Category Archives: Advertising

Nicola Peaty

Pay Per Click Explained.

By Nicola Peaty

Between the importance of having a website and the power of Google, most marketers will be focused on driving traffic from the search engine to their online business. This can be done organically with search engine optimisation (SEO) via specific web content and/or with paid search marketing. This blog explains the basics of Pay per click and some tips to help especially for smaller companies.

Pay per click (PPC) is also known as Search engine marketing (SEM). This is when a company pays for specific search terms and keywords that people may enter into a search engine when looking for a related product or service to their company. The results of typing in a search term into Google, or other search engines, will produce a results page called a search engine results page (SERP). PPC results will appear at the top or right hand side of the page with ‘Ads’ next to them. The company then pays each time a user actually clicks on the link to their website for that particular search term.
See below an example for the term wedding cakes. You can see that Waitrose and Marks and Spencer have paid most for this search term as they appear at the top.

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‘Wedding cakes’ would be a premium search term and most small to medium companies would not be able to compete and afford this as a PPC option. Therefore, smaller companies can be smarter about the terms they either pay for or include those terms on their website for an organic listing. You need to be as specific as possible to match the needs of the users looking for your particular business products.
See the below example. If the search term is refined to ‘small wedding cakes in London’ then companies who have matching content on their site will appear higher in the SERP such as 1st Choice Cakes. Companies who have paid for ‘similar’ terms will appear lower down, so Marks and Spencer have dropped to the bottom of the page and The Cake Store appears higher as a PPC listing.


The Google ‘bots’ crawl sites to find the most suitable results to match the user’s search. So it’s worth taking the time to understand what terms people are using to look for your related products. It is then your choice, depending on your marketing need, whether you go down the PPC route or spend time generating relevant organic content on your website.

There are a number of advantages for PPC. Firstly, if, like the Marks and Spencer targeting wedding cakes, a company wants to raise brand awareness in a market, then PPC is a less expensive form of advertising. You have the advantage of capping your budget by only paying for an agreed budget limit on how many people click your Google Ad words. And as shown above, you can use specific terms to align with your target market.

It is also very straight forward and simple to set up once you’ve chosen your ad words, and then update as and when you need to. SEO obviously requires rewriting content on your site should new words and terms become necessary. This can take time, whereas Google ad words are immediately effective from the moment you set them up. This can be of real benefit if you have a timely event or promotion and need to quickly target your audience. Just ensure that your links drive traffic to the relevant landing page or you will lose paid-for users straight away.

You are totally in control of your PPC and can react and change as you feel necessary. This means trying and testing new campaigns and monitoring which works best. Having access to immediate results in terms of click through rates will allow you to track the performance of campaigns and assess ROI. The emphasis here is to stay on top of your PPC and keep a check on the SERP and whether any competition affects your listing as well as if users are finding and clicking on your campaign links. You may have to ‘up’ your bid slightly to guarantee top listing against a competitor or change your ad words if the market are using a new search term.

Finally, if done well, make sure you have conversion points in place when users reach the required landing page. This can be an online form, enquiry email link or for a sales rep to contact them. Any form of lead generation requires this essential part of the marketing ‘funnel’ and gives you the full picture to track you ROI.


Mel Rees

Top Tips…How To Brief a Designer To Achieve Great Results

By Mel Rees

We asked creative director, Mel Rees, to have a think about what clients can do to help their designers meet their creative objectives and make the whole process as smooth as possible. We think they’re pretty straight-forward, but not thinking them through at the outset can make the whole experience slightly more stressful – for both parties! Graphic design

1. Make sure you know what you want: It may sound obvious, but many people without marketing experience (and some people with it!) begin the design briefing process without having a clear idea of what they want to achieve. Write down your objectives for any campaign so you are able to explain them clearly and succinctly to yourself before trying them out on anyone else.

2. Make yourself easy to understand: Your business and brand is obviously clear in your mind, but it may not be clear to anyone else. Don’t expect your designer to be a mind-reader. Tell them all about your business – even if you think it’s irrelevant. Many descriptive words and expressions are subjective. What is ‘funky’ to one person may be ‘traditional’ to another. If you have specific design preferences, be clear or better still, use visual examples.

3. Let your designer be the designer: Don’t commission a designer and then immediately start designing the project yourself. When writing your brief, concentrate on your marketing objectives and allow your designer to interpret them. By all means be a part of the creative process and never let your designer bully you – but make sure your roles are properly defined.

