Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are a type of digital advertising model used to drive website traffic through online ads where advertisers only pay when a user clicks their ad from high-traffic sites like Google. Businesses looking for an affordable way to increase brand awareness, web traffic and sales are ideal candidates for PPC.
Many businesses use PPC advertising to drive sales and while it is typically considered a very cost-effective means of advertising, if its not done correctly it can become expensive. To avoid this, use Hibu, which is a professional PPC management service that puts your PPC campaigns in expert hands for optimum campaign performance and a higher return on ad spend.
What Is PPC Advertising
PPC advertising is a popular form of search engine marketing where businesses create ads to display on major sites like Google to capture awareness and clicks. The PPC model means advertisers only pay when users click on their ad, making it very cost-effective for most businesses with costs per click (CPCs) averaging around $1 to $2 on major PPC platforms.
There are two main types of PPC advertising: paid search and paid social. The main difference between them stems from differing user intent. For example, where paid search users are actively looking for your product or service, social media users are mostly using the platform to seek entertainment.
PPC: Paid Search
Paid search is the traditional type of PPC where ads are displayed as search results in search engines like Google. Businesses use it to rank highly for search terms (keywords) to gain exposure by landing in the top search results. The focus of paid search is to bid on keywords so that your ads display when users search those keywords.
For example, a company that sells luggage uses Google Ads to rank on the first page of search results by bidding on keywords like “best luggage for frequent travelers.” Advertisers can’t target specific audiences. They can only work to ensure their company is visible to anyone searching for that keyword or phrase.
PPC: Paid Social
Paid social is advertising on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Advertisers create ads that display to audiences of their choice to appeal to those users and drive clicks. Businesses use paid social because its robust audience targeting options let businesses choose who their ads will display to, allowing them to get their ads in front of people who are likely to become customers.
For example, same luggage company above might use Facebook Ads to advertise to their target audience on Facebook. While users are not necessarily using social networks like Facebook and Instagram to find new luggage, the platforms’ comprehensive audience targeting allows advertisers to choose precisely who their ad will show to, getting in front of the right people who are likely to purchase travel gear at some point.
How PPC Advertising Works
PPC campaigns are created within advertising platforms, such as Google, Bing or Facebook ads. For the most part, they all work the same way; the platform walks you through the new campaign build-out process, which tells the platform exactly how your ad should be displayed and what your ad will say.
In paid search, PPC campaigns work like an auction where advertisers compete against one another by bidding on the keywords they want their ad to display for. Keep in mind the amount an advertiser is willing to pay isn’t the sole factor in how PPC platforms determine which ad gets displayed. Other factors include ad quality, landing page experience and historical click-through rate.
Both PPC social and search campaigns include the same major elements, including an ad’s message, an offer that will incite action from the user and a landing page where your user will be directed to after clicking your ad. The advertising platforms want to provide their users with a good experience, so they look for ads that are the most relevant to their users.
After completing the new campaign build process, the advertising platform will determine whether or not your ad will be approved. If your ad complies with their policies, then it will go live, and you should begin tracking your campaign’s performance. PPC campaigns should not only be consistently monitored but also be optimized to help maximize ad spend.
Who PPC Advertising Is Right For
With so many different PPC advertising platforms available, nearly any business can find a platform that will meet their advertising goals and reach their target audience. Businesses should consider where their target customers are spending time online, and then align their PPC campaigns with ads on sites that speak to their target audience.
PPC advertising is a good option for:
- Businesses that sell online: PPC advertising is ideal for businesses that sell products or services online as these businesses not only gain brand awareness, but these ads can also lead directly to sales
- Business-to-business (B2B) companies: Business-to-business companies typically do well with PPC advertising because they can promote free trials and demos to prospective customers, driving more sales
- Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies: PPC gives business-to-consumer companies a way to reach many more consumers, particularly with social PPC
- eCommerce companies: PPC advertising serves product-based and ecommerce businesses well with shopping ads designed to generate online sales
- Service industries: PPC isn’t only for online-based businesses; it can also be great for getting your name out there and building recognition
- Businesses in competitive markets: Those with a high degree of competition are well-served by PPC advertising as it gives them a way to outrank their competitors
PPC advertising is suitable for most businesses and industries, given that PPC advertising has options spanning numerous advertising goals, from simply building awareness to increasing event attendance or mobile app downloads. What you should be considering is whether a PPC platform will get your ads in front of your ideal customers and if it is a cost-effective way for your business to do so.
