Fifty Explains... PPC

Written by
Fifty Team

21 Apr, 2022

Fifty Explains is a series that breaks down the different technologies, lingo and jargon of the ad tech world.

PPC has me confused. Is it a channel for digital marketing, or a pricing model?

It’s both! Well, kind of. PPC stands for 'Pay-Per-Click'. It’s a pricing model in the sense that it is a way that advertisers pay for advertising online.

When we are talking about paid advertising in this way it means that instead of paying a set fee for an advert, a company pays each time someone clicks on the ad and goes to their website.

So, it’s not a marketing channel?

PPC is used when talking about Paid Search or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – hence why people also think of it as a digital marketing channel. It is the most common way that search engines such as Google and Microsoft Bing monetise their advertising space.

Remember this: PPC is a paid advertising model that can come under the realm of Search Engine Marketing. PPC is also used on social media platforms.

Does that mean you can have PPC on Paid Social?

Yep. Advertising on social media platforms uses PPC, but normally they use CPM or cost per one thousand impressions. You can find out all about Paid Social in our upcoming explainer!

One more acronym you need to know: CPC. This is NOT the same as PPC, although trust us we know it’s confusing. CPC or cost-per-click is how much a single click will actually cost an advertiser and is used as a key metric to manage campaign performance.

Ok, but how does PPC work on search engines?

Paid Search is when you pay to have your website appear at the top of a search engine’s results page (SERP if you really want to learn another acronym).

You know all those links at the top of a Google search page? Those appear because an advertiser has bid to place them there. The advertisers pay every time someone clicks on the link … hence pay per click!

But if I pay for every click, don’t I run the risk of blowing my budget?

The converse is actually true – with PPC you are in complete control of your budget. That’s why advertisers use the CPC metric. You can set the maximum cost-per-click you want to pay, and that is used as part of the automated bidding process for ad placements.

And because you are paying for a person to land on your website, you are paying for more valuable customers since they are engaging with your business on a deeper level and are more likely to convert.

Are there any other platforms where PPC is used?

Other than search and social? It is also a pricing model for display ads and Amazon uses PPC for sponsored products to appear higher up in the search of its website. So overall it’s a pretty common way to pay for advertising on the internet.

What are the benefits of PPC in search?

Like all the other digital marketing strategies we’ve talked about (DOOH, Programmatic, VOD and CTV & OTT) – PPC is one of many tools you need to use to engage with your target audience, and find them where they spend time on the internet.

Paid search is great when you are seeking to target those who have a high purchase intent. Listen – organic, word-of-mouth marketing takes a long time. It can take years to get your webpage to the top of a search engine page. PPC cuts that time, and puts your site in front of the people who need to see it most.

How do you ensure you're showing your site to the relevant people?

It’s all in how you target! You can segment your campaign and use keywords that you know your audience might be searching for based on your understanding of them.

Audience insights are key here, and not just demographics, but psychographics – people’s interests, passions and behaviours are important to building a holistic understanding of them. By targeting this way, you are reaching an already engaged audience that is going to a search engine seeking out a solution, and that solution could be you!

To learn how Fifty can amplify your PPC strategy through our unique audience insights and activation, book a demo today.

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