Astonishingly, Google processes 3.5 billion searches every single day, so it’s important to place your brand at the centre of consumer conversation. If you’re a new business, you might want to consider running PPC campaigns to attract users to your website, and pick up early sales.

In this guide, we’ve outlined what PPC actually is and how it works, how to set up a PPC campaign and the cost involved, how to write an ad, and what a strong conversion rate looks like.

What is PPC?

If you’re new to paid search, you’ve likely got several questions whirring around your mind, the most important of which is probably ‘what is PPC?’. We’ve outlined what this common marketing term means, how PPC is fundamentally different to organic optimisation, and how you can use PPC for social media.

What does PPC stand for?

Pay-per-click, commonly referred to as PPC, is a branch of paid marketing that allows a brand or business to place ads on a search engine results page.

The intention of the PPC ad is to drive traffic to the brand’s website or app, to convert users into customers. A brand pays a fee for each person who clicks the advertised link (a pay-per-click model), with the fee determined by the value of the keyword included in the respective user search query.

What is the difference between SEO and PPC?

PPC and SEO are two different marketing disciplines, and are both effective ways of building your brand. However, they earn traffic in completely different ways; while PPC generates website visitors through paid ads, SEO generates traffic through organic performance. In short, SEO is ‘free’, while PPC is pad for.

What is PPC for social media?

When considering ways to boost website traffic, it’s important not to overlook the value of social media marketing. The beauty of running paid social ads is that a lot of the theory is the same to that of search engine PPC, in that you can bid for certain keywords and pay a fee for each user that clicks through to your website.

However, the major difference is that, instead of being positioned atop a results page, your ads are positioned within a social media news feed. This can offer great benefit to your brand, and allow you to capture another audience to that which might find your brand through a search engine.

How does PPC work: what are the benefits and drawbacks?

Whether you come from a marketing background or not, understanding how PPC works isn’t always straightforward, and you might still be wondering whether it’s worth making it a part of your overall marketing strategy.

Reading on, we’ve outlined the benefits of including PPC in your marketing efforts, as well as the difficulties you may face along the way.

What are the benefits of PPC?

There are numerous ways to include PPC within your marketing strategy, not least because paid search allows you to place your brand in front of audiences straight away.

If you’re a new business, running PPC campaigns is a cost-effective way of ‘jump starting’ sales, while established brands can continue to build on consumer trust by positioning themselves squarely within the conversation. We’ve outlined the main benefits of PPC, to help you capitalise:

1.  Enjoy instant traffic with PPC campaigns

Unlike search engine optimisation, which requires organic growth and continuous effort over a period of time, running PPC campaigns allows you to enjoy instant traffic to your website, making paid marketing an effective platform to build brand awareness. Even if you don’t convert a user, they’ll now have an awareness of your brand name, which is valuable exposure in itself.

2.  PPC campaigns are easily measurable

PPC performance is easily tracked, with clicks and conversions just a couple of the metrics you can measure. This allows you to refine your ongoing strategy, and improve your return on investment.

3.  PPC data can help your SEO efforts

PPC and SEO are, in many ways, two sides of the same coin; both aim to convert users search for relevant keywords. While both are different in execution, that doesn’t mean the two can’t work together. Importantly both PPC and SEO are keyword driven, with much of the essential data relevant to both disciplines. So, if you’re running PPC campaigns alongside SEO, consider how website impression data, click-through rate, and conversion information can benefit your organic growth.

4.  You don’t need to worry about changing algorithms

Another difference between PPC and SEO is that paid marketing isn’t quite as heavily at the mercy of major search engine algorithm updates. Instead, paid search offers more stability, with changes rarely having a big impact on PPC campaigns. This allows marketers to more seamlessly predict performance based on previous results.

5.  PPC campaigns can be efficiently retargeted

Retargeting is when you show an ad to a user who has already clicked through to your website, but didn’t make a purchase. Because you know they are already interested in your brand, they’re easier to convert than a new user entirely.

Difficulties around running PPC campaigns

Just as there are benefits to running PPC campaigns, there are, naturally, difficulties and hurdles you’re likely to face along the way.

The most challenging aspect of running an ad campaign is the time commitment required to maximise returns; while website traffic is more instantaneous than you’d experience through SEO, PPC requires regular care and attention behind the scenes, as well as frequent measurement of data and results.

Additionally, something else you’ll come across is that a click doesn’t always mean a sale. In fact, a user only converts a fraction of the time. With this in mind, make every effort to make your website easily navigable and user-friendly to improve your chances of a consumer continuing along your buying process.

