What is PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising?

PPC is an online advertising model where an advertiser pays a publisher whenever someone clicks on their ad. Also known as CPC (Cost-Per-Click), PPC is an important part of any business’s marketing plan to increase its online visibility. This is because the ads are primarily run on search engines (like Google) and large social media platforms (like Facebook) where consumers are actively seeking out the products or services they provide.

While advertising through PPC is effective, it’s not always easy for businesses to manage on their own. Many businesses learn the hard way that PPC is not just as simple as placing an ad and seeing a hugh influx of new busines coming their way.

The success of a PPC campaign depends on a number of factors from researching keywords, writing ads that searchers will click on, targeting your ads to the right prospects, and ensuring these settings are correct across various campaigns and ad groups. Once you’ve launched your campaign and your ads begin driving traffic, you’ll also need to ensure the landing pages your clickers are arriving on are properly designed and optimized to convert your new visitors into customers.

This entire process is critical because well-developed and well-targeted ad campaigns perform much better than those that are haphazardly put together and deployed. This is why companies turn to partnering with a PPC agency that will create campaigns on their behalf that will produce more high-quality leads at a much lower cost.

Google PPC ads consist of a few main elements which a qualified PPC agency should be well-versed in.

  1. Ad Rank – This is a formula that determines where the ad is placed on the search engine results page. Maximum Bid x Quality Score = Ad Rank.
  2. Maximum Bid – This is the maximum amount you want to pay per click. We will get into more detail in the next section.
  3. Quality Score – This is determined by your ad’s CTR (click-through rate), the relevance of your ad copy, and the relevance of your landing page copy for every keyword you’re bidding on.
  4. CPM (Cost Per Mille) – CPM is the cost per one thousand impressions. This is more common in display ads or even some paid social ads.

Once your PPC agency has mapped out a plan, they will take a look at different campaign types that would most benefit your business. The four most common types are as follows:

  1. Search Networks – This includes platforms such as Google, Bing, AOL, or even Amazon as well, as their Search Partners. Your ads are displayed to consumers while they are searching for similar information or products based on the keywords you are bidding on.
  2. Display Network – This has a significantly wide reach because it involves millions of sites that show ads of all types; these ads include text, image, and videos. Unlike Search Network campaigns, Display Networks generally don’t use keyword targeting. Instead, they focus on displaying your ads on similar content or based on audiences and demographics.
  3. Search Network with Display Opt-In – Think of this option as a combination of the previous two campaign types. It works well because the search engine will automatically determine where ads would be best optimized, so the advertiser doesn’t necessarily have to manage much. However, this might not be the best choice for every business, which is where a PPC agency can help.
  4. Product Listing Ads – PLAs are linked to shopping campaigns, which can also be created in Google Ads. Your PPC agency will create different groups such as brand, category, etc.

How does PPC work?

The PPC model is an effective marketing method for businesses because you can advertise to a specific audience who is interested in your product or service. Publishers like Google and Facebook also monetize off the PPC model, making it a win-win for both parties.

While no two businesses have the exact same budget or goals, what they have in common is the need to grow their customer base. This is where a PPC agency can be helpful; their digital marketing experts can identify which platform is most likely to help you increase conversions. Let’s take Google  as an example.

Google Ads is a popular option for PPC advertising due to the enormous amount of traffic it receives daily. In fact, the number of Google users worldwide is close to four billion!

Google Ads works as an auction where advertisers bid on keywords and then pay every time someone clicks on their ad. Before posting an ad though, you will need to do some keyword research. In fact, your entire campaign revolves around keywords so it’s important to find the appropriate ones to begin with. Your list should involve keywords that are:

Exhaustive – In addition to including frequently searched keywords, don’t forget to include long-tail keywords. These are terms that are specific to your business or industry.

Relevant – Posting an ad for a global audience will drain your marketing budget quite quickly. For instance, if you run a daycare center, you wouldn’t advertise to consumers who don’t have children. A PPC agency will take on the time-consuming task of finding targeted keywords that will result in a high click-through rate.

From there, the user will be directed to a landing page with optimized ad copy; they can then either view more about your product or services, contact you, or even make a purchase. Either way, you’ve now increased your click-through rate, which plays a significant part in your search engine ranking.

Expansive – To make sure the ads continue reaching your desired audience, your PPC agency will work to consistently improve your campaigns.

