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what is PPC

What is PPC?

PPC advertising is win-win for you and your potential customers: you drive highly targeted traffic to your website, while they get to see ads that are most relevant to their needs or requirements. PPC campaigns are quick to implement, easy to track or amend and have the potential to yield immediate results. Here we explore the basics…


What is PPC?

PPC is the model of internet marketing whereby businesses pay a fee every time their ad is clicked on by a potential customer. Placing a PPC advert that correlates with a specific search can help expose your offering to a relevant audience, driving highly targeted traffic to your website.

This exposure improves if the ad links to a fully optimised site, with unique well written content. If this is the case you should be able to climb the paid results on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

There are four main types of online advertising that play a role in the standard payment model of PPC. They are:

Paid search

Paid search ads are those listings that appear at the top and bottom of SERPs, marked as ads, landing pages or ‘sponsored results’. The listings are paid for by the advertiser either on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis when the visitor uses a link to navigate to the landing page, or less frequently, as a cost-per-impression, for being displayed next to the search.

ballet pump ppc results

Paid search results highlighted in yellow

Display advertising

Display advertising is advertising on third party websites. It includes many different formats and contains items such as text, images, flash, video, and audio. The main purpose of display advertising is to deliver general advertisements and brand messages to site visitors.

display ad example

Example display ad

Social advertising

Social advertising relies on social information or networks in generating, targeting, and delivering marketing communications. The advertising platforms provided by Google, Twitter, and Facebook and other social platforms involve targeting and presenting ads based on relationships articulated on those same services. Social advertising can be part of a broader social media marketing strategy designed to connect with consumers.

social advertising on Facebook

Social advertising on Facebook

Shopping Campaigns

Shopping ads offer a different experience for those searching for a product, mainly because they display more than the ad text. Shopping ads show users a photo of the item as well as the title, price and retailer. The overall concept of a shopping ad gives the user a stronger perception of what you are offering them and this can lead to more conversions.

It goes without saying that there are many benefits to running digital ads as part of a search marketing strategy. The first main benefit is that well-crafted and highly optimised ads can raise brand awareness and exposure. They put your immediate details into the public domain at the time they are searching for products in your sector. Your ads get your message out to a highly relevant audience which ultimately increases the potential of extra traffic.

If your ads are correctly placed and optimised to appear next to certain searches then they can improve your unique visits. If the content on the landing page is specific to the user search and includes a clear call-to-action (CTA) such as a downloadable brochure, an email subscription or a call back request, you are another step along the marketing path. These leads direct customers to your online store where they can convert from browsing to purchasing.

google shopping ads example

Google Shopping ads example

What are the main PPC platforms?

Google AdWords

Paid search is also a lucrative generator of revenue for search engines – the biggest is, of course, Google, with the majority of the UK market share. Google AdWords is the best known PPC platform.

Yahoo! Bing Ads

The only other real paid search contender and is slowly gaining more market share. However, this means less competition and therefore comparatively lower CPCs. Bing Ads gives your website exposure on both the Yahoo! and Bing search engines.

What are the most important elements of PPC?

Audience targeting

Audience is everything when it comes to marketing. You want to reach a targeted audience who are much more likely to convert if taken to the correct page or products. In order to choose the right audience for your advert, there are a number of factors to consider and questions to ask. You could use a user targeted approach for those that have shown a particular behaviour or interest, or you could use inventory targeting whereby you focus on a type of content that is often visited by individuals within a particular demographic.

You could also choose to create ads that will occur based on the searches of an individual or on factors like gender, age, income, location, marital status etc. Above is an example of the pages within Facebook that allow you to choose a location specific campaign. Here you can use a preset or saved audience, or can make a bespoke strategy for your campaign.

You can also gather information from competitors and see what you followers might also be looking at, via their likes on social media. Above is an example from Facebook. When picking an audience based on behaviour you may decide to look at dayparting – the practice of targeting individuals at a certain time of the day or day of the week. You may also wish to retarget past
visitors to your site.

