What Is PPC Marketing?

Essential to any effective digital marketing campaign, pay-per-click (PPC) is a way to bring visitors to your site – for a price.
In this guide, we’ll break down PPC advertising, and answer the big question:
What is PPC marketing?

What Is PPC Marketing? A Guide To Pay-Per-Click

Pay-per-click is a form of internet marketing that involves advertising your product or service – the catch is that you pay every time somebody clicks that link to visit your site.
In simpler terms: you only pay for the ad if it’s clicked on.
It’s a great way to bring visitors to your site, and can help to boost your organic growth as well.
Well-designed PPC advertising can boost your visibility by as much as 80%.
It sounds too good to be true – but it’s not.
As long as you’re clever about how you handle pay-per-click.
Let’s take a look at some important PPC terms.

Pay-Per-Click Marketing Terms

In order to make the most of pay-per-click, it’s important to know some terminology.

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Using search engines to market your brand, services or products to specific target audiences by using paid and organic techniques.

  • Cost Per Click (CPC)

How much it would cost for a single click-through to your site.

  • Cost Per Mille (CPM)

Also known as Cost Per Thousand (CPT), a CPM pricing model is often used by advertisers or marketers as a gauge for how much would be needed for every 1000 ad impressions.

  • Ad Rank

Where your ad appears on a search engine results page (SERPS).
Ad ranks are calculated by multiplying your quality score by your maximum CPC bid.

  • Quality Score

A metric used to measure the relevance of ads in PPC advertising.

  • Bid

The maximum amount a PPC marketer is willing to spend on every click.

  • Ad Groups

The grouping/segmenting of your PPC advertising keywords into certain categories/themes.

  • Landing Page

The webpage the user will click through to when engaging with a pay-per-click ad.

How PPC Advertising Works

Now that you know some pay-per-click terms, we can begin to dissect how it works.

We’ve broken it down into 4 key elements:

  • The main headline.
    This shows the primary keyword (Amazon), and tells the users why they should click on the ad (Shop Amazon)
  • The display URL.
    This features the brand name and the primary keyword (the same in this instance). It’s short, punchy and easy to read.
  • The first description line.
    This forms the opening section of the PPC advertising copy. It explains the headline.
  • The second description line.
    This is an opportunity to share USPs, reasons to click, and often includes a strong CTA.

PPC Campaign Backend

From the backend, you have the ability to set a range of things in place, including:

  • Target keyword
  • Maximum bid
  • Target demographics
  • Target regions and locations
  • Headlines
  • URL
  • Description lines

What Are The Types Of PPC Advertising Campaigns?

PPC advertising can be broken down into several campaigns.


Search-based PPC advertising is what appears in SERPs, like the example from Amazon.
Search-based PPC ads usually appear in the top left or right-hand corner of a search results page and include a clickable headline, URL, and body copy.


PPC display ads are similar to search-based PPC advertising, but usually include a visual of some kind. The aim is to improve clicks and engagement.


In PPC advertising, remarketing ads refer to ads that are usually presented in a display-style ad, but are targeted specifically at customers that previously engaged with a landing page, service, or product.
Studies have found that remarketing to customers has proven to result in people being up to 70% more likely to invest in your product or service.

Sponsored Social

Also called Paid Socials, these ads work similarly to search ads.
You can add your content and set your parameters before launching the campaign. 
Sponsored social ads are specific to each platform (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), and allows you to view each channel’s data to measure your performance.

This is an example of a paid social ad from Dollar Shave Club


Paid video ads can be used on search engines, as well as social media platforms.
Like their static counterparts, paid video ads are highly targeted, and include a headline, body copy, a CTA, and engaging video content to invite users to engage.

PPC Platforms

Let’s take a look at the platforms you can use for PPC advertising.

Google Ads/Adwords

This is an essential platform for creating and launching PPC advertising content.
The platform is easy to use, and lets you look at PPC keyword research, set budgets, and build targeted ads in all of the types of PPC advertising we mentioned above.


While it’s not as popular as Google, Bing is still one of the world’s most popular search engines.
Launching PPC content on Bing allows you to connect with a broader audience that you can convert into paying customers.
Formerly known as Bing Ads, the current PPC platform is now named Microsoft Advertising.
It’s easy to use, and has a lot of the same features as Google Ads.
The best part about Microsoft Advertising is that you can import content, details, and data from Google Ads or AdWords right over.
That means you can run similar campaigns across both platforms without having to do too much extra work.


Facebook is still a popular choice for many people worldwide.
That means it’s one of the most effective social media based PPC platforms.
Setting up campaigns with Facebook ads is simple.
Select your demographics, target locations, ad lengths, budgets, and ad content, and let it run.

