Pay-Per-Click Advertising: The Simplified Guide

Google Ads - Pay-Per-Click Advertising - Synergy XYZ

You might be familiar with the term Pay-per-Click or have probably heard it before, but in the world of marketing, PPC can be difficult to grasp as there are many ways to advertise your brand in the ever-changing world of digital marketing. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but isn’t that what makes marketing so intriguing?

If you’re just getting started or you just want to be more knowledgeable about the nature of PPC, we have simplified the important points to guide you for your upcoming digital marketing campaigns.

What is Pay-per-Click?

Pay-per-Click (PPC) is a form of advertising where an advertiser pays for each click to their website page or selected destination. Essentially, PPC is considered a way of buying visits to your site, rather than wait for organic visitors if time is not an option. PPC is a great way to market your business if you want to yield good results faster. A good PPC campaign is utilized to drive traffic, leads, and sales.

Popular PPC advertising networks are Google Ads, Bing Ads, and Facebook Ads. Although, Facebook is a social advertising platform, the concept of PPC applies.

Most importantly, when it comes to PPC, advertisers are charged only when a user clicks on an ad. They aren’t charged for impressions.

Here’s an example of a PPC ad via Google on Mobile.  You may have noticed these image PPC Ads on Google during your search.

What are the benefits of Pay-per-Click?

  • PPC increases brand visibility 

Visibility is what every marketer aims for when it comes to standing out online amongst other brands. The fact is nobody will buy from you if you don’t exist online. The toughest part is to get the eyeballs on your brand.

When the audience is online, they tend to explore search engines, social media, or their favorite websites. This is when PPC shines by enabling your brand to display in spaces where your audience frequently visits online.

Think about how often you use Google to search for information or a product, even Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? The answer is probably quite often, right?

According to statistics, PPC visitors are 50% more likely to buy something as compared to organic visitors.

Need help creating PPC ads that are hard to ignore? Engage with an agency and let’s talk clicks!

  • PPC increases website traffic

Your website is the core of your business online. The first move would be to create awareness, then moving on to trying to get people to visit your website for your business to run.

PPC is a perfect way to increase visitors to your website by getting their attention when they are searching for something online and your PPC ad pops up. Once they click on your ad, they will be directed to your website where it’s your job to convince, convert, and get them interested to act on a decision, such as sign up or purchase your product or services.

  • PPC is relevant to the audience

With PPC, you save your time and money targeting a relevant audience. You don’t want just anybody to find your business, you want the people with intentions to buy at the right moment. The beauty of PPC is that you can bid on the most expected keywords to make sure your ads pop-up for people actively searching for the type of products you’re selling.

For example, winter is nearing so you expect most to search for winter wear, so you buy keywords like winter wear, winter jackets, and anything specific and related to the products you offer. At least, you have the comfort of knowing that people will see your ad as they search for winter wear.

  • Increase your reach

These days, who doesn’t use the internet? A majority of people utilize search engines and social media to find a product or to find a solution to their problems. almost daily. When you add the sites on the Google Display Network, you end up with all the people that are exposed to PPC ads regularly.

Here you can reach a wider or new audience.

  • PPC produces faster results than most marketing tactics

PPC is probably one of the quickest tactics to getting faster results, unlike its fellow marketing tactic, search engine optimization (SEO) which requires time and effort to notice results. However, SEO and PPC are two different tactics and both are very different. SEO traffic is free and organic whereas PPC is Paid-per-Click, meaning you have to pay a cost per click.

  • Take your marketing efforts further

There are many content marketing tactics online and these two, SEO and PPC can speed up the process to yield results.

PPC is a smart marketing tactic because it might not have a direct effect on SEO, but it certainly influences the website traffic and the retention time on your website. If your PPC ads manage to gain visitors to enter your website, read, and share your content on their sites, then having better SEO results too.

If you use PPC ads to grow your following on social media, it will go further by creating more visibility in terms of your social posts and overall online presence. In online marketing, your website and social media reflect on your brand and work as a team to create awareness and communicate with your audience.

  • Cost-Effective 

The term Pay-per-Click sure sounds intimidatingly pricey right? However, the good news is that it is cost-effective, and you don’t have to break the bank on PPC costs just to notice results.

You can allocate a desirable amount but just don’t expect to be at the top spot for long, you can still work around your costs and choose ad placements and clicks that are within your budget.

