You’ve come to the right place if you’ve heard a little about PPC marketing and want to learn more, or if you already know you want to use PPC to market your business but don’t know where to begin. This is the first lesson in PPC University, a series of guided courses that will teach you everything you need to know about PPC and how to use it to your advantage.
What is PPC?
PPC is an abbreviation for pay-per-click, a digital advertising model in which the advertiser pays a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, you’re paying for targeted website traffic (or landing page or app). When PPC works properly, the fee is insignificant because the click is worth more than what you pay for it. For example, if you pay $3 for a click that leads to a $300 sale, you’ve made a tidy profit.
PPC ads come in all shapes and sizes (literally), and can contain text, images, videos, or a combination of the three. They can be found on search engines, websites, social media platforms, and other places.
How does PPC advertising work?
PPC advertising looks different on each platform, but the general process is as follows:
Choose a campaign type based on your goal.
Because all PPC advertising platforms want to keep their users happy, they reward advertisers who create relevant, trustworthy pay-per-click campaigns with higher ad positioning and lower costs.
What is Google Ads?
Google Ads is the world’s most popular PPC advertising system. Businesses can use the Google Ads platform to create ads that appear on Google’s search engine and other Google properties.
When a search is initiated, Google searches through the pool of ads and selects a set of winners to appear on the search engine results page.
The “winners” are determined by a number of factors, including the quality and relevancy of their keywords and ad campaigns, as well as the size of their keyword bids. That will be explained in the following section.
How PPC works in Google Ads
When advertisers create an ad, they select a set of keywords to target with that ad and place a bid on each keyword. So, if you bid on the keyword “pet adoption,” you are telling Google that you want your ad to appear for searches that match or are related to pet adoption (more on keyword match types here).
To determine which ads appear for any given search, Google employs a set of formulas and an auction-style process. If your ad is accepted into the auction, it will first assign you a Quality Score from one to ten based on your ad’s relevance to the keyword, expected click-through rate, and landing page quality.
It will then multiply your Quality Score by your maximum bid (the most you’re willing to pay for a click on that ad) to determine your Ad Rank. The ads with the highest Ad Rank scores are shown.
This system enables winning advertisers to reach potential customers at a cost that is within their budget. It’s essentially an auction. The infographic below depicts how the Google Ads auction works.
How to do PPC with Google Ads
PPC marketing with Google Ads is especially beneficial because, as the most popular search engine, Google receives massive amounts of traffic and thus delivers the most impressions and clicks to your ads. The frequency with which your PPC ads appear is determined by the keywords and match types you choose. While a variety of factors influence the success of your PPC advertising campaign, you can accomplish a lot by doing the following:
How to do effective PPC keyword research
Keyword research for PPC can be time-consuming, but it is also crucial. Your entire PPC campaign is built around keywords, and the most successful Google Ads advertisers are constantly growing and refining their PPC keyword list. If you only do keyword research once, when you create your first campaign, you are likely missing out on hundreds of thousands of valuable, long-tail, low-cost, and highly relevant keywords that could be driving traffic to your site.
You can find our complete keyword research guide here, but in summary, an effective PPC keyword list should include:
Check out our Free Keyword Tool to find high-volume, industry-specific keywords to use in your PPC campaigns.
Managing your PPC campaigns
After you’ve created your new campaigns, you’ll need to manage them on a regular basis to ensure they remain effective. In fact, regular account activity is one of the best predictors of account success. You should be constantly analysing the performance of your account and making the following changes to optimise your campaigns:
Get started with PPC
Are you ready to begin with PPC? Learn how to create a Google Ads account here.
If you already have a Google Ads account, we recommend that you use our Free Google Ads Performance Grader to help you identify areas for improvement. In 60 seconds or less, you’ll receive a customised report grading your account performance in 9 key areas, including click-through rate, Quality Score, and account activity.