What is PPC? Pay-Per-Click Advertising Explained

What is PPC, anyway?

Did you know pay per click advertising is a massive industry? In 2017, just under 7 million advertisers spent $10.1 billion on PPC ads. This begs the question: why are there so many people spending big bucks for this form of marketing?

The easy answer? Because it works.

A more accurate answer? It works when you know what you're doing. Fortunately for you, it doesn't take an MBA to master PPC advertising. All it takes is a little bit of practice and a ton of research.

So then, are you ready to boost your sales and leads? Yeah? Okay, let's do this. When you're ready to learn what you need to know about PPC advertising, read on.

What is PPC?

In order to comprehend how PPC works, we must first agree on what it is. The concept is to create an ad which sponsors later put in front of your target audience. The audience then views your ad on a desktop or mobile browser.

If they want to learn more, they click your ad. At that point, their browser redirects them to another site. It gives them additional information about your services or products. At least that's how PPC used to work.

It's recently transformed into something more sophisticated.

PPC Elements

Facebook PPC ads and Google AdWords are the most popular PPC services available today. When you run your PPC campaign on either of these services, you have to create these assets:

  • The campaign: a group of ad channels and ads structured around a theme

  • The ad group: a group of ads, with similar content, used in your campaign

  • Keywords: these determine to whom the ads are sent

  • Ad text: the written copy that's used in the ad

  • Ad graphics: the graphical elements that are used in the ad

  • Landing page: the site to which visitors who click on the ads are sent

You should develop each of these elements before the next step: bidding on keywords. We explain this step in the next section.


When you build your first campaign, you have to bid on your keywords. You bid against competitors who want their ads displayed to viewers who search for the same keywords.

Let's pretend you bid $0.10 on the keyword "black leather purses." If you win your bid, it'll cost you $0.10 each time one of those viewers clicks on your ad. This is called "cost-per-click."

Fortunately, you get to set a spending limit when you set up your campaign. Let's say you set it at $500. Since your cost-per-click is $0.10, your ad will be displayed in front of at least 5,000 people.

Other Options

In recent years, AdWords and Facebook began offering marketers other, more advanced, options. They're designed to hit prospects at separate points of the sales funnel.

Now you can increase brand recognition with non-clickable ads. You can put more ads in front of prospects because they cost less than traditional PPC ads.

You can also show your phone number to viewers rather than redirecting them to another site. When they click on your ad, your number pops up on their screen followed by two buttons. The first says "call" and the other says "cancel." It makes it easier for them to reach out.

A whole slew of additional options exists, covering each stage of your sales funnel. A healthy campaign strategy utilizes multiple ads, in alignment with your own personal branding. I recommend you try at least one ad for each stage of your funnel.

What's Next?

Well, I've answered the question, "what is PPC?" Now, weigh the results. Tell me, is marketing with PPC right for your business? If you have a few dollars to experiment and you're willing to learn the process, then hopefully you answered yes.

If you answered no, or you try it but get stuck, you can still reap the benefits. Simply hire a pro to take over. A pro will bypass the learning curve and jump straight to the profitable portion of your strategy.

Did you find the above material helpful? Then jump over to my library and browse my assortment of digital marketing articles.