What Does PPC Stand For? A Brief Introduction To PPC For Beginners
Today we’re covering some digital marketing basics; If you’ve ever wondered what PPC stands for or what PPC is, then this one is for you!
In this article we’ll explore:
- What PPC stands for
- Other PPC-related marketing acronyms you should know
- How PPC works
- Different providers of PPC advertising
- The difference between impression based advertising and PPC
- The difference between PPC and SEO
- How we can help you get started with PPC
PPC stands for ‘Pay-Per-Click’. Pay-per-click is an internet marketing model in which you pay a fee each time your advert is clicked on.
PPC advertising is a powerful tool as it allows you to create highly targeted advertising campaigns which can then be displayed to your ideal target audience based on data which you define such as user demographics or search keywords.
As well as PPC, there are a few other marketing acronyms that you might come across that are important to know:
- CPC stands for ‘Cost Per Click’
- PPI stands for ‘Pay-Per-Impression’
- CPI stands for ‘Cost Per Impression’
- CPM stands for ‘Cost Per Mille’ (Mille = 1,000 in Latin) but in reality, it’s often used as an alternative for CPI
- ROI stands for ‘Return On Investment’
- SEO stand for ‘Search Engine Optimization’
- SERP stands for ‘Search Engine Results Page’
PPC On Search Engines
Although there are a range of types of PPC advertising (as we’ll touch on later), the most popular form is search engine advertising. But what is the basic process of PPC on search engines?
Essentially, you create ads based on search terms that you want to appear for (keywords) and choose the page on your website that you want that ad to lead to (the landing page).
You also set the maximum bid that you are prepared to pay per click on that ad e.g. £2. Though you’ve set £2 as your maximum bid per click, you may end up paying less.
When someone searches for a keyword, the PPC algorithm instantly and automatically runs an “auction” (which takes just a fraction of a millisecond) between some of the advertisers who have said they want to appear for that keyword. Ads that ‘win’ the auction will then be displayed on the SERP. Typically, there will be three or four ads that ‘win’ and appear at the top of the SERPs, whilst sometimes there will also be three or four that appear at the bottom of the SERPs.
The ‘winners’ are chosen based on a combination of factors, including the quality and relevance of their ads and keywords, and the size of their maximum keyword bids. The order which the ads are displayed is determined by the ‘ad rank’, which takes into account the above factors, with higher-scoring ads appearing higher. The organic results are sorted entirely separately, in part determined by a separate SEO algorithm.
At this stage, your advert will be displayed in the SERPs and you won’t have to pay anything until your advert is clicked on. When the user clicks on your advert, they will be taken to your desired destination which is often a dedicated landing page on your website. To ensure a good ROI, some advertisers will make sure this page has been specifically designed to maximise conversions for that given ad.
When considering your maximum bid, it’s important to think about ROI. You may be thinking £2 is still a lot to be paying for one click through to your website. However, if that click results in a large sale on your website, then it can actually equate to a very cost effective way to minimise costs and maximise the efficiency of your advertising spend. We regularly monitor our ROI’s and have achieved conversion ratios of 12:1 for clients who originally aimed for a conversion ratio of 4:1. That means, for every £1 spent, they got £12 back. Suffice to say, with that kind of ROI, they’re happy to increase their advertising spend.
If your website is high quality and your landing page is relevant and persuasive, then PPC is a brilliant marketing tool for increasing sales and growing your business.
How Is PPC On Social Media Different?
PPC on social media follows a similar process. You create your adverts (often with pictures or videos and a short piece of text) and choose a page on your website for the advert to send the user to.
However, a key difference between search engine PPC and social media PPC is that social media doesn’t entail keyword-based advertising, but interest-based advertising. Instead of choosing what keywords you would like to appear for, you instead choose what demographics and types of users you would like to appear in front of. This uses the social media platform’s database of its users, taking into account a user’s likes, follows and even job role to target your ad to your desired audience.
Due to its size and wide-ranging use, PPC is often used synonymously with Google Ads; Google’s platform for pay-per-click advertising. However, there are a number of online advertising platforms that offer a pay-per-click advertising spend model. These include:
- Google Ads
- Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads)
- Facebook (owned by Meta)
- Instagram (owned by Meta)
Ultimately, deciding which platform to use depends on the aims of your business. It’s important to consider the demographic and size of the user base that use each platform, and choose the one that best suits your business and its goals.
It’s likely that Google Ads will be on that list, simply because of the enormity of its user base, meaning your potential customers are almost definitely among them.
As mentioned above, PPI in marketing stands for Pay-Per-Impression. You may also see the terms CPI (Cost per Impression) when looking into impression-based advertising.
The impression based advertising model is similar to PPC, but instead of paying a fee when your ad is clicked on, you pay a fee any time it is shown.
For example, when advertising on Facebook, your advert might appear in someone’s feed. Even if they scroll past it, you still pay for that impression (although you pay less for an impression in a PPI model than you would for a click in a PPC model).
Therefore, it is up to you to make the ad as engaging as possible to get that click to ensure your money is well spent.
CPM (Cost per Mille) is another impression based advertising model but this time you pay a fee based on a per-1,000 impression basis. The CPM model is often a lot simpler and you may have less control over the targeting of your advert. For example, you may only be able to define the page where you want the advert displayed, and each time that page loads, it counts as an impression. This type of model was a common way of charging for “banner adverts” before the introduction of PPC.
Another acronym you may have heard in the digital marketing space is SEO which, as mentioned above, stands for Search Engine Optimisation. But what is SEO?
Whilst PPC is paying to appear at the top of SERPs, SEO is a way of organically appearing at the top of SERPs. SEO is optimising your website and pages so that Google recognises that you are the best organic result for that search term.
Which Is Better?
PPC and SEO both have their strengths and weaknesses and for a strong, well-rounded digital marketing strategy, they should be used side by side to achieve the best results for your business or organisation.
Want to know more about SEO? Check out our Search Engine Optimisation services and improve the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.
When it comes to PPC, it’s far too common and easy to waste time and money if you don’t know what you’re doing. You could spend ages creating ads that rarely get clicked on, or spend money on ads that get clicks but aren’t tailored in the right way to make a sale.
That’s where we come in - we're experts in all things PPC and have a huge range of experience, including achieving a 12:1 conversion ratio for one of our clients (whose initial goal was 4:1) and increasing clicks by over 300% in just 16 weeks for one of our charity clients. We’re also a Google Partner - evidence that we’re pros at Google Ads!
Get in touch with Beyond Your Brand for a friendly, no obligation chat so we, as the experts, can do the hard work and bring you the best results, leaving you to focus on what you’re an expert in - your business.