What Is PPC?

Pay Per Click [PPC]: A Beginners Guide For 2022

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    Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

    What is PPC? Pay per click paid search marketing is something that all businesses and marketers will be familiar with even if they don’t have much knowledge about how it really works. Done well, a solid PPC strategy can be a great way to generate quality leads through your website, so having even a basic understanding will be a real benefit. 

    This beginners guide to PPC will give you that understanding to get you started, alongside some tips on how to develop a PPC strategy and measure its success.

    What Is PPC?

    Pay per click (PPC) is a common form of paid online advertising. It works by paying a fee to have your website sit at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone searches for specific keywords or phrases. When they do, the search results will display your paid ad, directing them to your website. When they click on your ad, you then pay a fee to the search engine.

    PPC Marketing

    A PPC marketing (or advertising) campaign is an easy way to generate hot new leads, boost your sales, or promote your business, brand, or service. These include your campaign goals and what you want to achieve through your ads – an established business might want to promote a new product or a start-up business might be looking to generate more leads for example.

    PPC Project Management

    Once you understand what you want your ads to do for your business, you’ll need to manage them to make sure they’re hitting all the right targets. A ‘one size fits all’ approach to PPC doesn’t work, so having someone on your team who has the knowledge, experience, and real understanding of how PPC really works is crucial to its success. This is why working with a solid PPC partner like Improve Position can seriously increase your chances.

    How Does PPC Work?

    As we briefly described above, PPC is online advertising that works by you paying a fee each time someone clicks on your ad. To put it bluntly, you’re buying clicks through to your website rather than relying on organic search results which can provide slower results. PPC can be a lifeline to small or start-up businesses that can use it to help gain traction on their website to stimulate growth in a short space of time.

    It works by setting a budget, either daily, weekly, or monthly, for your ads on your chosen platform. Each time someone clicks on your ad, your fee comes out of your budget. Other search engines and social platforms have their own variations that work in a very similar way, but the most popular marketing platform for PPC is Google Ads (previously known as Google Adwords). 

    There are plenty of variables as to how successful your ads will be, but you can be very specific on the types of people, locations, and demographics you want your ads to target. 

    Benefits Of PPC

    If being able to target your ideal customer through a paid Google ad isn’t enough of an incentive to kickstart your PPC campaign, there are plenty of other benefits to PPC. Here are just a few examples:

    • PPC helps you achieve your business goals. As we mentioned, these goals could be lead generation, increasing downloads or sign-ups, promoting a new product or service, or just boosting your sales. 
    • PPC is trackable. Everything from ad spending to performance, traffic, conversions, and sales are measurable and trackable so you can see exactly how effective your PPC campaign is.
    • PPC puts you in control. While your PPC project management team will take care of the fundamentals, ultimately it’s you who is in control of everything from keywords, audience demographics, budget, and more. 
    • PPC isn’t affected by algorithms. Some search engine algorithm changes and ranking factors can require plenty of back-end SEO tweaks to pull everything into line. PPC ads aren’t affected by this.

    By putting the hard work and research in beforehand – and committing to investment – you can reap big rewards thanks to the huge amount of traffic and impressions that Google has in any one day (they have a search engine market share of over 90%). 

    Types Of PPC

    Even with all the benefits of PPC paid marketing, don’t get fooled into thinking it’s just a one-trick pony. It’s a wide-reaching, powerful, and dynamic marketing tool that delivers cross-platform results with a host of different applications. Here are a few of the most common and popular types of PPC advertising: 

    Paid search ads are the most common method of PPC advertising and are a great way to get started if you’re new to PPC. You choose your keywords, submit your ad copy, and declare how much you’re willing to pay for each click to your website. Your ad will then appear either above or below the main organic results on the SERPs.

    Social Media Ads

    With high levels of traffic on the main social network channels, paid ads on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and others are incredibly popular, allowing for a wide reach and increased conversions. They’re similar to paid search ads, but you put the hard work in at your end to target your ideal customer where you know they’re already hanging out.

    Display Ads

    Display ads fall into several categories such as remarketing ads, personalised ads, and site-placed ads, but their job is very similar. Using a mix of text, images, or video through the Google Display Network (or similar platform), the main aim of display ads is to target customers on third-party websites who are already interested in buying a product or service like yours. 

    Email Ads

    Advertising through email is a fast and efficient way to get your brand across to thousands of email subscribers with big ROI potential. Placing your paid ads into an email of another company that is complementary to yours (i.e. not a competitor) is a cost-effective way to increase your audience and boost your sales. And of course, you could gain extra revenue by taking ads for your own emails.

    How To Develop A PPC Strategy

    Knowing how PPC works is a lot different from actually having a clear cut PPC strategy that will work for your business. From choosing the right platform and defining your goals to your keywords and budget, there’s a lot to consider. Let’s take a look at some of the key things to look at before you kick off your PPC campaign.

