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A Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing strategy is when a company purchases online advertising and pays only for the amount of clicks on that ad, rather than for the amount of impressions. This is a great way to maximize return on investment for online advertising because you are only paying to be seen by real potential customers (people who are interested enough in the ad to actually click on it).
Contrast this to more traditional advertising (print and broadcast) which can be very costly and is sent out to a much less targeted audience, and it is easy to see your PPC advertising has become so popular. It is considerably easier for a marketing department to justify paying only for the advertising that is driving customers to your website!
There are two main ways to advertise with a PPC ad. These are via search engines and via partner networks.
In search engine advertising (sometimes called sponsored search engine placement), businesses and marketing companies bid on keywords. Generally speaking, the highest bid for each keyword will win top spot on the search engine listing page. But in the case of Google Ad Words, the quality of your landing page is also taken into consideration.
You will then pay (your bid price) the engine each time someone clicks on your ad. When you bid, you can establish your maximum bid per click as well as your maximum daily budget. This ensures that you will be able to make and stick to your marketing budget.
When you win a keyword, your ad will appear when users search for that keyword. This is a very effective way to get your ad in front of people who are already looking for your product or service.
Search engine PPC advertising is a great alternative for a business that is struggling to get a leg up on the competition in their SEO ranking. Unlike organic SEO rankings which can take time (even months) to establish – especially in highly competitive sectors, paid PPC advertising can instantly put a business’s ad on the front page of a user’s search.
PPC advertising on partner networks works by placing a more static ad (such as a banner ad) on another website. This is a less targeted approach than search engine advertising but it is usually less expensive as well.
PPC advertising has a number of advantages which we have already noted. But one of the things that marketers like best about PPC marketing, is how easy it is to measure return on investment. Unlike traditional advertising, SEO or social media, PPC tools (especially AdWords) provide a whole array of metrics that allow you to see what is working and what is not. This means that you can adjust your approach and marketing budget accordingly – based on real numbers and not hunches.