  • Proven ROI

According to Google’s economic impact, the money you spend on PPC will be worth your investment because PPC delivers a good return on investment (ROI) and advertisers usually earn back $2 for every $1 spent.

Of course, what determines your ROI also reflects on the quality of your content, ads, and targeting options.

If you want to increase profits and get that kind of ROI, it’s best to seek professional help to work on your PPC and overall digital marketing strategies.

  • Control your budget

PPC platforms are easy to manage and control your ad spend by setting a maximum daily spend and maximum costs per click (CPC) that you’re willing to fork out. There won’t be additional charges like traditional methods of payment.

PPC ads use a bidding model for ads. The price you pay per click and the placement of your ads is determined by your set budget.

Of course, this means that the more you spend, the higher the chances of producing better results, but given a smaller budget, your ads will still be seen, and you will only have to pay once your ads are clicked.

  • Various Targeting Options

With PPC, you can reach almost everybody, although that might not be necessary. If your product is focused on a specific niche. Your ads will usually work better when you’re strategic about when to post for the best possible response.

For example, you sell workout attire specifically for people who like to stay fit and keep active so you can display it on google, marketplaces, gym websites, spa websites, social media sites like Facebook, and anything you deem relevant to a community.

Both search engines and social media platforms offer targeting options you can utilize to make sure your ads reach out to your desired audience based on factors such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Device type
  • Occupation
  • Interests
  • Location
  • Income Bracket
  • Browsing history
  • Buying intent
  • Frequently visited sites

Platforms like Google and Facebook have a lot of data and resources of their users and their activities online, which is great for marketers to pin their potential customer’s pain points and provide them with solutions. This is what leads to great results for most marketers and businesses, the more you know your consumer, the more you can tailor your content marketing strategy according to their needs.

  • Format Options

With PPC, you can explore multiple types of ad format options. Search engine result pages (SERPs) can use a few ad extensions to control how your ads look and what information you want to include.

Although Google is the designated platform for PPC ads, advertisers can also apply their PPC practices elsewhere on Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, and Twitter depending on where your audience is and advertisers can explore image ads, text ads, video ads, animation, and many more.

Facebook is a great environment for PPC ads, click here to find out how to run effective Facebook advertising.

  • Remarketing helps

When you get visitors and traffic on your website, it sure feels good! But, once they’re done reading your blog and leave your website, what’s next? You don’t want your visitors to forget about your brand entirely and you plan to convert them into purchasing customers that will keep coming back for more.

With PPC at your fingertips, you can create ads specifically to target people that have visited your website and tailor your content to meet specific needs according to what interests them on your site. For example, if they checked out a bag of yours, you could target them by reminding them of that bag they checked out and include other products those customers who purchased the same bag also liked.

Remarketing your brand and product is a good way to convert one-time visitors into customers and could lead to brand loyalty.

  • The more you know about PPC, the more you save

As you keep experimenting with PPC, you will get a better understanding of the type of ads and content that works for your targeted audience.

However, search engine results want to provide accurate and relevant results to consumers, so each ad has a quality score based on how your ad is performing. The better your ads perform, the higher your score which will automatically give you better ad placements for a lower CPC.

Any marketer or brand doing PPC will have to monitor their ad results and must constantly tweak their campaigns to gain better results.

  • PPC provides valuable analytics

Usually, PPC campaigns will provide valuable data that gives marketers and businesses more depth and insight so they can use PPC analytics to gain a better understanding of their audience and the type of ads they respond to, which improves a campaign’s overall marketing strategy.

In Digital Marketing today, marketers and businesses have the luxury of knowing that conventional advertising isn’t able to provide. Today, you can track and improve your campaign with views, clicks, bounce rates, conversions, and many more.

An example would be if your image ad performs the best in your PPC ads, it can help you create more attractive imagery that is relevant. It also allows advertisers to define their audience and buyer personas that have been created.

PPC is one of the best ways to gain access to valuable data to help you reinforce your marketing strategy.

There are several PPC Metrics for marketers and business owners to consider:

  • Clicks: The number of times a paid search is clicked.
  • The average cost per visit: The sum paid per click.
  • Click-through-rates (CTR): How often your ad is being clicked after being seen.
  • Shared Impressions: How often the ads for a keyword are shown.
  • Conversions: How frequently a click comes close to a sale.
  • Rate of conversions: An average of how each paying conversion would cost.
  • Cost per conversion: How much an entire conversion would cost.
  • Return on paid search metrics: Number of gains and losses on paid search metrics.

