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Five Crucial Aspects of the Most Popular PPC Ad Platforms

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Cross-Channel Engagement Benchmarks for 2022


Nowadays, it’s rare to find a business that isn’t trying to bolster its online presence, and PPC platforms often play crucial roles in those digital marketing pushes. However, choosing the right platform to showcase your brand and snag potential leads effectively isn’t always easy.

As a newbie in the world of paid media, navigating your way around all the major PPC platforms can be pretty confusing. Especially when you need to figure out which features and options would fit your company’s needs — it’s hardly the same to advertise through optimized explainer videos as it is using CTA-ready static ads!

So, to help you find the best tool for the job, we’ve broken down five critical aspects of the most popular PPC platforms around to make sure you find one (or more) with the features you need to help your online marketing strategy grow.

Google Ads

As the biggest and most popular PPC platform used today, Google Ads has become a cost-effective way for many businesses to reach target audiences through paid media. With online marketplaces becoming overly saturated with competitors, many digital marketers turn to Google Ads to break through the noise and generate brand awareness.

Here are some of the key aspects you need to know about this PPC ad platform:

Reach

If there’s one thing you can expect from the world’s most used search engine, is that it obtains a massive reach. Generating more than 40 thousand search queries every second and 1.2 trillion each year, there isn’t a search engine or platform out there that can offer the audience potential that Google Ads can. 

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Ad Formats

  • Text ads
  • Image ads
  • Video ads
  • Responsive ads
  • Product Shopping ads
  • Showcase Shopping ads
  • Call-only ads
  • App promotion ads

Ad Placements

  • Ads appear within Google search engine results and other Google search sites.
  • They also appear on websites that are a part of Google’s Display Network.

Pricing

Ad costs are unique to businesses as they are dependent on the details of a campaign and ad settings like budget, bid, keywords, and targeting. It also considers performance in the Google ad auction, focusing on its Quality Score and Ad Rank. Having said all that, an average estimate for ad costs would be as follows: 

  • Average ad spend $9000 to $10,000 per month on big campaigns.
  • Average cost-per-click on the Google Search Network: $1 to $2 
  • Average cost-per-click on the Google Display Network: Less than $1
  • Google Ads Management: 12-30% of ad spend per month
  • PPC Management Tools: $15 to $800 per month.

Pro 

  • Great exposure: What business would happily pass up the opportunity to rank high on the Internet’s largest search engine? When used successfully, Google ads can bring in a massive amount of traffic to your online presence.

Con 

  • Can’t neglect SEO: When ranking ads, Google considers websites that have quality landing pages and relevant content. So, optimization is still a big part of getting good Google Ads campaign results.

Microsoft Advertising

Did you know that the Microsoft Search Network accounts for more than 35% of desktop searches in the U.S alone? As Google ads’ strongest competitor in terms of paid search, Microsoft Ads has established itself as a worthy alternative.

Reach

The platform allows marketers to reach more than 20 million monthly unique searchers on its network.

Ad Formats 

  • Microsoft Advertising in Bing Smart Search
  • Microsoft Audience Ads
  • Microsoft Product Ads
  • Microsoft Dynamic Search Ads
  • Microsoft Responsive Search Ads
  • Microsoft Expanded Text Ads

Pricing

Microsoft ads are similar in structure and purpose to Google Ads, as the platform also relies heavily on search queries to target people. Hence, you will also need to use a bidding system for specific keywords to determine your ad rank.

  • The average cost per click (CPC) on Bing is $1.54.
  • The cost per keyword depends on the keywords within your ad and your bid. 

Ad Placements 

  • Search ads will appear on the search results page on search engines such as Bing, AOL, and Yahoo. 
  • Since Bing, AOL and Yahoo are partner sites, these ads will appear on websites within their network as well.

Pro

  • Higher reach for desktop users: Brands can use Microsoft ads to reach more than 40 million desktop users that Google cannot. 

Con 

  • Less flexible ads: Compared to Google ads, Microsoft ads only allow for one to two headlines instead of three, and fewer characters with 80 instead of 90.

YouTube Advertising

Being the second-most popular search engine on the planet, YouTube is accessed by almost one-third of the Internet’s users, and it stands as the best PPC platform to advertise through the use of quality video content like high-quality explainer videos.

Reach

YouTube receives an average of 14 billion views per month, that’s more than Instagram and Facebook receive combined. With so many frequent visitors, the platform gives businesses the potential to reach 2.56 billion users.

Ad Formats

  • Skippable in-stream ads
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads
  • In-feed video ads
  • Bumper ads
  • Outstream ads
  • Masthead ads

Pricing

  • The cost of YouTube ads depends on your ad format, bid, bidding selection, and targeting options. However, the average cost per ad click or view lies between $0.10 to $0.30. 

Ad Placements

  • YouTube search results.
  • YouTube videos. 
  • Video partners within their Display Network. 