Creating A PPC Marketing Campaign

While PPC advertising can seem simple enough, we’ve still broken it down into 7 easy steps to help you along the way.

Optimise Your Website

Before starting any PPC advertising, it’s crucial that you make sure your website is going to work well with your pay-per-click campaign.
Think of it like this: when somebody clicks on a PPC ad, it’s because the ad got their attention.
But, if the link takes them to an unrelated or generic page, then they’re more likely to leave.
By clicking on a PPC ad, they’ve shown their desire to find out more about what the ad was about. That’s why it’s vital that you make custom landing pages that coincide with the content of the ad.
It’s also important to optimise your landing pages to make sure they perform well, because nobody wants to spend time on a page that’s slow or hard to navigate.
Before starting any PPC advertising, it’s crucial that you make sure your website is going to work well with your pay-per-click campaign.

Choose A Bidding Strategy

There are a bunch of different bidding strategies you can choose from, and picking the right one depends on things like budget, your experience with pay-per-click, and your goals.

One of the first choices you’ll have to make is between manual and automated bidding.
If you’re new to the world of PPC advertising, you may want to start with manual bidding, which allows you to set a cap on your CPC.
The trade-off is that manual bidding doesn’t allow you to optimise your bids.
On the other end is automated bidding, which lessens the time you need to spend managing the campaign, although you’ll end up paying a bit more.
There are a whole host of different bidding strategies when it comes to automated bidding, and you can learn about it directly from Google.
Essentially, depending on whether you want to increase conversions, visibility, or traffic, there’s a strategy for it.

Set A Budget

Budgets make up the core of any good PPC campaign.
But the best part about PPC advertising is that you can still do it on a limited budget – all while maintaining control over how much you spend.
If you’re new to PPC and don’t have a lot of money to allocate to your budget, you can get started with a very small investment.

Research And Pick Your Keywords

Arguably one of the most important aspects of a PPC campaign, keyword research is the backbone of your entire process.
Without keywords, there’s no way for the search engine to know when to show your ads.
Choosing the right keywords can guarantee success for your campaign, and promise you the most return on investment.
Here are some things to help you select great keywords:

– Look at your competitors.
– Think about what you’d search for if you were a customer.
– Use keyword search tools such as Moz and Semrush.
– Be specific with your keywords.
– Choose local keywords when possible.

The better you are at choosing keywords, the more successful you’ll be.
On top of that, you’ll be rewarded with a higher quality score and a lower CPC.

Another important part of keyword research is negative keywords.
Negative keywords filter out keywords that you don’t want included.
For example, if you’re advertising digital marketing services, but don’t offer social media management, you’ll want to use “social media management” as a negative keyword to exclude people looking for that service.

Create A Great Ad

Once you’ve got your landing page ready, your budget set up, your bidding strategy in place, and your keywords chosen, it’s time to get started on the ad itself.
Remember to keep your PPC advertising short and to the point – you don’t have a lot of room or time to catch the attention of prospects.
Another thing to keep in mind is writing copy based on a goal.
For instance, if you want to increase sales for Christmas, your copy should reflect that you’re having a Christmas sale. It doesn’t have to be overly creative, but it should pique interest and grab attention.

Remember Your CTA

While your PPC advertising may look great and sound amazing, if it has no CTA, there’s no point in running the ad, because the CTA tells people what to do next.
It can be short and sweet, but should always be clear and compelling, like “buy now”.

Test Your Ads

While your pay-per-click ads are up and running, now isn’t the time to become complacent.
In fact, this is the point where the real work begins.
That includes tracking your ads, measuring performance, and making changes to improve results.
A time-tested method is A/B testing.
This allows you to run two near-identical versions of the same ad at the same time. The difference? You can modify any element (copy, CTA, keywords, or even the landing page).
Once you know which one works best, you can make the changes and stop running the ad that’s performing the worst.


PPC doesn’t have to be tough.
But it requires knowledge of how the process works, and needs a lot of planning and research if you want to see ROI.
If you keep the steps above in mind, you’ll not only have answered the question of “what is PPC marketing”, but you’ll also be set up for massive success in your PPC advertising endeavours.

What Skills Are Needed For PPC?

– A good understanding of how PPC fits into digital marketing.
– Strong analytical skills.
– A good level of mathematical ability.
– The ability to think creatively.
– Excellent attention to detail.

What’s Considered A Good Click-Through-Rate?

As far as good CTRs go, the average is around 1.91% for search, and 0.35% for display.

What Are The Benefits Of PPC?

– Boosted traffic to your website.
– Increased sales.
– Control over advertising costs.
– You only pay for clicks.
– The ability to analyse ad performance in real-time.
– Increased brand recognition through remarketing.
– It’s not difficult to produce.



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