Pay-Per-Click Marketing: Everything You Should Know About PPC — Full-Guide (Updated 2020)
One of the easiest ways of promoting your brand and growing your website ranking.
- What is Pay-Per-Click Advertising?
- Search Advertising
- Social Advertising
- Display Advertising
- Affiliate Advertising
- How to Launch a PPC Campaign?
- Pay-Per-Click Marketing Tips
Note: This guide will be updated once a year. Therefore, the latest updates, as well as helpful information, will be included.
Before the rise of the internet, marketing as a business process was significantly different than it is now.
When it comes to traditional marketing, the main channels included the yellow pages, newspapers, leaflets, and of course TV and the radio.
But times have changed, and so has marketing. The internet has revolutionized so many industries, and this was one had an early start.
By providing easier and cheaper alternatives for companies to reach their audience and advertise their business, the internet really changed things when it comes to marketing. Now, business owners would rather pay for an ad to be published online, than to pay for an ad to play on the radio. Not that traditional means of marketing are not good enough or used anymore, but digital marketing certainly has its advantages that are gaining the likes of businesses that want to increase their sales or raise brand awareness.
The simplicity of digital marketing is taking over, and we are going to talk about one of your best options when it comes to this — pay-per-click advertising.
So let’s start from the beginning.
What is Pay-Per-Click Advertising?
Per-per-click advertising (PPC) could also be found under the term cost-per-click advertising (CPC). This sometimes creates confusion in fresh marketers that are just starting with digital advertising.
There is a difference between the two terms, and in order to grasp this form of digital marketing better, it’s important to recognize what CPC and what PPC is.
PPC is a model of digital advertisement.
Through PPC, with each click on an online ad, the advertiser gets a certain amount of money. For example, if you, as a business owner, run a security company, you could pay someone to advertise your company. It’s usually a fixed price counted per click on the ad that the advertiser gets. The more visitors click on your advertisement and end up on your page, the more the promoter gets paid by you.
In other words, PPC drives traffic to your business website, with the intention to turn your visitors into your new customers.
CPC is a metric that measures your costs.
The name is self-explanatory, but the confusion can occur when people use CPC as to refer to PPC advertising, although this is more of a deciding segment of pay-per-click advertising.
To calculate it, you need to divide the advertising cost with the number of clicks you get on the advertisement.
Cost-per-click = Advertising cost / Ads clicked
The CPC is based on a few factors, and the desired goal is optimizing the clicks, and minimizing the price per click, or in other words running an efficient yet cheap campaign.
CPM or cost-per-mile is also a metric that measures the cost, but instead of views, it works with impressions.
It’s another term you might come across. Essentially, the cost is determined by every mile or more precisely one mile = 1,000 impressions.
Models for Determining PPC
#1 Flat-rate PPC
With the flat-rate PPC, the publisher and the business that wants to be advertised agree on a fixed price for a single click.
In many cases, the amount of money that will be paid for each click determines the position of the ad. That means a higher amount of money, would mean a better ad placement and the other way around.
However, the fixed price that the advertiser and the publisher of the ad agree upon is also in a tight connection with the platform the ad is being posted, the content there, and the traffic.
All in all, there are many factors, and the price can be negotiated.
#2 Bid-Based PPC
Bid-based PPC works a bit differently than the previous model. It runs as bidding between advertisers.
First, the advertiser (your company) signs a contract in which you give your permission to be able to compete against other companies in a private auction known under the term “advertising network”.
You give your highest price for an ad spot. Depending on the keyword you are trying to optimize and the competition for that keyword and ad spot, the price could differ.
When the ad that is aiming to get more clicks is placed on a search engine result page, as one of the possibilities that we will soon discuss, the auction takes place every time someone searches for that certain keyword you are aiming for.
The “winner” in the auction is determined after comparing the bids, and there could also be more than one in some cases (when there are more than one available spots). When this happens, the advertisement that has the highest ad rank is shown as the first result to users when they google the keyword.
The advertisers that won the bid pay for every click in their ad, with the price being their amount of bid.
Depending on where your ad is placed, there can be several types of pay-per-click advertising methods.
They all work in a similar way but have certain differences between them.
