What is PPC and how can it benefit my business?

When it comes to advertising for your business, there are so many options. One of these is PPC – and this article will answer any questions you might have surrounding this type of advertising including what is PPC in marketing, and what does PPC stand for? Advertising is key for any business, and it is important to understand all of the different ways you can do it!

What is PPC, and what does PPC stand for?

Let’s start with the basics by covering what PPC actually means. PPC stands for pay-per-click. In simple terms, it is an internet advertising model used to drive traffic to various websites – it works by the advertiser paying the publisher each and every time an ad is clicked on, hence the name pay-per-click. The advertiser will be the business owner running the ads, or the PPC agency managing ads on behalf of their client. The publisher will often be a search engine or a website owner.

The history of PPC

As an advertising model, PPC stretches all the way back to the mid-90s. It has grown and evolved since then, but the basic premise remains the same. The first well-known and actually documented version of pay-per-click advertising was on a web directory site called Planet Oasis in 1996. At this point, Google didn’t even exist properly! It was still a very early idea from Larry and Sergey, two PhD students; but Planet Oasis was there, looking like a virtual city made up of buildings that represented over 200 different companies and websites. Web users would click on a building with a company logo and be directed to that business’ website – and these companies, including Warner Bros and Yahoo, paid Planet Oasis for the privilege. If you ask us, we think Planet Oasis sounds like a pretty cool business model and one that was ahead of its times  in the 90s!

Not longer after, a company called Open Text introduced a PPC model that included bidding on certain keywords, as we see with search engines today. At this point, pay-per-click was actually really unpopular with their customers and many others. It was suggested that this type of advertising model cheapened the sincerity of the web, with the CEO of Lycos saying “to me, this damages the integrity of the search service. This is like librarians putting books on the end of a bookshelf if you pay her some extra money”.

Over the years, however, pay-per-click became more popular and started generating a lot of money for businesses. And recent statistics show that this isn’t slowing down. In 2017, for example, over 7 million advertisers spent over $10 billion on PPC ads, according to SocialMediaToday. Consumers make over 160 billion searches on Google every month, say Statista, – and that’s just Google, not even all of the search engines. This goes to show that PPC is a worthwhile form of advertising and one that can really help your business reach new heights.

Types of PPC advertising

So now that we’ve covered “What is PPC?”, it’s time to answer how does it work, and what is PPC in marketing? PPC is prevalent across first-tier search engines and on social media, and many businesses use it as a way to drive traffic. When it comes to PPC on search engines, advertisers (the brands and businesses) will bid on keyword phrases that are relevant to their target market, then pay when ads – such as shopping ads and text-based search ads – are clicked on.

Some of the various types of PPC advertising include:

  • Search engine
  • Social media
  • Remarketing

Search engine PPC advertising

When it comes to search engine PPC ads, Google Ads is the leading platform. Within Search engine PPC advertising, there are several PPC subtypes including shopping ads, search ads and display advertising. Advertisers can bid in order to display short advertisements, product listings, service offerings and/or videos to web users. When you generate search results on Google, those with the word ‘Ad’ next to them are the result of PPC advertising. Similarly, Microsoft Advertising – formerly known as Bing Ads – works much the same way across the Microsoft Search Network. This includes all of the Bing sites, all of the AOL sites and all of the Yahoo sites. There are over 395 million searches made across the Microsoft Search Network every month!

Social media PPC advertising

It works much the same on social media. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest use a pay-per-click model among other types of advertising. In this case, the cost is usually driven by two major factors. These are the quality of the ad itself, and the maximum bid the advertiser is willing to pay each time it is clicked on. The higher the quality of the ad, the lower the cost per click. This is true in reverse too! Ads, usually in video or image form, appear at random intervals on users’ social media feeds (labelled as Sponsored). These ads are often tailored to the individual’s search history and consumer habits.

Remarketing PPC advertising

Remarketing PPC ads work by re-engaging previous website visitors or customers with your products and services by serving them ads based on previous interactions. These ads use a tracking pixel to monitor website user interactions and tailor the remarketing adverts to suit them. Remarketing adverts can appear in both search engine and social media PPC advertising strategies. They are a great method for reconnecting with leads and getting them to convert.

What are the benefits of using PPC advertising in marketing?

There are so many benefits of using pay-per-click advertising for your business. It is a simple and effective way to increase the amount of traffic heading to your website, and in turn this drive in traffic can produce more sales. Marketing and sales are two parts of one entity, and they complement each other.

PPC complements your SEO strategy

Just like marketing and sales, PPC and SEO support each other too – and SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimisation, is paramount helping your business succeed online. Pay-per-click ads on search engines appear at the top of the page, meaning they are seen first by people searching for the keywords you are bidding on. You are also able to see which keywords are valuable to your business in a more organic way by investing in your SEO strategy.

Measuring and optimising PPC performance

A major benefit to PPC is that you can track and measure advertising performance. With easily accessible statistics, you can see how various campaigns are performing and what traffic you are able to drive for your budget. See what you’ve spent, and where your ads are doing well – this helps you know where to focus your efforts in future. Through PPC management, we have helped many businesses to optimise their advertising efforts and reap the rewards of fine-tuned PPC ads.

We revamped Annie Sloan’s PPC campaigns which resulted in an impressive 400% increase in onsite purchases and a 96% reduction in their cost per acquisition (CPA), demonstrating simply how powerful PPC advertising can be for your online business.

Cost-effective method of advertising

And speaking of budget, pay-per-click advertising is cost-effective. You are only paying when someone actually reaches your website: this means that you are only actually spending money when the advertising is working successfully. In this way, too, you are able to gain and nurture warm leads – consumers are heading to your site because they’ve spotted content that is relevant to them, their life and their web usage. You can direct potential customers to exactly where you want them by using PPC.

Pay-per-click advertising is, ultimately, a great way of driving traffic to your website without having to pay extortionate costs. It is a personalisable way of finding leads for your business, and an effective way to advertise your services. To find out how we can help you transform your PPC advertising efforts, get in touch with us today.

Head of PPC

Sam Medlicott

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