Pay-per-click advertising is one of the most established forms of digital marketing there is. But for businesses that haven’t tried it, their first question is undoubtedly “why is PPC important?”
PPC is important, make no mistake.
But, before building out a PPC strategy or investing in a fully-fledged ad campaign it’s important to understand why PPC is important for business growth online. Here we’ll explain why!
The main benefit of this style of marketing is that it’s widely considered to be one of the most successful forms of online advertising. It offers quick results, and reliable returns, and it’s also one of the most ubiquitous styles of advertising. It helps businesses gain greater visibility on search engines like Google or Bing, plus PPC visitors are much more likely to convert.
What is PPC?
For businesses that aren’t convinced about the success of PPC, you first have to know what PPC is before you can understand why to use PPC advertising as part of your marketing efforts. PPC (or “pay-per-click”) is a model of digital advertising that’s actually used across a wide range of internet platforms. Simply put it means ads where business pay for each click that their ads receive – any where from a few cents to a few dollars.
The most common types include search ads (PPC ads that look like regular search results on platforms like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) as well as display ads (graphic/banner ads that display on 3rd party partner websites) and social-media paid ads (which operate much like display ads, within specific social media platforms). The way that “PPC” functions in all of these styles is going to vary from platform to platform, but the core similarity is that in all of these types of internet advertising, there is the root function of paying for each ad click.
Often marketers bid for key search terms, where their ads will be displayed in search results, or they pay for ads to appear in user feeds, videos, web-pages, and more.
Here’s why using PPC advertising is important for keeping up against competitors.
It can give results immediately and consistently
This is arguably the single greatest draw for using PPC. Unlike search engine optimization that focuses on “organic” traffic growth, PPC advertising can give marketers results as soon as their ads go live – practically overnight.
This is why PPC is important for businesses that are particularly interested in generating revenue quickly or taking advantage of a very short-term marketing window (such as for special events, product launches, holidays, seasonal sales, etc.). In fact, for broad advertising strategies PPC is important as the core part of a short term & long term digital marketing strategy.
For search ads on Google or Bing, advertisers set up their ads through each platform’s portal, they set-up their ad campaigns/ad groups, set-up a budget, and determine their ad parameters – once the ads are launched they can begin immediately appearing in search results and they can immediately begin attracting clicks/conversions. However, it’s important to note that PPC campaigns can get better results once they offer enough feedback data on campaign performance – this data can be used to finetune campaign scope, improve keyword targeting, focus on high-value audiences, and use bid strategies more efficiently.
Part of the importance of PPC lies in using its short-term resulting data to reduce/cancel budgets for non-effective campaign attributes, and to focus on high-value campaign attributes.
PPC contributes to your business goals and revenue
This might seem obvious, but another reason why PPC is important is that it directly contributes to a business’s primary KPIs and can directly (and measurably) bring in revenue. Afterall that’s the whole point!
Given that, like we explained above, this style of advertising gets such quick results, the fact that it also functions as a reliable source of good revenue make’s it even more tempting. Why use PPC marketing when running ads across search engines, partner sites, and social media requires paying? Well according to Google, on average businesses generally get an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Ads. That’s an amazing 2:1 ROI!
Most PPC platforms have KPIs built in as campaign goals, allowing businesses to target specific business goals:
For search engines, ads can be designed to generate: sales, leads, website traffic, brand awareness, app downloads, off-line conversions, session duration, and a lot more.
Social media platforms – like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. – offer similar objectives like brand awareness, product sales, video-views, messages, app downloads, post engagement, etc.
This is a huge part of why using PPC advertising is so important for businesses that exist online. Major ad platforms are built around the entire purpose of helping businesses grow online with a range of ad styles that are built around your specific goals.
These ad types can help businesses advertise for their specific needs as well as to measure results and track performance.
It’s one of the most successful forms of digital marketing
The numbers speak for themselves, as one of the most common styles of online advertising, PPC is also one of the most successful. Data from Statista shows that out of all forms of online marketing, search PPC ranks highly with as much as 20% claiming it offers them the highest ROI out of any digital marketing strategy.
Wolfgang Digital claims that by 2020 paid-search advertising surpassed organic search engine traffic as the top revenue driving channel in digital marketing. In fact – for retail – search engine PPC now drives 36% of revenue; for “online only” businesses it drives as much as 46%! And with traffic through PPC advertising yielding 50% more conversions than organic, it’s really easy to see why PPC is important for any internet business.
Search engines and social media platforms are a defining part of internet use – almost every web user regularly interacts with one or both of these parts of the internet. To ignore PPC would mean ignoring a crucial part of internet shopper behavior. Three-fourths of people (75%) say that search ads make it easier to find the information they are looking for.
PPC is effective enough that 79% of brands say that it is a huge driving force for their business. This level of results is why PPC is important and its why using PPC advertising is crucial to keeping up with competitors – most likely they are already doing it!
You get a greater amount of budget control (only pay for the clicks)
Pay-per-click advertising is built entirely around budget, for this reason it offers a much greater level of control than traditional paid advertising strategies. One of the biggest reasons why to use PPC advertising is because businesses get very granular control of how their budget is spent.
Plus, for common paid ads styles like search engine PPC, you only pay for the clicks! There’s no paid barrier to entry, and there is no minimum ad budget. Businesses can choose to spend as much or as little money as they want.
Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising (Bing) let marketers create a campaign hierarchy that’s broken down into account > campaign > ad group > ads > keywords/audience. Popular social media platforms usually have a similar hierarchy. This way marketers can break down and fine tune their budget anyway that they want, with exact controls for how budget is spent on every campaign, group, or specific ad.
