Pay Per Click advertising has been around for several years now, but what exactly is it? You might have heard the phrase, or its abbreviation PPC. You might also have heard people talking about Google AdWords, the most widely used form of PPC advertising. So, what is PPC advertising?
PPC is advertising on Google. You can do PPC advertising on other search engines, but Google is the most commonly used search engine in Ireland, so it is the platform that will deliver the best results for the majority of Irish businesses.
When you do a search on Google for something where there is a possible buying intent (Donegal hotels, cheap home insurance, etc) you may see results at the top of the listing with a yellow icon that says “Ad”. You will also have a right column of results and at the top of that column is another yellow icon, this time saying “Ads”. These are all PPC ads.
The businesses that appear in these positions have set up PPC campaigns in Google Adwords. It costs money, but you only pay Google whenever someone clicks on your ad. It is therefore a pay-on-results pricing model.
This type of pricing structure exists elsewhere on the internet, most notably on Facebook where the cost of advertisements is based on results, but true PPC advertising is on search engines.
When Would You Use PPC?
Why do you need PPC advertising? This question is particularly relevant if your website already appears in Google search results. That is free, so why would you pay Google for PPC ads? Here are the four main reasons:
- To increase your visibility – with PPC advertising you can get your website to the top of the search results page. Many businesses choose to do this if one of their competitors appears above them in organic search – it is a way to leapfrog into position one.
- To reach a wider audience – for example, you might have a clothing shop in Sligo that appears in search results when people in Sligo search for women’s clothes. However it may not appear if a person in Donegal or Galway does the same search. If you want to reach those people to grow your business, PPC advertising is one effective method.
- To get results quickly – the main alternative to PPC advertising is SEO – search engine optimisation. This is the process of making your website more interesting to Google so that it puts it in a higher position on search results pages. SEO is effective, but it takes time. If you want instant results, PPC delivers.
- Improved targeting – with PPC advertising you can ensure that the people visiting your website are as targeted as possible. In practical terms, this means people doing searches using keywords that show they have a buying intent.
What Are The Downsides?
PPC has two main downsides:
- It doesn’t scale – you get instant results with PPC advertising, but once you stop the ads running, the traffic to your website will immediately stop as well. SEO, on the other hand, delivers results over the long term, even though it is much slower to get up and going.
- Getting a return – setting up PPC campaigns can be complicated. As a result it is easy to run a campaign where you get clicks, pay your money over to Google, and then discover that very few of those clicks resulted in sales. Unless you spend time learning how Google AdWords works, you can spend money without getting the conversions that you need.
Many businesses can benefit from PPC advertising though. When done correctly you can get increased, targeted traffic to your website, and increased volumes of sales.