InsightsPPC Agency

What is PPC marketing?

Written by Wes Parker

Posted on: September 22, 2023

What is PPC in Marketing? Why do you need it? And how will it help you achieve your digital marketing goals? These are questions the expert DemandMore team often sees – and we’re here to help you. Today we are diving deep into the world of PPC marketing and what it does for your business. We’ll look at the core concept of PPC, how it helps achieve your marketing goals, and why you should work with a PPC agency that will help you boost your brand the right way. Let’s get started.

What is PPC in Marketing: The Quick Facts

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to PPC, but here’s the quick-and-dirty details. 

Pay-per-click advertising, often shortened to PPC, is what you probably know best as ‘Google Ads,’ although you’ll see it used on many popular platforms. It’s a form of digital marketing where you create a compelling advert and use chosen keywords to trigger it. Advertisers ‘bid’ on these keywords on popular search engines and some social sites. When a potential customer inputs a search string using these terms, the winning ads will show at the top of their search results. It’s a cost-effective and targeted digital advertising method that helps you stand out from the crowd at the top of search results. 

Unpacking PPC in More Depth

So what is PPC in marketing exactly? It is a digital advertising model where businesses create ads and place them on platforms like search engines (notably Google and Bing) or social media sites (think Facebook, Instagram, and many more). It’s the modern tech age’s answer to print advertising. But it is a lot more powerful and targeted than print ads ever were. It’s estimated that the PPC industry will be worth $190 billion by 20241, so this is a digital marketing method you need to understand.

Instead of paying a fixed amount upfront, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad and visits your website. This method allows you to target specific keywords, demographics, and interests, ensuring your ads reach the right audience every time. In fact, PPC ads are thought to convert 50% better than organic ones2

Bidding takes place in real-time, using an auction-like format. Advertisers compete for ad placement based on those set targets and keywords. PPC is effective in driving targeted traffic quickly and providing measurable results, making it a popular choice for businesses looking to boost online visibility and conversions. While it varies by industry, a conversion rate of around 6.18% is average for PPC advertising3, far higher than other advertising types.

How to Make PPC Work for You

We’ve answered the question, “What is PPC in marketing?” Now let’s look at how to get the best from your PPC marketing efforts. 

Before You Market

Great PPC advertising starts with an ultra-clear goal. Whether it’s increasing website traffic, generating leads, or driving sales, having well-defined objectives will shape your strategy. Ask yourself why you’re running the campaign, who your target market is, and what you hope to achieve through PPC. Remember, 2.54 billion people are expected to shop online this year4, so it pays to be selective.

Next, it’s time to talk about keywords. They’re the cornerstone of PPC marketing, but many businesses don’t understand what high-performing, relevant keywords for their niche look like. Remember, 50% of searched keywords are 4 words or more 5, so this is a diverse environment. Luckily, there are tools and experts (like the DemandMore team) to help. Ensuring your keywords are relevant, tight, and high-performing is critical. Don’t neglect your ‘negative keywords’, or search strings that sort of look like they’re relevant, but waste your ad spend. You want to exclude some misleading search terms to better refine your results.

Now, who are you marketing to? It’s very common for businesses to keep too general a target audience. In fact, 42% of businesses don’t know their target audience at all6! Yes, we want as many people as possible to respond to our marketing efforts, but let’s be honest – your brand isn’t for everyone. You need to deeply examine the specific demographics of your brand, including where they come from, their interests, and what makes them tick. Having a few ‘buyer personas’ and a strong understanding of your market is essential.

Preparing for Success

Now you know what you’re marketing and who you’re marketing to, you need to ensure your ads sell. Remember, getting them seen is only half the battle! You need compelling and concise ad copy that highlights your unique value propositions, with clear keywords and calls-to-action (CTAs). A great CTA can boost conversions by up to 87%7

Your ad needs to lead to relevant, optimised, SEO-friendly landing pages. Ensure these are on-brand and responsive so users have the best possible experience. Poor  landing pages can cost you 60%-90% of your conversions8 If the platform uses them, ad extensions can help extend your message and boost engagement too. Anything that makes your message more appealing or gives better visibility is fantastic. Remember that many users access your ads on mobile devices. They account for roughly 52% of PPC clicks9 So ensure your ads (and landing pages) are friendly to all devices. You need a seamless user experience.

