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What Does PPC Stand For In Marketing? A Beginner’s Guide

PPC, CPC, CTR, CPL, CRO – web marketing is full of acronyms. One of which is PPC or Pay-Per-Click. What does PPC stand for in marketing? This is an internet marketing strategy where advertisers pay a specific fee for every click on their advertisements. If you’re new to PPC, I’ve discussed what it means below and how it can benefit a business. I’ve also expanded on some common questions we’ve received from our readers.

What does PPC stand for in marketing?

what does PPC stand for in marketing

PPC or Pay-Per-Click is a widely used internet marketing strategy that allows business owners to drive more traffic to their websites. Such traffic is intended to enter the so-called ‘sales funnel’, where potential customers are enticed to buy a product or service.

Search engine advertising drives income within the web, and it’s also the most common form of the pay-per-click model. It accounts for a large chunk of advertising money funneled into the web. Back in 2017, over 7 million advertisers have spent more than $10 billion on PPC ads that year alone, according to Social Media Today.

Moreover, PPC allows website owners and advertisers to show up on the top spot of search results faster than performing SEO. Others would think that it’s a shortcut, but as a marketer, I can tell you that PPC and SEO are two different things. You can even combine them for your benefit (more on this below).

PPC banks on the fact that internet users search for the things they need or want to know. And if an advertiser can be the first resource to become available, they are more likely to turn that internet user into a customer.

The process goes like this: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action – the action being a purchasing decision. Take note that conversion rates (fulfillment of the goal) will vary across the web.

How do PPC campaigns work?

PPC is basically putting up ads on the web so that it will show up on top of search engines. But unlike the ads we know, these ads actually look like typical search results but tagged as ‘Ads’. This gives advertisers the edge so they can outrank their competitors for a limited span of time.

Let’s take Google Ads, for example. To put up a PPC campaign, an advertiser has to join an Ad Auction. This is a fully automated process on the many search engines, including Google. This auction gauges the relevance and validity of the ads as a way to determine which will appear on top of the search results.

Take note that the Ad Auction is a bidding system. Advertisers who wish to launch a PPC campaign has to determine how the ads will be triggered or displayed. This is governed by keywords.

In this video, Bluehost tells us more about how PPC marketing drives more traffic to a website:

Keywords play a vital role in PPC advertising

Keywords are the terms and phrases internet users use to look for a specific product, service, or information. For example, if you own a flower shop, the typical keywords associated with your business are “flower delivery near me”, “where to buy flower bouquets”, and so on. These terms set you apart from other businesses of different niches.

When an internet user enters these keywords on the internet, the search engine will crunch – in a blink of an eye – the most relevant search results. And based on the Ad Auction algorithm, this may or may not include your advertisement.

PPC is not free

Pay-per-click campaigns come at a cost. Advertisers have to pay for every click their ads get. That is regardless if the clicker buys anything during his or her visit.

This is the reason why you have to target ‘money keywords’. These are keywords that are warm and most likely to be searched by someone who has the intention to make a purchasing decision.

Nevertheless, the PPC investment is lucrative, especially for businesses selling expensive services or products. For example, an advertiser paid $3 for a click, which resulted in a $500 purchase. In this case, the small investment yielded a bigger profit for the business.

So how will advertisers know how much they need to pay per click? Cost Per Click (CPC) is usually computed by dividing the advertising campaign by the number of clicks.

For example, you spent $1,000 on a PPC campaign, which generated 5,000 clicks (the Ad Auction algorithm determines exposure). You will divide $1,000 by 5,000 clicks, which is $0.20 per click. This means that you only spent $0.20 for a site visitor to visit and purchase something from your website.

The goal here is to get as many clicks as possible for every campaign. That is possible if you will choose every keyword wisely.

Types of PPC applications

what does PPC stand for in marketing

PPC campaigns are not just the thing of Google or search engines collectively. It has evolved into a powerful tool for advertisers to make the most out of different online platforms. Aside from the traditional form of pay-per-click, the following are the forms of PPC:

  • Social advertising. Social media platforms have become a massive source of warm leads over the years. It’s a large pool of consumers ready to make purchasing decisions. Advertisers utilize the imagery of social media as well as individual ad programs. The most popular is Facebook Ads.
  • Remarketing. Have you ever searched for something, then it’s suddenly all over your social media feed and online searches? This is called remarketing. Internet platforms use your search behavior to target you for advertisements since you’re more likely to fulfill their goal.
  • Display advertising. Similar to search PPC advertising, display advertising use visuals, and target specific groups of people. This is similar to remarketing, but it has better visuals to encourage the targeted internet user to click.
  • Sequential remarketing. This is under remarketing, but I decided to list it separately because of its big impact on PPC campaigns. Aside from targeting internet users based on their search behavior, sequential marketing lays out a series of content over a span of time. It aims to tell a story in an effort to catch the person’s attention and eventually gain a purchase.

