What is PPC
Pay-Per-Click or PPC is a form of search engine advertising. If you’ve ever conducted a Google search and noticed a banner of three or four listings across the top of the screen with the ‘ad’ icon, those are PPC ads.
Pay per click is as the name suggests a way for businesses to advertise their products on a search engine and only pay for each click they receive. Common PPC platforms include AdWords and Bing Ads but social networks like Facebook and Instagram are also getting in on the act by offering business users impression and click-based advertising options to boost their social profile.
How’s it used?
AdWords was the original PPC platform and while other PPC options exist, Google’s offering leads the market. To mark its 15th anniversary, Google announced that it was going to overhaul the AdWords interface and roll out a brand new experience for users. The new AdWords is now live and with it comes lots of new functionality for PPC advertisers.
Originally, PPC ads were text ads. Advertisers provided a list of keywords they wanted their business to appear for when a search was conducted. It’s an auction system so each advertiser submitted a bid – this bid is the amount the advertiser is willing to pay for their ad to show. The amount is only paid if someone actually clicks on the ad.
The new look AdWords
Nowadays, things are a little more complicated and PPC encompasses a slew of ad types and marketing potential. There’s also a plethora of tools available, making PPC management a job for the experts.
One such example is the new Google AdWords and Optimize integration – this takes the hassle out of clunky landing page testing (a core component of CRO). Google Optimize integrates with AdWords so advertisers can conduct real-time landing page tests, creating new versions of landing pages and applying them to any combination of campaigns, ad groups or keywords to drive up conversions.
Advertisers can also create mobile ads to target specific devices, add call extensions so search users can place a call with just a click or add promo extensions to flag up deals and limited time offers.
In addition to displaying ads on the search engine results pages, there’s also a display network option, meaning advertisers can use PPC to place their ads on other thematically-relevant sites such as blogs.
The old tag line for AdWords describes PPC and its benefits best – reach users at exactly the moment they are searching for your product or service. Therein lies the beauty of PPC – you don’t need to wait six or 12 months for your SEO efforts to bear fruit, or spend weeks cultivating links from influencers or members of the media. You upload your keywords, set your budget and write your ad text. You can be live, in position one, page one of Google in minutes for search terms relevant to your product inventory. At a cost of course – but that’s another story…