Pay-Per-Click Advertising 101: The What, Why, and How


There’s no way around it – if you want clout in search, you have to earn it. And by now, you probably know PPC is one of the most powerful digital marketing strategies to help you do so. But maybe you don’t have the time or energy to get into all the nitty-gritty of the complex PPC world.

How about a quick crash course that untangles the confusing web of paid ad terminology and covers all you need to know about PPC in layman’s terms? Cut the learning curve – learn the ropes and get familiar with the basics of PPC in our handy beginner’s guide to Pay-per-click Advertising.

What Is Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Exactly?

Pay-per-click advertising, or simply PPC for short, is a form of paid online advertising where the fee is paid only after users click on an ad. Also known as the cost-per-click (CPC) model, PPC advertising is one of the most powerful and cost-effective online marketing models today, based on “buying” qualified traffic and visits to your website in addition to organic traffic.

However, pay-per-click advertising is a complex and delicate concept that requires undivided attention and constant monitoring coupled with expertise to be successful and get more click-throughs. If dealing with PPC campaigns seems daunting or way above your skillset or pay grade, you can always leverage Play Media PPC service to have the masters of paid ads do all the heavy lifting for you and ensure you pay for nothing but valuable, genuine clicks.

What are the Different Types of PPC Ads?

There is a wide range of Pay-per-click online advertising options, each with its unique set of benefits. However, the most common types of PPC ads are:

  • Paid Search Ads;
  •    Display Ads;
  • Social Media Ads/Paid Social Ads;
  • Shopping Ads;
  • Video Ads;
  • Retargeting/Remarketing PPC Ads;
  • Gmail Sponsored Ads;
  • Affiliate Marketing Ads;
  • Product Listing Ads.

How Does Pay-Per-Click Advertising Work?

The PPC model works through “Google Ad Auction” – a lightning-fast bidding system that takes place every time someone searches on Google or visits a site that shows ads. Google uses it to determine the relevance (Ad rank) of advertisements appearing on the result pages. Advertisers use it to bid on popular and relevant keywords they want to “trigger” or display their ads in the SERPs.

For the Ad Auction, Google offers three PPC bidding strategies:

  • Cost per click (CPC);
  • Cost per impression (CPM);
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA).

There are five key factors that Google takes into consideration in the ad auction to determine when and if an ad will appear to potential customers and in what order:

  • Bid Amount: The maximum amount you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad that you can change at any time.
  • Quality Score: The summarized level of relevancy and usefulness of your ad and the website it links to for users.
  • Ad Rank: A set of quality thresholds that determine where your ad will appear or if it will appear at all based on the bid amount, quality score, and other ad assets and formats such as extensions.
  • Ad Context: Contextual user signals and attributes Google uses to calculate Ad Rank.

How Much Does PPC Cost?

The true beauty of PPC advertising is that it allows you to pay for existing clicks instead of hoping your online marketing tactic steals some click-throughs. However, the average cost of PPC marketing depends on several factors.

For publishers, the PPC pricing depends on variables such as the industry, website quality, preferred ad network, click-through rate (CTR), and relevance to the offered promotional materials. For advertisers, PPC rates vary depending on the type of advertisement, ad position on the website, niche/industry competitiveness, and the amount of booked advertising.

Why Is PPC Advertising Important?

The digital landscape is continuously evolving and shows no signs of slowing down. From start-ups and established brands all the way to eCommerce businesses and entrepreneurs, the web is crawling with people looking to maximize their conversions and fighting for consumer attention.

If you’re not leveraging all that pay-per-click advertising offers to boost your online marketing campaigns, you’re FOMO just got real. A good PPC campaign can save you a lot of money, boost your site’s traffic, attract qualified leads, generate more revenue, and significantly increase your sales or improve other business goals like building brand awareness.

Pay-per-click advertising can be a tough cookie to crack. But, when you leverage all of the fantastic features it offers, it becomes a powerful yet cost-effective traffic-driving, audience engagement, and conversion tool that will help you gain an edge over your competitors and eventually land on top of the SERPs and your industry.

What Are the Advantages of Using PPC?

Key benefits of PPC are numerous but generally lie in the opportunity to get your products/services in front of a broad yet highly-targeted audience – fast. It allows you to reach only prospects you want to approach and get direct traffic within hours of launching a PPC campaign.

One of the most compelling advantages of PPC is that it allows you to pay only after a user clicks on your ad, so you have complete control over your budget and avoid wasting it on irrelevant audiences with lower chances of converting. It gets you ad space on search engines, the most popular social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, etc., e-Commerce websites like Amazon, and even Gmail – all the places your audience lives online.

Plus, it works well with SEO and leaves you with a wealth of insights and valuable data that’s easy to measure and track.

As a result, you can:

  • gain more visibility and exposure;
  • build brand awareness among a targeted audience;
  • rank higher in SERPs for relevant keywords and searches;
  • drive more qualified, highly-targeted traffic to your website;
  • increase your conversions and, ultimately, your ROI;
  • get valuable, actionable insights to guide your future data-driven efforts.

How to Get Started with PPC Advertising? Developing an Effective PPC Campaign Strategy

If you want to start reaping all the lucrative benefits of PPC campaigns, you’ll need a solid PPC strategy to get started.

1.   Establish Your Main Goals

First, you need to know what you’re trying to accomplish with your PPC campaign. Consider the current needs of your brand and the state of your site, then think about how PPC will contribute to this goal. Do you need more traffic? Want to raise brand awareness? Who are you trying to reach?

Choose your target audience based on their behaviors, interests, and what they’re actively researching to ensure you use the right marketing message to match your goal and their point in the sales funnel. Having a clear objective regarding who you are trying to reach and why will help you stay on the right track with your PPC campaign.

2.   Choose Your Keywords Wisely

Do some keyword research to come up with the most relevant ones to attract your targeted audience at a reasonable CPC. Think about user intent. What would you search for if you were a customer looking for your brand, products, or services? Narrow them down to four to eight most relevant keywords.

Note that a successful PPC ad campaign depends as much on avoiding bad clicks as on generating good ones. So, negative keywords are also a big part of keyword selection, as they will filter out keywords you want to exclude to eliminate wasteful spending.

3.   Create Killer Copy

The goal of your PPC ads is to get people to click through to your page, so you’ll need to give them a reason to do so and a reason not to bounce as soon as they land on your page. You need to come up with attention-grabbing headlines and well-written, compelling ad copy with a clear call-to-action that will attract users to click through and have them end up on a landing page that matches the expectations and promises your ad copy sets.

4.   Set Up and Launch Your Campaign

Once you have your keywords and copy ready to go, all that’s left to do is set up your Google Ads account, then start a new campaign. You’ll have to set the goal of your campaign, the keywords you want to target and trigger your ads to be displayed, the ad copies you want to use, and decide on a daily budget (daily spend) for your campaign.

Once your PPC campaign is set up, you can start the bidding process!

Skyrocket Your Brand’s Success with Pay-Per-Click Advertising

When done right, PPC marketing can yield massive riches, boost your revenue, and drastically improve your bottom line.

Pay-per-click advertising is the ultimate success-driving engine you should start revving as soon as possible – tackle it head-on or hire help and let the experts handle your PPC.

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