Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is a very common method of digital marketing. The goal of this method is to drive traffic – and with that conversions – from search engine queries. This type of marketing involves advertising, but only paying for that advertising when someone clicks on the ad itself. While this is a basic definition, many companies working to build leads coming into their website typically seek out this form of marketing because it is effective.
How does PPC work?
Businesses or advertisers place ads on platforms they hope people will click on as an online advertising method. These platforms, like Google Ads, position those ads in places where the desired target customer is likely to land. The advertiser only pays a fee for that ad placement when someone clicks on the ad itself, not just for showing the ad.
The best way to see how PPC works is to do a simple Google search. Simply Google some set of keywords. You will see a list of ads show up on the page when you do. These are PPC ads. The ads relate specifically back to the search keyword. As a result, they are highly targeted – they display to people looking for that specific product or service. As a result, those who click on these ads are more likely to buy or sign up.
It is possible to use PPC to increase sales, build traffic to websites or blogs, and get inquiries from those that target audience.
Why does PPC work so well?
At the heart of the process is the targeting that ad platforms that offer PPC provide. A company’s target audience is the most likely buyer. When placed in front of a product, it is the person who is most likely to purchase it.
Defining your target audience is a big part of success with PPC. The more specific you can be about who your buyers are, the better PPC works for you. Most PPC platforms provide outstanding tools and depth that can help put ads in front of those most likely to buy your product. PPC campaigns can also help you identify your customer demographic by conducting testing.
Targeting allows you to define people by many factors, including things like where they live or what they are looking to buy. Keep in mind that a lot of money goes into paid advertising like this each year. That means there are many tools and highly advanced programs available to help you to understand your target audience, even if you are completely unsure of who that is right now.
Understanding the dynamics of PPC advertising
PPC can be applied to numerous ad platforms and channels. The most common of the PPC platforms is Google Ads, with Bing Ads behind that.
However, within each of these platforms, there are numerous PPC ad formats that you can apply to your business marketing as well. That includes search ads, shopping ads, and display ads. Other options include video ads, which have grown in popularity as well as Gmail ads. Each of these formats offers an opportunity to reach more people with your ads.
The first step is to create an account with the ad platform of your choice to use PPC ads. Many people select Google Ads, even if that is just where they are getting started. It’s the largest and most robust of the options available. Once an account is created, ads are formed. This is done by using specific keywords related to the target audience. It is possible to create various ads to address numerous goals.
The next step in the process is to set the maximum cost you will pay for each click received. It is important to understand there is competition for these ad spots. Depending on the specific details you select, including cost, will determine if your ad is placed and how often.
Once you have this figured out, your ad is then placed into an auction with other companies and advertisers who are looking for the same audience you are. In effect, you are bidding on the specific keywords you want to use to attract your target audience. The results of the auction determine which ad is displayed to those searching for the product or service you reference in your keywords.
When – and only when – someone sees your ad and clicks on it, you pay a fee for that ad display. The goal is that this person is already highly targeted and interested in what you have to offer, so there is a high likelihood that they will visit your website, browse around, buy something, or take whatever other action you hope they take.
Why should you use PPC as a Digital Marketing tool?
No matter the industry or type of business you are in, if you hope to use the internet as a way to build your customer base, PPC should be a consideration. A few core benefits come from using this method over others.
One of the core benefits of using PPC is that it can be quickly put in place and generate clicks right away, depending on your keywords and audience. After setting up your ad account and creating an ad, the platform needs to approve the ad. That often takes just a few hours. Then, the ad goes live, and the auction begins. If your big is high enough, you can see your ads showing up rather quickly, getting in front of your target audience sooner than virtually any other method of marketing.
One of the tools that PPC platforms offer is data. They provide you with a wide range of data that you can use to help you easily measure and track how well your ads are working. Are you attracting the right people of people? Does one type of ad work better than another? Because it is so measurable with so much data available to you, you can make changes rapidly and, in most cases, correct any problems that may not be producing the results you want fast. You can also go in and quickly make changes and update your ad campaigns, so they are always reflective of your current objectives.
You maintain control
For those who want to use their advertising budget wisely, PPC can be an excellent tool. That is because you remain in control over the whole process. For example, you may want to maximize your clicks by allowing ads to run only during specific times. That may help you to get fresh leads. You can turn your ads on and off at any time.
At the same time, you also control the costs. You can control how much you wish to spend each day or over a set number of days. You can also control the highest amount you are willing to pay per click. It is not possible to have this type of flexibility with other types of marketing methods.
Choose the format right for your needs
PPC ads are flexible in many ways. You can choose various formats and multiple styles to fit your needs. For example, consider shopping ads. You can use these ads to help you to turn over people who placed items into a shopping cart and left them there into paying customers. This means you can choose from ads that display in various formats, including video, to help you reach your audience very specifically.
You can define your customers
PPC allows you to tell it when it should display these ads. That means you can create very targeted ads for very specific people. On the other hand, you can pull off just how precise your targeting is if you want to reach a different demographic. PPC platforms provide you with a wealth of tools to help you create very specific outcomes, and that can be powerful.
Does PPC take the place of SEO?
One of the concerns many people have is whether they should continue to put time and money into SEO or just focus on what PPC has to offer. Generally, most websites need and benefit from both methods because they are so different.
SEO is an organic search. It helps to bring people in the most natural way possible, and it is a one time investment that pays off over the years. PPC is simply paying for one person to visit your website (per click).
If a person gets to your website and cannot navigate it, that is going to limit your results, too. That’s why having a highly converting website, good content, high levels of SEO, and a visually impressive site plays a role in how effective your PPC efforts are.
In many ways, PPC is a must-have when it comes to advertising today online. The more you understand how it works, the better off you’ll be creating a steady stream of traffic to your website.
Ready to learn more about PPC? Digital Academy has courses that will teach you all about pay-per-click advertising, and how it can interact with all of your digital marketing efforts. Check out our courses today.