PPC stands for pay per click, but can also be known as paid search marketing, sponsored advertising and search engine marketing. It is essentially a marketing tactic whereby you can attract consistent traffic to your website by appearing at the top of search results for keywords of your choosing.
After selecting the keywords that are most relevant to your product or service, through PPC you bid against your competitors to appear highest in the search results, and are then charged each time your advert is clicked; hence pay per click.
Google Adwords, which enables your ads to appear in the Google search results, the world’s most used search engine, is the most popular platform to advertise on, however other search engines such as Bing also offer pay per click advertising opportunities. You can also pay to advertise on many of the leading social media platforms too, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
When it comes to the most popular platform, Google Adwords, there are a number of different paid campaigns you can opt for:
- Search network- your advert will appear in the Google search results for your chosen keywords
- Display network- your advert will be displayed to your target audience whilst they are browsing their favourite websites, accessing emails or watching a video on Youtube
- Shopping- if you sell products, advertise these at the top of the search results with price information and reviews
- Video: show your adverts before, during or after videos on Youtube
What does a PPC search network advert look like?
Google search results are made up of a combination of different results, including paid results, organic search results and, in some instances, Google shopping results too.
The first few results are the paid results, which you can see by the green square around the word ‘Ad’. After the paid results come the organic search results or the non-paid-for results. These are most likely to have reached these positions through the implementation of an SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy, which will have taken a considerable investment in time and ongoing work.
The advantage of paid search is that you can instantly reach the top of the Google search results for the keywords associated with your business.
How PPC works
Using Google’s keyword planner, you can get estimates of the cost per click of your chosen keywords, the likely competition for the phrase (the more competition, the higher the cost per click as you’ll need to bid higher to reach the top of the paid search results) and the suggested cost per click to give you a guide on where to place your bids.
You’ll also be given information on the average position of a keyword depending on the amount you plan on bidding, the possible click through rate and the number of impressions you’re likely to achieve each day.
All of this information can be used to identify whether a specific keyword or search term is financially viable. You can start to get a feel for this by considering the cost of your product or service against the potential advertising costs, to see how much profit you could potentially make and the number of sales via advertising you need to cover costs.
Once you have selected your keywords, devised your ads and set your budget, your ads will go live and you will start to be charged as and when a searcher clicks on one of your adverts in their search results.
You can keep a track of all of this through your Adwords account, making changes and amendments to your campaigns, ads and keywords at any point.
The benefits of PPC
There are a number of benefits to your marketing efforts that can arise from implementing a PPC campaign:
Instantly top of search results
Getting to the top the organic search results can take months, and is never actually guaranteed for the keywords you want to rank for. It also requires a significant amount of work in the background, which is where PPC very much differs.
Through PPC advertising, your adverts will instantly appear at the top of Google’s search results (assuming you are bidding competitively enough), and in doing so will also be above the fold so will catch the eye of all those searcher’s potentially on the look-out for your product or service.
With a well written and engaging advert, you can also stand out further from the other companies paying to advertise for the same search terms as you, further increasing your chances of gaining those all-important clicks, and hopefully conversions on your website.
Target your audience
Through the parameters you set when devising your paid search campaign, you are specifically targeting the people you want to see your advert and buy from you.
Google is incredibly advanced and uses the very latest technology to only supply relevant search results in line with what someone is searching for, so the chances are high that if they are seeing your ad, they are interested in the product or service you have to offer.
Through PPC, you can also target your audience based upon their location too. This is known as geo-targeting and enables you to only show your search results in the areas you serve. For instance, if you are a car mechanic that works across Leicester, you can set your ads to only show themselves to searchers who are in Leicester. This means you can save money on people clicking your advert who may live in locations you don’t serve.
If you want to get more business for specific days of the week or times of the day, you can also schedule your ads to only appear within the designated time frames you set. For instance, if you are a restaurant looking to get more bookings on weekdays, you could run a paid advert with a ‘money off’ discount included Monday to Friday to try and get more people through the door during the week, and then turn the ad off at the weekends when you already get enough custom.
Full control on budget
When running a PPC campaign, you have complete control on how much you spend and where you spend it. If the budget that you set at the start of your campaign runs out, you won’t spend anymore, so there’s no risk of you overspending. If you want to spend more across the campaign or increase the amount you are spending on a particular keyword, you can do so at any point, and the action will be immediately implemented.
Furthermore, with it being pay per click, you are only charged when someone clicks on your advert, which means they are interested in what you have to offer so increase the chances of making a conversion.
With further great features, such as the ability to A/B test different versions of the same advert to see which one customers engage with the most, and detailed tracking to identify where your money was spent, the amount of money this generated in sales for your business and the best performing ads and keywords, PPC has the potential to be revolutionary in how you market your business.
There are over 3.5 billion searches every day on Google, and with pay per click advertising, you can get your company to the very top of the search results for the keywords associated with your products or services and in the areas you serve.
With the right keyword research, a well-considered budget and engaging adverts, there is the potential for you to see some very encouraging, and possibly instantaneous, returns on your investment.