Pro

  •  Massive reach: Since over 80% of internet users in the U.S use YouTube on a regular basis, it serves as the perfect platform to target key audiences.

Con 

  • Disruptive ads: If your ad isn’t engaging, many users will see it as a nuisance interrupting their current viewing and clicking the skip button asap.

Facebook Ads

77% of Internet users are active on at least one Meta platform, Facebook being one of the most popular. Social media automation is rising to the top of most marketing strategies, with social ads becoming the next best thing to paid search ads. Digital marketers don’t only use Facebook ads because of its cost efficiency but because of its ability to accurately position their ads in front of specific target audiences.

Reach

As one of the few social giants, Facebook hosts an audience of 2.91 billion monthly users with an ad reach of 2.11 billion. 

Ad Formats

  • App ads
  • Domain ads
  • Mobile app ads
  • Offer ads
  • Page-like ads
  • Page post link ads
  • Page post photo ads
  • Page post text ads
  • Page post video ads
  • Sponsored stories

Pricing

The cost of Facebook ads depends on your bidding model, campaign objective, audience, and quality score. An average estimate for ad costs would be as follows: 

  • Average cost-per-click (CPC): $0.97
  • Average cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM): $7.19
  • Average cost-per-like (CPL): $1.07
  • Average cost-per-download (CPA): $5.47

Ad Placements

  • In the right-hand column of the user’s feed.
  • Within the user’s newsfeed.
  • Facebook marketplace.
  • The user’s Messenger inbox.

Pro

  • Detailed targeting: Your ads will be shown to people who are more likely to find them useful. With an engaging call to action, your potential leads will be one click away from your landings and conversion funnel elements. Facebook ad’s interface also allows you to select interests your audience may have to improve its targeting accuracy.

Con

  • More competition: With thousands of businesses dedicated to using Facebook Ads exclusively, you’ll find yourself competing for popular keywords and paying higher ad costs when bidding for them.

Instagram Ads

What’s something every marketer knows about Instagram? Visuals, visuals, visuals! Instagram ads stand as the ideal PPC platform to draw in new audiences through ads that use eye-catching graphics and short, creative, visually captivating videos. 

Reach

Instagram is the second-fastest-growing social media network nearing one billion monthly active users and has the potential to reach an average of 1.2 billion users. 

Ad Format

  • Image feed ads
  • Story image ads
  • Video feed ads
  • Video story ads
  • Carousel feed ads
  • Canvas story ads

Pricing

On average, Instagram advertising costs sit between $0.20 to $6.70. They depend on your bidding model and cost-per-impressions (CPM). An average estimate for ad costs would be as follows:

  • Average cost-per-click (CPC): $0.20 to $2. 
  • Average cost-per-impression (CPM): $6.70 per 1000 impressions.
  • Average cost-per-engagement (CPE): $0.01 to $0.05 

Ad Placements

  • In the feed and/or the stories section of Instagram.

Pro

  • Unobtrusive ads: Promoted ads appear seamlessly on users’ feeds and stories, making them great for generating brand awareness in unobtrusive ways.

Con

  • Limited demographic reach: Instagram is not a great platform to target the older demographics as the majority of users are aged between 18-and 29. 

Twitter Ads

Lastly, we get to the world’s seventh favorite social media platform. While Twitter ads may not rule the PPC sector, it comes with a few unique benefits, such as easily reaching target audiences and generating higher click-through rates. If your audience is predominantly on Twitter, it serves as an indispensable advertising platform.

Reach

The platform has 330 million active users, and of those users, 145 million are reachable through ads. 

Ad Format

  • Promoted tweets
  • Promoted accounts
  • Promoted trends

Pricing 

Pricing depends on the ad format

  • Promoted tweets: $0.50-$2.00 per action.
  • Promoted accounts: $2-$4 per follow.
  • Promoted trends: $200,000 per day.

Ad Placements

  • Any promoted content will appear only once, near the top of (or within) a user’s feed.

Pro

  • Less competition and cheaper ad costs: Since Twitter ads are less competitive when compared to other PPC platforms, clicks and impressions are much cheaper, and your target audiences will be easier to reach.

Con

  • Hard to navigate: The Twitter ads interface isn’t renowned for being user-friendly, especially when having to simultaneously deal with a slow server. It’ll take quite a bit of practice before you get used to launching ads.

The first step to navigating any PPC platform is understanding the basics behind how it structures its ads. Knowing this will allow you to apply the knowledge to your paid media strategy and predict whether the platform will successfully draw in key audiences.   

It’s important to remember that nobody (and we mean nobody) becomes a PPC specialist overnight. However, with a bit of practice, and some trial and error, you can learn how to master different ad platforms and use their services to help drive traffic to your business.

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PPC

Retail Search is the New PPC

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Retail Search is the New PPC

“Amazon Ads, why?”. It all started for me back in 2018 when I interviewed some of the world’s leading PPC experts and surveyed award-winning paid search agencies. They were all doing Google Shopping campaigns but what about Amazon Ads? Very few of them invested there. 

