What is PPC?

Written by
Visions Team
April 24, 2024

It’s 2024, so we can assume you have probably come across the term ‘PPC Marketing’ before, but what does it actually mean? Whether you’re already familiar with PPC or you’re simply curious to learn more about this area of digital marketing, then you have come to the right place! 

What does PPC mean?

PPC or Pay-Per-Click in simple terms means that you only pay when a user clicks on your ad that appears online. It's essentially a way of buying visits to your website, rather than earning them organically/for free through search engine optimisation (SEO).

How does PPC work?

PPC advertising operates on a bidding system, this is where advertisers compete for ad placement in a search engine's sponsored links or on relevant websites. Advertisers bid on specific keywords or phrases that are relevant to their target audience or business. When a user searches using those keywords, the search engine algorithm determines which ads to display based on ad rank factors. 

Ad ranking factors can differ based on different platforms however here is a list that is universal to all platforms: 

  • Budget and ad bid - the amount of money you are willing to spend on a click and your overall daily/campaign budget. 
  • Competitiveness - This is based on how many other businesses are competing for your keywords and specific audience. Higher competition will result in a higher cost of clicks.
  • Ad rank threshold - the minimum price required to show your ad. 
  • Ad quality - search engines will calculate how likely a user is to make a conversion on your website, the higher your conversion rate the more likely you are to reach the best ad placement. 
  • Context of the user's search - this includes location, device, time of search, intent of search terms and other user signals (think about when you google ‘restaurants near me’).

Types of PPC advertising

When setting up a PPC campaign, you are presented with a choice of various ad formats. The formats that you use will depend on the platform but also your campaign goals. Below is a breakdown of these formats and what they are best used for:

  • Search Advertising - In search advertising, ads appear alongside search engine results when users search for specific keywords or phrases. The most common platform for search advertising is Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords), which displays ads on the Google search engine results pages (SERPs). Search advertising is best used for capturing users who are actively searching for specific products, services, or information.
  • Display Advertising - Display advertising involves placing visual ads, such as banners or interactive ads, on websites that are part of the Google Display Network (GDN) or other ad networks. These ads can reach users as they browse various websites across the internet. Display advertising is effective for building brand awareness, reaching a broad audience, and retargeting users who have previously visited your website.
  • Shopping Ads - Shopping ads, also known as Product Listing Ads (PLAs), are a type of PPC advertising that allows e-commerce businesses to promote their products directly within search engine results. These ads typically feature product images, prices, and other relevant information such as review ratings, making them highly visible and actionable for users searching for specific products. Shopping ads are best used for driving sales and capturing users who are ready to make a purchase.
  • Social Media Advertising - Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer PPC advertising options that allow advertisers to target users based on demographics, interests, behaviours and more. Social media advertising is highly effective for reaching specific audience segments, driving engagement, and building brand awareness. It's ideal for businesses looking to connect with their target audience and promote products or services in a visually engaging manner.

Benefits of PPC Advertising

  • Immediate Results: Unlike SEO, which can take time to generate organic traffic, PPC advertising delivers immediate results. Once your campaign is set up and launched, you can start driving traffic to your website right away!
  • Targeted Advertising: PPC advertising allows for precise targeting, enabling you to reach your ideal audience based on demographics, interests, location and other factors. This ensures that ads are shown to users who are most likely to be interested in the product or service being promoted.
  • Measurable Return On Investment (ROI): PPC campaigns provide detailed analytics and metrics that allow advertisers to track the performance of their ads in real time. This includes metrics such as click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, cost per click (CPC) and return on investment (ROI), allowing for continuous optimisation and improvement.

Tips for Success with PPC Advertising

  • Keyword Research: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify relevant keywords and phrases that align with your business objectives and target audience.
  • Compelling Ad Copy: Write compelling and relevant ad copy that entices users to click on your ad. Highlight unique selling points, promotions, or incentives to encourage action.
  • Optimised Landing Pages: Ensure that your landing pages are optimised for conversions and provide a seamless user experience. Landing pages should align with the ad messaging and offer clear calls-to-action (CTAs). 
  • Continuous Optimisation: Regularly monitor and analyse your PPC campaigns to identify areas for improvement. Test different ad creatives, targeting options, and bidding strategies to optimise performance and maximise ROI (Return on Investment).


PPC advertising is a powerful tool for driving targeted traffic, generating leads and increasing conversions. By understanding the fundamentals of PPC advertising and implementing best practices, businesses can use this digital marketing strategy to achieve their goals and grow their online presence effectively. Whether you're a small business owner or a seasoned marketer, incorporating PPC advertising into your digital marketing strategy can bring significant results and help you stay ahead of your competitors. If you need a hand with your PPC strategy, why not give us a call?