How to set up a PPC campaign

Knowing what goes into setting up and run an effective Google Ads campaigns is a critical part of understanding how PPC works. Running a campaign is a continuous effort, and requires regular maintenance, so, to offer some direction, we’ve outlined the key areas you should be addressing.

Undertake keyword research

Keyword research is critical because it demonstrates what your audience is searching for. There are four keyword categories you can bid for: brand terms, competitor terms, generic terms, and related terms. Similarly, you can bid for exact terms or similar phrases. This broad spectrum of keyword availability gives you complete freedom over the type of terms you target during bidding.

Conduct competitor research

When running PPC campaigns, it’s helpful to know how your competitors are behaving, and what keywords and phrases they’re bidding for. This insight can help you tailor your ongoing PPC strategy.

Create ad groups

Each PPC campaign will be made up of various relevant keywords that you’re bidding for. This can quickly get confusing if you’re not careful. To address this, introduce ad groups: an ad group is, essentially, a ‘pot’ that keeps your keywords tidily in one place, and each PPC campaign will be made up of multiple. Creating effective ad groups can help to increase website traffic and conversions, while making overall costs more efficient.

How to write a PPC ad

If you successfully bid for an ad position for your chosen keyword, you’ll be required to write copy that sells the page you’re linking to. This is your chance to hook your audience, and convince them to visit your website. So, as far as PPC for beginners goes, writing ad copy is an important step in securing a conversion.

Knowing how to write a PPC ad is something you can quickly pick up, and it’s a skill you’ll certainly getter better with after a little experience. To create effective ad copy, you should take the following into account:

1. Know your stuff

When writing ad copy, you only have a finite amount of space to sell your story, product, or service. Make each character count by focussing on the important parts of your offering.

2. Write for your audience

Your ads are targeted at your audience, so make your copy relevant to them. Try to use terms that make a user the subject, and imply that they’re part of your journey. If a user feels an ad is about them, their intrigue will take over and they’ll be more inclined to click your link.

3. Mention the benefits of your product or service

This is an advertisement – so advertise. A user has made a search to resolve a problem or find a product, so talk up the benefits and advantages of your service and how you can help them.

4. How are you the best?

Your ad copy may be positioned alongside a competitor’s, so make sure yours stands out as an example of excellence. Make sure to include relevant information around how your product or service is ideally matched to a user’s problem or query.

5. Include a call to action

A call to action implies a sense of urgency, which will encourage a user to click through to your linked page. Whether you tell a user to ‘buy now’, ‘learn more’, or ‘request a quote’, you should make your call to action clear and direct.

6. Reflect a user’s search term

Writing an ad is about demonstrating value, and what better way to encourage a user to click through to your website than to replicate their search term within your copy. By doing this, you are highlighting how relevant your page is.

How much does PPC cost?

PPC is, by definition, orientated around price and cost. With this in mind, its, clearly, of utmost importance that you develop a thorough understanding of how to manage PPC campaigns’ budgets.

Budgeting for PPC campaigns?

Budgeting for PPC campaigns can be a complexity, as you’re constantly keeping track of prices and new bidding processes. However, this doesn’t mean it’s any less important. Before working out spending capacity, though, it’s important to establish what your PPC goals are:

  • Are you financially driven?

If your main metric is profitability, then this should play a pivotal part in your bidding process. For instance, if you’re only willing to pay £10 for each new customer, you are implementing a spending ceiling.

  • Are you solely focussed on acquiring leads and customers?

if you’re less concerned about overall expenditure, and willing to spend whatever it costs to acquire a certain amount of new customers, you’ll go into the bidding process with a little more freedom to spend.

  • Is brand awareness your priority?

If brand awareness is your main motivation, you’re unlikely to have too much concern over budgeting or spend. For instance, you may have a target of 500,000 monthly website impressions. To achieve this, you may have to bid big to win certain competitive keywords.

Fortunately, by virtue of PPC being ‘pay-per-click’, you are only liable to pay for each user who visits your site. This in itself makes paid search a valuable tool, both for measuring site viewership and ensuring cost-effectiveness.

What is a good conversion rate for PPC?

PPC performance is measured on how effective your ads are at converting users into customers. The standard conversion rate for a Google ad currently stands at 3.75% for search and 0.77% for display, so anything above this is considered above average or extraordinary. Importantly, these figures are the average rates, and certain industries might experience higher or lower levels of click-through and conversion.

While these numbers might not appear to be particularly high, on face value, they only further prove the importance of remarketing; by placing your brand in front of a previous website visitor, you can immediately improve your chance of increasing this figure.

Now you’ve got a basic understanding of how PPC works, it’s time to launch a campaign. Alternatively, explore all there is to know about the other elements involved in marketing your brand , or how to set up your new business.