions.

CPM (Cost per Mille)

CPM, also known as cost per thousand, is the cost per one thousand impressions. It’s most commonly used for paid social and display ads. There are other types of cost-pers… like cost-per-engagement, cost-per-acquisition (CPA), but for the sake of preserving your mental space, we’re going to stick with clicks, a.k.a. CPC.


The first step in setting up your PPC ads is determining your ad campaign. You can think of your campaign as the key message, or theme, you want to get across with your advertisements.

Ad Group

One size doesn’t fit all. That’s why you’ll create a series of ads within your campaign based on a set of highly related keywords. You can set a CPC for each ad group that you create.


Each ad within your ad group will target a set of relevant keywords or key terms. These keywords tell search engines which terms or search queries you want your ad to be displayed alongside in SERPs. Once you determine which keywords perform best, you can set a micro CPC just for keywords within your ads.

Ad Text

Your keywords should inform your ad text. Remember, your Quality Score is determined by how relevant your ad is, therefore, the text in your ad (and landing page for that matter) should match the keyword terms that you’re targeting.

Landing Page

A landing page is a critical piece of your paid advertising strategy. The landing page is where users will end up once they click your PPC ad. Whether it’s a dedicated webpage, your homepage, or somewhere else, make sure to follow landing page best practices to maximize conversions.

Best PPC Platforms

Now that you understand the PPC basics, I’m guessing your next question is: Where should I advertise?

There are dozens of online spaces where you can spend your coveted ad money, and the best way to vet them is by taking a close look at your potential ROI on each platform.

The most popular advertising platforms are effective because they’re easy to use, and, most importantly, highly trafficked. But for a smaller budget, you might consider a lesser-known alternative to these key players. Some additional things to consider when choosing a platform are the availability of keyword terms, where your target audience spends their time, and your advertising budget.

Here a non-exhaustive list of some of the top PPC platforms.

Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords)

cleaning supplies google ads ppc example

How many times a day do you hear the phrase “Let me Google that”? Probably more than you can count … hence why Google Ads is the king of paid advertising. On average, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second, giving you plenty of opportunities to target keywords that will get your intended audience to click. The downside is that keywords are highly competitive on this platform, meaning a greater ad spend.

If you’re planning to use this popular platform, start with our free Google Ads PPC Kit.

Bing Ads

great coffee at home bing ppc ad example

The perks of using Bing Ads over Google Ads is a slightly lower CPC at the expense of a larger audience, of course.

Facebook Ads

example of ppc ads on facebookFacebook Ads blend in with other posts on the platform.

Facebook Ads is a popular and effective platform for paid ads (more commonly used as CPM than CPC), mainly due to its specific targeting options. Facebook allows you to target users based on interests, demographics, location, and behaviors. Also, Facebook allows for native ads, which means ads are introduced and blend into the social feed. Not to mention, you can use Facebook Ads to advertise on Instagram as well.


example of ad rollChipotle retargeting me as I search for dessert recipes.

AdRoll is a retargeting platform that advertises to people who have already visited your website. For instance, say someone read your article on cheese making. You can retarget them on other sites that they visit with display ads that advertise your online cooking classes. While retargeting is possible with Google Ads, the benefit of using AdRoll is that it can display ads on Google and social media sites, which gives you more opportunities to capture clicks or impressions, depending on your goal.


RevContent focuses specifically on promoting content through PPC. It has the same impact as a guest post, where your content is displayed on an external site, except it’s in the form of an ad. You still bid on keywords and your advertisement is displayed next to content that is relevant to those keywords. With this platform, you’ll reap the benefits of a low CPC and highly engaged traffic.

How to Get Started with PPC Advertising

Now that you understand the benefits of PPC, have your key terms, and know what platforms you can advertise on, let’s dive into crafting a quality PPC campaign. You don’t need to tackle these items step-by-step, but you will need to work through each of them to ensure that you create an effective campaign.

Set Parameters

I know I wrote that you don’t need to do these things in order, but you should do this step first. Without parameters, you risk your ad being untargeted and ineffective. You want to put your ad campaigns into the context of your ultimate business goals. Consider how your paid campaigns will contribute to those goals. Then, think about what you want to accomplish with your ads — whether that be visits, sales, brand awareness, or something else — and how much you’re willing to spend to accomplish that goal.

