, PPC Advertising 101: What Is It and How Does It Work?

The global digital advertising industry is expected to reach more than $375 billion by 2021, with a hefty chunk of that being made up of PPC advertising. Which makes sense, because PPC advertising has an average of 200% ROI.

Suffice to say, if you’re not utilizing PPC advertising in your business, you’re missing out and potential leads and sales. That’s why we’ve put together our beginner’s guide to PPC advertising, covering everything you need to know to get started.

What is PPC Advertising?

PPC stands for pay-per-click advertising, and it pretty much does what it says on the tin. Businesses that advertise on PPC advertising platforms pay a fee every time their ad is clicked. So if your ad appears but a user doesn’t interact with it, it’s free of charge.

If a user does click on an ad, they’re sent through to a relevant page on your website.

There are many different PPC platforms businesses can choose to advertise on, but the biggest include:

  • Google Ads
  • Microsoft Ads
  • Facebook Ads (including Instagram)
  • Amazon Ads
  • Yahoo Ads
  • LinkedIn Ads

Google is by far the biggest player in the PPC industry due to its sheer size and reach. They hold 92% of the search engine market share, processing 5.6 billion searches a day, as well as having a network of more than 2 million websites within the Google Display Network. In other words, they have a lot of spaces in which to advertise!

We’ll be focusing on Google Ads to keep things simple.

Types of PPC Marketing

Google offers a lot of different types of PPC advertising options for businesses. The main categories of ads include:

  • Search ads
  • Display ads
  • Video ads
  • Shopping ads
  • App ads

Search Ads

As the name suggests, search ads appear within the search results as text-based ads that look similar to organic results. This is most often at the top of the page, although they can sometimes appear at the bottom of the search results too.

The way search ads work is simple. You pick a selection of related keywords to bid on relevant to your product or service. For example, “business operations consultant.” Then when a user searches for that keyword (or something close to it), you bid to appear.

Once you bid, you enter an ad auction. This process determines whether your ad appears or not, and it’s based on a mixture of your bid, the relevancy of your ad to the search, and the quality of your advertisement. This allows smaller businesses to compete with the big businesses as it’s not solely down to whoever the highest bigger is.

Display Ads

Display ads are image-based ads that can appear in a huge variety of Google-owned properties. But most of all, the Google Display Network (GDN).

The GDN is a collection of more than 2 million websites that reach around 90% of global internet users. Your ads can appear in the form of banner ads, rich media ads, interstitial ads, and video ads.

There is a huge amount of targeting options beyond keywords for display ads which include:

  • Contextual targeting
  • Topic targeting
  • Placement targeting
  • Interest targeting
  • Demographic targeting

This makes it a powerful remarketing tool. You can target users who have visited your website or even competitor websites and remind them of your brand and product across the GDN network.

Video Ads

One of Google’s many properties is YouTube which is their primary platform for video ads. Like display ads, there are a lot of targeting options for video ads.

The first is keyword-based, so your video ad will be triggered to appear anytime a given query is entered. In this targeting option, your ad can appear either within the results on YouTube or as an ad on another video.

You can also opt to target based on demographics or interests. This can be very helpful for businesses with a strong understanding of their customer base. For this type of targeting, your ads again can appear as skippable or non-skippable ads within other videos.

To get super targeted, you can use customer match targeting. This is where you upload details about prospective or current customers to Google Ads and target your video ads based on this information.

Last but not least is competitor targeting. This allows you to directly target specific YouTube channels of interest. This could be a competitor to your business or a channel offering relevant content to your product or service.

Shopping Ads

Shopping ads are a newer offering from the Google Ads platform and a powerful tool for eCommerce businesses. Shopping ads can appear within Google Search results, within the Shopping tab on Google, and across the GDN.

These ads are targeted with a clever algorithm based on product data you upload to the Google Merchant Centre Platform.

App Ads

If you’ve got an app to promote, Google Ads still has you covered with App ads. These ads can appear across the full range of Google properties, including Google Play.

There are more clever algorithms behind the targeting of this ad type depending on what you set your campaign goal as. For example, if your goal is app installation, the algorithm matches your ad to search terms relevant to your app.

Benefits of PPC Advertising

When it comes to search engine marketing, there is a never-ending debate of PPC vs SEO. The reality is, both are excellent marketing channels and offer unique benefits for your business.

Where SEO can help your business achieve visibility long-term, PPC can fill in the gap in the meantime beforehand. It can bring in qualified leads much faster than SEO efforts.

You can also use the data from your PPC campaigns to better inform your SEO strategy! There is a wealth of data available across the many different PPC advertising platforms for you to examine so you can better understand your customers.

Google Ads Management Services

PPC advertising offers a huge variety of cost-effective ways for you to reach your potential customers to increase your traffic and sales. But many businesses lack the time and resources to create PPC campaigns with an effective ROI, which is why many opt to outsource.

We have over two decades of experience in Google Ads management and can help you grow your business. There’s no contract to tie you to us and no setup fees. Simply get in touch to find out more.

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