Once the keywords have been entered into your campaign, it then goes into a pool with other ads. Then, when a user starts a search, Google will pull up the ads that fit and place them on the search results page. While this sounds like a lottery system, the “winners” are actually selected depending on the quality, relevance, and size of their keywords.

The two most common types of Google Ads are “search ads” and “local search ads”, with the second being a subset of the first. Search ads appear above or beside your Google search results whereas Local Search ads focus on showing businesses on Google Maps that are close to you.

Facebook ads work in a similar way to Google Ads. They are available in either image or video form and advertisers can target the ads to a specific demographic, location, etc. Additionally, they give you the option to install Facebook Pixel, which collects data from users who visit your site.

One feature that sets Facebook ads apart from Google Ads is the option to boost posts. This means you can convert a post on your Facebook business page into an ad.

PPC marketing is especially helpful for time-sensitive campaigns that are either meant to address competitors or target new demographics. Each platform provides different benefits for businesses based on their model and budget. A PPC agency has the expertise to identify how to maximize the power of online advertising.

Are PPC ads worth it?

The short answer is yes, PPC ads and working with a PPC agency are definitely a worthwhile investment for multiple reasons.

  1. Creating Brand Awareness – PPC ads give your business instant visibility and not just to any audience, but to your target market. On Google, they are placed at the top of search results so users can see your business right away. The key here is to provide a value proposition in the headline and text of your ad.
  2. Connect With Your Target Audience – There are many benefits that the endless internet space offers businesses. Search engines and social media platforms provides access to demographics, locations, and user interests to guide advertisers on how to target specific users both locally and nationwide.In fact, 75% of online shoppers who find helpful ads are more likely to visit the advertiser’s store.You might be inclined to post an ad and see where it goes, but PPC involves complex targeting and marketing techniques.Retargeting: This allows you to engage with consumers in a more personal way because your ads directly target your website’s existing visitors. Your leads then enter the marketing funnel, and therefore increase the chances of someone making a purchase.Display Campaigns: These campaigns are meant to target visitors on websites that provide similar products or services. These ad will then appear in across many websites that your target audience might be visiting, such as while they’re reading a news article, giving your business extra exposure.
  3. Increasing Conversion Rates – Once a user has visited your website, they will start considering making a purchase. The way to take advantage of this opportunity is to add certain words such as “buy” or “purchase” and link the ad directly to the product page. This helps a potential customer save time on searching your website. If they have to click around for too long, you risk losing them to a competitor.
  4. Driving Profits – Many businesses worry about marketing turning into a money pit, but if done strategically, PPC can offer a higher ROI than other methods. This is primarily because you set a limit on your spend and only pay when someone clicks on your ad; basically, you’re in full control.It’s easy to miscalculate how much to budget for online advertising. Experts at a PPC agency can help you identify relevant search terms for your business so you don’t have to waste any ad spend. They will give you the price of the term and its search volume per term.
  5. Continuous Improvement – It’s recommended that you run a campaign for a couple weeks at a time before making any changes. Search engines and social media platforms both provide advertisers with details like leads, page views, and sign ups that pinpoint which ads have the highest performance. With this information, your PPC agency can offer advice on how to refine your ads for optimal results.

PPC is an efficient method for increasing your reach to your target audience. Because of their flexible pricing models, you can be sure that you will drive profits without exceeding your marketing budget.

Why is PPC important for my business?

As we mentioned earlier, PPC is a form of marketing that provides quick results in a cost-effective way. If you are striving to generate revenue within a specific timeframe, or want to promote a certain marketing initiative (think sales or product launches), PPC is the way to go.

Working with a PPC agency will help get your marketing campaign going for the long term by:

  • Setting up ads through the platforms portal as well as campaigns/ad groups
  • Determine a budget that you are in full control of

Once this is all done, your ads are ready for launching and your business is on the road to driving higher profits. But it’s not over yet. Getting feedback from campaigns is crucial for improvement in terms of targeting keywords and audiences. You can identify exactly which aspects of your campaigns are working well and which need to be eliminated.

Working with a PPC agency to get your ads out there not only contributes to your revenue stream, but they also play a part in achieving your KPIs. You might be wondering how these factor in. Online platforms make it simple for advertisers to measure their KPIs because they can be built into your campaign. For instance, search engines can be set up to generate website traffic and social media platforms can provide messaging services and be used to increase app downloads.