How Pay-per-Click works?

You should gather by now that many terms are related to PPC; digital marketing is a family of terms, social networks, and competition because there are vast opportunities online for businesses to explore.

First, for ads to show up beside the results on a search engine results page (SERP), the advertisers can’t just simply add more to the payment to appear in PPC, it doesn’t mean an advertiser should pay more for their ads to be more noticeable than their competitors’ ads — it just doesn’t work that way like how it would with traditional advertising.

When it comes to PPC, how it works is that your ads are subject to an Ad Auction, which is an automated process that search engines like Google, Bing, and many more utilize to determine the relevance and authenticity of the ads that appear on their SERPs.

How Keywords Work in Pay-per-Click

When it comes to PPC ads, Ad Auction is a bidding system that comes into play which refers to advertisers who must bid on specific keywords to display their ads.

For example, your business specializes in delivering groceries, so the most common word would be “groceries” for a user to type into a search engine to find their options and the top brands that provide this specific service.

At this point, the user submits their search, and the search engine will automatically be based on the algorithm’s calculations that the Ad Auction is based on. This will determine which ads are displayed, which order, and which advertiser it’s from.

However, it may sound simple but as an advertiser, since you have to pay for each click on your PPC ads, you need to have a focused mindset when you bid on keywords. Do your thorough research and bid on only the most relevant keywords for your business, so you can be sure of a healthy ROI from your ad spend.

The bidding also depends on the industry your business is in. Generally, you set a bid for clicks to your website, you’re either bidding on keywords or audiences and you’re setting a bid of how much you’re willing to pay for each click to your website. Now, bids can really vary from one industry to another. For instance, you can be in home décor, you might be bidding $1 to $2, for real estate, maybe $5 to $10, and some lawyers bid up to $20 to $50 dollars or more, so how much you’re paying for a click generally depends on how much revenue each click can drive for your business.

For example, if you’re a lawyer, you shouldn’t mind paying $50 per click because one client can bring you thousands and thousands of dollars or more for your business.

And because you’re entering an auction with other advertisers, so generally the amount you’re willing to pay for each click depends on the other advertisers as well and how much they’re willing to pay for each click. If other advertisers are willing to pay more for each click, then you’re going to have trouble winning the auction, let’s say you and five other advertisers are bidding for a specific keyword on Google, you’re going to be entering an auction every time someone keys in something so that’s when the competition gets tight. This is the way it works; the ad advertising score is based on a bid, quality score, and relevancy score. So basically, Google’s going to look through your landing page, average click-through rate, and will result in an ad rank.

It is advisable to explore your options with keyword tools to help you find relevant keywords to bid on that are likely to drive conversions or sales and are considered affordable. Free keyword tools like WordStream are helpful for SEO and PPC keyword research.

The useful thing about the WordStream tool is that it allows users to target niches of the related keywords, provides further suggestions (*LSI), and allows you to group them based on a common theme.

This keyword research tool is pretty generous and allows a free trial user to conduct 30 searches for free and if you surpass the word search limit, you will have to sign up to continue your search.

*Note: LSI stands for Latent Semantic Index (ing) which is a computer program that is designed to pick up a wide variety of synonyms based on context. It’s a mathematical technique to identify relationships and meaning between words.

Overall, businesses can easily make their lives easier with cross-platform software tools like WordStream Advisor and others can be useful and generate automated alerts to notify you of areas in your PPC campaign to take action in, indicate which areas of your account can be improved, and many more like:

  • Discovering new keywords
  • Create relevantly organized ad groups
  • Identify negative keywords that could be affecting your ad budget
  • Improve your ad copy
  • Create impactful and relevant landing pages

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads (previously known as Google AdWords) is the most popular Pay-Per-Click advertising system in the world by far. It enables businesses to create ads and display them in Google’s search engine and other Google properties such as YouTube.

However, YouTube is a separate asset on its own, so you have to head to Google Ads to select it manually so you can also benefit from YouTube’s hundreds of millions of views.

Google Ads works on a pay-per-click model where users must bid on keywords and pay for each click on their ads. Once a search is being conducted Google dives deep into a group of advertisers to fill up the spotlight space on its search results page and selects the “winners” based on several factors that include quality, the relevance of keywords, and ad campaigns, along with the size of their keyword bids.

