PPC stands for pay-per-click, which is a type of digital advertising. Put simply pay per click advertisers only pay the publisher if people click on their adverts. The objective of a PPC advert is to lead users who click, directly to the advertiser’s website or app. Where on arrival, they can then complete a valuable goal, like purchasing a product or service. PPC marketing is essentially a method of 'buying' website visits.

Last Updated: October 17th, 2023

Understanding Pay Per Click Marketing.

PPC marketing can be a very effective way to reach your target audience and bring traffic to your website. However, it is important to note that it can be expensive, so always track your results to ensure that you’re getting a good return on investment (ROI). There are two primary marketing channels where PPC pricing models operate:

Search Engine Placement.

Some of the biggest publishers who currently offer PPC marketing models are search engines like Bing, Google search and YouTube.

Example of sponsored ad placement in Google search

Sponsored Advert

Example of a PPC advert placed within search results

Each advertising service provider uses something called real-time bidding (RTB). This is where advertising is sold during a private, automated auction powered by real-time data. In short, each time there is an available ad spot on a search engine results page (SERP), an instant auction takes place for the keyword.

A mixture of several factors, including bid amount and advert quality, are then used to decide the winner. Thereafter each successful advert appears in the top positions, for the target keyword at that moment in time. This is known as search engine marketing, where adverts are placed ahead of the relevant organic results.

Display Advertising.

The display network comprises of all websites throughout the world, who have signed up to display text, image and video adverts in and around their own content. It gives any business the means to increase brand awareness. This is because the network can be used to display visual PPC ads like banners or text boxes to promote their products. Whilst, at the same time, tactically retargeting previous visitors to their own website.

Example of a web page with Google display ad placement

Display banner advert

Example of a PPC advert placed on a web page

Noteworthy PPC Terms.

Just like most things in the world of digital marketing, PPC has its own jargon. Here are some of the most common terms that you need to know before diving in:

  • Keywords

    The foundation of all PPC and SEO campaigns, these are the specific search queries that you’re targeting. Depending on your objectives, there are several types to consider. For example it’s possible to target phrases, broad match, exact match or close variants.

  • Impressions

    This is how many times an advert appears to users. Naturally higher impression counts mean more opportunities for users click on your ads and subsequently arrive at your website.

  • Bids

    To place a PPC advert, you must bid against competitors. This is done by stating the amount you are willing to pay for placement on a per-click basis.

  • CPC (Cost per click)

    This is the amount you spend each time an individual clicks on your advert. It’s calculated by dividing your total campaign spend by the number of clicks.

  • Enhanced CPC

    This is one of many bid strategies you can use. Enhanced CPC will automatically increase or decrease your maximum bid depending on whether or not Google believes the click is likely to result in a conversion. To use this strategy, you’ll also need to set up conversion tracking.

  • CTR (Click-through rate)

    Arguably the most important PPC metric, these are clicks through to your landing pages. It is calculated by dividing the number of advert impressions by the number of clicks.

  • CPA (Click per acquisition)

    This is the amount that you are paying per conversion. For example if your goal is to sign customers using a form, CPA is effectively how much you’re paying each time one is submitted. This figure is often much higher than your CPC. This is because not every click will result in a conversion.

  • Retargeting

    This is is a form of advertising which allows you to target individuals who previously clicked on one of your adverts and interacted without converting. These ads normally take advantage of the display network.

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