What is PPC & How Does it Work?

PPC stands for pay-per-click, and it’s a paid way of marketing on search engines. As it states in the name, you literally pay-per-click. Essentially, PPC is a quick way to generate conversions by showing your ads to users that are searching for what you offer. A conversion may be a sale, enquiry, sign-up etc.

It can be a great marketing method if your average CPC (cost-per-click) is low within your industry, enabling you to still have a good return on investment (ROI). PPC can be extremely competitive in some industries and requires regular maintenance in order to maintain regular conversions and good overall PPC account health.

PPC often changes too – from Google Ads rules to industries becoming more competitive over periods as short as a couple of days – so you have to constantly adapt your PPC strategy and keep close eyes on your account performance.


How Does It Work?

Once an advertiser has set up their ads in a search engine advertising platform (such as Google Ads or Bing Ads) and has added relevant keywords that they wish their ads to show for, they then set keyword bids for how high up in the ad section of the search results they want their ad to show. It’s worth knowing that the cost-per-click for each keyword you bid on will vary.

For example, say that in the roofing industry the bid for the number one position on the front page of the search results for the exact match keyword ‘roofing services’ is £3.40, but say you’re bidding at £3.00, you won’t get that top spot. Not to worry though, you’ll be able to see roughly what position your ads are showing in based on your keyword bid using the ‘Search Abs. Top IS’ metric (percentage of your search ad impressions that are shown in the most prominent search position) and the ‘Search Top Impression Share (IS)’ metric (the impressions you’ve received in the top location on the search result page divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location). It’s also worth noting that the ‘Search Top Impression Share (IS)’ metric refers to the top location as being anywhere ads appear above the organic search results. 


Google Ads metrics


However, as previously mentioned, PPC can be very competitive. If you’re bidding high enough for that first-place position but your competitor is also bidding for that top spot, what happens then? Well, the advertising platform you’re using will then look at other varying factors to determine which ad is best suited for the position.

The most common things that factor into your ad’s position are:

  • The quality of your ads (Quality Score)
  • The expected impact from your ad extensions and other ad formats
  • Landing page experience
  • Seasonality


What is Google Ads?

Google Ads (previously ‘Google Adwords’) is Google’s very own advertising service which allows you to market in the Google search engine and its affiliate sites. Google Ads lets you do this via the use of placed text ads that appear when people search for terms that relate to your ad’s offering. For advertisers to get their ads shown in front of potential customers, and for Google to make money from its search engine, advertisers bid on certain keywords they wish to show for.

Google’s Display Network (GDN) is also a way for advertisers to show their display/visual adverts. The GDN is a large network of sites that allows Google to display advertisements on. Generally speaking, Display Network clicks are less expensive than those on the search network.


How Can PPC Benefit You?

Pay-Per-Click – As the name of this marketing method states, the great thing about PPC is that you pay for clicks, which is a lot more valuable than paying for impressions (providing you’re bidding on the correct keywords). With a click, you’re not necessarily guaranteed a conversion off the back of each ad click, but it still creates brand awareness and new website users.

Budget Control – With PPC, you have constant control of your account spending. You determine both your daily and monthly budgets depending on your marketing strategy.

Faster Results with PPC than SEO – Desperate for results? Start with PPC. Pay-per-click marketing can provide a substantial amount of traffic for a predictable amount of money in less time.

Targeting – The great thing about pay-per-click is the in-depth targeting you can set up. It’s not quite as detailed as Facebook ad targeting, but it still does the job to a high standard. For example, within Google Ads you can target specific devices, locations, keywords and ad schedules. This allows you to get in-front of potential customers at exactly the right time.

Better ROI – Because you only pay-per-click, this makes it easier to manage your costs and calculate your estimated ROI. Also, if you’re tracking conversions, PPC makes it easy to track your average cost per conversion and which events on your website convert the best.


Starting Your Very Own PPC Account

Hopefully, this article has given you a good basic overview of PPC marketing.If you wish to get started with your very own PPC account or have any questions, please get in touch below.


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