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If you’ve been considering PPC advertising, then you’ll inevitably have some basic questions about the platform and how it works. That’s what we’re here to do in the next week or two. In this easy, go-to guide, we’ll answer some of the most common questions we’ve been asked by PPC beginners and hopefully give you all the information you’ll need to make what we think is an important decision. Let’s jump right in!

What is it?

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing – at its core – is a form of web advertising that allows you to place ads in search results or elsewhere on the web. You pay when a customer clicks on your ad, as opposed to simply paying for the space. In recent years, PPC marketing has broken into two main forms:

  • Search engine advertising – Like Google Ad Words, when you sign up for an account you bid on certain keywords in order to have your ads appear in results when someone performs a search relevant to your business. The system itself is incredibly intuitive, allowing you to query just what it is a searcher is looking for so business owners like you can focus in on that audience. Unlike broadcasting out to broad audiences like you would with TV or Radio, search engine advertising allows you to prime the proverbial pump and speak directly to people ready, willing and able to buy from you now.
  • Partner Network Advertising – If you’re looking for more of a ‘big blast,’ then Partner Network advertising is for you. How it works is that advertisers will purchase ads from a company that owns several websites. The ad then gets placed on all or some of those sites – allowing advertisers to cast a wider net. Partner Network Advertising also tends to be significantly cheaper than Search Engine Advertising, too.

At its core – pay per click is ‘pay to play’ – meaning that it’s a great way to pay as you go for results. Organic Search marketing is a great way to get free advertising but just like Pay Per Click, comes with it’s own challenges, so we recommend a mix of both to ensure maximum success.

But nobody clicks on ads, ever!

NOT TRUE. One of the biggest lies that circulates the Internet marketing world are the folks who claim they’ve never clicked on an ad. In fact, people click on ads all the time. Here’s why:

  • Google makes 98% of its revenue from ads – Yes, you read that right. Google’s advertising is a $40 billion/year juggernaut. They don’t make that money if someone isn’t clicking on an ad.
  • Searches with high commercial intent get twice as many clicks as organic results – While it’s true that organic results on the WHOLE get more clicks, when people are looking to buy – it’s the advertisements they’re clicking.
  • No right hand column with ads means people can’t tell the difference – Don’t believe us? This study says so (and there are some others, too)!

Why people click

While there isn’t a magic formula to speak of and yes –the margin for error is big, we can make some pretty concrete assumptions about why people click on web ads. Here are a few:

  • They don’t know it’s an ad – Like we said above, many ads don’t look like ads, so users can’t tell the difference. Regardless of intent of the link, people are still clicking. They wouldn’t have searched for the subject material to begin with if they didn’t intend to click on something.
  • The ad is relevant – Ads get clicked – most of the time – because people want to buy. Ads can most certainly be the best answer to their query ‘question.’ Product ads that answer specific questions are especially appealing because buyers know exactly what it is that they’re looking for. Once you factor in Google’s Quality Score system – results become beneficial to everyone. Google serves up ads that are most likely to get clicked (they win), Buyers get more results to products they’re more likely to buy (they win), and advertisers get a better chance of making the sale (they win, too).
  • Indirect attention – Sometimes ads get posted that might not necessarily be DIRECTLY associated with the searcher’s query. In other words, this is side traffic. Have you ever been distracted on the web? Then this is you.

Granted, we’re dealing with human psychology here, so you’re dealing with any number of random variables. As such, the rule of thumb should always remain the same: try to make your ad the most relevant results possible for a given search query.

Be sure to check back next week for part-II where we dive into the various uses for PPC as well as budgeting and whether your business is a good fit for PPC. marketing.