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Just what is Pay Per Click or PPC?

Your computer is becoming more like you every day. It behaves like you. It looks like you. And most importantly to advertisers: It has the same interests as you — and that’s no fluke. The idea of streamlining pertinent content has changed the way we consume information. More information is coming directly to us and less information is lost in the digital galaxy. It’s an exciting time. For advertisers, it’s groundbreaking.

Enter: Pay Per Click advertising.

What is PPC?

Pay Per Click (or Cost Per Click) is described exactly how it sounds: Advertising businesses pay only when users click on their ad or listing. Competing advertisers will generally bid on keywords that best describe their product or service. The more an advertiser can offer to attach themselves to a certain phrase or keyword, the higher they will appear on search engine results that mirror those words. When a web surfer clicks through to the advertiser’s site, the advertiser pays per click.

Why does PPC work?

The attraction to this style of advertising is its precision in finding a target consumer. For example, if you are searching online to help plan an upcoming wedding you’ll see ads for dresses, rings, catering services and tux rentals. This is not a coincidence. Most PPC services pride themselves in sending the right ads, in the right order, to the right prospect, at the right time.  Maybe you’re doing home renovations and looking for a deal on supplies or services. You’ll likely see ads for flooring or framers. How do these companies know you’re redoing your kitchen? They ‘see’ the keywords used in your Google search and feed you ads associated to that same keyword phrase.

When is PPC awesome?

PPC is timely in these 2 scenarios.

1) You want immediate results and you’re willing to pay for them.

PPC starts the moment you start your ad campaign. Ads appear to your prospects the moment you hit ‘enter’. It’s a lot faster than taking 3 months to implement a Search Engine Optimization program for your chosen organic keyword phrases. In Pay Per Click, you can be at the top of the SERP, if you’re willing to pay the advertising costs.

2) You want to supplement a successful Search Engine Optimization program.

PPC is especially valuable when you’re ranking top 5 for your chosen keyphrases in organic search results. Through PPC, you can own the entire SERP by ranking in the top 5 for organic search and at the top of the page for PPC. In this scenario, you’re virtually guaranteed to get almost all of the website traffic for that keyphrase.

PPC advertising is worth every penny because it sends the perfect customer to your website. It connects a user’s keyword precisely with that of the advertiser and essentially acts as a matchmaker between consumer and provider. It allows the advertiser to show up exactly when their potential customer needs them. Timing, after all, is everything.

Another benefit of pay per click advertising is its effectiveness with online metrics. The success of an advertiser’s campaign can be tracked clearly and accurately … in clicks and website conversions.

When is PPC not awesome?

Pay per click advertising does have its warning flags. In particular, PPC programs that offer incentives to click through are often sketchy in quality. SPAM will always be SPAM, no matter how you try to hide it.

Where does PPC work its magic?

Advertising can’t be successful if it doesn’t evolve with consumers — and in this case — how consumers use a quickly changing Internet. The most popular pay per click search engine advertising program is Google AdWords. But as social media increasingly grows into our daily lives, things like Facebook Ads, Promoted Tweets on Twitter, and Direct Ad from LinkedIn are matching products and services with users in their daily lives.

Exciting times indeed. But like Bob Dylan said, ‘times, they are a’ changin’. So, as Internet advertising changes to match how we move on our computers it’s important we too understand how we use our computers to ensure successful, safe, and progressive results online.