Depending on the aim of your ad there are a number of different ways you can track these interactions and measure their performance; all you need to do is establish your goal and what you would consider the key performance indicators (KPIs). If you are looking to use the ad to generate leads, then this can be measured in terms of the cost per acquisition (CPA). Your plan could be to generate a certain number of leads from a predetermined budget, eg, 250 leads for £2500 or £10 per lead.

When your aim is to encourage brand awareness and exposure, then the success of a campaign will be based on the number of views and then the click through rate (CTR) from this. If you were to receive 20,000 clicks and had a landing page CTR of 5%, you put yourself in a solid position to convert a high percentage of these to sales.

The index that most businesses want to talk about however is the ROI, in terms of PPC this is often referred to as return on ad spend (ROAS). The KPI could be to generate 100 sales with a return of £5 per £1 spent.

Setting your budget

When it comes to the planning stage of a PPC ad campaign, it’s important that you understand your market and have a clear set of objectives. If you’re in a competitive marketplace, you may find that your budget doesn’t go as far as you thought.

A restricted or smaller budget can be channelled into very specific areas which in turn should increase the chance of conversions in your identified market, not matter how niche. Big brands throw huge amounts of money at certain advertising and marketing strategies, so make sure you are realistic.

Optimising your landing pages

Making great ads is one thing, but the truth is you have to back this up. If you have a content-filled ad which engages with the visitors, you must also have a landing page of equal standards. One mistake that is often made by those new to the industry is that they see a high quality ad that promotes you as a brand to associate with and then they reach your URL, and feel disappointed. A content rich website is a must as it encourages further interactions and ultimately sales.

Keyword strategy

Choosing your keywords might just be the most important consideration to make when it comes to creating a successful ad campaign. If you are looking to make impressions that convert into sales you have to make sure that you’re bringing the correct audience to your page. If a user makes a general internet search for a product that you specialise in yet you don’t feature as an ad or in SERPs you are missing out. Cover your bases and perform thorough research.

Good keyword research will reveal gaps in the market and highlight areas your competitors are not competing in, or competing only marginally. If your brand is new to a marketplace, the chances are that competitors will be well established for some of the prize keywords, whereas industry specific long tail gaps might not be covered. A good strategy means you can exploit these gaps to get ahead with your ads. As you can see from the above chart, getting the balance right is key if you are to identify a good keyword strategy. The words that form the strategy will be based on internet searches, your content and the competition for keywords in your industry.


Developing-A-Paid-Search-Keyword-Strategy-email-header-image


How to make your PPC ads more effective

Writing effective ad copy with a compelling call to action of course is key, and Google now offers advertisers more control over this than ever. Read more in our Knowledge Base post about Expanded Text Ads.

Another aspect of boosting your ads’ success is by optimising your Quality Score, which is Google’s 1 to 10 rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads; this is the figure used to calculate your CPC, your ad position and your eligibility for auctions.

The main factors for determining your Quality Score are:

  • Click through rate (CTR)
  • Relevance of every keyword to ad group
  • Quality of the landing page and relevance to the ad
  • Relevance of the ad text
  • AdWords performance historically

You can improve your Quality Score by:

  • Ensuring your landing page is relevant, transparent and easy to navigate
  • Ensuring your ad groups are relevant to the keywords utilised

How can PPC grow your business?

There are many benefits to running digital ads as part of a search marketing strategy. Well-crafted and highly optimised ads can raise brand awareness and exposure, putting your immediate details into the public domain at the time they are searching for products in your sector. Your ads get your message out to a highly relevant audience which ultimately increases the potential of extra traffic and, ultimately, conversions.

If your ads are correctly placed and optimised to appear next to certain searches then they can improve your unique visits. If the content on the landing page is specific to the user search and includes a clear call-to-action (CTA) such as a downloadable brochure, an email subscription or a call back request, you are another step along the marketing path. These leads direct customers to
your online store where they can convert from browsing to purchasing.

Ultimately, using PPC ads give you greater control over your presence on SERPs than relying on organic search results alone.


Contact us today and request a no-obligation paid search analysis and review.  You’ll receive a comprehensive summary together with bespoke strategy recommendations for your online success.



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