When conducting PPC advertising through Google Ads, it’s highly valuable as Google is the world’s most popular search engine and gets crazy amounts of traffic and generates the most impressions and clicks for your ad. The advertisers that get to appear on the page is based on their ad’s rank, which is a metric that is determined on the following factors:

  • CPC: Bid on the highest amount an advertiser is willing to spend on an ad. As an advertiser, your cost per click will always be less than or equal to your maximum bid, as it is an average of your bids against several competitors over a duration of time. That’s how the Google Auction and algorithm works, where your cost per click is determined by you and your competitor’s ad rank, maximum bid, and quality score.

SOURCE: CPC Formula on Google AdWords.

  • Quality Score: Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of your keywords, landing pages, and PPC campaigns. The ones with higher quality scores get more clicks for a lower cost.

SOURCE: Quality Score.

  • Keyword Relevance: Creating relevant PPC keyword lists, specific keyword groups, and proper text ads.

Here’s an example of a text-ad that’s spot on with a simple headline, display URL, and two lines of description. Keeping it short and punchy is the winning formula.

SOURCE: Effective Text-Ad

  • Landing Page Quality: Creating optimized landing pages with compelling, relevant, and precise content, a clear call-to-action, for specific search queries.

SOURCE: Landing Page.

  • Ad Creative: Attractive content sells, especially if you’re advertising on the display network, you can use many online free tools to create quality ads that are click magnets.



Pay-per-Click Step-by-Step Guide on Google Ads 

Step 1: Sign Up

Simply visit the Google Ads website and sign up with your Google account. If you don’t have an existing account, the sign-up process is simple and shouldn’t consume too much time.

Once you have filled in the necessary details, you will be directed to the following page where you can create your first campaign. Here, is where it all happens; you will select your budget, target audience, set your bids, and write your ad copy. Scroll on to the following step.


Step 2: Set your budget  

Defining your budget, a priority on the list to ensure you, as an advertiser do not cross your expenditure limits. To determine your daily budget, you must observe the number of visitors your landing page is able to convert to customers. If you’re just starting out, coming up with an average number is fine.


According to statistics from WordStream, the average conversion rate across industries is 2.35%. This means that only 2.35% of users take the desired action once they click on an ad. It’s best to check out the average conversion rate in your industry to determine how much you’re willing to spend per visitor. This calculation is referred to as cost per acquisition (CPA).

Once you have selected your currency of choice and budget, click the save button and proceed to the following step.

Step 3: Select your target audience

In this step, you must specify the geographical location of your target audience to make sure your ad is displayed only to users with the intent that key in a search with the specific keywords you’re bidding for and are present in this location selected by you.

Google AdWords locations

If you use the advanced search option, you will enable “radius targeting” which essentially means you will be allowed to target a certain radius from your zip code.

This depends on your business and whether or not you want to target nationwide, certain cities, or locally. The cool part is that you can even adjust your bids according to the radius targets. For instance, you want to set a higher bid within the 10-mile radius but lower within the 20-mile radius.

Step 4: Choose a network

In this step, you will need to choose between two options of Google’s Search Network and Display Network. The Search Network will place your ads on the Google SERPs and the Display Network will display your ad on any website with ad space.

If you’re a beginner or have a small business, I suggest you go with the Search Network as it will display your ads to users that are specifically searching for specific keywords related to your business. Display ads are generally better for branding, retargeting, and have a lower CPC, and aren’t so high on intent.

Step 5: Choose your keywords

Keywords are crucial at this point as they will be the search terms a user enters into Google’s Search Engine when they are doing their search. Google will allow you to choose 15 to 20 keywords that will trigger your ad to appear on the SERP. Think and choose wisely. Don’t fret, you can still add on more keywords along the way.

It is suggested to select several keywords that you are sure will bring in results instead of having 20 keywords that are not so concrete. Make sure to pay attention to the search volumes of the keywords you choose as it may seem rather tempting to choose a keyword with a search volume of 400,000.

Choosing keywords with high search volumes can be tempting but they are also going to burn a hole in your pocket. Remember, Google Ads works on a bidding system so keywords with high search volumes will definitely be an expensive commitment.

Keep your costs in check so you will have room for more marketing opportunities and choose relevant keywords with moderate search volumes.

Keyword types and the right Keyword Match

Here are four keyword match types that determine how you will want your ad to be displayed.