4. Write it down: Have you ever phoned your designer, given them a 10-20 minute spiel and then expected them to deliver an award-winning campaign? And have you ever received totally unexpected results following this conversation? It simply doesn’t work. A written brief gives you both a point of reference when evaluating creative work. And it encourages you to explain your requirements in depth.

5. Plan ahead and understand your budget: To achieve value for money and the right results you need to understand how much bang you’ll get for your buck. Agree exact costs for each design element up front. Give your designer a really accurate project plan and check each element off, making sure you both understand where you are in the project at every stage.

Check out our creative briefing template here.

Mel Rees – Creative Director, VG&A

Vaughan Gordon

Emap launch new job sites with help from VG&A

By Vaughan Gordon

VG&A has recently worked with publishing giant EMAP, creating the launch marketing campaigns for their new job sites. Careers In Construction - Emap
We rolled out a range of marketing communications across online and offline channels for the construction and nursing sectors, two of their biggest recruitment markets. Traffic has already increased, with job-seekers checking out the sites for their next career move.

Take a look:

Paul Streeter

Top Tips…10 Reasons Not To Stop Advertising When Times Get Tough

By Paul Streeter

Stop Advertising! Definitely the wrong strategy during a recession.What’s that old saying…fortune favours the brave? I have always understood the sentiment but have realised that our current economic situation really puts it into context. We’re in the deepest recession in living memory, yet now is the time to invest in promotional activity and not reduce or cut it from the budget. Here are 10 reasons why you should rethink your strategy:  

  1. Whether business is good or slow, you have to get your share of whatever is around. Cutting back on your advertising puts you at a disadvantage at the very time when you need an edge. Increasing your advertising gives you that edge.
  2. In times of uncertainty, buyers are careful and a little reluctant to spend. They want to be sure before they buy; they want information. One of the ways they get information about products, services, prices and value is from advertising. Yours – or somebody else’s.
  3. Perhaps you think others in your line are going to cut back their advertising so it’s safe for you to do so. Right? Wrong. You’re in competition for the buyer’s £/$ with every other company in town, no matter what he sells. People only have so much to spend and if they don’t spend it on what you sell, they’ll spend it on something else.
  4. Slow time ahead? Perhaps, but people still need and want goods and services and will spend for them. There is plenty of business to get. Your competitors will be bidding for their share – and yours.
  5. You can’t do much about most factors in the market-place – rent, labour costs, prices and what the competition will do. But one thing you do control is your own promotion. Remember that advertising is not just a cost of doing business. It is a proven sales tool that returns many times your investment in customer traffic and sales.
  6. Remember how long it took you to get started? Once you build up a business, you can keep it going with a moderate consistent advertising programme. But if you cut your advertising and lose your hold on the market’s awareness, you’ll find it’s much harder to build it up again. It’s rather like starting all over again.
  7. Your advertising is part of your sales force. Advertisements help to pre-sell the customer and help you close the sale faster. What saves you time saves you money.
  8. You say your customers know you and will wait for a while. At least they’ll keep contacting you even if you don’t promote. That’s partly true but short-sighted. Remember people are always moving in and out of the area. So there’s a steady flow of your customers going out of your market and a corresponding influx of people who don’t know you at all. Tell them about yourself.
  9. Here’s a hard fact to consider. Over any given period, a company that advertises below the industry average has sales that are below the industry average.
  10. Advertising is news – about products and services. Most customers look for news of this kind in the media, both online and print. In good times, businesses often experiment with other options (events, for example), but when the going gets tough, they concentrate their efforts in print /online because it provides an immediate pay-off at the cash register.

Paul Streeter – Associate, VG&A




















Martin Couzins

Top Tips…It Pays To Revisit Old Ideas

By Martin Couzins

A recent ad by food producer Yeo Valley demonstrates why it pays to recycle ideas. Yeo Valley says that its Live in Harmony marketing campaign has helped increase sales by 15%. Central to the campaign was this video . . .

Now check out this video, produced more than a year earlier, by the dairy farmers of Ontario . . .

So, why did Yeo Valley succeed in capturing consumers’ attention? Because this was a high budget campaign which was launched with a TV commercial in the first ad break of a new series of X-factor. Yeo Valley demonstrated that delivering the right content in the right format and at the right time works.

Here is one more example of piggy-backing directly off the success of someone else’s campaign.

Martin Couzins, Associate, VG&A