Your ads should encompass a few things:

  • Who you want to target
  • Theme of your campaign
  • How you will measure success
  • Type of campaign you will run

Create Your Goals and Goal Metrics

Your campaign goals will give you something to show for your ad spend as long as you determine how you will measure those goals. Your goal metrics should not be confused with your campaign metrics, which we’ll discuss below.

Let’s touch on some common PPC goals and how to measure them.

Brand awareness is how familiar your target audience is with your company. It might be a good idea to look into display ads for this goal so you can supplement your copy with engaging imagery. You can measure brand awareness through social engagement, surveys, and direct traffic.

Lead generation is the direct result of having a relevant and engaging landing page to follow your paid ad. Since you will create a separate landing page for each ad group, you should be able to easily track lead conversions either in the Google Ads interface via a tracking pixel, or through UTM parameters, if you’re using a tool like HubSpot.

Offer promotion is great if you’re running a limited time offer, product or service discount, or contest. You should create a dedicated sign-up page or a unique discount code so you know which users came from your ad.

Sales can be measured by how much of your product or service is sold based on your paid ads. You should be able to track this through a quality CMS software or with attribution reporting.

Site traffic is a great goal if you have high-quality content throughout your website. If you’re going to spend money getting people to visit your site, you want to have some level of confidence that you can keep them there and eventually convert them into leads.

Choose Your Campaign Type

You don’t only need to know where you’ll advertise but also how. There are many different types of paid advertising campaigns, and the one that you choose depends on where you can reach your audience. That isn’t to say that you can’t advertise through various means; you can also try a combination of campaign types as long as you’re consistently testing and revising.

Search Ads are the most common type of PPC and refer to the text ads that show up on search engine results pages.

Display Ads allow you to place ads (usually image-based) on external websites, including social. There are several ways to buy display ads, including Google Display Network (GDN) and other ad networks.

Learn how to integrate Display Ads into your inbound marketing plan.

Social refers to any ads that you see on social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. You can pay to show up in your target audience’s social feed or somewhere else within their profile, depending on the platform.

Remarketing can use either cookies or a list of contacts that you upload to target people who have previously engaged with your company through some action. That action could be filling out a form, reading a blog, or simply visiting a page on your website.

Google Shopping is most effective for ecommerce sites. Your ad — including image, price, and a short product description — will show on a carousel on a search page based on your target keywords.

Perform Keyword Research

Each ad group you create needs to be assigned a set of keywords to target — that’s how search engines know when and where to display your ad. The general rule of thumb is to select between one to five keywords per ad group, and those keywords should be extremely relevant — your Quality Score depends on it.

Select keywords that are closely aligned with the specific theme of your ad group. If you find keywords you want to target that fall outside of one theme, you should create a separate ad group for them.

It’s important to note that you’re not stuck with the keywords you start with. In fact, you should closely monitor your keyword list throughout your campaign — eliminating those that don’t bring in the types of visitors that you’re looking for and increasing your bids on those that do. Do your best to select the most relevant keywords, but don’t feel pressured to get it 100% right the first time around.

Set Up Google Analytics and Tracking

Google Analytics is free to use so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t install it on your website. The tool provides you with insights into how your website is performing, how users are interacting with your pages, and what content is attractive to visitors. The information you can gather from Google Analytics can be used for PPC and beyond.

Best Practices for a Quality PPC Strategy

You didn’t think we’d let you spend your hard-earned money on advertisements without providing some best practices to follow, did you? Of course not. We want to make sure you succeed with your next PPC campaign. So, let’s get into some PPC strategy that will help you maximize your efforts and your budget.

As a note, we’re going to dive specifically into paid search ads (those little guys you see in search engines) here.

PPC Ad Copy

Bidding on targeted keywords will get your ad in front of the right people; good ad copy will get those people to click on your ad. Like your keywords, your ad needs to solve for the intent of the searcher — you need to give the searcher exactly what they’re looking for and make sure that is clear through the words you use.