Get Strategic – and Keep That Data

Let’s introduce you to your new best friend. A/B testing is the fancy term for setting two ad variants, different keywords, or alternate landing pages against each other to see what resonates most with your audience, and it is one of the most popular testing strategies around[ fn][/mfn]. Rinse, adjust, and repeat to further refine your campaigns at the click of a button. 

Ensure you have a smart bidding strategy developed too. Know whether you’re maximising clicks, focusing on ROI, or driving conversions – and keep your goals trim and streamlined. Even the best ad campaigns can’t do everything. Keep an eye on the competitiveness of your bids, too. On Google, the ‘quality score’ metric will help you determine how relevant and high-quality your ads are. They also help boost ad placement and keep costs lower as a reward. With average CPC (cost per click) hitting as high as $8.6710, every bit helps.

Last, but certainly not least, ensure you have data analytics and tracking in place. These not only help you measure the effects of a specific campaign but provide invaluable further insight into what works and who responds to it. The analytics market could reach $68 billion by 202511, so it does matter.

By following these best practices and maintaining a proactive, data-driven approach, you can leverage PPC effectively to reach your target audience, achieve your goals, and maximise your return on investment.

The Many Pros of PPC Advertising

You’re probably already getting a great idea of how PPC advertising can help you boost your digital marketing efforts. But let’s highlight a few of the major pros of using PPC as part of your online advertising efforts.

  • Instant Results: Okay, that might be overstating it a bit. But PPC offers results and data on an impressively short timeline, with your ads immediately displayed at the top of SERP pages once the campaign is created and funded. You’ll see an uptick in traffic almost instantly12 And even when your ad doesn’t get click-throughs, the search engine prominence helps boost brand recognition.
  • Tight Targeting: Because it relies on the keywords and criteria/demographics you set (including location, devices, and even time of day), PPC lets you precisely target just the right audience, keeping ad spending low and results high. Remember, 80% of searchers like to see relevant, tightly targeted ads13
  • Strict, Cost-Effective Budgeting: While you can’t always control the cost of each bid, PPC allows for strict budget control and precise spending. This makes PPC immensely cost-effective, provided you’ve done the work to properly target your ads. Google suggests an ROI of $2 for every $1 spent14
  • Flexibility: You can start and stop campaigns, or adjust their parameters, in real-time based on the results you see. This is why PPC is ideal for the A/B testing we described above.
  • Measurable Results: Building on the idea of A/B testing, most PPC platforms offer a wealth of information on conversions, clicks, costs, and the demographics of the people you’ve reached. Not only does this help you track your success, but it gives you valuable analytics to use in future campaigns. Remember, data is a valuable tool indeed15

While PPC is an exceedingly powerful tool when used well, it will need continuous monitoring and adjustment (optimization) to ensure your ads continue to perform the way you want them to.

Are There Cons with PPC Advertising?

Of course, in digital advertising as in life, not everything is perfect. There are some drawbacks to PPC advertising – but many of them can be offset with skilled campaign creation, vigilant monitoring, and smart use.

One last point that is worth mentioning when discussing PPC advertising is that it isn’t the end goal, and many businesses forget that. You need those curious clickers to convert. So it is critical to look at PPC as part of a wider holistic advertising strategy, and not get too myopic. Ensure your landing pages or website are slick and SEO-optimised, use creative and compelling copy alongside engaging images and video, keep brand consistency and voice strong, and ensure that each click draws people deeper into your sales funnel. It’s all part of your wider online advertising efforts.

PPC Marketing FAQs

From ‘what is PPC in marketing’ to the nitty-gritty of getting it right, here are some common questions DemandMore often gets asked.

What is PPC in Marketing?

PPC advertising is a digital marketing strategy. Advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked. It involves bidding on keywords relevant to their business, and their ads appear on search engines/other platforms when users search for those keywords. It’s a way to buy visits to your website rather than earning them organically.

Where Do PPC Ads Appear? 

PPC ads are common on search engines and social media. They can also appear on websites and apps within ad networks, like the Google Display Network.

How Does Bidding Work? 

Advertisers set a maximum bid – the maximum amount they’re willing to pay if someone clicks their ad. The ad auction takes into account the bid amount, ad quality, and other factors to determine which ads appear and in what order.

Hopefully, you now have a basic understanding of PPC marketing, its mechanics, and its many benefits. If you’re looking to make the most of your PPC efforts, DemandMore is here to help you craft compelling campaigns that work for your brand. Feel free to reach out to us today – we’re ready to help you achieve PPC marketing success your way.