Learn the basics of PPC Marketing

Learn the basics of PPC Marketing

Updated 25 October 2022

What is PPC marketing and how can you get started?

The online marketing world is full of acronyms which can sometimes get quite overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the industry. CPCs, SISs, CPAs and many more are all common terms throughout online advertising. We’re going to look at one that is sometimes misunderstood and thrown around a bit too carelessly, and that is of course, PPC. 

What is PPC Marketing?

PPC is short for “Pay Per Click” and is exactly what it sounds like: a bidding model that will charge you only when you receive a click on your ad and a user is sent to your website or landing page.

The other major bidding model most marketers will come across is CPM, which is “cost per thousand impressions”. So you are not paying for clicks, you are paying to have your ad shown 1,000 times for a certain price per thousand impressions.

Contrary to popular belief, PPC is not just a synonym for Google Ads; it is in fact a bidding and payment model that is used across a wide range of online advertising platforms, including Google Ads, Facebook, Bing, LinkedIn and many more.

What are the benefits of PPC Marketing?

PPC is quite different from CPM and other bidding models and has a wide range of benefits, including these top 3:

1. You only pay for clicks you receive.

If no one clicks on your ad, you don’t pay anything! Free exposure basically. For more direct response style campaigns and strategies that don’t require the creation of branded presence (e.g. small business services) which aim for a one-click one-conversion approach, paying-per-click is arguably the best way to be profitable and scalable as traffic to the site is how you achieve your goal. So in turn you only want to be paying for traffic and nothing else.

2. Easier to track campaign performance.

As the objective is to receive clicks (traffic), it becomes easier to measure the performance of your campaigns as you can track user behaviour on your website, as well as track other desirable actions (such as form completions, phone calls, etc.) as opposed to any benefits that may come from increased brand exposure and awareness that you typically receive from other, non-click focused bidding models. In this way, you can measure the benefits and returns very easily. Compare PPC to CPM for example, which charges you based on the number of impressions you receive. Using this approach may result in less website clicks, especially so if your impressions are not visible to the user. For example, your ad shows at the bottom of a page, but the user never scrolls that far and never sees it – you are still charged for this.

3. Better results and returns.

In this humble marketers experience, paying per click has almost always resulted in a higher ROI and a better return for my clients, and I put this down to the fact that with this model you will generally get what you pay for. Paying per click removes the pressure of needing a high CTR, and a high percentage of viewable impressions to be profitable and puts the risk back onto the platform, ensuring that you are guaranteed relevant clicks and traffic, or else you don’t pay. A CPM model will generally work better for businesses who are looking for awareness and brand exposure (typically display and video ads), however, this can be much harder to get a measured, dollar benefit as attribution as well as cause and effect are much less clear.

PPC Marketing in practice

So, what does PPC Marketing look like in practice? General consensus is that Google Ads search campaigns are without a doubt some of the best quality PPC traffic available. It allows for extremely focused targeting, huge volume and potential for some amazing returns, so let’s dive a bit deeper into what a Google Ads search campaign looks like.

A Google Ads search campaign uses the PPC bidding model, and as we’ve covered earlier, advertisers only pay when someone clicks on their ad. Search ads are the ads that show up at the very top of Google when someone performs a search, so in practice, you can have your ad showing up at the top of Google anytime someone searches for your chosen keywords. This sort of targeting of user intent is almost unprecedented across the marketing landscape and can offer smart marketers fantastic ROI.

What elements make up a successful Google Ads search campaign?

A basic search campaign is made up of your chosen keywords (you can use these to decide which searches you want your ad to show for), ad copy (what the user sees when they see your ads in the search results) and your landing page (where the user goes when they click on your ad.

Search term > Ad copy > Landing page

As a marketer, your job is to make sure these 3 are all aligned and consistent, with the end goal being a certain action on the landing page, depending on the niche or industry this could be a form completion, a phone call, quote request, etc.

Read more: Turning paid clicks into genuine leads

Real world example of a PPC campaign

Enough of all this theory though, let’s take a look at a real world example of what a Google Ads campaign could look like.

Take a hypothetical business – let’s call it Harry’s Plumbing. They fix pipes, unclog toilets and repair hot water systems all over Melbourne, Australia. Business has been a bit slow lately and their phone doesn't ring as much as it used to, so they’ve decided to run a search campaign on Google Ads. With the help of a local digital marketing agency, Harry creates several campaigns targeting people in Melbourne looking for a plumber. He uses a wide range of keywords such as “plumber melbourne”, “plumber near me” “hot water repair” and many more. Anyone who searches for these terms or similar in Melbourne may see Harry's ad appear at the top of their search results. Any time someone clicks on that ad, they get sent to Harry's website and Harry pays Google for that click.

He knows that for every 10 clicks he sends to the website, one of them will contact him for plumbing services. He also knows that the average cost he is paying for each click is $7, and predicts that he will need to pay roughly $70 (10 clicks for $7 each) for each phone call he receives. Harry is ok with this though as he knows that the average plumbing job he gets is worth $700 or $800.

Harry is able to benefit from PPC model as he doesn't pay unless he gets a click, and since his ads will only show up when someone is searching for his keywords, the quality of clicks he receives will be fairly high and user intent will be very relevant, so Harry can get a great return on his advertising budget.

PPC Marketing summary

When it comes to paid digital media, the PPC model can provide some of the best returns and highest quality of traffic, which in turn can offer some solid ROIs. Paying per click ensures that you’re not only just paying for actual visitors to your website, but that you’re paying for relevant visitors as well (as they will not click on your ad unless it appeals to them) making it much more straightforward in achieving a profitable campaign.

PPC Google Search Ads offer some of the most targeted, highest quality traffic that is available, and for any direct response marketers (or indeed any online marketer) it should be a key tool in your marketing toolbox.

Get in touch if you want to learn more about PPC marketing or need help with your paid campaigns.

Written by

Chris Rogers

Paid Search Specialist

Chris is a digital marketer who enjoys all things Google Ads, direct response marketing and digital marketing strategy. Generating a solid ROI on all ad spend is what brings him the most satisfaction. He has several years of agency experience as well as many more of side hustling and self education in the online marketing space.