This type of pay-per-click advertising is probably the most adopted one. It’s because it incorporates one of the most used and efficient PPC techniques — Google Ads.
Usually, when people refer to pay-per-click marketing, they are thinking of Google Ads, as the most common model.
Everyone has had an experience with search advertising, although you might not have been aware of it.
When you google something on your browser, sometimes the results showed at the top of the page contain a small square with “ad” written inside. The result shows up first because someone paid for it.
All Google ads are organized through Google Ads interface. You can research keywords and set up campaigns in a way that they will maximize your reach.
Although Google and Google Ads are the most popular form of PCP Search advertising, there are other forms as well. For example, Bing Networks also allows you to show your ads to the users who search for certain keyboards on the search engine.
There is so much to PCP Search Advertising, and only managing Google Ads requires certain skills and knowledge. The good thing is everything can be learned, and we are now going to see how to establish a Google Ads Campaign for your business.
You will most likely find the term Google AdWords, instead of Google Ads. That is because Google Ads was previously known as AdWords.
It’s definitely the most used PPC advertising model currently.
Google makes using Google Ads very easy. They let you run a campaign by yourself, but also offer their customers support.
The first thing you need to do is visit their website.
By scrolling through the front page, you will see the basic information about Google Ads, and they immediately disclose that signing up to the platform is for free.
In the upper corner, you will notice that they have a how-to article, which I personally think is quite detailed and nicely explained. I won’t go into all aspects of this, as you can see everything on their website. However, I will go through the positive and negative marketing aspects of Google Ads.
Google Ads Pros:
- Reaching Large Audience
More than half the population on Earth uses the internet. That’s around four billion people that are part of the globalization. One of the best things about digital marketing is precisely this, the large audience it provides. But, of course, you need to know how to reach the right audience. If you want to have results you definitely need to focus on quality over quantity.
- Targeting Your Audience
Reaching a lot of people is important, but it goes without saying that reaching the right people is what really matters in marketing. With Google Ads, you can do this according to age, location, device type, and gender.
- Relevant Ads
As long as you are using relevant keywords, your ads are also relevant and will appear to people who are genuinely interested in something that you might be offering.
- An Insight of Your Growth (Analytics)
When you are running a campaign is very important to keep track of all data. With Google ads, you will be able to do that. The information can be used to improve your marketing campaign in the future.
You will be able to see how many clicks your ads have and who clicked them, how many leads your advertisements will generate, how much traffic this brought to your landing pages, and which keywords were successful.
Google Ads Cons
- Competitive Keywords
The more competition you have on the market, the more competitive the keywords would be. Other business will be using the same keyword and if you want your ads to be more relevant you will have to pay more as well. If you are not careful enough before you notice you will be left with no money and no real progress.
- It Can Get Expensive
As a follow up to the previous problem, Google Ads can sometimes be an expensive investment in your business. It could be because of the competitive keywords or because of a lot of people clicking on the ads. For the second one, a fixed budget will do, and this will save you from the trouble of overpaying.
- People Trust Natural Results More
Unfortunately, it’s the truth. When people see the ads logo on the first articles that appear in your Google search results, they tend to avoid it. Take it from you. Would you rather open an advertised website or trust your natural google search results?
Nonetheless, Google Ads is still successfully helping businesses grow and will continue to do so in the future.
Social media and marketing go hand in hand. With the rise of social media networks, especially Facebook and Instagram, business owners have increased their chances to stand out with a good and inexpensive marketing campaign. And this could be one of the ways you do it.
Did you know that Facebook has 2.2 billion monthly users?
This makes the platform the third most visited websites, right after Google and YouTube.
With so many users, business owners recognized the potential in Facebook and other social media and they now want to turn these users/potential customers into new customers.
The advertising you do on these social media platforms can mostly increase awareness for your product, which is definitely an important thing when building a brand.
Through these social media channels, you can target the preferred demographic and specific interests of your audience. Besides, considering Facebook’s (and Instagram) expanding marketing options, as well as the ability to promote your tweets on Twitter and so on, with a good strategy you definitely won’t make a mistake if you try Social PPC advertising.
Facebook PPC Advertising
Through Facebook Business you will be able to generate ads of your business that will be shown on the platform, and there is an option to expand your reach on Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp as well.
