• October 27, 2023
  • 8 min. read

Google Ads Pay-Per-Click Advertising: What Is PPC Marketing & How Does It Work?

content writer

Anush Bichakhchyan

Content Writer

pay per click advertising

PPC is not an innovation, and we will not invent a bicycle. But we also know that it is a crucial part of digital marketing, and it is worth talking about PPC in digital marketing once again, especially if you want to invest in PPC advertising on Google Ads. Here is what you need to know before starting with PPC advertising:

  • What is PPC advertising?
  • How does PPC advertising work?
  • How effective is pay-per-click advertising?

What is PPC marketing?

At its core, PPC (pay-per-click) marketing is a form of online advertising where advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked. The name literally says what it does: PPC signifies the cost structure of this advertising model. The functionality is quite simple; you pay only for times when the ads get clicks. But is it really so simple? What does PPC mean in digital marketing, and how does it fit into the digital marketing landscape?

PPC is actually the art of strategically placing ads on search engines and websites. It's about bidding on specific keywords or phrases relevant to your business. When users search for certain keywords you are targeting on platforms like Google, Bing, your ad may appear at the top of the search results. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad (sometimes the payment is trivial compared to the revenue you get), making it a cost-effective way to drive traffic to your website.

PPC isn't limited to search engines only; it is also a relevant strategy for Native advertising and Social Media advertising. In native advertising, you can promote your content or products within editorial content, making your offerings appear more organically to the audience. On social media platforms like Facebook, you can use PPC campaigns to target users based on their interests, demographics, and behavior, ensuring your ads reach the right audience at the right time.

The Basics of PPC Marketing on Google Ads

The process of PPC marketing is quite straightforward, or is it? To truly grasp PPC marketing, you need to understand its terminology and concepts. 

What does PPC mean in digital marketing?  Let's dive deeper into the topic and discuss the key Google Ads PPC strategy components and terms.

Keywords and ads related 

  • Keywords: Everything starts with keywords. To run a PPC campaign on Google Ads, advertisers select product-specific keywords or phrases to target. Keyword targeting ensures that ads are shown to users seeking information related to the advertised products or services.
  • Ad copy and creatives: The success of PPC ads depends on quality ad copy and visuals. Therefore, high-quality visuals or graphics are critical when creating a PPC campaign. 
  • Ad Groups: Advertisers organize their Google Ads PPC campaigns into ad groups, each focused on specific keywords and ads. This structure helps tailor ads to different user intents.
  • Budget: Advertisers set daily, monthly, and/or campaign lifetime budgets to control their spending on PPC campaigns.
  • Targeting options: PPC platforms offer various targeting options to ensure ads reach the right audience, for example, targeting based on location, demographics, interests, device type, etc. The targeting can be super granular or broader; everything depends on industry and the campaign goals. You should choose the optimal targeting options to get in front of the right audience and ensure the effectiveness of the campaign. 
  • Ad Extensions: Available for SEM marketing, ad extensions complete the ads with additional information, such as phone numbers, site links, location details, etc., for better engagement.
  • Landing Page: After clicking on the ad, the users appear on the landing page that is aligned (should be aligned if not yet) with the ad's message, providing a seamless user experience. Also, it is essential to have your landing page aligned with the ad’s messaging to reduce the bounce rate.
  • Conversion Tracking: Conversion tracking is significant to measure users' actions after clicking on the ads, such as making a purchase or filling out a contact form. This will help assess campaign effectiveness.
  • Performance tracking: PPC platforms provide performance tracking and reporting tools to monitor click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, cost-per-click (CPC), ROI, and other relevant KPIs for data-driven decision-making.

Advertisers and auction-related

  • Advertisers and Bids: For the PPC campaign, your advertisers participate in auctions for ad placement. They set a maximum bid—the highest amount they are willing to pay for a click. This bid, combined with other factors like ad quality score, determines an ad's position in the auction.
  • Auction-based system: PPC platforms, such as Google Ads and Bing Ads, use an auction-based system to determine the placement of ads on SERPs or win the placement on publisher websites (SSP). Advertisers bid on keywords, specifying the maximum amount they are willing to pay for a click. Bid amount and ad quality determine ad placement.
  • Ad Rank: This metric determines the ad's position on a search engine's results page. It considers factors like quality score and CPC bid. For a better position, you should aim for a higher Ad Rank.
  • Ad relevance: It assesses how well your ad matches the intent of the user's search query. Only those ads get rewarded that are highly relevant to the targeted keywords. 
  • Quality Score: From 1 to 10, Google estimates the likelihood of an ad campaign's success by measuring the quality and relevance of the ads, the expected clickthrough rate, and the landing page experience. A higher Quality Score can lead to lower costs and better ad positions.
  • Click-Through Rate: CTR is the ratio of clicks to impressions. It measures the effectiveness of the ads. A high CTR indicates that the ads are engaging and people actively interact with them. Google predicts your ad’s expected CTR through its algorithms and calculates Ad Rank based on it

Want to try PPC marketing in your business?

