Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing is an internet advertising model in which ads are shown on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) when someone searches on a keyword that is related to your products or services.  You pay a fee each time one of your ads is clicked (or in some cases, shown). PPC marketing is often part of an overall digital marketing strategy.  In this post, I’ll give a high level overview of what PPC is and then in the next several posts, I’ll dive into more detail about the specifics of PPC and how to best utilize it for your marketing efforts.

Where are PPC ads shown?

If you perform a search query, you will often see results such as those shown below (without the red and blue boxes) - where there are result listings on the top and the right side of the results page with the "Ad" icon or "Sponsored" disclaimer. These are PPC ads. While the example below is from the Google search engine, you will see similar "Ad" designations on other search engine sites.

what is PPC marketing

As the internet has evolved, so too have PPC ads and now "paid search" ads are found in a variety of locations such as YouTube, mobile apps, search partner websites, etc.

There are many types of paid search ads:

  • Text ads - outlined in red in the image above
  • Product Listing ads - outlined in blue in the image above
  • Image (Display) ads
  • Video ads
  • Call-only (Mobile) ads

To ease into this topic, let's start with the basics of how text ads work.

In the simplest PPC model for text ads, a list of keywords that relate to your products and services is created. Ads are written based on these keywords, as well as your products/services, and you set a bid on the maximum that you are willing to pay to get your ad shown for that keyword. When someone clicks on your ad, they are directed to a page on your website and you are charged a fee.

Why should I invest in PPC ads?

PPC ads help to direct traffic to your website so you can get leads and sales. They connect you to people who are searching for exactly what you offer! In addition, while it takes time to see the results from the organic SEO efforts, PPC campaigns can be setup relatively quickly and can be used to bridge the visibility gap as organic results are improved. In addition, analysis of the PPC keywords traffic can aid your organic SEO by identifying which keywords and copy are converting better and should be integrated into your organic SEO plan. PPC can also target additional keywords that you may be unable to rank well for organically for other reasons, such as heavy competition in your industry.

PPC campaigns are more complex than just this simple model and, as stated above, can involve not only text ads but images and videos. It is even possible to track users who have been to your website and then target ads to them as they continue to travel the internet. This “remarketing” is a tactic we recommend to clients who have a long sales cycle and/or high price point.

Want to know more?

I’ll be writing several more detailed articles about paid search and how it works but if you can’t wait and want to start a PPC campaign now or need other digital marketing services, please give us a call at 410-312-0081 or fill out the contact form.

- Terri Hesse, Digital Marketing Manager