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What is PPC? Pay-Per-Click Explained

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is a complex digital marketing channel. It presents a significant opportunity for digital marketers to grow their traffic and conversion metrics. But without a smart strategy and careful tactics, pay-per-click can cause major headaches.

We’ve put together the answers to some of the most common questions we get asked to better explain PPC marketing.

What Is PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Marketing?

Pay-per-click marketing is an advertising channel where marketers don’t pay by the impression or purely for ad placement. The bid amount may affect placement, but the advertiser only pays when their ad is clicked by an online user.

The most common PPC ad format appears on search results pages of search engines like Google or Bing. Advertisers have the opportunity to place their brand, product, or service front and center in the form of an ad that targets a specific keyword or behavior.

What Do PPC Ads Look Like?

Most PPC ads appear in search results, but not all. There are three main types of pay-per-click marketing ads.

Text Ads

A text ad is composed of a written copy by the advertiser. Format and character limits are dependant on the PPC platform you are working on. Text ads are most commonly triggered through the Search Network- when users search on Google or Bing for a keyword held within your PPC campaign. We’ll get to how keywords and ads are selected later on this page.

Below is a look at a text ad on a Google SERP through Google Ads:

Display Ads

A display ad is typically delivered in a format of an image or motion graphic. PPC platforms that offer display advertising often have size and content requirements advertisers must comply with when creating their visual creative.

Display ads typically show up and are available for advertising placement on websites across the internet. Ads are contextually placed on websites where the advertiser’s target market visits.

Shopping Ads

A shopping ad is typically delivered after a searcher submits a query through a search engine or shopping engine. Shopping ads typically contain an image of the product, the price of it, and any pertinent specifications like size, color, dimensions, etc.

This is what a typical shopping ad looks like:

What are the Major PPC Platforms?

Countless platforms offer text, display, and shopping PPC ad placement but there are three core platforms you can’t ignore:

Google Ads

Google Ads is Google’s primary PPC advertising platform. Google offers pay-per-click advertising on its Search Network and search partner sites along with image and video advertising on its Display Network. Advertising on YouTube is available through the Google Ads platform.

Microsoft Advertising

Microsoft Advertising (formally Bing Ads) is Microsoft’s PPC advertising platform. The platform allows pay-per-click advertising on its Search Network ( and search partner sites (including along with native advertising on Microsoft-owned web properties (such as MSN).

Amazon Advertising

Over 46% of product-focused searches begin on Amazon.

Amazon Advertising is the fastest-emerging PPC platform for e-commerce retailers. Amazon empowers advertisers to create display- and shopping-focused campaigns that promote their products on Amazon’s shopping network.

Should my Business Try PPC Marketing?

If you have a website, you have to consider PPC advertising as a marketing channel. The key word is ‘consider’. Just because you have a website does not mean that you should engage in PPC.

Before starting your first PPC marketing campaign, consider your budget, advertising goals, competition, and risk tolerance:

  1. Do you have a clear conversion goal? PPC advertising is most effective when you can match dollars spent to a conversion like a transaction or lead form completion. Clear conversion goals help you do that.

  2. What are you trying to accomplish? PPC is great for responsive, nimble advertising. But when you stop spending, PPC stops producing. If you want to balance this with earned media, try adding search engine optimization to the mix.

  3. How much can you spend on PPC before you get a return on investment? Reality check: Your ads won’t produce instant results. Be ready to spend some money without a return. It might be £50 or £50,000. Just have a number in mind.

You don’t have to have a definitive answer for all of these questions. You do need to consider them before you dive in.

How do I Learn More About PPC?

Pay-per-click marketing is a complex digital marketing tactic. It can be a risky marketing channel if not managed properly.

But it offers significant value and it has to be a core building block for any successful digital marketing campaign. Know your goals, set your budget, and test carefully.

To learn more about Paid Ads and how effective it can be for you, click on the link and you will be directed to our main page for more details.

If you would like to know more about PPC, contact Regal Roye today and we'll get you started.

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