PPC Advertising Costs
PPC advertising costs vary from platform to platform and are influenced by many factors, including bid amounts, targeting options, ad relevance and level of competition. The average CPC on Google Ads is approximately $2, whereas on Facebook Ads it’s 37 cents, although CPCs can range anywhere from 20 cents to more than $30. The total amount an advertiser spends per month is set by the advertiser, so the lower the CPC, the more clicks you can get out of your budget.
Here are the average CPCs across all industries for the leading PPC platforms:
- Google Ads: Approximately $2 per click
- Bing Ads: $1.54 per click
- Facebook Ads: $1.86 per click
- Pinterest Ads: Approximately $1 per click
- LinkedIn Ads: $5.26 per click
Don’t be deterred by platforms with higher CPCs as the focus should ultimately be on which platform is best suited for reaching your target audience and your advertising goals, leading to the highest return on ad spend. There is a reason why many businesses are willing to pay $30-plus per click; it is because their return on those clicks is high enough to remain cost-effective. Get a better idea of what Google Ads will cost you by reading our article on Google Advertising Costs.
How to Build a PPC Search Campaign in 8 Steps
To build a PPC campaign on Google Ads, start by logging in to your account or create a new account if you don’t already have one. From the home screen, you will select the new campaign button to begin the new campaign build-out process. Google walks you through this process, ensuring that you complete the process correctly.
Here’s how to build a PPC campaign in eight steps.
1. Log In or Create a New Google Ads Account
Go to Google Ads to sign in if you have an existing account. Alternatively, click “Start Now” to begin and complete the registration process if you are new to Google Ads.
2. Go to Campaigns
From the new Google Ads interface, look to the left-hand menu and select “Campaigns.” This will open your campaigns tab where you can then create a new campaign.
3. Click the ‘+’ Button to Create a New Campaign
Click the round blue “+” button from the upper left-hand side of the campaigns screen. This will expand an options menu option where you will select the first option, “New campaign.”
4. Select Your Campaign Goal & Campaign Type
You will be prompted to select the goal of your campaign. Standard options include sales, leads, product and brand consideration, brand awareness and reach and app promotion. Once you select a campaign goal, an option will appear for you to choose your campaign type. The most common choice is search, which displays ads within the Google search results.
5. Select Campaign Settings
To begin the new campaign build, you will select all of your campaign settings. These include naming your campaign, selecting your network, location, language, budget and bid.
Select Campaign Name & Network
Name your campaign something that will allow you to identify it easily. Once you have multiple campaigns running, having a clear name will keep your account organized. Next, choose the network you wish for your ads to display on. If you’re looking to create ads to display on Google, uncheck the “Include Google search partners” box under “Search Network” to ensure your ad will only show on Google.
Select Location & Language
Tell Google the location of where you want your ads to display. Keep in mind your target audience when choosing locations. For example, an ecommerce site that doesn’t ship to Australia would most likely want to exclude Australia. On the other hand, a chiropractor’s office in Dallas would want to target clients who are close to the city so that they might enter a 10-mile radius based on a specific ZIP code.
While the default language selection is English, confirm that this is correct for your target audience.
Input the maximum amount you want to spend per day on Google Ads. Keep in mind that it will fluctuate throughout the month, but it should not exceed your overall maximum during the month. Also, consider adjusting the budget delivery method. You can choose to display ads until the budget has been used in full or to spread it evenly throughout the day.
Input Your Bid
Choose your bid-type, such as cost-per-click (CPC) or cost per action. CPC is the standard bid strategy and the most advised type to use for new campaigns. Set your maximum bid or let Google automatically adjust your bids. Manual bids give advertisers more control; however, automatic bid adjustments can be helpful in gaining new campaign traction as they ensure bids are competitive enough to rank ads highly.
6. Set Up Ad Groups
Break out your campaign farther into ad groups or groups of ads that each has a more focused marketing goal. For example, a property development company would have different campaigns for each location they’re developing and advertising. So, they may have one campaign for Las Vegas and another for Palm Springs. Within those campaigns, they would likely have ad groups to break down the group further, such as single-family homes, move-in ready homes and homes valued at less than $500,000.
Each ad group will have its own set of keywords. This allows you to create highly targeted ads that match the user’s search intent, providing them with a high-ranking search result. As you input keywords, determine which keyword match-type you wish to use. Keyword match-types tell Google whether or not your ad can display when a user uses a search term with synonyms of your keywords and if the search term can be in any order or the exact order you provided.