Search ads are comprised of a headline, a URL, and a short description, and each of these have limited character requirements to follow. To make the most of this space, make sure your ad copy does the following:

  • Speak directly to your target persona
  • Include the main keyword that you’re bidding on
  • Provide an actionable CTA so the searcher knows what to do next
  • Make the offer appealing
  • Use language that matches your landing page copy
  • Perform A/B Split tests with your copy

Landing Page Best Practices

Arguably the most important element of PPC (after your ad copy) is the page that you send leads to after they click on your ad. This page needs to be highly targeted, relevant to your ad, deliver what was promised, and present a seamless experience. Why? Because the point of your landing page is to convert your new visitor into a lead or customer. Not only that, but a high-converting landing page will improve your Quality Score, leading to better ad placements. There’s nothing that will diminish PPC profits like a poorly crafted landing page.

What should a PPC landing page include to increase conversions? Glad you asked …

  • Strong headline that mirrors your search ad
  • Clean design and layout
  • Responsive form that is easy to use with a stand-out CTA button
  • Copy that is very specific and relevant to your target keywords
  • Presents the offer that was promised in your ad
  • A/B tested

A/B Testing Your PPC Ads

Rarely will you as a marketer throw something out to your audience that works without testing. PPC campaigns are no different. A/B testing is as critical to your paid ad campaign as is every other element. The goal of testing your ad is to increase both your clickthrough rate and your conversion rate.

The good news is that ads are comprised of just four parts that you’ll need to test: headline, description, landing page, and target keywords. Small tweaks to just one of these elements can significantly alter your results, so you want to make changes one at a time so you can keep track of where improvements come from.

Since there are many variations that you could test one at a time, it’s a good idea to list out all the potential tests you can run and prioritize them by greatest impact. Finally, you should allow your ads to run long enough to gather the data you need and test them early enough so you don’t waste budget on a poor-performing ad.

Maximizing Your ROI

At a high level, maximizing ROI on your ad campaigns means considering customer lifetime value and customer acquisition costs, which will help you determine how much is worth spending on a new lead and how much of that spend can come from paid advertising.

To get more granular, we need to talk inputs and outputs, that is 1) lowering your input (cost per lead [CPL]) and 2) increasing your return (revenue). There are a few factors to keep an eye on that will affect both, so let’s break it down.

Ways to Decrease Inputs

  • Determine an ad budget before you get started.
  • Create more relevant ads. The more relevant, the lower your CPC.
  • Improve your Quality Score. The higher your QS, the less search engines will charge your for clicks.

Ways to Increase Revenue

  • Follow landing page best practices to increase conversion rates.
  • Go after quality leads by being specific with your ad. The more quality your leads, the more likely they will convert and eventually become customers.

Additional PPC Tips and Tricks

There are a few other things you can do to maximize the ROI of your paid ads, whether it’s time spent, budget, clicks, or conversions.


Google allows you to tailor your audience so you save marketing dollars and get in front of the right people. You can upload a customer list so that you don’t waste money on people who have already bought from you. Google also has options for prospecting audiences. For instance, In-Market Audiences employs user behavior tracking to put you in front of prospects who are in the market for a product or service like yours. You can also increase your bid for more relevant subgroups within your target audience — a practice called layering audiences. For example, HubSpot may layer on people who are in the market for CRM software and add a 30% bid adjustment because those people may be more likely to convert.

Bid Adjustments

Bid adjustments allow you to increase or decrease your bids based on performance. You can even make these adjustments based on different categories, like device, demographics, language, and more. For example, if a keyword isn’t performing as well on mobile as on desktop, you can add a negative bid adjustment so that when someone searches your keyword on mobile, you’ll bid X% lower than your normal bid.

Custom Ad Scheduling

You can set up ad scheduling in Google Ads to display your ad only during specific days and times. This can cut down on ad spend and improve relevance for your target audience.

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink extensions allow you to supplement your ad with additional information. For instance, if you’re running an ad for a seasonal promotion at a local store, you can add a sitelink extension to display your store hours and location. These extensions take up more real estate on SERPs and, therefore, stand out. Not only that, but they play a role in improving your Ad Rank.

Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking monitors how your landing page is performing via a tracking code that you place on the page where people land after completing your form (usually a “Thank You” page). By enabling this feature, you’ll be better equipped to make adjustments that can improve your conversions.

Keyword Monitoring

Don’t let too much time pass before you check how your keywords are performing. You can place higher bids on the keywords that are creating the best results for your campaign, and “defund” or eliminate others.