Unlike traditional paid advertising, PPC gives extreme levels of control that works because businesses can boost ad spend for areas/demographics/queries that work, and reduce ad spend in areas that don’t work – meaning that the importance of PPC is in its ability to squeeze every penny of budget for better return-on-ad-spend (ROAS).
For many businesses this might seem daunting, but it’s a big part of why lots choose to hire PPC management experts – particularly when the benefit of getting professional return-on-investment is so tempting.
Targeted, more controlled advertising
Like we mentioned above, the control over ad budget also extends to other important ad metrics. Specifically audience targeting. One reason why PPC is so important for many businesses, is that few other advertising models allow for such specific control.
Most businesses know that audience is critical to greater transactions and sales – so why use PPC advertising then? PPC ads can be designed to target incredibly specific audiences.
For the Google ad network PPC marketers can control which ads are displayed where – to a very precise level. PPC allows marketers to control how, when, and where their ads are displayed – including which days, which locations, for which search queries (and by excluding keywords they shouldn’t appear for), which user demographics, user interests, previous-purchases, and more. For PPC across social media platforms, the control over target ad demographics can be even more specific.
Because these platforms have a huge wealth of user data, they can give ad options that are based on things like:
- Age, gender, language, and other demographic data.
- Global, national, and even local locations.
- User interests, hobbies, careers etc.
- Previous shopping habits, brand interests, and web browsing.
- Device, mobile vs. desktop use, and cross-platform browsing habits.
- Education level, income, and employment.
- Life events.
- Political affiliations.
- And more.
PPC can improve SEO performance
Search engine PPC and search engine optimization go together well since there’s quite a lot of overlap. The importance of PPC and SEO together lies in the fact that businesses will be targeting the same keywords, on the same platforms, for the same audiences.
There’s no direct link between PPC campaigns on Google/Bing and SEO rankings – however businesses that optimize both are more likely to improve SEO. The reason why PPC is important for SEO is often because businesses that improve their site and content for a better Google Quality Score inadvertently improve their SEO ranking as well.
If you are performing the same keyword research, and keyword density, then you are already half-way to completing key strategies for both SEO and PPC! Businesses that do both often anecdotally believe that PPC does help SEO. There are some indirect reasons for this that can make using PPC advertising an important additional strategy:
Searchers that see a brand’s ad might be more likely to click on its organic listing.
PPC ads can grow a business’s brand recognition, making an SEO conversion more likely down the road.
Paid ad clicks can get your pages to the top of page #1 in Google where they can lead to more sharing, more mentions, and more backlinks – which means better SEO rankings.
There’s also another reason why PPC is important, which is data. Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising offer ad platforms that provide lots of feedback on ad campaigns. Marketers can take the data they get from keyword research, keyword performance, A/B ad tests, conversions, impression share, etc. – and use that data to finetune their SEO campaign.
Plus, since search PPC offers results much faster than SEO (weeks instead of months), it’s possible to test keyword strategies in PPC and then use conversion rate (CR) and traffic data to determine if similar strategies would work for long-term SEO.
Measuring and tracking data to fine-tune ads
This is another one of the big pluses in PPC that traditional non-digital strategies don’t offer: tons of feedback data.
For specific keywords, target audiences, platforms, devices, demographics, and more – marketers can measure a wide range of metrics and use the data to improve their PPC campaign. The importance of PPC rests on a business’s ability to accurately read their data, make adjustments to ad campaigns, wait for new data to come in, and then measure the effectiveness of their changes.
This field of advertising is very data rich, and gives marketers a very granular level of data, and ad control. As these changes can add up to huge budget savings with even greater ROI, it’s a big part of why PPC is so important in modern marketing. PPC gives businesses the ability to:
- Maximize clicks based on the pre-set ad budget.
- Target a specific desired cost-per-action (CPA) for specific conversion styles (like product sales, signups, app downloads, etc.).
- Target a specific return-on-ad-spend amount (target ROAS); basically a specific balance between spend and revenue.
- Maximize conversion (in cases where businesses don’t mind spending a greater amount of budget).
- Maximize conversion value (for ads that are set up for high-value keywords).
- Target lowest bids for ad spaces.
- Set daily cost caps/budgets as well as total overall budgets.
- And a lot more.
All of these strategies (though they vary from platform to platform) are why PPC is important for advertisers that prioritize data. In most cases platforms like Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, Facebook, etc, are able to automatically analyze your ad performance and make adjustments to your ads in order to target the above goals.
PPC visitors are more likely to convert
Data from Unbound shows that 50% of visitors arriving to a retailer’s website from a paid search ad are more likely to convert than those that came from an organic link.
Additional info from Formstack claims that PPC ads are one of the top three generators of on-page conversions. Another big benefit is that PPC ads put brands immediately at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), here more than 40% of clicks go to the top three paid ads spots on the page.
This is another reason why PPC is important for rapid results, for businesses that are willing to pay-to-play it can be a quick way to put your brand/products in front of shoppers, and to gain revenue fast.
It’s easy to get started
This is something that all marketers agree on, getting started with PPC is often super simple.
Unlike content focused marketing strategies, slow-working SEO, and labor-intensive traditional advertising, PPC is easy to set-up and get running quickly. For Google Ads or Microsoft Advertising marketers can set up a free account and begin creating ads almost immediately. Once ads are created and approved, they can appear in search immediately to begin driving results.
Compared to other marketing channels like email and social media, there’s no pre-requisite for organically building an audience or sourcing target audience contact info. These platforms guide marketers through the ad process, and once brands are ready to have their ads go live – they instantly gain access to millions of global users.
Ads can be activated quickly and de-activated instantly as well, meaning that boosting brand visibility is as easy as flipping a switch.