What Is PPC Advertising?

Did you know that PPC ads have been around for 20 years? Back in the 90s, nobody noticed. But over the years, PPC has become a technologically advanced form of advertising. Using the PPC model, advertisers incur a charge each time one of their advertisements is clicked. That's why it's called "pay per click." PPC ads are found on all kinds of websites, from Facebook to your friend's beer brewing recipe blog. 

What Do Marketers Use to Run PPC Ads?

Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Linkedin Ads, Twitter Ads, SnapChat Ads and AOL Advertising are a few applications we use to manage ad campaigns. All work a little bit differently. Google and Bing specialize in search ads, which appear on search results pages. Social Media ads usually show up in a user's "feed" or "newsfeed." The standard model for all of these is pay per click.

Why Do Advertisers Like PPC?

Advertisers like PPC for many reasons. One of the best things about PPC is the data we get from it. Without too much preparation, an advertiser can compare any number of ads, evaluate the effectiveness of their landing pages (the pages to which the ads are linked), and test all kinds of adjustments to a campaign. If an advertiser uses Google Analytics or a similar application, the capabilities are even more impressive. These users can follow visitors from the ad, all the way through to the purchase or "goal" and then test things that may improve the conversion rate.

Another reason advertisers like PPC is because it offers great targeting features. PPC management applications do a pretty good job of attracting the best clicks. In other words, advertisers can avoid clicks from anyone who probably won't buy their product or service. There are a number of ways they do this. Google AdWords does it by showing ads to people who are searching for the right product. Keywords are used to match ads with viewers. The advertiser may think someone searching "flat screen TVs" would click his ad and buy a TV. So he includes "flat screen TVs" in his list of keywords and tells Google Adwords to display the ad to people who search it.

Facebook and Linkedin use their vast sea of groups, interests, and personal information for targeting. Let's say you think people who work at IBM and like the band Metallica will buy a specific product from you. You can target those people with social media ads. This is an extreme example but it shows how deep the targeting goes.

Almost every ad platform allows location targeting (for excluding certain geographic regions), age targeting (for excluding viewers of any age range), and ad scheduling (for designating the hours when your ad will appear). With all of these targeting options available, there's bound to be one that generates the results you want. However, it's worth noting that PPC isn't always as effective as advertisers need it to be.

How Does it Actually Work?

If you haven't read the above section, make sure you do. Some important details are there.

In short, advertising applications display your ads to people who meet criteria you provide. Usually you can see an estimate of how many clicks you'll receive in a time period, given a set of criteria, before your campaign goes live.

Is it Hard to Learn to Manage PPC Campaigns?

To get to the point where you actually start advertising, it ranges from "this isn't too bad" to "is this worth my time?" AdWords and Bing are more difficult to use than the social media ad networks. But there are two things that you should remember.

  1. There are numerous tools advertisers use to optimize campaigns. Many are not free to use. isoTree's Optimal Ad technology is an example of an advantageous tool that helps achieve better results.

  2. Advertising is an art form that is complimented by science. Everybody has their own way of developing ad copy (text) and optimizing their campaigns. It will take time to develop your style or learn someone else's.

Your Intro to PPC Is Now Complete

We think this should answer lots of basic questions. Feel free to look through our blog for anything that hasn't been answered. When you need help with an advertising project, we'll be standing by. Click here to get help with your digital marketing needs.

Jennifer Stainforth