  • Broad Match:

Broad match refers to the default setting on Google Ads. According to Google, this match allows your ad to show searches with similar variations such as synonyms, phrases, singular and plural forms, even misspellings too.

Broad match allows a very wide search for your audience. Since it allows synonyms and part of your keywords, your ad might show up in a lot of unrelated search results of users. For instance, you might be targeting “Fast food restaurants Kuala Lumpur”, but using broad match, your ad may also show results for “Ginger Cookies Kuala Lumpur”.

  • Broad Match Modifier:

The broad match modifier enables advertisers to have more control simply by adding a ‘+’ before a term, you can secure it into place so that only when the term contains words after the ‘+’ your ad will show up in the results.

For example, if you bid for the word “+Fast food Kuala Lumpur”, your result will never show “Ginger cookies Kuala Lumpur”.

  • Phrase Match:

Phrase match offers more authority for business owners. When you choose a phrase match, your ad is only displayed in results for search terms that match your keyword. For example, if you choose “Fast food Kuala Lumpur” your ad will now show for “Fast food Kuala Lumpur”. To specify your phrase match, put it into your keywords between quotations.

  • Exact Match:

Just like the name suggests, this option is precise to the point that your ad will only appear when someone searches the exact identical term to your chosen words. For example, if your chosen keywords are “Fast food Kuala Lumpur” this means your ad will not pop up for search terms like “best fast-food Kuala Lumpur”. To secure your exact match, make sure to include brackets around your chosen keywords such as ([fast food Kuala Lumpur]).

  • Negative Keyword:

These keywords are the terms that help you make sure your ad is not displayed to irrelevant audiences. This feature helps if you have a product/service that may share keywords that are not related.

Step 6: Set your bid

As mentioned earlier, Google Ads works on a bidding model, which refers to the amount of money you are willing to spend for every click that lands on your ad. If you and your competitors are rooting for the same keyword, and you are willing to pay more per click, your ad will rank higher than theirs.

Based on the image above, you have two options. One, to let Google set your bid amount to maximize the chances of returns of your budget. The other is for you to choose your bid manually (best to conduct your research with Google’s Keyword Planner to save your time and money.

However, if you’re just starting out, I would suggest starting with automatic bids until you familiarize yourself with the Google Ads system.

Step 7:  Write a Killer Ad

Writing your ad is probably the most important aspect of the process. As a marketer or business owner, I would suggest reflecting on your brand and give it some thought so you can make your writing clear, concise, relevant, and compelling all at the same time. When it comes to writing, creativity is key to standing out and landing those clicks too.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Copywriting Best Practices

  • Keep it short & snappy, there’s not much space for text so your message must be direct.
  • The headline is everything: It will be the first thing your audience will encounter and will be the reason for clicks. Make sure it is convincing enough to gain clicks.
  • Clear Call-to-action: The best way to guide a user is to tell a user what you want them to do in order for them to solve their pain points.

Anatomy of an ad:

  • Headlines:

Google Ads usually allows up to two headlines in an ad and a limit of 30 characters and it is also recommended to include one of your keywords in your headlines for maximum impact.

  • Description:

The description is a space of 80 characters that are commonly used to convey your message to a user. To make it more attractive, use promotions or discount tactics to drive clicks on your ad. Also, make sure you not double, but triple check for typos or any mistakes. It needs to be flawless!


Step 8: Create your Ad

At last, once you’re done with your ad, you can click on the “save” button and proceed to the last step of the process, which will be to fill in some questions about your business and payment information. Remember, you will be charged once you’ve spent your set budget or 30 days later.



To summarize this, we hope this article has helped with simplifying the term Pay-per-Click for you and we hope you understand the importance of having a concrete content marketing strategy in digital marketing.

By now, you should know that PPC is a simple term but applying it can be a little tricky, complex, and requires a lot of trial and error in your digital marketing efforts in order to master it like a pro.

And I also want to stress how PPC can be applied in other social media networks as well, such as YouTube,  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

Google is one of the main spots for PPC ads because it already has existing traffic and a massive chance of reach.

However, if you wish to apply your PPC ad efforts on other social media sites, ensure you target the right audience and be specific in order to increase your brand’s chances of success in your ROI.

You may have all the budget in the world, but if you don’t do your research and reflect back on your audience, you will not yield great results.

Need help with your PPC campaign? Leave it to the professionals!