What is Pay Per Click Advertising?

Pay-per-click (PPC) is an online advertising model in which an advertiser pays a publisher every time an advertisement link is “clicked” on. Alternatively, PPC or pay per click online promoting model, is also referred to as CPC (cost-per-click). Advertisers only pay once a visitor clicks on their ad. However, if a visitor sees an advertisement and doesn’t click on the ad, the advertiser then creates an impression or reach – meaning the ad has been seen by an audience.

Examples of PPC are Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Twitter Ads which are the most popular platforms for PPC advertising online. Search engines are the common host platforms as they allow advertisers to display ads relevant to what users are searching for.

Also, advertising services like Google Ads and Microsoft Ads operate with real-time bidding (RTB), where advertising inventory is sold in a private automated auction using real-time data.

PPC Adverting Model Explained and How it Works?

PPC as a marketing channel covers a number of different ad platforms, with the most popular being Google Ads and Bing Ads. Within each of these platforms are different ad formats, including:

  • Search Ads
  • Shopping Ads
  • Display Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Gmail Ads

Most businesses start their online presence with PPC and mostly on Google Ads. The reason is that google controls about 92.47% of search engine market (as of June 2021) and has the largest audience of potential clients and customers, as well as a number of different ways to set up and run campaigns depending on your business goals.

PPC is primarily based on keywords and (keywords) biding – based on who bid higher and other key factors such as quality score, keyword relevance to ad copy and landing page expectation. For example, in search engines, online ads only appear when someone searches a keyword related to the product or service being advertised online. Therefore, advertisers or companies that rely on pay-per-click advertising models research and analyse the keywords most relevant to their products or services. Investing in the best relevant keywords can result in a higher number of clicks and, eventually, higher return on investment (ROI).

The PPC advertising model is considered to be valuable for both advertisers and publishers. For advertisers, the model is advantageous because it provides an opportunity to advertise products or services to a specific audience who is actively searching for related content. In addition, a well-designed PPC advertising campaign allows an advertiser to save a substantial amount of money as the value of each visit (click) from a potential customer exceeds the cost of the click paid to a publisher.

How to get started with your Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaign

Regardless of the platform and ad format, the way that PPC works remains largely the same and it is a pretty straight forward:

  1. Sign up to an advertising account – your preferred platform (Google Ad or Bing Ad)
  2. Do your keyword research using the platforms keyword tools and select the best keywords relevant to your product or service and think customers using to find you
  3. Create your ads making sure your ad copy contains some relevant keywords, unique selling points, offers and a clear call to action.  
  4. Select the locations you want to target and also your preferred audiences
  5. Set the maximum cost you are willing to pay for each click and a daily budget
  6. Your ad goes into an auction with other advertisers who are bidding on the same keywords.
  7. The auction determines the order in which the ads are shown.
  8. You pay when someone clicks your ad

It is fairly straightforward and easy to get to grips with, and while there are differences between different ad formats (and other bidding strategies that can be used, as an example), the main principles remain.

The Best PPC Platforms?

Am guessing now that you have understood PPC well you would be thinking what to advertise. Google accounts for a market share of 87.76%, Bing accounts for 5.56% and Yahoo’s 2.71%.

The popular advertising platforms like Google Ad are effective because they’re easy to use, have high traffic and also contain large audience data set for perfect advertising performance. 

When choosing a platform, some other things to consider are the availability of keyword terms, where your target audience spends their time, and your advertising budget available. 

On average, Google processes over 90,000 search queries every second, giving you plenty of opportunities to target keywords that will get your intended audience to click.

Google Ads, is comprised of two advertising networks:

The Search Network: Advertisers create text ads to appear on the search engine results page (SERP), example below

The Display Network: Advertisers create display ads to appear on a vast number of websites across the internet.