Match Types

Match Types in Google Ads allows you to choose how closely related you want your ad group to be associated with a search team. There are four match types: broad, modified broad, phrase, and exact match. Google will display your ad in results according to your selection. For example, if your keyword phrase is “how to catch geese” and you select “broad match,” then Google will display your ad for queries that include any word in your key phrase in any order … including “geese catch” and “geese catch how”.

Negatives Keywords

A negative keyword list tells search engines what you don’t want to rank for, which is equally as important as what you do. You might know some of these upfront, but likely you’ll determine these keywords by what isn’t performing so well within your campaign.

Social Media Ads

Although CPM is more common on social platforms, social media sites do offer PPC that works similarly to search engine ads in that you set a budget and bid on ad placements. The difference is social media ads can show up directly in your news feed on most platforms, decreasing the effectiveness of ad blockers. Social platforms, like Facebook, let you set targeted demographics as well as target people based on interests. While paid search is more keyword-focused, paid social is broadens into a demographic focus, leading to more ways to target your persona.

Social media has two paid ad functions that are critical to ad success — retargeting and Lookalike Audiences. Retargeting is remarketing to people based on site visits or manually uploaded contact lists. Lookalike Audiences reviews the people on your marketing list and creates an audience that parallels your list, which expands your potential target. Paid social also allows for a wider variety of ad types, like images, videos, text, and more.

PPC Management and Tracking

Paid advertising is not “set it and forget it.” You need to manage and constantly monitor your ads to ensure that you’re reaching optimal results. Management, analysis, and tracking is crucial to a PPC campaign, not only because they provide you with useful insights but also because they help you create a more effective campaign.

What is PPC Management?

PPC management covers a wide range of techniques, including creating and adjusting goals, split testing, introducing new keywords, optimizing conversion paths, and shifting plans to reach goals.

Managing your PPC means looking at both strategy and spend. On one hand, it means iterating on your plan to optimize keyword effectiveness. On the other hand, it means thinking about how to allocate resources to certain keywords as well as how to adjust those resources to maximize ROI.

A good management strategy also pays attention to providers — like search engines, social platforms, and ad networks — to monitor changes and updates that could affect paid campaigns.

Overall, PPC management is a hefty undertaking, which is why investing in solid PPC management tools could be a great idea.

Use our PPC management tool to monitor all of your paid campaigns.

PPC Tools and Software

With all of the variables that you need to track, PPC management tools should make things easier. You can opt to monitor your ads within platform, but if you’re looking for additional assistance and organization, a robust, easy-to-read spreadsheet or sophisticated software that gives you insight into your ad performance is key.

If you plan to go the software route, there are some features that you absolutely want to look for: multi-user support, cross-platform management, A/B testing, scheduling, reporting, and ad grading.

Here’s a list of some popular, highly-rated PPC software and resources.

  • WordStream automates the tedious parts of setting up and managing your PPC campaign.
  • HubSpot offers a robust template to help you monitor and manage the moving parts of your campaign, making it easy to keep track of your ad groups, keywords, and A/B tests.
  • NinjaCat lets you combine all of your analytics from multiple platforms into one report so you can track your entire campaign in one location.
  • Optmyzr has end-to-end PPC support, from creation to reporting … and they offer a free trial of their software.
  • SEMRush can help you manage the most important part of your PPC campaign — keywords. You can find relevant keywords, manage and optimize your keyword lists, and create negative lists.

PPC Metrics to Track

Metrics are everything (but you already knew that). Here are some key metrics to track within your PPC campaign.

Clicks refer to the total number of clicks you receive on an ad. This metric is affected by your keyword selection and the relevance of your ad copy.

Cost per click (CPC) measures the price you pay for each click on your ad.

Clickthrough rate (CTR) is the percentage of ad views that result in clicks. This metric determines how much you pay (CPC). CTR benchmarks vary by industry.

Impressions is the number of times an ad is viewed. Cost per mille (CPM) is determined for every thousand impressions. Impressions are most relevant for brand awareness campaigns.

Ad spend is the amount you are spending on your ads. You can optimize this by improving your Quality Score.

Return on ad spend (ROAS) is the ROI of your ad campaign. This metric calculates the revenue received for every dollar spent on ads.