Since then, Amazon Ads has caught up on both Meta and Google. The advertising revenue of Amazon represents 7% of its business. But those 7% already correspond to almost 20% of Google Ads. It’s on fire.

But it is not all about Amazon. When you dive deeper into the online retail marketing space, you quickly find out that retail search is not the only advertising lever there, and that Amazon is not the only player. Beneath the surface, you will find a a whole new world of what we call “Retail Media”: advertising during the consumer journey in retail sites, marketplaces and even beyond. It is both the digital version of trade marketing, it is the “paid search” of product search, and it is a challenger to programmatic advertising. And whereas Amazon is popularising it, there are plenty of other players in the market. Especially in Europe.

(Source: “State of Retail Media in 2022: Europe”, Innovell 2022)

State of retail media in Europe

We researched the retail media market for the newest Innovell report: “State of Retail Media in 2022: Europe” and uncovered an extremely dynamic business sector with phenomenal growth rates and new entrants every few months. There were 6 main reasons for the massive growth of retail media as we shall see below.

Obviously, the hypergrowth that ecommerce is experiencing makes the “media” itself grow, because that media is ecommerce activity. The more time consumers spend on retail platforms and marketplaces, the larger the ad inventory of retail media becomes. And as marketers, we know it quite well: users are spending a heck of an amount of time before they purchase something online, aren’t they? These online window shoppers are being monetized via retail media.

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And ecommerce platforms are pushing for it. Many retail sites are expanding from brand-centered ecommerce platforms to category-focused marketplaces. This has given unicorn start-ups such as Mirakl an amazing playground to develop in, as it provides the technical platform for that endeavour.

Along with marketplace investments come a desire to monetize, and retailers are looking to Amazon’s 5% of GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) revenue from advertising for inspiration. Another 5% of margin could make a huge difference in the retail business, where low margins and high volumes have long been the norm.

But brands are pushing retail media too. They were used to investing in trade marketing to stimulate retail sales, and the new digital version of digital advertising during the consumer journey has proven to be a sales activator too.

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From an organisational perspective, it is much easier to justify retail media investments with measurable impact than trade marketing budgets that are being poured into periodical retail negotiation to theoretically boost sales.

And finally, users are changing their behaviour too. We frequently hear of new surveys showing how users no longer start their product search journeys on Google but have shifted to Amazon. Users, of course, have erratic behavior and will start their journey in all sorts of places and even search simultaneously in several channels. One thing is certain though, product search is convenient and easy on Amazon and if you are a Prime member, your purchases will be delivered tomorrow. Retail search is on the rise for sure.

Show me the money

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Easy, you take budget from your Google Ads and Facebook campaigns and put them into Amazon, right? Well, not really. We found hardly any evidence of that happening. Those budget streams are rarely connected directly.

The quarterly reports of the other ad platforms are not showing signs of budget transfer either. During the past few years of Amazon Ads booming, Google Ads has been increasing its own growth too. And the recent difficulties for Meta were caused by something entirely different, namely Apple’s cookie gate. A recent study from McKinsey confirms this. It estimates that 80% of retail media budgets are likely to be “net new” rather than transfers from existing advertising budgets. (Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/busted-five-myths-about-retail-media)

Retail media is trade marketing digitally transformed

One of the sources for retail media funding is the shift from trade marketing. Trade marketing has existed almost since the outset of retail itself.

But where trade marketing is something that is often discussed in quarterly or annual distribution negotiations as a compensation form, retail media can be invested and optimized in real-time. And more importantly, its impact is measurable and can be put in relation to incremental value it generates.

(Purchase) data is the new oil 

Retail media has product search as its engine and purchase data as its fuel. We hear often enough that “data is the new oil”, but perhaps it is in reality purchase data, a refined form of data, which could show the real value of data, as it allows advertisers to perform high quality targeting.

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Most of the experts we interviewed for our report insisted on the quality and actionability of the data issued from retail. Both data from online ad platforms on marketplaces and offline from retail outlets capable of understanding the purchasing patterns via behavioural data.

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Retail media is a challenger to programmatic advertising

Retail search is already a new PPC contender growing faster than most of its competitors. But on top of that, the promise of audience targeting on the basis of purchasing data from the same retail media platforms is a potential contender to win the programmatic space. Remains to be seen whether the data really is that good. If indeed it is, the epicenter of programmatic advertising could well shift towards retail-data-driven platforms in the future.

On 19 July on Hero Conf London, we will dive deeper into retail media and explore the many local pureplayers, vertical marketplaces and hybrid on- and offline grocery chains occupying the retail media space together with Amazon in Europe.

We will also propose a five-step approach to winning on retail media for brands. It applies both to those who have not started their journey and those who are already active in retail media on one or more marketplaces.

In this session you will learn:

– What the drivers of “retail media” are

– What Amazon and other marketplaces have in stock for marketers in 2022

– If and how you should position retail media in your PPC strategy

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