What is PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising?

what is pay per click

Advertising has always been an important way for businesses to promote their goods and services, but for start-ups and small businesses in particular the cost has often been prohibitive. Pay Per Click advertising has been a real game-changer in that respect, especially for those companies for whom every penny counts.

Described as win-win advertising for both businesses and their clients, PPC lets you drive traffic to your website in a targeted way while customers see ads that correlate with their interests or needs. So, what exactly is PPC advertising and how can it help your business grow sales?

How it works

PPC is a model of internet marketing whereby you pay a fee whenever someone clicks on your online ad; how much you have to pay depends on a number of variables (see below). By placing a PPC ad, you can promote your brand, goods or services to a more relevant audience and drive potential customers to your website. Not every visitor will convert into a sale of course, but if in addition to your products you have a clear call to action (CTA), such as an invitation to subscribe to your newsletter, download a free brochure, or request a call-back, you’re further along the road to winning a new customer. If your site is well-crafted and has great content this can boost your exposure and help to push you up the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Reaching the right audience

With a PPC campaign, you can choose where and when your ads are to appear based on factors such as keywords, time and date, website, device, location, and more. This makes it easier to bring your goods and services to the attention of the right audience every time, and in a cost-effective way as you aren’t only relying on organic search results. The two most popular PPC platforms, Google Adwords and Yahoo! Bing Ads, also provide you with the tools you need to organise and manage your PPC campaigns, as well as analyse data and, importantly, see your results.

Main types of online advertising

The four main advert models used for PPC are as follows:

  • Paid search: These are ads that appear on SERPs and are marked as Ads, ‘sponsored results’ or landing pages. As the advertiser, you are charged on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis every time the visitor clicks on a link to navigate to the respective landing page.
  • Display ads: These are ads which appear on third-party websites and, as well as text, may contain flash, video, audio and images. This type of ad is typically designed to convey brand messages and general advertisements to visitors.
  • Shopping ads/campaigns: These are ads that, as well as text, typically use a photograph of the product, price and the name of the retailer. This type of ad tends to give a stronger overall image of what you have to offer.
  • Social ads: Marketing ads or communications will be placed in response to social information provided by popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google. This type of advertising can be part of a social media strategy aimed at connecting with customers on these platforms.

Some important elements of PPC

PPC ads help you to reach a targeted audience who are more likely to be converted into a sale. Your approach can be based on visitors who show a particular interest or focus on content known to be visited by a certain demographic. This can be based on age, gender, income, marital status etc. As already stated, you are also able to track and analyse interactions to measure performance. If your ad is designed to generate leads, for instance, you’ll be able to calculate the cost per acquisition based on how much you spent. You’ll also be able to quickly see what your return on ad spend, or ROI, is for each PPC campaign.

Keywords are an important element of any PPC campaign, if not the most important part. When we make a general internet search for a particular product or service, we tend to use particular words or combinations of words. These are the keywords to choose in your ads if you want to bring the right audience to your page, although it’s important to point out that prize keywords, such as Loans, Insurance and Mortgage, will cost you more and is one of the variables mentioned above. Other factors that determine how much PPC will cost you include specific times you want your ad to appear, the geographical area they appear in, known as geotargeting, and device targeting.

Hopefully, the above gives you a general idea about PPC and how it could work for your business. If you’re new to PPC, then hiring a digital marketing professional to help with your campaign is definitely worth considering.

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