Benefits of PPC marketing

Pay-Per-Click advertising won’t be around this long if it’s not effective. If done right, PPC campaigns can bring manifold returns to a business. If you’re thinking of launching PPC campaigns, the following benefits will surely convince you:

  • Instant exposure. The good thing about PPC campaigns is that you will enjoy instant exposure after launching your campaigns. With this, you will reap revenue faster than performing SEO. It will drive instant traffic to your website so you can recoup your PPC investments fast.
  • Warm leads. The visitors that will arrive at your site are those that are ready to purchase. Most of these people are searching for a solution or a specific product.
  • Multi-layered targeting. One of the best things about PPC campaigns is you can easily target an age group, profile, location, interest, and more at the same time. This increases your chances of landing a sale for every click.
  • Pairs with SEO. Newbie marketers often pit SEO and PPC, but it can actually be a combo to increase their sales.
  • Easy to do. PPC campaigns are easy to learn and launch. You don’t need to design or set up a very complicated platform. There are many online resources that will set you up fast so you can start a campaign for your business.
  • Boosts positive ROI. The results of PPC campaigns are very easy to measure. It’s also effective in bringing new customers and increasing your bottom line.
  • Increases brand awareness. According to Google, PPC campaigns help businesses boost their target customers’ brand awareness by as much as 80%.

Limitations of PPC marketing

Just like any marketing strategy, pay-per-click campaigns have limitations. Before you launch your first PPC campaign, you must know the not-so-good side of this method.

First, the positive effects of PPC are only as good as your ability to pay. Once you stop paying for the clicks, the ads will be terminated. Also, the cost of PPC can easily add up and become intimidating for small businesses.

Aside from that, each click doesn’t always translate to sales. Take note that it’s not just about bringing your customer to your site. The bigger task is convincing the internet user why he or she should avail of your service or product. This is where the hard work goes.


what does PPC stand for in marketing

Since I’ve mentioned SEO a couple of times above, I think it begs for comparison. Both PPC and SEO are intended to drive traffic, revenue, and exposure to websites. However, they do it in very different ways.

As discussed, PPC is a paid advertisement campaign that puts websites on top of search results instantly. As long as you’re paying, you’ll reap the returns.

SEO of search engine optimization is a far-cry from this. Unlike PPC, SEO is organic traffic that you basically don’t have to pay for unless you’re hiring an expert.

Search engine optimization works by improving your business website so it will rank better in the search results. Like PPC, SEO is highly driven by keywords. By optimizing your website content with well-searched keywords, the search engine will perceive your site as more relevant to the queries of internet users.

Again, like PPC, your organic ranking will be determined by Google algorithms. It’s an ever-charging standard that’s why businesses always have to keep up to retain their rankings.

Despite the work needed for SEO, the biggest advantage of this optimization is its long-term benefit. Your rankings will bring in traffic and sales months after your last optimization. While it will take longer than PPC to take effect, the wait is truly worth it.

Is Bing PPC cheaper than Google?

what does PPC stand for in marketing

The cost per click on a PPC campaign varies on each search engine. The truth is that cost PPC campaigns on Bing are much cheaper than Google. This is understandable since Bing has less traffic than Google. But if you want to test the waters with a small budget, Bing Ads are definitely worth the try.

Another reason behind the lower cost per click on Bing is the relaxed competition. While millions of advertisers are desperately trying to win the top spot on Google, you can take the path less traveled. Depending on your strategy and business, you might hit a jackpot on Bing Ads.

How does PPC on Amazon work?

The Amazon Advertising program works just like any other PPC platform. The advertiser will only pay when someone clicks on their link. Sellers who wish to boost their sales can use Amazon Ads.

The cost per click on Amazon Ads is around $0.77. However, depending on the specific keyword, product, click-through rates, and other factors, it can be higher or lower.

Does PPC work for small businesses?

PPC campaigns are quite tricky for small businesses. At first glance, it’s not a practical strategy since the cost can easily pile up. However, if you will use the right keywords and set up the campaign, your small business will benefit a lot from PPC.

The good thing about running PPC campaigns for small businesses is the ease of tracking expenses and revenue. You can also make changes without ruining your gains.

Small businesses will benefit a lot from the speed and flexibility of pay-per-click campaigns. However, if you’re new to this method, I suggest hiring an expert. While you’ll have to invest a larger upfront cost, the returns are much greater.

I suggest starting small when it comes to your PPC budget. You wouldn’t want to spend too much without gauging the returns first. Once your campaigns are earning, you can increase your budget.

Final words

What does PPC stand for in marketing? This advertising strategy is called pay-per-click, wherein business owners advertise to gain the top spot on search results. This instant exposure increases traffic and eventual conversion rate. However, PPC campaigns must be configured properly for guaranteed ROI.

Are you planning to launch a PPC campaign for your business? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section!

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