Major platforms like Google and Facebook exist to help businesses grow their customer base, which is why they have so many advanced built-in features. This is also why PPC is one of the most popular forms of advertising globally. The volume of users and their constant interaction on platforms is so great that paid-search advertising is now the top revenue driving option for businesses. They are able to control which demographics are targeted down to the day the ad is shown.

But what about SEO? This is a valid question considering it is also a popular form of online marketing. PPC and SEO actually work well together because the same keywords are targeted for the same audience, all on one platform. Businesses that have high performing PPC ads do improve in their SEO results. For example, businesses that have strong ad copy and keywords rank higher on Google’s Quality Score, which in turn, improves their SEO.

A few other reasons why PPC and SEO go hand in hand are:

  1. Seeing an ad for a brand might entice a user to click on the organic listing.
  2. PPC allows your ad to rank first on the search results, which leads to higher engagement and therefore, better a SEO ranking.

A PPC agency will help you implement the feedback which is built into ad platforms. From there, they can determine if additional steps are needed, like re-examining the keywords or conducting an A/B test. The success of PPC results rely on a business’s ability to analyze the data thoroughly and accurately. By doing so, you can maximize the number of clicks based on your budget and refine your keyword targeting. The possibilities are endless, which is why PPC is a necessity for growing your business.

Who uses PPC advertising?

This is an excellent question and one that you might be asking yourself if you’re a bit hesitant to head down the PPC marketing road. The truth is, all types of businesses rely on PPC to increase their conversion rates and drive higher profits. Industries are broken down into different categories as follows:

Lifetime Value Customers

There are some industries that are built on attracting new leads because they value lifetime customers. For instance:

Medical Industries

Professionals like doctors and dentists make money whenever they see a patient, with each visit potentially costing over a thousand dollars. This industry is also dependent upon referrals, which patients are generally happy to provide if they are satisfied with the service they receive. If medical professionals get a consistent stream of new patients, their PPC investment would have paid off very quickly.

Postsecondary Institutions

Colleges and universities don’t necessarily get a lot of referrals, but their students spend a lot of money on tuition over their years of studying. Because of the student’s long term investment, PPC ads are a good option for these institutions to increase their online visibility.

Utility and Internet Providers

Consumers generally prefer to avoid the hassle of finding a new internet, phone, or cable provider. So if they can stick with one subscription service for multiple years, the PPC investment would be worth it for the provider.

Industries With Higher Margins

Some professionals don’t always get repeat customers, but each one pays a large sum when they use a service. Examples include:

Repair Professionals

Repairing your home or car is very costly and (hopefully) isn’t needed too frequently. Each job is expensive, meaning the PPC ads a professional set up have paid for themselves.

Legal Services

Lawyers generally bill their clients a lot per case. While PPC ads certainly benefit them, certain keywords relating to legal services are expensive. This might sound like a good reason to avoid investing in PPC, but the profit margin is high when you consider how much you would make per case.

Specialized Products

PPC advertising is especially important if your business sells products that are not readily available on the market. These could include rare books or collectible items. Because these items are expensive, the amount you would pay for PPC ads is instantly worth it.

Seasonal Products

Similar to the examples of rare items mentioned above, there are certain holidays when businesses thrive the most. A good example are wedding venues because they mark up their prices significantly during peak season. This particular industry is quite competitive but people are willing to pay more to secure the venue. That is where businesses in seasonal industries tend to drive higher profits by using PPC advertising.

Businesses That Sell Everything

Companies like Amazon and eBay that sell a large variety of products benefit significantly from PPC. These retailers typically bid on long-tail or dynamic keywords which cost less per click. Therefore, they are able to increase their profits quickly through the use of PPC ads.

Keep in mind that these are just examples to demonstrate how effective PPC is in the online marketing landscape. If your business doesn’t fit into the above categories, you can still benefit from PPC ads.

How much will PPC cost me?

There is no set answer to this question because of the flexibility PPC offers. When using Google Ads for instance, a CPC can range greatly from several cents to several hundreds of dollars per click, depding on your target keyword. If you’re working with a PPC agency, there are a several payment models for businesses to fit their budget.

  1. Bid-Based

    This involves each advertiser making a bid with the maximum amount they are willing to pay for an ad. These bids are then put into an auction, which are run by the publisher using automated tools.