The ads could be made as a video, a photo, or carousel ads.
The process is quite simple and in some ways similar to Google Ads. Upon opening Facebook’s Business page you will notice that they have made the process of creating an ad very simplistic, even for beginners who never had experience with this before.
The platform allows you to created PPC ads, and manage them through Facebook’s Ads Manager.
LinkedIn PPC Advertising
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions offers something similar to Facebook’s ads.
First, you need to sign in into LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, where you will manage and optimize your ads. Then, you will have to choose your form of an ad, be it Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail or a Text Ad. It can also be a combination of all three.
LinkedIn text ads are simple but effective PPC or CPM models of advertising. You can decide whether to pat only for ads that were clicked or based on the received impressions on LinkedIn.
Using LinkedIn Business is very simple and you can launch your campaign in minutes.
Twitter PPC Advertising
Twitter for Business also allows companies and individuals to increase their reach on the platform by offering a form of PPC advertising.
It’s a simple task. First, you determine your objective and audience, and then you do the bidding.
By bidding Twitter means the money you are willing to pay for every interaction with your ads, such as a new click or a follower.
You can spend as much as you want, as there are no limits to your spending, nor a minimum campaign spends.
If you decide to run a Twitter ad campaign, you need to carefully create your post, decide on the hashtags and make it more engaging in order to grasp the attention of the audience.
As the name suggests, display advertising refers to the advertising banners or images you see on websites. It can also be in the form of a text, but the end goal is the same — raising awareness for the brand. PCP display advertising usually returns lower click rates but you can pick who sees your advert which is a great advantage.
Targeting your audience is easily done. You can choose a certain group of people, a relevant industry, or you can perhaps choose people who have visited similar websites to yours.
The banners can be in different sizes, and they are limited depending on what type of network you are running the campaign. For example, you can do it on social media, or through Google Ads. You can also do it individually with other websites.
What you need to know about banner ads is that there are three main types:
Display marketing does not necessarily work as pay-per-click advertising, although it still deserves a place on this list.
We can all agree that this can be quite annoying. But as annoying as it may be, remarketing really helps business owners.
Let’s see it this way. You open an eCommerce website that is selling clothes and accessories. You are partly interested in the women’s accessories segment and browse through it. Next thing you know, an advert showing you accessories for that same shop appears everywhere.
It’s what marketers call remarketing or sometimes retargeting. Basically, it’s a PPC method that targets users that have previously shown interest in your product or service. Seeing the exact thing they were looking for in the first place might help them make a final decision on whether to buy that necklace or not.
Remarketing keeps the user engaged with the business and keeps reminding them to complete their purchase by popping up on the internet from time to time. This is done through the website’s cookies that are stored on your browser.
Remarketing is also when you, for example, google something, and then your browser shows ads according to your search.
This type of PCP is not stand alone advertising but is usually a part of the search, social, and display PCP advertising campaigns.
Pay-per-click affiliate marketing is something you are probably familiar with. It’s a type of advertising, sometimes quite subtle, but very effective, in which a business rewards the “affiliate” for each visitor/customer they bring to the company’s website.
Affiliates are the participants that agree to promote your product or service on their social media or website and with each successful sale they make, you pay them a certain amount of money.
To make things easier, there are websites where you can search for different affiliate programs and find the best channels to market your product or service. There are many types of affiliate marketing, depending on how the advertiser is being paid.
In reality, when affiliate marketing is mentioned, it’s usually to target people or blog owners to make passive income.
But from a marketer’s point of view, affiliate marketing is equally important. With this form of advertising your product, you gain a high-quality audience but only if you know how to choose your affiliates, or in other words the people who will sell your product.
Of course, they will be paid a percentage of every sale they make of your product, but in order to see the results, it’s important to choose websites with high traffic and related to the product you are selling.
It’s simple. If you are selling kitchen knives, your affiliates could be food bloggers. If your business is renting cars, a popular travel blogger will bring the audience to you by simply mentioning you in one paragraph.
People trust people, much more than they trust companies.
So if someone recommends your product or service, there is a higher chance for you to make sales than with other forms of marketing.
If you want to find out more about this marketing technique as an individual type of advertising and growing your business, make sure that you check out our full comprehensive guide below.