Conversion rate refers to the percentage of people that complete the call-to-action on your landing page and become a lead or customer.

Cost per conversion refers to the cost to generate a lead. This is calculated as the total cost of an ad divided by the number of conversions.

Quality Score (QS) determines ad positioning, so it’s an important metric to keep an eye on.

By paying close attention to each of these metrics, you can increase the ROI of your paid campaign and spend less for better results.

Go Paid!

Paid advertising is an effective tool that should be a part of your inbound marketing strategy no matter how long you’ve been in business. PPC just might be the boost you need to get an edge on your competition — or at least ahead of them in the SERPs.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August, 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Originally published Jul 16, 2020 8:49:00 AM, updated July 16 2020



The Plain-English Guide to Negative Keywords

When I woke up this morning, I groggily shuffled to my kitchen, where I made a distressing discovery: I was out of coffee grounds.

Suddenly full of energy, and wanting to remedy the situation as quickly as possible, I frantically ran to my desk, opened my laptop, and typed “ground coffee beans” into Google.

Free Guide, Template & Planner: How to Use Google Ads for Business

I received numerous results: coffee alternatives, drip coffee beans, coffee bean blends, listicles about coffee grounds, and even a list of nearby coffee places. But even though I was given all of this information, I still hadn’t found what I needed.

So, I continued.

After scrolling through recipes that use ground coffee beans, and a section labelled, “Research ground coffee beans,” I finally located a section where I could purchase ground coffee beans!

When I secured my refill, I thought about all of the options I’d been given for “ground coffee beans,” and how many ads I clicked on or ignored because they didn’t match my search intent. “Imagine advertising coffee and wasting ad spend from queries like mine,” I thought.

“Surely,” I thought, “There must be a marketing method you can use to avoid this scenario.”

The answer? Negative keywords.

Also known as a negative match, negative keywords make sure that certain words or phrases don’t trigger an ad being shown on a SERP or website. This improves targeting: When you prevent keywords from being associated with an ad, you can be more certain that it will be shown to the right audiences.

For instance, let’s say you’re running an ad for a webinar series about becoming an entrepreneur. Your target audience is the working professional wanting to start his or her own company.

However, you find your webinar series, “How to Succeed in Business: A 6-Week Course,” is being viewed by prospective university students looking for preliminary courses before applying to become a business major.

To make sure your ad gets seen by the right people, you’ll want to add “university,” and “business class,” as negative keywords. That way, prospective students hoping to major in business are less likely to across your ad, ensuring your ad spend is targeting the right persona: aspiring entrepreneurs.

The improved targeting of your ad keeps the focus on keywords that are the most important.

For the business course, that’s most likely, “entrepreneur courses,” “business webinars,” and “how to open a business.”

An ad with exceptional targeting, being seen by the right people, improves ROI.

How are negative keywords different from other keywords?

Using negative keywords helps ensure you don’t waste ad spend. Enhancing the power of keywords by adding conflicting ones gives you more control over who will see your ads, and heightens the focus on the most valuable keywords.

Negative keywords make sure the unintended audience won’t see your ads. Both are an effort to increase the ROI (return-on-investment) and targeting of ads.

To clarify, we’ll consider an example: Let’s say you’re advertising social media analytics software for agencies. It’s a PPC ad, and you’re bidding on the phrases “social media analytics,” and “social media software,” without negative keywords.

However, as your campaign is running, people might search “social media software” in an attempt to find social media scheduling tools. They’ll see your ad, but they won’t engage with it, because they aren’t interested in social media analytics for agencies.

This results in a loss of ROI and CTR. If you add negative keywords, however, like “social media scheduler,” “beginner social media software,” and “social media software for influencers,” you can avoid those losses.

Essentially, negative keywords are different from other keywords because they allow for your ad to be more focused with a different method. They improve the focus of your campaign and who interacts with each ad. Choosing the words you want to avoid heightens ROI.

How to Find Negative Keywords

So we’ve covered why negative keywords matter — now, how do you figure out which keywords should be negative?

For starters, when you’re conducting keyword research for an upcoming campaign, make a a negative keywords list at the same time. If you come across search queries that could possibly be in conflict with your persona’s intent, add them to your list.

Think about words that fit under the umbrella of keywords and fill in the gaps. Negative keywords can be specific if the keywords are broad.

