If you’ve looked into the various types of digital marketing, you’ve probably come across the term pay-per-click (PPC).

What is PPC Marketing?

What is PPC marketing, and why has it become such a popular option in the toolkits of internet advertisers?

Essentially pay-per-click search marketing is exactly what it sounds like. The amount the ad creator pays is directly related to the ad’s engagement. In this piece, we’ll delve into the specifics behind this form of marketing and all the advantages it offers.

We’ll talk about how PPC advertising works, why it is valuable, what sets it apart from other forms of internet marketing, and even how to set up PPC ads.

Exploring the Details of PPC Advertising

In advertising, you’re probably aware of the two main categories all promotions fall into. Marketers are either earning their attention organically, or they’re going through some outside method to achieve it.

If you’re looking to make your website appear earlier in search queries, for example, you need to find a way to get to the top.

So what does PPC mean in marketing exactly? WordStream defines it as a model of internet marketing where advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. In the past, digital marketers would pay up front, and their ads would be shown to audiences with little thought given to targeting.

PPC ads, in contrast, are crafted with specific keywords and parameters regarding who should see them. The amount of money put behind them is also decided beforehand. Rather than paying the ad publisher directly, advertisers allocate a budget, and they are charged from said budget whenever the ad is clicked.

We’ve all seen these, whether we realize it or not. How many times have we used a common search engine like Google and seen this at the top:

Source: Dell

Almost every search engine results page will have ads, so long as the keyword being inputted gets decent traffic. The ads can also take on different appearances, as shown here:

Sources: FromYouFlowers and ProFlowers

Sometimes there is a color outline behind it, while other times the “ad” indicator will actually appear in the promotion itself. Most modern search engines and even social media platforms offer users this change to promote their site or content in search queries.

In certain ways, this is like “buying clicks.” However, it’s not nearly as intrusive as older forms of ads, thus making pay-per-click search marketing an inbound technique.

Why and How PPC Advertising Works so Well

When you’re thinking of how PPC advertising works, consider other popular forms of digital marketing like SEO. Ads are now becoming increasingly relevant. This makes them much more welcomed to the reader and increases the chance of engagement.

This results in benefits for everyone – from the advertisers and their audience to the search engine itself. Consider the benefits of the PPC model for each of the following:

  • Better Coordination for Search Engines: Engines on both traditional browsers and social platforms have to cater to multiple groups. There are the users who want relevant content, and the advertisers, who want a better way to promote their products. PPC ads make it easy to coordinate the two together, letting search engines keep users on their sites while keeping advertisers paying for ads. With the PPC model, they keep their user base and revenue streams growing.
  • More Relevant Content for Audiences: Since PPC ads are built with targeted keywords and various other audience parameters, it’s far more likely they’ll be read by those who are actually interested. Given search engines and social platforms gain data about a user’s intent through their use of the sites, it makes it much easier for those users to see ads that could actually benefit them.
  • Advertisers Get More for Their Money: Rather than paying a flat amount and having an ad shown at random to whoever visits a site, advertisers can take their money further with PPC marketing. They know their ads will be shown to those who have a higher statistical chance of engaging. What’s more, they can even choose keywords by their affordability in the PPC model.

Take this screenshot from the popular search engine marketing tool, KWFinder. You can see that cost-per-click (CPC) is one of the main metrics keywords can be filtered by.

Source: KWFinder

PPC marketing has also been shown to be very cost-efficient in terms of engagement. PPC conversion rate averages can be higher than conversion rates for other forms of marketing. Just two years ago, over 7 million advertisers invested over $10 billion in PPC ads, earning an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 spent.

On average, over 40% of clicks go to the top three paid ads on search results. When the right option is at the top of the page, many users won’t see the need to keep scrolling.

Even if you know how PPC advertising works and why it is so effective, what exactly makes it so different from other internet advertising options?

How Does PPC Marketing Stand Out?

