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What is pay per click (PPC) advertising and when you should use it

There comes a time when most website owners want to increase their user numbers and can not afford to wait too long before it happens naturally.

That is when they try their hand with a pay per click (PPC) advertising campaign for the first time, which is the easiest way to guarantee extra traffic to your website short term.

The concept itself is pretty straightforward: a publisher can pay to have links to their website displayed in places where they would not qualify to be displayed normally (or organically). Here is an example.

For Google, users will search for keywords and the search engine will provide, in an organic order, a list of websites that are the most relevant in relation to that keyword, to the location he/she is searching from and other significant details. All that, to make sure the user only gets relevant information for his query.

For Facebook, even though users might not actively search for products, services or information, they will receive information in their feed based on previous activity (clicks, likes and shares). The point is the same as with Google: for the user to receive content he/she is more likely to be interested in. The system is similar for other social media and search engines.

But, neither Google nor Facebook, are in this game only for the greater good of users. They would not exist if there was no possibility to make a profit from this system. So they will allow website publishers, for a fee, to over-rule the system of relevance. In the case of Google, you pay to be displayed above organic (usual) search results, or you can pay to have a suggested video on Youtube, or even to have messages displayed on other websites. With Facebook, you can pay for posts from your official page to be promoted in certain user’s news feeds.

So, basically, it is like paying inside a video game in order to skip a few levels. However, all platforms will always take into account a minimum level of relevance even when you pay. When it comes to Google, it will not allow you to promote your website to users who are looking for something totally different. Your ads will be published and ran if they reach a certain Quality Score. But more about that in a future post.

When and why you should use PPC

The beauty of the PPC system is that you will only pay for the clicks your content receives. Displaying the advertised content is, in most cases, free. So, for the most part, you know that your money is well spent and that you are billed only when someone actually visits your website through your paid message. This, of course, is why it is called Pay per Click.

In addition, in all systems, you will be able to track how much you are spending and to follow the subsequent behaviour of these visitors and see how they navigate your website. You can easily track significant actions like sales that come after an ad was clicked, thus making it simple to track your return on investment.

Taking all that into account, PPC is good:

  • When you need short-term results
  • When you are in the early stages of your online presence and you need a boost in order to be seen. Higher visibility and increased click rates might even help with your long-term search engine optimisation
  • When you are in a highly competitive market and need a constant edge over your competitors

Want to know more about improving your website content or traffic? Check out our Great tools to use when you are editing your website content, learn what is referral traffic and why is it important and apply these 3,14 tips to boost your traffic!

This page was updated on: 12. June 2018 - 16:50