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What is Pay Per Click and when should you use it?



What is Pay Per Click?


I’m sure you’ve heard the term Pay Per Click marketing thrown around your office many a time by now – it has become the go-to online marketing solution for many businesses, especially those involved in ecommerce. But are you still unsure of when to use Pay Per Click (PPC)? Not sure if it’s right for your business? Let’s break it down a bit.


First, let’s answer this question - “What exactly is ‘Pay Per Click’ marketing?”


Pay Per Click (or PPC for short) is a model of internet marketing where advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your website, rather than just trying to earn those visits organically (don’t worry, I’ll go into more detail on organic search in another post!).


Below are 4 examples of a PPC search result – see the green ‘Ad’ before the website link? They paid to be there!


What is pay per click



When I started on my journey of PPC marketing some 10 years ago, it was Google, Bing and Yahoo who really pioneered this model of advertising. Nowadays however it is not just Google and the other search engines that offer PPC. You can now do PPC ads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn too. All the Social Media platforms have realised there is quite a lot of money to be made from this internet marketing model, so have leapt onto the bandwagon. Facebook in particular have really developed their PPC ad offerings, with complex targeting opportunities available - they now rival Google and increasingly often are used as an alternative to the classic search engine PPC.  


When Should I Use Pay Per Click (PPC)?


All too often clients come to me and say “I want to do a Pay Per Click campaign on Google!” My first question is why Google? Normally the answer is “Well all my competitors are doing it on Google!”. Just because your competitors are doing it, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. You should evaluate which would be the most effective online channel for you to spend your PPC budget - it may not be the one and only Google that seems to dominate our everyday existence. How many times have you heard someone say ‘Google it’? Probably more than you could count!


Each platform has its own merits, and it can come down to where your clientele spends their time, and how they’re most likely to find you. It’s important to research your channels thoroughly – there’s no point blowing your budget on a huge Google ad campaign when all your target audience only look at Facebook!


PPC marketing on Google or other search engines tends to work best for ecommerce companies, as you can tag the website and see the keywords your conversions (purchases) are coming from. If you are offering a service and are just directing visitors to a ‘Contact Us’ page, success evaluation is much more difficult.


Before you launch into Pay Per Click Marketing it is important to take a step back and evaluate what are your objectives, your goals and your competition. The competition on many pay per click channels (especially Google) can be fierce. Where are you going to send visitors that click on your ads? Have you thought about building a landing page specifically for your PPC Marketing? Targeted landing pages have been proven to be far more effective in converting visitors to complete the intended action than just throwing visitors on to a very complicated website with lots of pages to navigate. Attention spans are short, and if what the user is looking for isn’t readily available, they’ll bounce right off the page and click on someone else.


For some industries Google pay per click is just far too expensive to be worth it. From my experience with Google PPC, if your business offers anything to do with financial services forget about using Google for your PPC unless your budget is astronomical. The Cost Per Click (CPC) for financial services such as Mortgages, Insurance, Savings, and Current Accounts is very high - around £10 per click - so your budget would very quickly be devoured by Google. Marketing is also a competitive industry within Google. I looked at doing PPC for myself through Google ads - it was prohibitively expensive.  


Facebook PPC, LinkedIn PPC and Twitter PPC can often be more effective than search engine PPC campaigns. This is mainly because the Social Media platforms are much less competitive than search engines when it comes to Pay Per Click Marketing, and many of them now offer excellent targeting options.


If after reading all this you still have no idea what you should be doing with your PPC budget then get in touch! We can develop a strategy for your Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing and help your business to achieve the desired return on investment.


Article by Debbie Kiley

SEO & PPC specialist


For more information or help with an SEO or PPC campaign email