WTF is PPC?!

The world is full of abbreviations, and it’s easy to get FOMO when it feels like they’re being kept on the DL.

The marketing world is, OFC, full of its own vocab of abbreviations – from CPC and PPC to GTM, UTM, and SEO – but there’s no reason to get overwhelmed, we’re here to help.

You’ve probably guessed by the title of this blog that we’re going to be focusing on one particular abbreviation today – PPC. When it comes to the digital marketing foundations you’ll probably want to put in place for your online presence, PPC forms a core part – the paid part.

PPC, which stands for pay-per-click, is a form of paid search marketing which allows people to advertise in the sponsored listings of the SERPs search engine results pages). At its core, PPC works by accruing costs based on how many times an ad is clicked on. Someone clicks on the ad, and you get charged. No clicks, no charge.

PPC can be a great tool for getting the message out there about a brand or product in an almost instantaneous way, and if you’re lucky enough to find low CPC (cost-per-click) then you can see great ROI (return on investment). However, it’s not always that simple.

How does it work?

PPC works based on relevance, allowing you to show a targeted ad when someone searches for something specific – whether that’s a product or service. For example, if someone searches for ‘red high heels’, and that’s your specialty, you can show an ad that will appeal to a person currently on the hunt for the perfect pair of red heels.

Most PPC ads, shown through Google, Display Network and Search Partner sites, are run through AdWords – Google’s ad system. Businesses of all shapes and sizes can use AdWords to create, optimise and run ad campaigns, setting a budget to pay for when someone clicks on the ad. You can also run PPC ads through the Bing Ads platform if you want to appear on the Bing and Yahoo search engines; while seen as less popular, experts say that Bing Ads can be less competitive and offer cheaper CPCs, meaning they shouldn’t necessarily be ruled out.

The pros of PPC

PPC has a lot of pros if you’re doing it right. One of the most appealing factors for people who choose to go down the PPC route is the speed with which it has an impact. PPC is, quite simply, the fastest way to get to the top of the SERPs and get your brand out there. But that comes at a price.

Some industry experts say that, for the best chance of acquiring that all-important click through to your landing page, you need to appear in the top five results on the SERPs. With organic results being notoriously difficult to crack, and slow to see progress, paying to appear in the ads at the top of the results page is a surefire way to get in front of your customers – quickly.

The cons of PPC

As we mentioned though, this does come at a cost, meaning that it can prevent smaller businesses or start-ups without the budget from getting involved.

Plus, even if you do have the cash to splash, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be winning at life. Depending on the industry that you’re in, it can be really competitive – with multiple businesses bidding for the top spot on the same terms. This means that staying on top of account maintenance and making little tweaks is key for keeping the conversions coming and the costs down.

If you are competing for the top spot with another business, then the ad platform will look at factors other than how much you’re willing to pay. Commonly, this includes Quality Score, which is when your ad is given a score out of 10 based on relevance, how good the landing page is, and click-through-rate (CTR). The platform may also take into account Ad Extensions, which can improve a user’s experience, and therefore be more preferable.

IDK, do I need it?

So, should you invest in PPC? Well, that depends. If you’ve got a little bit of budget and some time to commit to maintaining and optimising your ad account, then PPC can be a great way to make a big impact fast. But that doesn’t mean it’s your only option on the road to success.

Now you can no longer thing WTF?! To PPC. You’re an expert baby! But if you’re still thinking WTF?! To UTM and ToV then we’ve got you covered

Check out our recent blog where we let organic and paid search battle it out to see who gets the crown – spoiler alert, no one did.

Want to know more about PPC? We can help with that, too. Our Intro to PPC course is all about the theory behind PPC, as well as how you can set it up and start running your own campaigns like a pro. Check it out. YOLO.


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