If you followed carefully, you probably noticed by now that almost all types of PPC advertisement were somewhat connected with each other.
PPC marketing is simple to grasp and it’s the same technique no matter what your choice of a channel will be. You can use Google, Bing, Social Media, etc. separately, all you can use them together. In both cases, there isn’t much place for mistakes.
The channel is important, but not the most important thing when you want to grow your business. As a matter of fact, you need to pay attention to a lot of other things, such as for example the way you launch your PPC campaign.
How to Launch a PPC Campaign?
Usually, marketers use PPC advertising as a part of a marketing campaign. If you are a junior marketer that wants to learn the basics of PPC marketing and running a PPC campaign, hopefully, this next part will help you in achieving that goal.
Before launching the campaign, however, you need to ask yourself a few questions first and establish your priorities.
Start with determining your goals.
Do you know what your end goal is?
Is it brand awareness, increasing sales, or maybe a better ranking in the search results that you are looking for?
This all falls within the scope of pay-per-click marketing. But you also need to define your personal objectives before you start. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to recognize whether you are on the right path.
Research the competition.
No matter what you do, every plan that leads to the growth of your business or brand needs to have the competition in the equation.
In order to be better and gain more potential customers, you must research a competitor website and the market overall. Although the whole idea behind PPC marketing is to stand out and reach customers, you are not the only one doing it.
Always strive to offer a better product or service and never underestimate other competitors in your business filed.
Think from a customer’s perspective
Put yourself in their position. What would you like to see? How often would you like to see it? If you were the customer would you click on the ad, and even buy the product you are selling?
When you are deciding on keywords to which we will pay more attention later, you need to think like a customer and use keywords that would most likely be used by potential customers.
Now let’s get a better insight at how you should launch a successful PPC marketing campaign.
Optimize Your Landing Pages
When an internet user clicks on an ad, no matter in which form it is, they will end up on your website, which is called the landing page.
They will interact with the website and your product or service, which is the goal of PPC marketing.
But what’s also important is that for every click you have to pay.
That expenses should be worth it and they are not going to be unless your website is optimized. That means once the users enter your website, there is a high probability that they will take the next step of your plan, whether it’s buying your product, requesting more information, subscribing to a newsletter, etc.
There are many ways in which you can improve your landing page and here are some of the most important ones:
#1 Keep it simple
The design and the text should be engaging but simple. When someone clicks on the add and ends up on your website, the first thing they need to see is the slick design and easy to navigate website. No one wants to see a visual clutter.
#2 Make a clear offer
When someone enters your website what you offer should be clearly stated from the very beginning. You need to make your offer straight to the point which goes hand in hand with the simple design. You want to hold the visitors on your landing page, not confuse them.
Also, your call-to-action button should be very straightforward, and make sure you do it in a simple language with a few words only.
We all know that if we see something that says “limited supply” or “ only two more days ” on an item, we simply cannot ignore the offer. It makes us want the item more, just because it might not be available soon anymore. This is one of the most used techniques by marketers, and it will do wonders on your landing page.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it‘s one of the most important things when you own a business that operates online. Although you will be re-directing the visitors by your PPC ads onto the landing page, with a website that is optimized with SEO, you will leave a better impression and you just might attract audience via organic search (by appearing in the search engine results, possibly on a higher position).
#5 Add an exit popup
You don’t necessarily have to do this, but it’s a good way to keep the visitors around some more.
When the person that ended up on your page tries to leave, a window will popup their screen. It can be slightly intrusive, but it’s much better than a popup as soon as someone enters your landing page or even worse, while they are browsing through the website.
You can catch the attention of the visitors if the popup perhaps offers some form of a discount on your products or services.
This is a crucial part of your campaign — the keywords.
First things first, you need to have a clear idea of what you are selling and understand the need for it on the market. If you are offering something that no one wants and needs, there is no point in going through all of this trouble and PPC marketing for sure won’t be of big help.
So, once again, put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers and think about what they want. Based on that you will get the idea of which keywords they might research.
Then, do it yourself. You will see the results and understand what you should look out for.
Keywords are everything if you are using Search PPC Advertising, as the by far most used type. Everyone uses them when they are trying to find something on Google or other search engines. But to target your product, and vice versa, your product to target those people that are researching the keyword, you need to pay attention to a few things.