Delving Deeper: How Does Google Ads PPC Work?


In the realm of search engine marketing, the PPC advertising process we discussed earlier—where advertisers pay for clicks—is more intricate than it might initially seem. From point A, which involves keyword selection, to point B, the act of paying for the click, there are several intermediate steps to navigate.

  • Keyword selection and ad setup: It all begins with keyword selection, correct ad messaging, and setup. Now your ad is ready to enter the auction.
  • Real-time auctions: When a user enters a search query or navigates to a webpage with ad space, an ad auction is triggered. In this auction, you compete with other advertisers for ad placement.
  • Ad placement: The placement is strategic, often at the top or alongside organic search results, ensuring maximum visibility.
  • Ad rank:  Ad rank, which is determined by quality score and CPC, is a crucial metric that dictates an ad's position on the SERP. Ads that achieve a higher rank are positioned prominently on SERPs. Since Google prioritizes user experience, ads with an excellent quality score can attain higher rankings even with a lower bid. Therefore, it's beneficial to focus on high-quality ads that align with user intent.
  • Instant visibility: Once you select your keywords and initiate a PPC campaign, your ads will have the potential for instant visibility. 
  • User engagement: When a user clicks on a PPC ad, they are directed to your page.
  • Pay-Per-Click: Finally, you pay when a user clicks on your ad. 

Benefits of using Google Ads PPC advertising


Marketers follow specific goals when implementing PPC advertising, and a successfully run campaign will have not one but multiple benefits.

  • Better targeting: PPC allows you to target your ads with high precision, and this is one of the main values of PPC marketing. You can target specific keywords, demographics, locations, and devices on which your ads will appear, and even create lookalike audiences based on your 1st party data. Or you can use 3rd party marketplace audiences available on platforms to expand your reach. 
  • Immediate visibility: Unlike organic marketing, PPC search campaigns deliver instant results. Once your campaign is set up, your ads can appear at the top of SERPs within minutes, providing immediate visibility to potential customers. PPC advertising is highly effective for pushing new products and services to the forefront. 
  • Measurable ROI: PPC platforms provide performance metrics to track the ROI of your campaigns. You can see exactly how much you've spent and how much revenue your ads have generated, enabling data-driven decision-making.
  • Cost control: PPC platforms enable full control over your budget, be it a daily, monthly, or campaign lifetime spending limit.
  • Ad scheduling: PPC platforms offer the flexibility to schedule your ads to appear at specific times of the day or week and target your audience when they are most likely to engage with your ads. You can even schedule your ad for rainy or sunny days. So detailed!
  • Brand exposure: Your brand's presence at the top of search results can leave a lasting impression on users, increasing brand awareness and potentially leading to future conversions.
  • Competitive advantage: With PPC ads, you can target competitor keywords and bid aggressively on high-value keywords to gain an edge in the market.
  • A/B Testing: PPC advertising can be improved and changed at any time, even when running. You can experiment with different ad copy, keywords, and landing pages to optimize campaign performance.
  • Remarketing: PPC strategies include retargeting options to re-engage users who have previously visited your website but did not convert. 
  • Local targeting: Businesses with physical locations can greatly benefit from PPC marketing using geotargeting options, ensuring your ads are shown to users in specific geographic areas.


Here is what we have learned today about PPC marketing. Google Ads PPC advertising is highly effective if you want to invest in paid marketing and gain instant results. With PPC marketing, you gain immediate visibility for your chosen keywords by appearing in the top positions of search engine results or blending naturally into the context of the website while appearing in front of your target audience.

Here are more benefits to consider when deciding how effective pay-per-click advertising is:

  • Granular targeting
  • Measurable results
  • Flexible campaigns
  • Visibility even in highly competitive industries
  • Seasonal campaigns
  • Cost control

Is it worth investing in PPC marketing? Definitely, if you need to instantly boost the visibility of your business, go viral with your service, or make a buzz around your new product. 

Sounds exciting?


What does PPC mean in digital marketing?

PPC is an advertising model where advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked. This model is used in online advertising to drive traffic to websites.

What is the process of creating a PPC campaign for search engines?

The process involves selecting relevant keywords, creating ad copy, targeting the right audience, setting a budget and bids, and setting up the tracking. When users search for the targeted keywords, the ads are displayed, and advertisers pay for the clicks.

Is PPC a good marketing strategy?

PPC can be an excellent marketing strategy, offering immediate visibility, precise targeting, and measurable results. Pay-per-click advertising is especially effective for businesses looking for quick traffic and conversions.

How much do advertisers pay per click?

The cost per click (CPC) varies based on industry, competition, and keyword selection. Advertisers set their maximum CPC bids, and the actual CPC can be lower, depending on the competitiveness of the auction.

How does PPC advertising work?

PPC advertising works by participating in real-time auctions, where advertisers bid on ad placements to display their ads for potential prospects.