You may have heard about pay per click advertising before or you may already know what it is and plan on including it as part of your marketing mix, in this blog I’ll go over the basics of PPC ads to help guide you in managing your ad campaigns properly.

Throughout my career I’ve had many clients confuse PPC for SEO, so let’s define what PPC really means.

What is PPC?

Pay-per-click (PPC), also known as cost per click (CPC), is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher (typically a website owner or a network of websites) when the ad is clicked. – Wikipedia

The reason why a lot of people get confused between SEO and PPC is because you can actually run PPC campaigns on search engines like Google so that you can show a listing on the top of the page. Being that SEO is the process of making your site show up on search engines, it’s very easily misunderstood. the distinction is that SEO is the process in which you optimize your website to appear on the top results of search engines to gain organic traffic. Organic traffic is traffic to your site that is obtained without the use of ads.

Types of PPC Ads

Paid Search Marketing.

Paid search marketing is one of the most common types of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Providers such as Google AdWords (now called Google Ads) and the Yahoo/Bing Network show your ad to users who search for certain keywords. You set up campaigns by writing ad copy, selecting relevant keywords, and choosing a suitable landing page on your site. I’ll explain more details on this next.

Display Advertising

Display ads are banner, image, or text ads that appear on different websites, selected to target particular audiences. Many publishers and ad networks will have spaces reserved on their affiliated websites to run ads. Typically, revenue sharing is involved. High traffic sites can enable display ads on their sites by enrolling in programs like Google AdSense. These ads, will link to your website or landing page. They generally return a lower click-through rate than search ads, but can be useful for building brand awareness.

Social Media Advertising. …

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, have high numbers of users who could be your potential customers. PPC advertising on these platforms can help you achieve higher click-through rates and increase awareness of your product or services. The channels can be used to target specific demographics and interest. Facebook, in particular, has a very robust ad platform. You can sync your ecommerce catalog and run highly targeted ad campaigns to segmented audiences. You can even upload a customer list and create a lookalike audience of potential customers that match the demographics of your paying customers.

Remarketing PPC Advertising

Remarketing, also called retargeting, uses cookies on a user’s browser to show them specific ads based on their previous online interactions. For example, a user who searched for fashion sneakers could be shown display ads for a high fashion designer’s latest collection. Remarketing can be used as part of display, search and social media PPC advertising campaigns. It can also be used in other forms of digital marketing, such as email. Remarketing ads are usually high in ROI. It’s a great way close in on a sale from a prospecting customer.

What is Google AdWords?

Google Adwords is one of the largest ad platforms on the internet. It let’s you choose how you want to reach your customers. With graphic display ads, YouTube video ads, text-based search ads, or in-app mobile ads, you have plenty of ways to reach your target customer.

This is where you would sign up to run search ads on Google. The interface is very user friendly. You can have an ad campaign setup within minutes.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of PPC Ads

There are a few key performance indicators to understand when measuring the success of your PPC ads.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

  • Refers to the actual price you pay for each click in your pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns.


  • An impression (in the context of ppc advertising) is when an ad is fetched from its source, and is countable. Whether the ad is clicked on or not is not taken into account. Each time an ad is fetched, it is counted as one impression.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

  • Is the ratio of users who click on your ad link to the number of total users who viewed your advertisement. A solid CTR for search campaigns is anything above 3%.

When you are first starting your campaigns, it is best that you focus on driving as much traffic to your site as possible for your budget. The key is to build user data that then can be used to optimize your campaigns. CTR is a great measuring stick to know how effective your ad copy and keyword selection is. Improving your CTR by pausing underperforming keywords and adjusting your ad copy will help further your progression in acquiring new customers.

The next step is gathering conversion data.


A conversion is a desired action taken by a visitor on your site. For example, if you have an online shop, a successful checkout would be a conversion. Just about every ad platform has what’s called a conversion tracking code. This is a line of code, typically javascript, that you add to the confirmation or thank you page that a user gets redirected to after completing a desired conversion. This will allow you to track each conversion in your ad campaign analytics and will also provide the ad platform the data to self-optimize and learn which keywords, ad copy, and audiences to target.

Conversion Rate

Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that complete a desired goal (a conversion) out of the total number of visitors. A high conversion rate is indicative of a successful PPC ad campaign.

So there you go! Those are some of the basics of PPC ads. I hope you found this article useful. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. Also, if you’re looking to run social media ads, take a look at my blog about How to Setup a Facebook Business Manager Account. It’s a very useful tutorial when running ads on Facebook.

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