For starters, you can find very good websites in which you can research the best keywords for your nice and the product you are offering. This way you will be able to choose from a list of relevant keywords, and see how their popularity varies.
Then you need to organize them. Putting them into groups can really help.
Finally, you need to learn what negative keywords are.
Negative keywords help you filter clicks that you don't really want or need.
By setting them up you define where your ad NOT to show. For example, if you add “free” as a negative keyword for your website and product, you are basically telling the search engine not to show your ad to people that researched a similar free product.
Set Up the Budget
After good keyword research, now comes the more demanding part — setting up the budget.
Usually, it depends on your company.
Obviously, smaller businesses will have a smaller budget, but you can compensate that with the previous step, or in other words, by carefully choosing the keywords you will do the bidding on.
It also depends on how much of your overall marketing campaign will depend on PPC advertising.
Of course, as we previously mentioned, there are two ways of doing this, through flat-rate PPC and bid-based PPC.
If you followed the text, by now you at least have an idea on which option suits you the best. Promptly, all you have to do is calculate the CPC and you will be able to determine your budget. After all, this is a step that depends entirely on you.
I do advice you to start small, as to see how it will go for you and your business. Wasting precious money and to eventually see that you did something wrong will be the worse choice you make.
Determine The Channel
So what’s it going to be? Do you prefer to go with Google Ads, Social Media, or maybe website banners?
The choice is up to you, so I suggest you take a look at all of the options that were mentioned before.
I didn’t detailly cover the whole process of starting with for example social advertising, because every platform has a comprehensible and easy-to-understand guide that will really help you up and running the whole campaign.
I also hope that you have a clear vision on who you are targeting because it will be very important when setting up the campaign and deciding who is going to see your ad. For example, you will need to precisely know who you are targeting including the region, the age, etc.
Ads and Ad Tracking
Once you’ve determined the channel, this decision will be somewhat easier. Every channel, whether it’s social media or Google Ads, will have their own terms and conditions.
The best thing would be to read carefully through their plans. If you are going for a website banner, you will need to arrange the terms with the owner or a representative of that website. Finally, with affiliate advertising, things could be slightly different, depending on how your affiliates are going to “sell” you to their audience.
In some cases, you will require help from a professional designer or marketer. In others, you can utilize your skills, creativity, and motivation.
You might find all of this confusing, but if you’ve been following all of the previous steps, you will see that it only takes a little patience and a whole lot of reading and researching to make the best PPC campaign.
Depending on the platform, you might be able to track your PPC campaign in one way or the other.
For example, you can install a Google conversion tracker to keep track of how many of the clicks on your ads were turned into sales. This is a good start for seeing if your campaign is showing positive results.
A conversion tracker is a code that you insert into your HTML, which can track actions on the website. For example, by inserting it into your checkout page you can keep track which ad had the best impact on the audience.
But how will you know whether it was all worth it?
In other words, will you make a profit?
Well, as it was previously mentioned, make sure you start small and follow your plan carefully. That way, once you start seeing results, you will be able to calculate your profit, which is a very important thing to do in every marketing campaign.
Now, after you’ve done all of the things that were mentioned above, you need to see if your investment was or was not in vain. In other words, let’s see if PPC showed some results for you.
For those of you who don’t know what ROI means, it stands as “Return of Investment”. Basically, you are investing in your business and expecting something in return, possibly profit.
To calculate ROI, in this particular case ROI in PPC advertising, you can explore two possible ways — use an online tool, or simply do it yourself.
There are 3 ways to calculate PPC ROI.
Usually, the equation for ROI is the following:
ROI = (Value of Investment — Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment
But, when it comes to PPC there are other ways to do it.
#1 Return on Ad Spend
ROI = (PPC Revenue — PPC cost) / PPC Cost
Optimistically speaking, if you initially invested $200 on Google Ads, and the sales you made thanks to the people that clicked that ad was a total of $1000, then your investment returned over 4 times or 400%.
#2 Return on Investment (with all costs included)
As it was already mentioned above, ROI is calculated when you exclude the costs from the profit and then the number you get divide it with the cost again.