    A “winner” is then determined, but not based solely on the total amount they bid. They are given the ad spot based on rank, which is a combination of the total amount of money offered for the ad and its content quality.

    One of the cons of this pricing model is it requires constant monitoring, which can be difficult if you’re working with a small team. A PPC agency is dedicated to monitoring your PPC campaign and making necessary modifications.

  2. Flat-Rate

    This pricing model means that clients pay the same fee regardless of the number of hours spent on the campaign, or even its performance. Think of it like a retainer; a PPC agency will work a certain number of hours per week or per month as agreed upon.

    The flat-rate model is typically ideal for long-term clients because their goals have been clearly defined and both parties understand their responsibilities.

    Keep in mind that clients sometimes need to sign a long-term contract so their  campaigns can continuously improve overtime. This is an excellent option for a more established company that isn’t seasonal.

  3. Performance-Based

    With this pricing model, the PPC agency advertises on your behalf and only charges you per lead or conversion, making it an ideal option for clients because they pay for results. The contract for performance-based pricing is less complicated and doesn’t require the client to make an investment.

    Performance-based pricing is beneficial for businesses of all sizes and in a variety of industries.

  4. Percentage-Based

    This is where a PPC agency will charge you based on your ad spend. The percentage the agency usually takes is around 10-20%, but can vary depending on the scope of the campaign.

    It’s important to note that percentage-based pricing requires a minimum spend, so it might not be the ideal option for companies with smaller budgets.

  5. Hourly Rates

    Charging hourly is probably the simplest pricing model for both the PPC agency and the client. It ensures that you stay on track with your budget and provides flexibility in terms of the number of hours that are spent on your campaign.

    However, hourly rate pricing might not be ideal for businesses looking for multiple services like graphic design and landing page generation. In this case, your PPC agency will be able to recommend a different solution.

The above are the five most common pricing models for PPC. Agencies understand that each company has different needs and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

To determine which pricing model is suitable for your business, your PPC agency will discuss your priorities and goals first. Are you looking for leads or convert a specific audience? Have you considered doing more brand awareness?

PPC specialists work with national and international organizations, giving them a wide scope of experience to create a successful PPC ad campaign.

Why Should I Bring in Experts?

As a business owner, you might be wondering if the cost of working with a PPC agency is worth fitting into your budget. After all, the internet has an endless supply of articles on how to successfully market your business online.

There is some truth to this; however, PPC marketing doesn’t end the moment you put up an ad. For the best possible results, consistent monitoring and refining your ads is a necessity. This can be extremely time consuming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with how to analyze data. Both Google and Facebook ads are complex marketing techniques, and if every step isn’t done correctly, you risk wasting a lot of time and money. Here are a few more reasons why you should bring in PPC experts:

  1. Keep Up With the Latest Trends

    The digital marketing world seems to change a little bit everyday. Rebrands, new features, and updated advertising policies are constantly being introduced to advertisers. If businesses don’t stay up-to-date with these changes, they can easily fall behind their competition.

    It’s the job of any PPC agency or expert to stay current with all new trends and technology. Working with them will definitely save you time on research and can offer you professional advice to make your business grow.

  2. Benefit From Detailed Reporting

    Measuring results against your goals is one of the main tasks for any PPC expert. Pulling reports from different sources is time-consuming and confusing. Also, misinterpreting the metrics can easily result in an unsuccessful campaign. Of course, as a business owner you would want to avoid this situation.

    This is where working with a PPC agency can be useful. They have access to marketing tools that  measure the impressions and clicks, as well as conduct conversion tracking. All this information is extremely valuable as it gives you an accurate account of where your consumer engagement stands and how to increase it.

  3. Professional Insight

    Once a PPC expert has measured the metrics mentioned above, they will discuss with you exactly how the data applies to your business. Whether it’s removing keywords or re-allocating a portion of your budget, a digital marketing professional can help you keep your business’s goals on track.

  4. Access to Various Services

    A PPC agency doesn’t just focus on online advertising, they are equipped to help you with other aspects of your business as well. If you need website design or content creation that your in-house team is unable to take on, an agency can refer you to highly trained professionals who specialize in whichever service you need at that time.

PPC is one of the most popular and effective marketing tools in modern digital marketing. In addition to brand awareness, PPC marketing successfully drives and converts leads, resulting in a high ROI. To maximize your business’s potential, bring on a reputable PPC agency. You can save resources and achieve optimal results, all within your marketing budget.