Jason Martin - Paid Search & Training Specialist

Jason Martin

22nd September 2016

What Is PPC Marketing?

Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo allow users to find what they are looking for online. PPC marketing, also known as pay-per-click or cost-per-click marketing, harnesses the searches that take place on search engines to deliver relevant traffic to advertisers’ websites. Advertisers are able to bid on relevant search queries (keywords) in order to display their advert within the search results, but they only pay the search engines when a user clicks on their advert.

Put simply, PPC offers the ability to display your advert at the exact moment that potential customers are searching for your product for maximum impact.

Google AdWords is the largest Search Network for running PPC marketing campaigns, whist Microsoft Bing Ads has continually grown in recent years – now accounting for around 20% of Google AdWords’ traffic. Many social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn offer Paid Social Ads. This brings the pay per click marketing strategy to social media websites, which works especially well for B2C.

Where Will I See PPC Ads?

PPC Search ads used to appear above and adjacent to a search engine’s organic results (aka the “free” or “natural” results). However, over the past year, Google has changed the structure of its search results. The top of the page now shows three ads for regular search results or four if the keyword terms are considered competitive (such as insurance). The other ads then appear at the bottom of the page, below the “free” results.

Paid results are typically marked as “ads” or “sponsored links” so that users can differentiate between the two types of result. In the search for “travel insurance” below, the PPC ads have been highlighted in the red box:

However on Bing ads they offer both top of page ads and sidebar ads:

How Much Does PPC Marketing Cost?

PPC marketing operates using an auction-based system. Advertisers enter a bid for each of their chosen keywords, representing the amount they are willing to pay for a click to their website.

So, the amount you will need to bid to get your ad on page one will depend on the amount your competitors are prepared to pay for the click, meaning that prices can range from a few pence to several pounds. Google also take into account the "quality" (i.e. relevance) of the competing adverts so that the most relevant adverts get an advantage in the auction. Each advertiser is assigned an Ad Rank, which is based on their maximum bid and the quality of their ad.

The basic formula for Ad Rank is Max CPC x Quality Score

This is the maximum you are willing to bid for a click multiplied by the Quality Score of the Keyword. Keyword Quality Score is a numerical scale from 1-10, and is determined by the following aspects:

  • Expected Click Through Rate: Are people clicking on your ad from the keyword search? If the % is higher, then it shows the ad is clear and relevant to the keyword and will improve your quality score.
  • Ad Relevance: This assesses how relevant your ad is to your keyword. If you bid on the keyword “travel insurance for families” and the ad details travel insurance for families, the ad will be considered highly relevant and this will improve quality score.
  • Landing Page Experience: This assesses how fit for purpose your landing page is compared to the initial keyword search. For example; A poor landing page experience would be if you have shown an ad that relates to travel insurance, activated by a travel insurance keyword, and then the URL takes a user to a home insurance page. This would be deemed irrelevant and the quality score would suffer as a result. For the best possible quality score, you would take users to the Travel Insurance page of your website.

The higher your quality score, the higher your ad position. A higher quality score also allows you to bid lower for the same position, which is cost effective. You only pay enough to outbid the advertiser below you. For example:

View a detailed infographic on the auction process

Types of Paid Search Ads

Search Ads:

Create text based ads to appear in Google search results and on partner search sites.

Network: Google Ads, Bing Ads
Best for: Direct Response


Display Ads:
Create text and image ads to appear cross Google’s network of partner websites and apps.
Network: Google Ads
Best For: Branding

Video Ads:

Create video ads to attract, entice and engage users across the Google Display Network and YouTube.

Network: Google AdWords
Best For: Engagement



Shopping Ads: 
Perfect for retailers and e-tailers, this ad format allows you to showcase your store catalogue in Google Search Results. These ads include product images and pricing to provide the user with more information prior to a click, which may help to improve conversion rates down the line.
Network: Google AdWords, Bing Ads
Best For: Direct Response


Remarketing Ads

Target users who have already visited your website, using a variety of ad formats to entice them back to complete a sale or return for further purchases.
Network: Google AdWords, Bing Ads (Search Remarketing Only)
Best For: Closing The Sale

Why Choose PPC?

  • Quantifiable Results: Search engines supply conversion tracking code so you can record the number of online sales, leads or sign-ups your ads generate. Ecommerce tracking can value-track orders to help you determine your return on ad spend (ROAS), whilst call tracking also allows you to attribute inbound calls to your paid search marketing.
  • Immediate Traffic: Competitive keywords can be very difficult to rank for naturally. PPC campaigns can deliver relevant traffic to your website almost immediately.
  • Geographic Targeting: Specify the locations that your business services so your ads don’t show to users outside of your locale.
  • Demographic Targeting: Add, exclude and make bid adjustments depending on your target audience’s gender and age.
  • Device Targeting: Make bid adjustments and optimisations for computer, mobile and tablet devices.
  • Budget Control: Specify daily campaign budgets so you never spend more than you are comfortable with.
  • Tailored Ads: Create your ad message and landing pages with your users’ keyword in mind, giving you the opportunity to make the experience as relevant and useful as possible to your users.

Things To Consider Before Starting PPC Marketing

  • Budget: With more volume comes more spend. Ensure that you have sufficient monthly budget available to give your paid advertising a real chance at working.
  • Website: Ensure your website is ready for the traffic. Review your landing page content, the ease of use and the steps to completing an enquiry or sale. More and more users are searching on mobile - is your website mobile responsive? 
  • Goals: Clearly map out your goals for PPC marketing. Would you like to drive enquiries and sales? What value are they to your business? What is a reasonable cost per acquisition?

Interested In Finding Out More?

At SilverDisc we are experts in pay-per-click marketing. Our PPC marketing team has a wealth of experience across varied campaign types, networks and industries. Whether you would like to start Paid Search marketing or would like us to audit and manage an existing account, get in touch today and find out how we can help you!


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