Google Ads Example

Google Ads

Bing Ads – Microsoft Advertising

Bing Ad, which is owned by Microsoft and now called Microsoft Advertising has three search engines — Bing, Yahoo, and AOL — so when you advertise on one platform, your ad is actually seen on all three. This opens up campaigns to searchers across all Bing, Yahoo, and AOL owned and operated sites, as well as various partner sites:

The advantage of using Bing Ads over Google Ads is a slightly lower CPC at the expense of a larger audience, of course. However, I have also seen a higher acquisition rate on Bing ads compared to google ads. But my advice is to use Google Ads most times and Bing ads when you have a bigger budget and can’t spend all on google alone.

Bing Ads (Microsoft Advertising)

Facebook Ads

Facebook advertising is an important way to connect with your audience on the world’s largest social network. It has 2.80 billion monthly active users large and now one of the biggest adverting platforms after google.

Facebook Ads is a popular and effective platform for paid ads (more commonly used as CPM than CPC), mainly due to its specific targeting options. Facebook allows you to target users based on interests, demographics, location, and behaviours.

Also, Facebook allows for native ads, which means ads are introduced and blend into the social feed. Not to mention, you can use Facebook Ads to advertise on Instagram as well.

Types of Facebook ads

  • Image ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Slideshow ads
  • Collection ads
  • Instant Experience ads
  • Lead ads
  • Dynamic ads
  • Messenger ads
  • Stories ads
  • Augmented reality ads
  • Poll ads

Example of Facebook Image Ads

Source: Canva
Source: Canva

Why use Pay Per Click Advertising for Lead Generation for your business?

Here are some of the good reasons why PPC advertising could be the right advertising channel for you:

  1. PPC ads produce fast results. You can start receiving clicks very quickly.

Although organic search ranking is great, it sometimes takes longer or even years to get on the first page on search engine results pages (SERPs). As a small business or one-man business you don’t have that that time waiting for your content to take months to show on top of google and that is where ppc traffic is key to get you visible online.

With an optimised PPC ad campaign, you can shoot yourself to the top of the SERP within hours of going live.  Compared to channels such as SEO, PPC allows you to start seeing returns very quickly; and this is absolutely one of the reasons why it is so popular with marketers.

2. PPC ads are cost-effective and you are in control of your budget

You have complete control over how much you’re willing to spend per day and monthly regarding your PPC campaign. The budget is entirely controlled by you. You only pay when visitors click the link leading to your website or landing page — with a high chance of conversion — you’ll be getting you’re a positive return on investment. 

3. PPC can easily be measured and tracked.

One advantage of PPC over traditional advertising channels is the ability to easily track and measure you return on investment on the platform.  PPC platforms like Google Ads, Bing/Microsoft advertising, Facebook allows you to track your conversion which can be contact form submissions, orders or purchases. They also enable you to see, at a granular level, the ROI of not just of the overall account but specific ad groups and keywords, too.

This means that you are able to use data and insights to effectively refine the efficiency and performance of a campaign over time to increase the ROI of the channel.

4. PPC Ads allow you to Target your Ideal Customers

PPC allows you to target your exact customer based on your data and also allows you to adjust bids based on devices used, the time of day and as well as location. If you know your customers and how they search for your product or service – then you can use these insights to reduce wasted advertising spend.

Another excellent use of PPC ads is to create retargeting campaigns targeting visitors who didn’t purchase after landing on your site.

5. PPC ads can help you rank higher even with a low domain rating

Domain authority is an essential part of ranking higher on search engines and that is why big brands and older brands are constantly found on the first page of google.  As keywords are increasingly competitive it makes it harder for SME or start up to be found on the first page of google with a lower domain authority. By using PPC advertising, you can quickly rank for keywords your audience are searching, irrespective of your domain ratings.

6. Data from PPC ads can improve your SEO strategy

Use data from your PPC campaigns to analyse which terms drive the most conversions. From email sign-ups to purchases, contact us submissions –  you’ll unlock an SEO strategy that can deliver a higher return on your investment.

In conclusion, PPC is a profitable marketing channel for your many businesses. It brings with it a wealth of benefits and it is relatively easy to get started on the most popular platforms. It’s always good practice to learn about how to properly launch your PPC campaigns, optimize, set business goals and measure your performance. Once done properly you are likely to see increased quality traffic and conversions in no time at all.