    Business Goals

    It’s important to make sure you understand what you want to achieve with your PPC campaign before you start, otherwise you’ll be wasting time and money. Get it right and you could set your business up for a surge in sales, helping it grow. Some common goals, objectives and key results can include:

    • Increasing your site traffic
    • Boosting your sales
    • Generating new leads
    • Promoting your brand, product, or service 

    Knowing what you want to achieve in advance can help shape your entire campaign and make it easier to select the right platform.


    Keyword relevance is one of the most important factors in paid search PPC advertising, so selecting the right ones is crucial. The closer someone’s search matches your keywords, the more likely it is they’ll click on your ad. But remember, it might not work the first time round and with PPC advertising, it’s you who is in control. So if any keywords aren’t working, focus your efforts on the ones that are. 

    Ad Copy

    Your relevant keywords get your PPC ad in the right place but your PPC ad copy is what gets people to click on your ad. There’s going to be limited space available, as well as word or character limits, so make sure your ad copy:

    • Includes an engaging headline and relevant copy
    • Speaks directly to your target customer
    • Includes your keyword(s)
    • Gives a clear call to action

    Budget & Bids

    While being different, budgets and bids are pretty much locked together with both affecting each other. The key is to optimise both of them to give you the best PPC results. Having a larger budget will dictate what you can spend on your campaign, but bidding can be more complex with more variables. Make sure you know how your bids might affect your budget.

    Ad Rank

    The ad rank system is a value Google uses to dictate where your PPC ad appears on a search results page and even whether it will show up at all. This process takes into account several factors including ad quality, keyword relevance, and bid amounts.


    With your list of refined keywords, you can get your PPC ad in front of the eyes of the people who are ready to buy. Making sure you’re targeting the right customers with those keywords is crucial. But you can also include specific targeting options and demographic data like age, interests, topic, or intent. 


    Getting people to click through to your website via your PPC ad is only half the battle – turning those clicks into conversions is the real aim. Whatever you’re offering, whether it’s a product, a service, or a download, this is what you want your prospect to do after clicking your ad. You can also track your conversions and where they’re coming from, allowing you to ‘tweak’ your ad if necessary.


    Once your PPC ads are out in the wild, it’s never a good idea to just leave them. If you’re tracking your ads (and conversions), optimising them helps you to stay ahead of the game. You can optimise your PPC ads by making sure your keywords are as up to date and relevant as possible (or even pausing them), carrying out regular A/B split testing, or tweaking your budget and bids.


    Now you’ve put in all the hard work, there’s a wide range of software and resources you can use to give you a full PPC report. This will help you understand how your PPC ads are working for you and whether you’re getting a good return on investment, and help you measure their performance based on your business goals.

    How To Measure PPC Success

    Only you can decide how successful your PPC ad campaign is. But, there are certain metrics available you can look at to help you. Here are a few of the more important numbers to look out for:

    • Click-Through Rate (CTR): How many times your ad is clicked. You can work this out by taking the number of clicks and dividing them by the number of times your ad is shown (impression rate). So, if your ad received 5 clicks and 100 impressions, your CTR would be 5%. 
    • Cost-Per-Click (CPC): How much it actually costs you every time someone clicks on your PPC ad, calculated either by an average or a maximum. Calculate your total campaign costs and divide it by the number of clicks to find your average CPC. A maximum CPC is the highest amount you want to pay for a click on your ad.
    • Conversion Rate: A crucial metric to judge how well your campaign is doing. The conversion rate tells you how many people did what you wanted them to do (buy, call, download, etc), so the higher the conversion rate, the better your campaign has done.
    • Return On Investment (ROI): A fairly standard metric, but the ROI is calculated by totalling all the revenue you’ve gained through sales as a direct result of your PPC ad and deducting your total investment into it, including your bids and associated costs. 

    The Importance Of PPC Expertise

    While the theory behind a pay per click strategy is relatively straightforward, the reality of pulling all the strands together to create a slick, targeted, and high-performing PPC campaign can be complicated and littered with unknowns. This is where working with a PPC expert with the right skills and expertise can really help you boost sales and out-perform your competitors.

    Having a dedicated PPC expert working with you to manage your campaigns means they can handle the most essential aspects for you. From the initial and ongoing keyword research to an effective PPC strategy to tracking, measuring, and optimising along the way. And by working with us here at Improve Position, we can help deliver the real results you need.

    Get Your PPC Campaign Started With Improve Position

    PPC works and can give your business a real boost. This beginners guide should go a long way to helping you understand the ins and outs of what you need to do to get started. But to achieve the best results possible from your campaign, Improve Position has the strategic PPC knowledge and experience to help you.

    Discover more about our in-house SEO process or get in touch today for your free, 30-minute consultation to discuss your SEO and/or PPC goals and get more information about which campaign route is right for your business.

    About the author

    Michael is the founder and managing director of Improve Position with a strong background in both web development and technical SEO. His enthusiasm shines through with his passion to help others understand and succeed in the world of online business marketing.

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