What is Pay Per Click? Here Are the Basics of PPC Marketing

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    The first-ranked webpage in a Google search gets 30 percent of traffic. From there, it’s a sharp drop-off.

    This is why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important. Yet, SEO alone isn’t doing the trick. You need to add pay per click to your marketing mix.

    What is pay per click? More importantly, does it work and can it help your business?

    We’ll walk through the basics of PPC and show just how it can help your business achieve marketing goals.

    What is Pay Per Click?

    Pay Per Click (PPC) is a form of advertising where you pay for the placement of your ad each time a user clicks on it. The greatest benefit of paid ads is that their placement is above the organic search results.

    Pay Per Click ads can be run on multiple platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and LinkedIn Ads, among others.

    Someone searching Google and clicking on a result is called organic search. This is where your SEO efforts pay off.

    Organic search isn’t enough, especially if you’re competing for certain keywords. Even with the best SEO, you may not crack the top 10.

    That’s why PPC is essential for your business. With a pay per click program, you create content to reach a relevant audience through the partner’s site. Each time a targeted audience member takes the desired action, you pay for the placement of the ad.

    Why Use PPC?

    Some marketers think they don’t need pay per click marketing. They rely on organic social media posts or organic search because they’re free.

    Pay per click may cost, but it also has some amazing benefits. With it, you can generate new leads and increase sales. PPC also allows you to reach people you may not otherwise reach. Finally, Google reports PPC increases brand awareness by as much as 80 percent.

    Modern advertising trends are always changing, so your business needs an ad agency that’s always thinking ahead to keep your brand up-to-date and ahead of the curve.

    Choosing a Pay per Click Platform

    It’s easy to see why pay per click is an essential part of your marketing toolkit. Now you need to add it to your marketing plan.

    The first thing you’ll need to do when you want to incorporate PPC is choosing a platform. There are several.

    One of the biggest platforms is Google Ads. Ads run on Google, Google’s Search Partner sites like, and on Google Display Network sites.

    The other major platform is Facebook Ads. Twitter, LinkedIn, and almost every other social media site has an advertising platform.

    The platform you choose depends on what you want to achieve. Facebook’s strength is audience targeting, while Google displays ads based on searches. Google reaches people looking for what you offer, while Facebook introduces your brand to people who aren’t looking.

    Creating Your First PPC Campaign

    Once you’ve decided on your platform and your campaign goals, you’ll create your pay per click program. The first task will be choosing keywords.

    All About Keywords

    Most campaigns will center around your PPC keywords. Your list of keywords should be exhaustive and expansive. All keywords should be relevant.

    You’ll likely begin with your main subject, such as air conditioners. Then divide the topic into keywords like “window air conditioners” and “air conditioning repair.”

    Once you’ve grouped the services and products you want to advertise, you can choose keywords. For “air conditioning repair,” you might include “a/c repair” and “best a/c repair service.” You might also include phrases like “repair services for air conditioners.”

    You should also include negative keywords since they help filter the audience. Someone looking for do-it-yourself repair tips isn’t going to book an appointment.

    Targeting an Audience

    Once you have your keywords in place, you’ll choose audiences for your ads. Adding negative keywords is the first step. These terms can help filter people who are outside your ideal audience.

    For an air conditioner repair service ad, we could decide to target male homeowners between the ages of 35 and 60. Younger people might be more interested in window air conditioners.

    Location targeting is also important. Someone in Alaska may not be looking for an air conditioner. If your law practice is in Portland, Maine, you likely won’t take a client located in Portland, Oregon.

    Create Your Ad

    You’ve selected your keywords and targeted your audience. Now it’s time to create a PPC ad.

    Expanded text ads on AdWords have two 30-character headers and an 80-character description. You can also create image ads and video ads.

    No matter what kind of ad you’re running, be sure to include your target keyword and a call to action.

    You’ll want to use A/B testing for each ad as well, so be sure to create at least two ads. Don’t forget about mobile either, as ads may display differently on mobile devices.

    Finally, be sure your ad sends people to the right place. They should arrive on a landing page relevant to their search term or interest.

    The Hard Part: Planning a Budget

    One common complaint from marketers is that PPC can get expensive. If you carefully evaluate your budget, you can make the most of your campaigns.

    Your total ad budget will likely come from the company’s overall marketing budget. This can be $5 or $5,000. Pay per click can work for almost any budget.

    The other budget factor you need to consider is the per-bid budget. Almost all PPC models work on a bidding system, and calculating what to spend on a single bid can be tricky.

    How Bidding Works

    To buy PPC ads, you’ll enter a bid for a single action, such as a click. Your bid is one factor determining how many placements your ad receives. Placements are limited, so if you bid too low on a competitive keyword, your ad may not run.

    How much would you pay for a click-through? If you knew one-quarter of your clicks become sales, you could justify paying $1 per click on an ad for a $100 product.

    This becomes trickier when you try to evaluate leads and engagement. How much is a click worth if someone enters their contact information in exchange for a free guide?

    Consider how likely it is this action will convert someone to a customer. If you know the lifetime value of your clients, you can quantify how much this click is worth.

    Get Started with PPC

    Now you know the answer to the question of what pay per click is, but you probably still have questions. Take the first step toward adding a successful PPC campaign to your marketing mix. Get in touch with the experts today.

    We are recognized as a top Paid Media & Pay Per Click Company on DesignRush

    About The Author:

    Chris Kirksey

    Chris Kirksey

    Chris Kirksey is the CEO of Direction, a digital marketing agency reflecting the culmination of a 15+ year obsession with digital marketing. It all started with an eBay business at 9 years old, then transitioning from domain investing and website building. After a 6-year US Army career leading intelligence collection teams both in the US and overseas, Chris now brings a sophisticated approach from cryptologic language and adversary data intelligence to digital marketing intelligence. His precision and planning of military campaigns, now reflected in digital marketing campaigns, have proven successful for clients in industries ranging from law firms to technology startups.