This time, what makes it different is that you take everything into consideration. The cost that it took you to optimize your landing page, the money you invested in the creation of the ad, the salaries to the employees that have been working on the campaign etc.
You will certainly get a lower number in this case, but if it’s profitable then it’s safe to say that PPC is working for you and you should maybe spend more time on this type of marketing.
#3 Profit Per Click
It’s simple, just divide the profit with the clicks. If you are asking why is this important, remember that after all, you started PPC to maximize your company’s profit by getting new visitors to your website and convince them to buy your product or service. Therefore, it’s important to know how much profit one single click brings you on average.
This can also be calculated if you are paying per impressions, instead of clicks. Just divide the profit with the gained impression on your ad and there you have it, your profit per impression.
Pay-Per-Click Marketing Tips
It’s difficult to cover everything there is to know about PPC marketing in a single article. However, there are some valuable tricks that you need to learn before we finish this.
Practice a Subtle Call to Action
Your end goal is either to raise sales or brand awareness. But it’s much more than the click that matters. It’s also important to gain something from that individual click. And what better to do it than a subtle call to action?
A ‘call to action’ is a term usually used in marketing when you are selling and advertising a product or a service.
People want straight forward questions or requests, and they also appreciate this in marketing. If you see an ad that is not showing clear instructions, there is a smaller chance you will click on it.
Things like “sing up for free”, “large discounts”, or even a simple “subscribe” will increase the chances of potential audience landing on your website.
To make this possible you need to utilize all the ad extensions that you have at your disposal, which brings us to the next tips.
Take Into Consideration Ad Extensions.
If you didn't know that this was an option, now you do. Although not necessary, ad extensions are a valuable asset in your PPC campaign. As previously mentioned, they can add real value to your ads through all sorts of calls to action. Not just thins, but there are different sorts of ad extensions.
Some of the most common ones are the following:
- Call To Action Extensions
- Review Extensions
- Sitelink Extensions
- Structured Snippet
- Location Extensions
- Message Extensions
Don’t Forget Negative Keywords
Negative Keywords are equally important as keyword optimization in a PPC campaign. Make sure you don't forget about them.
After all, they can help you control who sees your ad, and is a great way to avoid unnecessary costs. Pay-per-click means you pay per every single click, and targeting people that are not in any way interested or related to your service and product would mean paying for their clicks that won’t bring anything back to you. In other words, this controls your ad spend.
Negative keywords may or may not be related to your product, but they should be precisely chosen if you really want to cut down on expenses.
It is more valuable than you think.
Again, something that we mentioned already, but it’s very important not to overlook, no matter what service or product you are offering.
Basically, remarketing can increase conversions by bringing back customers that already showed interest in your website.
The best thing is there are so many options on how to do this, that it will only make things easier for you. Besides, you will certainly see some results and high ROI by implementing this type of advertising.
As one of the main tricks when you are utilizing the benefits of PPC marketing, is precisely this.
All in all, the ability of Remarketing to target a specific audience with an even more specific message, makes it worth the try.
Beware of Click Frauds
As PPC marketing grew, so did the click frauds.
Click fraud is the one that happens with pay-per-click online advertising. In 2017 alone, approximately one in every five clicks on PPC ads were fraudulent, and what is more concerning is that the numbers have grown since then.
It was done in a way that it is harmful to people who want to increase their sales or brand awareness. These click frauds will increase the costs of PPC marketing, without actually bringing any results.
It’s very concerning that click frauds can take many forms and sometimes go undetected. That is why you need to be aware of them, as they can seriously harm your business.
On a more positive note, most PPC networks have their own ways of dealing with this, and there are also tools that you can implement that will work precisely on this issue. Still, it’s good to be aware of them yourself, especially because it is such a fast growing issue in the digital marketing world.
Hopefully, by now you’ve grasped the definition of PPC advertising and how it can help your marketing campaign.
Usually, business owners have their own set of techniques that help them raise their brand’s awareness or bring on more customers to their websites. And while it’s uncommon for PPC marketing to be used on its own, it still stands as one of the most popular digital marketing models currently.
With good research and well-determined goals, there is not much you cannot do.
Don’t you agree?
Overall, my advice before I finish this article would be to know what you are doing and to do it as best as you possibly can.