What is Pay Per Click Advertising?

What is Pay Per Click Advertising?

Pay Per Click Advertising, also referred to as PPC, is an Internet advertising model used to attract visitors and drive traffic to websites. The name describes the way that advertisers pay for this kind of advertising. Whenever a user clicks-thru on an advertisement and is redirected to the link’s landing page, the advertiser pays the publisher (most often the website’s owner) for that click, or engagement. Pay Per Click Advertising finds its home through a variety of media channels, on search result pages on engines like Google and Yahoo!, embedded into blogs, on social media platforms like Facebook and even videos on applications like YouTube, Hulu and Spotify.

So now that you know what Pay Per Click Advertising is…

How Does Pay Per Click Advertising Work?

You’ve decided that you’re ready to pony up some dough to drive visitors to your website. Now it’s time to take the steps to ensure you’re getting proper return on investment (ROI). Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as putting a link or a picture of a product online and hoping some unsuspecting user will give it a click. People have wised up to advertising, but there are still plenty of ways to deliver targeted ads that are relevant and appealing to the potential customers who you want to reach.


Here are 4 questions to ask yourself before starting your PPC advertising campaign:

What Should Your PPC Budget Be?

With any PPC campaign, you’ll pay the platform owner (Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.) however much you wish in order to have them deliver your ads in organic search results. These ads are triggered when a user’s online search query includes your selected keyword. Whenever a user clicks on your ad, you pay the current Cost-Per-Click (CPC) from your existing budget. When your budget has been depleted, your ads will no longer be served. So start off by deciding how much you’re willing to spend on a daily basis on this kind of advertising knowing that CPC will fluctuate, and that your minimum and maximum bids will effect your Ad Rank. Ad Rank refers to how often and where your ads are served on the Search Network and beyond. The higher your Ad Rank, the more desirable your position on the page and the more often your ad will be served as a result of a relevant search query.

How Should You Choose PPC Campaign Goals?

First, decide who you want to target with your campaign. You’ll have the option to choose keywords as well as demographic and geographic parameters to ensure that ads will only be served to the people you want to see them. Make sure that your ads are interesting, and that the associated keywords are relevant to the linked landing page to ensure a positive user experience.

Next, consider the desired outcome of any click. Do you want the user to purchase a product, sign up for more information or watch a video? Make sure to indicate this call-to-action in your ad text, and direct users to a landing page that will easily allow them to fulfill your goal. Finally, make sure you have a way to measure the success or shortcomings of a campaign by installing remarketing and conversion tracking codes.

How Can You Create and Organize A User-Friendly PPC Campaign Structure?

Keeping your campaigns simple and relevant will eliminate a lot of the heartache associated with PPC advertising. Make sure your campaign is relevant, meaning that the keywords that trigger your ads are closely associated to your landing page, and ultimately, your end goal. Small groups of keywords and precise targeting techniques will ensure you get the most ROI. When organizing your campaign, remember it should be easy to monitor on a daily basis.

What PPC Settings Should You Be Aware Of?

Be aware of where your ad is being served by monitoring your campaign settings. When using the largest PPC platform, Google AdWords, the default is for ads to be served to the entire audience, which includes partner sites like AOL.com. As a beginner, it is often beneficial to take a close look at geographic target settings, especially if you are a local merchant or only ship to specific zip codes. Also be aware of language settings to ensure that you are reaching potential customers who can understand your ad and landing page.

Taking these steps will get you on the right track for launching your very first PPC campaign. But now…

What PPC Platform Should I Use? 

There are several platforms nowadays, but Google, Microsoft and Facebook own the three that are likely to provide the best ROI.

PPC Platforms

Google AdWords – This has become the default for many PPC advertisers because of they have the widest reach. The main benefit of using this service is related to the volume of traffic that Google is able to provide. Every day thousands of potential customers will be served your ad, meaning that you’re more likely to be seen and noticed. Additionally, if you outbid your competitors, your ad goes straight to the top. Don’t underestimate the power of ad position. A strong position will solidify your ability to secure clicks and gain recognition.

Bing Network – Keywords are much more affordable on Bing than they may be on Google Adwords, which provides a great opportunity for testing ad copy and keywords. Unfortunately, the search volume is low and the opportunity to meet other potential contacts is less than it may be when interacting on other platforms.

Facebook – The largest social network in the world offers the ability to target people based on demographic and geographic interests. Unfortunately the click-thru rate is lower than a paid ad triggered by a search query on engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. However, the granular demographic and geographic targeting available to advertisers makes Facebook Ads a desirable platform. Advertisers praise the enhanced audience targeting, the A/B testing capabilities, the ability to improve video reach and views, the reach on your mobile device and the Facebook insights, which provide valuable details regarding how to understand Facebook-related metrics.

Of course, there are a number of other platforms available today, depending on your preferences. So what are you waiting for? Now that you know the first steps for organizing a PPC campaign, it’s time to test the waters and see just how effective your approach can be.

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Zach Etten

Zach is a seasoned leader with nearly 10 years of digital marketing experience. His analytical and goal focused approach has helped businesses achieve lofty growth initiatives through search, social, and content marketing. Outside of work, you can usually find Zach cheering on any of the Boston sports teams.