PPC marketing differentiates itself as a unique hybrid of paid advertising and inbound marketing. As mentioned, advertisers are (in a sense) paying for views. They’re getting their site out there, and they’re doing so by structuring their campaign to make sure the ad is at least seen – though it doesn’t have to be interacted with.

The last part is what makes it inbound marketing. Unlike those annoying popups or dropdown banners which take users out of whatever they’re doing, PPC ads don’t interrupt their day. They’re right there among their search results or on their feed, but users don’t have to interact with them.

Add to this the fact that they’re topical, related to the keywords users have searched, or their use patterns on a given site, and the content is almost always relevant.

PPC marketing stands out as a unique way of getting a jump on interest through paid means, but also ensuring the advertiser isn’t intrusive with their methods.

The main difference between PPC and something like SEO is that PPC marketing can provide quicker results. Sure, the benefit of SEO and other marketing strategies may outrank PPC in the long run. However, for those who want to appear in search results quicker and jump-start their promotional efforts, PPC marketing wins out.

Tips for Starting with PPC Advertising

For those who are just getting started with PPC advertising, it is essential to understand the way to set up a proper campaign. Pay-per-click campaign management is different from other marketing strategies, so even seasoned marketers may need some help getting going.

Choosing Keywords

The terms you use will play a massive role in determining who sees your ads. Do your keyword research based on search volume and competition, as always, but factor in CPC data as well. The KWFinder above can be a useful tool, as can SEMrush.

When you choose targeted keywords, you may want to monitor the results, then adjust your choices slightly throughout the course of your campaign. You’ll find some have better results and lend themselves better to conversion rates.

Key Takeaway: Find the overlap for what people search for and what your business offers, all while considering CPC.

Understand the Bidding System

Almost all paid search systems, whether they be on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other site, use a bidding system. You can choose a manual strategy, or go with the enhanced option which some platforms offer to adjust your bid for you in hopes of better conversion rates.

You can choose the amount you’re willing to spend per day, and the higher you bid on a keyword, the higher it will rank. Remember, if you’re choosing a keyword with lots of competition, the budget can be burned through quickly. You should also understand that some platforms use other factors to determine ad placement besides budget – an example being Google Ads’ quality score.

Key Takeaway: Start with a modest budget and adjust it periodically (weekly is a good choice) once you see the results you’re getting.

Monitoring is a Constant Process

Pay-per-click campaign management is a critical part of the process. When we say management, we aren’t just talking about setting up your ads, putting your budget up, and sitting back. Each week, or even each day, you should be monitoring the campaign and seeing the results.

Search engines are still anomalies in many ways, and the behavior of online users is even more unpredictable in some cases. The only way you’ll get consistent improvement is to monitor your results, both in terms of campaign success and success with each individual keyword, the budget amount, and platform.

Key Takeaway: PPC marketing is a constant process. It’s about small adjustments over long periods to drive results, including conversion rates, up steadily.

Is PPC Marketing the Only Tool You Need?

While PPC marketing is a great way to get some quick traffic and rocket to the top of search results, it can’t do everything you need on its own.

PPC strategies are a great tool, but they really shine when used to highlight other areas of marketing. For example, a well-designed PPC marketing campaign can be used to lead users to an expertly designed web page.

Alternatively, in another instance, a great PPC strategy on social media can be complemented by high-quality graphics and top-notch copywriting.

PPC marketing may not be the only tool you need – in fact, it is better as a supplementary option. However, it is such a valuable tool that there is arguably no reason to be without it. Once you get going with successful campaigns, you’ll quickly see the value in this popular form of marketing.

Final Thoughts: Launching Your PPC Marketing Campaign

Targeted keywords, a good budget, and a popular search platform – with these three components, you can jumpstart your advertising the way you’ve always wanted.

Whether you’re a small company looking to gain traffic or a larger organization looking to promote certain individual products, PPC marketing can be the perfect solution. It’s paid traffic, but it’s inbound marketing. It’s a quick solution, but it’s also effective.