If you’ve been considering digital marketing for a while, you’ve probably come across PPC. Standing for pay-per-click, this term is used to describe a model of digital marketing where the advertiser will pay every time someone clicks their ad.

It can be used to increase sales, generate leads, or garner brand awareness. The PPC model is most often seen on Google (and other search engines) and on social media.

How PPC can help businesses

PPC is a popular advertising choice for businesses because it can help you achieve a huge range of different business goals. Plus, whether you wish to build your brand reputation or drive up sales, nearly every type of conversion can be tracked. This means you can more accurately measure the return on investment (ROI) of your ad campaigns.

With today’s customers no longer taking a straightforward path to purchasing, PPC can target them at many different stages of the buyer journey. Most people require seven interactions with a brand (on average) before purchasing. PPC makes these interactions more effective and trackable.

For instance, a potential customer could first discover a business through a PPC AdWords campaign. From there, they might see the brand again via an organic search result, a review or blog written by someone else, and the company’s organic social media. If they then visit the brand’s website, they might sign up for an email newsletter. They’ll also begin to see banner ads on some websites that direct them back to the brand if they haven’t made a purchase. A PPC social media ad may then offer them an exclusive discount, which finally converts them into a paying customer.

This highlights another benefit of using PPC. It works well with other marketing channels including your email marketing and content marketing campaigns and it can be easily integrated with existing marketing efforts.

Introducing AdWords

Google AdWords is probably one of the most well-known examples of PPC advertising. Through AdWords, you can create ads that appear for certain search results based on what keywords you use.

A shoe retailer, for example, might create an AdWords campaign that uses the keywords “ladies kitten heels” and “women’s low heeled shoe”. There’s then a possibility that the retailer’s website will appear when someone searches for those phrases (based on whether the retailer wins the initial AdWords price auction first). If someone then clicks the ad, the retailer will be charged for the click.

PPC advertising examples on Google

An example of PPC ads for the keyword “cheap flights” on Google.

Getting it right can be a bit of a science, and AdWords itself is tricky to get your head around initially. So, we’ll be covering this in more depth in a later blog post.

Social media advertising

PPC on social media is a similar concept to AdWords except the ads appear solely on a social media platform. Most social media platforms offer advertising in some way or another, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Instead of appearing when someone searches for something, on social media, specific groups of people are targeted and ads then appear in their newsfeeds, timelines, and messages. If someone clicks on the ad, the advertiser will be charged.

PPC advert on Facebook

An example of a PPC ad appearing on Facebook.

Whilst AdWords is often good for lead generation and direct sales, social media ads can have much more of an impact on brand reputation and growing a social media account. An ad placed on social media won’t just drive people to a website, but it can also encourage users to ‘like’ a page, share a post, comment, and so forth. Because of this, social media PPC works best when integrated with other marketing campaigns.

Get started with PPC

Whatever style of PPC you choose, it’s important to do some groundwork first. You should spend time researching your ideal customer, figuring out what keywords work best for you, creating stunning websites and landing pages that will convert customers, and building good social media content.

Once you find the PPC strategy that works for you, it can be an invaluable addition to your marketing strategy. It is also relatively low cost compared to other marketing campaigns, so it can be a good way to get started with advertising. If you’re trying to reach a wider audience, PPC is probably your best bet.