For instance, let’s say your work for a breakfast syrup distributor and your keywords are “syrup brands.” That’s a pretty broad category — there’s breakfast syrup, simple syrup, cough syrup, and infused syrups. To fill in the gaps, negative keywords can zero in on what isn’t relevant to your product, like the many syrup variations.

If your target audience is large, you can still have amplified reach when you cut out the portion of an audience who won’t find value from your product or service.

For example, if you’re promoting a launch of online products, you want a negative keywords list to include things that suggest physical purchasing, like “in-person,” or “brick and mortar.”

Identifying keywords sounds like a mind-reading process, but with keyword software, you can eliminate some of those stresses. Additionally, if you have a Google Ads account, you can open the search term report, which shows you which search terms triggered your ad being shown.

If you come across a phrase that brought in a lot of impressions but limited conversions,, consider eliminating the search term by adding the phrase as a negative keyword.

How to Use Negative Keywords

When you make a negative keyword list, don’t go overboard. You don’t want to drastically reduce the reach of your ads because of a huge list of restricted words. Search terms should be similar to your keywords, but make distinctions your keywords don’t.

For example, if you’re selling sunglasses and your keyword is “glasses,” think about the subcategories that are attached, like water glasses and eye glasses. Those are negative keywords to add to your list, but “bifocals” and “cute glasses” probably don’t need to be excluded — they can still fit under the “sunglasses” category.

There are three types of negative keywords: broad match, phrase match, and exact match.

Let’s talk about when to use each.

  • Negative broad match — Negative broad match keywords prevent your ad from being shown if the query contains all negative search words. However, if only a few of those words are in the query, your ad still may be shown. If your negative keywords fit in no other category, they’ll be considered negative broad match.

Example — if the negative broad match keyword is “wax melters,” the ad could still show up for the searches “wax melts,” and “pink max melters,” as well as “melter for wax,” because the queries still contain a few of the keywords. Negative broad match keywords are a good idea if you want to have the largest reach possible with negative keywords.

To add broad match keywords in Google Ads, enter keywords with no formatting, such as plus marks or quotations.

  • Negative phrase match — If you want the query to use your negative keywords in the order you listed them, you’d be using negative phrase match. While your ad won’t show if the terms are in the same order, the search doesn’t exclude extra words. Additionally, if the search adds characters, like an exclamation point or question mark, your ad won’t be excluded.

Example — If your negative phrase match keyword was “wax melters,” your ad can still show up for “pink wax melts,” and “melter for wax,” but wouldn’t for “pink wax melters” and “where can i find wax melters?”

This is because the first search queries include the negative keywords in a different phrase, while the latter use the phrase in that order. Use negative phrase match if you want to appear to a large audience, but recognize tiny words that could change the meaning of a query.

To add negative phrase match keywords in Google Ads, enter keywords with a quotation around them, such as “wax melters.”

  • Negative exact match — Your ad won’t be shown for the queries that have the exact keyword(s) in the exact order if you categorize them as negative exact match. The only stipulation here is that your ad has a chance to be seen if the query adds additional words.

Example — Your negative exact match phrase is “wax melters,” which means anyone searching for the exact phrase, “wax melters,” won’t be shown your ad. However, queries like “melter for wax,” and “pink wax melts” can. And while it’s unlikely that “where can i find wax melters that are pink?” will be shown to your users, it still might be because there’s multiple words surrounding the phrase.

If your negative keyword phrase is very broad, and can be interpreted in multiple different ways, use negative exact match. This is also a good keyword category if you’re focusing on a very targeted, specific audience.

To add negative exact match keywords in Google Ads, put a bracket around your keywords, like so: [wax melters].

Remember, the idea of negative keywords is to eliminate wasted ad spend and maximize ROI with targeting. You’ll want to use them as an additional tool for making ads show up in the right places.

As a consumer, I want to find valuable answers to my search queries, and so does Google. Negative keywords only help that process, especially for advertisers. They’re used to maximize your reach, and ensure your ads are seen by the right people.

Ultimately, negative keywords are an extra step that could drive a lot of positive return. Even if you aren’t part of a company that sells ground coffee beans, think about how negative keywords can aid with the goals of your next ad.

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Originally published Jun 26, 2020 4:00:00 AM, updated June 26 2020