What Is PPC & How Paid Search Marketing Works


PPC may be a marketing acronym you’ve heard in passing, or maybe it’s one that you’re a little bit more familiar with. Or maybe you’re ready to dive into the world of paid search marketing but you’re not quite sure where to start.

But we’ve got you covered!

What Is PPC & How Paid Search Marketing Works

Regardless of where you are in your understanding of PPC, we’re here to give you all of the information you need. Today we’ll cover what it is, how it works, and how you can make it work to market your business!

What is PPC?


PPC stands for ‘pay-per-click’. Simply put, it’s an online advertising system where advertisers sign up to pay each time one of their online ads is clicked on by a user.

When someone chooses to run a paid search ad, they don’t pay for anything until a user actually goes ahead and clicks on their ad. This is where the name pay-per-click comes from!

First, marketers will place their PPC ad on an ad platform of their choice. Then, they pay that platform each time their ad is clicked on. The intention is that the ad will lead the person who is seeing it to click and visit that marketer’s website.

From there, it’s up to the advertiser’s website to have the right user experience and information in place so that the user is encouraged to make a purchase.

What are the different types of pay-per-click ads?

PPC ads come in several different forms. Let’s break each of them down. 

Paid Search Ads

One of the most common types of PPC ads is the paid search ad. 

Paid search ads are the ads that appear when users search for things while using search engines such as Google. They are even more common for users to see when searching for products or services to purchase.

An example of a user’s inputted search might be something like ‘ice cream parlor in my area’, or ‘flooring specialist near me. These are the types of searches that activate pay-per-click ads.

Display Advertising 

Display advertising includes ads that are shown all over the internet across all Google partner websites. With this type of advertising, you can specifically target your audience with demographics that you handpick. 

You can also choose the industry for websites that you want your ad to show up on. This is great for times when you want to modify your ad and get the most out of it.

You might be reading a blog for example, and see a display ad somewhere on the page to accompany it. 

Social Media Advertising

Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising also has options to choose who you would like to target with your ad through demographics. While most social media platforms will allow you to run ads, the most common ones for advertising are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Social media ads are great for getting your products and services in front of the eyes of ideal customers. 


This type of PPC ad is especially great because it works to target those who have already shown an interest in a company or the products and services that they sell. These users are remarketed to with remarketing ads, with the intention to bring them back to the company’s website and make a purchase.

Dynamic remarketing is also great. It means an ad can actually show the exact product that a user was already looking at!

We talk a lot more about B2B retargeting and remarketing – don’t miss it!

Google Shopping 

Google shopping is a great option for eCommerce websites as ads are displayed at the top of Google search results. This means potential customers see those products first – without even having to visit the company’s website. 

Users will be able to see the name and price of the product before even clicking on it. This makes Google shopping a valuable form of PPC advertising. Users have already learned about the product before clicking on it!

How Paid Search Marketing Works

So now you might be thinking: “Okay great, I can invest in PPC advertising, and my products and services are guaranteed to be seen!”

Although PPC ads are a sure way to help with your marketing efforts, it’s not guaranteed your ad is going to be seen by each and every user that you would like it to.

Here’s how it works:

Ads that show up on a search engine results page, or SERP, become a part of an auction for the keyword that has been searched for.

There are a number of factors that contribute to deciding who will win this auction and appear at the top of the SERP. These factors include the bid amount as well as the ad quality. This is determined based on elements such as ad setup and targeting.  

The Influence of Keywords on Paid Search Marketing

As a bid on keywords takes place with paid search marketing, keywords are the main aspect that connects advertisers to words and phrases that are being searched for. This means that the keywords advertisers use to match search queries are important!

As an advertiser, you will want to choose keywords with intent. Keywords chosen with intent are usually the ones included in transactional search queries.

Once you have optimized your keywords, you will be much more likely to have success with your PPC ads.  

Ads in Your Campaigns

When you prepare the ads for your PPC campaigns, you will want to make sure that they are set up correctly. Each ad will usually include a headline, URL, and description. 

This means that your ad copy will be a significant element of your PPC ad as it can help the ad rank. Ad copy should also be engaging to users so that they are more inclined to click on your ad.

Budgets and Bids


You will make the decision on how much you would like to spend on each keyword in your ad campaign. A budget is chosen at the campaign level by the advertiser. It helps determine how much they’d like to spend both daily and monthly. Bids provide for a more specific way of controlling spending at the ad group or keyword level.

Bids are key. But there’s more to winning the auction than having the highest bid. Quality, relevance, context, and formatting all play a part in determining the outcome of a bid on a keyword.

Targeting Relevant Audiences 

Using targeting with PPC ads is a great way to optimize campaigns. You can select audience demographics, location, and devices used to target your ads to ideal customers. 

Targeting options are fantastic for creating specific ad copy in order to be more valuable to certain audiences and improving performance.

Getting Conversions from Paid Search Marketing

Once your ad has been clicked on, that’s great news! But the real goal of your PPC ads is to get conversions. You really don’t gain anything from your advertising efforts unless a form has been filled out, an inquiry has been sent, or a purchase has been made.

Be sure to track your conversions in order to get the most out of your PPC campaigns. You need to know what’s working best. Make ongoing changes to your PPC ad strategy and before you know it you’ll be winning auctions and getting the conversions you need!

Get Started with PPC Advertising

Now that you know how to use PPC to build your business, it’s time to get started with Blue Water Marketing! If you’d like help with pay-per-click advertising or any of your other digital marketing needs, let’s talk. Give us a call today!


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