7. Create Ads
Click the “+ New Ad” box on the screen to begin the new ad creation process. Input all fields, including your headline, description, landing page URL and URL display path. As you create your ad, Google will show you what your ad will look like to the right of the screen. Remember to make your headline compelling and use a strong call-to-action in your description to encourage clicks.
If you need ad copy inspiration, it can be helpful to perform Google searches of your keywords to see what your competitors are doing and saying. With this information, discover ways to get a leg up on your competition with stronger headlines, descriptions and more enticing offers. For example, if you’re a fitness center and your competitors offer a one-day and three-day free membership trial, offer a seven-day trial to provide more value to potential customers.
8. Save Your New PPC Campaign
Finally, at the bottom of the screen, click “Save and Continue.” If you have not yet set up your payment account for Google Ads, you will be prompted to do so before your new campaign can go live.
Your new campaign will then be marked as “Under Review” and remain in this campaign status under Google as approved your campaign. Approval typically occurs within 24 hours of creating your new campaign, and you will see your campaign status (from the campaign homepage) turn from “Under Review” to “Active.”
Pros & Cons of PPC Advertising
PPC advertising has its pros and cons. The biggest pro is that you only pay when users interact with your ad, eliminating guesswork on your ad’s reach. It’s also affordable and can increase your customer base. Cons include coming up to speed on using PPC advertising platforms, wasted ad spend that can be the result of a lack of understanding how to use PPC ads and the amount of time it can take to manage PPC campaigns.
Pros of PPC Advertising
Here are a few pros of PPC advertising:
- Only pay for interactions: The PPC advertising model is great because advertisers only pay when a user clicks their ad, unlike traditional advertising where advertisers paid for users to potentially see their ad but impressions are not guaranteed
- Low-cost advertising option: Low CPCs and low minimum ad spends mean advertisers aren’t required to spend a lot on PPC advertising; instead, their budget is up to them, giving them the freedom to try, test and increase (or decrease) ad spend at their discretion
- Build leads list & customers: PPC advertising can target new users to build your list of leads and increase your customer base
Cons of PPC Advertising
Here are a few cons of PPC advertising:
- Platform learning curves: Using each PPC advertising platform requires learning a new system, so it can be a challenge for businesses to come up to speed when they begin advertising with PPC
- Time-consuming: PPC campaigns not only take time to build strategically, but they also require constant monitoring and consistent optimizations, which can end up taking a lot of time
- Potential for wasted ad spend: Setting up PPC campaigns is simple enough, but creating well-built campaigns that convert are difficult, and campaigns that are not set up well can lead to wasted advertising dollars
“Google AdWords is typically less costly than people think it would be, especially compared to other advertising methods. But, you have to be careful to get trained on how to use that tool. Otherwise, it is very easy to waste your budget and not get any real results.” — Jared Beckstead, Digital Marketer, SEO.com.
PPC Campaigns Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are PPC Management Services?
PPC management services build, monitor, manage and optimize PPC campaigns on behalf of their clients. Businesses find PPC management very valuable as it leaves their PPC accounts in expert hands while taking the responsibility off their plate, giving them more time to focus on other areas of their business. Find the best PPC management companies for small businesses.
Can I Advertise Outside of Google or Search Platforms?
Major PPC platforms like Bing Ads and Google Ads work with partners allowing you to advertise on other networks like The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Bing Ads is the PPC partner for WSJ, as well as many other outlets, such as CNBC and Fox Sports. Learn more about advertising with Bing Ads.
Where Can I Get a Free Google Ads Promo Code?
Google Ads promo codes are often available both through Google as well as a number of partners like Vistaprint. Promo codes often feature deals like $75 in free ad credit after spending $100. Get a list of where to find Google Ads Promo Codes.
How Do I Use Retargeting Ads on Facebook?
Facebook retargeting ads display ads to audiences who already have visited your site or are aware of your business. They are effective because they place ads in front of warm audiences who are more likely to convert than cold audiences. Creating retargeting ads is a little more complex than standard ads, but we show you how in our article on how to retarget Facebook Ads.
The Bottom Line
PPC campaigns give businesses a cost-effective way of advertising online that helps them reach new customers and increase sales. When used strategically, PPC advertising can help increase sales and grow a business without a huge investment in advertising spend. Businesses looking to build awareness, expand their list of leads and increase their sales should try PPC advertising.
If you are unfamiliar with PPC campaigns and don’t have the time to learn a new system or don’t want to risk wasting ad spend on poorly built campaigns, it is advisable to use a PPC management service. Hibu is a great option for businesses that are new to PPC and want a professional management service that is incredibly affordable.