Anyone who markets their business online will have heard of Google’s Adwords; or they should have done. Adwords is Google’s name for their pay-per-click (PPC) service; it’s the very core of their business. Essentially PPC offers highly targeted advertising, it provides the facility to place your advert right in front of the very people that are looking for your product or service.
For example, your business specializes in repairing old Nikon cameras. You could use PPC to show an advert for your company when someone looks online for information about how to repair a shutter in a Nikon F1.
For the advertiser, this is great because you only pay to advertise to people who are looking for your service. You are not advertising to people who have a problem with their Pentax, or to people who want to take better pictures, or to people who want to photograph dolphins in the sea. PPC has been an advertising revolution for another very important reason too. If you advertise in a newspaper or a magazine your advert has to jolt the reader away from what they are doing (reading). With PPC, people are already looking for information and you (or your advertisement) can feed straight into that; no distraction necessary.

But, what has all this got to do with PPC improving offline advertising? Well, one of the great things about PPC is the rapid, measurable results an advertiser can get. Within a day of posting their advert they can see how many times it’s been displayed, how many times it’s been clicked on, and how many of those clicks resulted in an enquiry or sale (conversion rate). How long does that take to do with traditional offline advertising? Ages. With this fast feedback advertisers are able to test their adverts very quickly and cheaply. In particular, the all-important headline. It’s stated by various advertising experts that anywhere between 80% and 90% of an advert’s viewers will not read past the headline. The headline is absolutely vital in the battle to encourage a reader to find out more by reading on. Some headlines work and some don’t; there are certain rules to follow, but it’s almost impossible to predict what headline will perform the best. With PPC, headlines can be tested with high precision. It’s called split testing; all elements in the advert are kept the same, only the headline differs. After a few days, the results can be analysed and the better performing headline will be apparent.

What if you are advertising in magazines? Of course, with magazine advertising, this degree of testing is not possible, once the advert is printed, there it is — good or bad. However, if an inexpensive PPC campaign is run prior to placing a printed advert, then the best performing headline can be used in the magazine, thus ensuring maximum response.