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How Does PPC Advertising Work? Top 5 Elements of a Successful PPC Campaign

Last updated:
2nd May, 2021
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How Does PPC Advertising Work? Top 5 Elements of a Successful PPC Campaign


Consumer behaviour insight is critical for the success of any advertising campaign. Rising internet penetration and literacy have given rise to PPC or pay per click as a powerful marketing channel. Marketers have realized PPC as a mode of advertising that surpasses the traditional modes by miles.

PPC has been instrumental in driving traffic for marketers from the search engines to their websites for purchase/inquiry about the products/services. PPC has proven to be a more measurable and focused way to reach the target group. The marketers opting for PPC have to pay per click for the ads (advertisements) that are shown as per the behavioural pattern of the customers. 

PPC vs. Traditional Marketing Channels

It is very important to understand how PPC advertising works differently from traditional advertising. Traditional marketing channels do not have much insight into the buying behaviour and interest of the customers. It involves pushing out offers to a large set audience in the hindsight that few will respond. On the contrary, the PPC rests on the keywords that are entered by the internet user in the search engine, which makes it simple to pull and direct the interested customers towards a purchase.

As the marketeer pays money per click of the ad, it is easier for the marketeer to gauze the return on the money invested. In a competitive landscape, it is critical to be present where the customer is. Moreover, PPC offers unmatched flexibility to the marketers as they can change the content on the fly to drive the needed response, an option that does not come with traditional advertising.

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How Does PPC Advertising Work? 

PPC is a digital advertising tool that leverages the various online platforms to drive customer traffic for revenue generation. An increasing number of buyers rely on online mediums for searching products before they make a purchase decision.

Once the relevant keywords are entered in the search bar and the search is run, the user can see the PPC ads along with the search results. This enables marketers to target a meaningful set of customers and pay only if the potential customer clicks the ad. PPC goes a long way in maximizing the return on the dollar invested, a dream come true for any marketer.

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Essentials of a Good PPC Campaign 

The success of a good PPC campaign is largely dependent on the following:

  • Choice of a robust digital platform
  • An engaging ad design
  • Primary keywords – The driver for PPC
  • Choice of formats for PPC
  • Landing page design

Choice of a Robust Digital Ad Platform

Partnering with a universally accepted platform is quintessential for the success of PPC campaigns. You have an option to pick from a plethora of choices from Google ad to Bing, a choice that depends on the quality and type of traffic they host. As a marketer, you can decide to have a direct deal with the ad publishers or choose to go with advertising software in executing your PPC campaign.

In an evolving competitive landscape driven by fluid consumer behaviour, going with a platform that offers access to multiple digital channels is a good practice. With consumer preference on a variety of devices to access the internet, to be present across multiple channels with your PPC ads has become paramount to drive traffic. 

An Engaging Ad Design 

When online, the opportunity window to engage the potential customer is small and rapidly closing. An ad with engaging content and CTA is the key to drive traffic and purchase behaviour. Using elements of ad design such as colour, font and pictures is a suggested approach.

Viewers are likely to click ads that they find appealing and meaningful. Defining the WIFM (what is in for me as a customer) early in your ad is a good attention grabber. The flexibility of ad design is essential as, in PPC, marketers can gauge the response to the ad in terms of the number of clicks.  

Related Read: PPC Analyst Salary in India

Primary Keywords – The Driver for PPC

The PPC campaign is as successful as the choice of keywords. A PPC ad will pop up in response to the search keywords. Marketers can not solely depend on the first list of the words that they agree upon. The marketers will have to refine the list of the keywords on an ongoing basis. As ad publishers auction the keywords for an ad rank, it becomes imperative to add primary keywords that are low-cost but heavily researched.

Including long-tail researched keywords and having an expansive view towards the primary keywords is the way to grow visibility and searchability to the PPC campaign. A constant review of the cost and benefit of the primary keywords is recommended. The marketers can maximize the return by dropping low-performing keywords high-priced keywords and replacing them with keywords that drive the traffic.

Choice of Formats for PPC

The objective is the essence of any advertising campaign. This is true even in the case of designing a PPC advertisement. The first question that a marketer needs to answer is, “ What does the marketer want from the ad campaign?” Is it just visibility for a new product, a drive for a new purchase or a repeat purchase, or if the marketer wants to drive potential customers to complete an abandoned purchase? This will decide the choice of formats and channels for placing the PPC ad. Having an objective-driven approach enables the marketers to pick between the following: 

  • Search advertising
  • Display advertising
  • Video advertising
  • Social media advertising
  • Mobile advertising

Search Advertising

Search advertising leverages the power of search engines and the ads are displayed on the search engine result page. Marketers can choose between search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, among others, to publish their ads.

Display Advertising

As a marketer, one can place the ad on popular websites that are open to promote other brands in exchange for revenue. One of the popular forms that are used in display advertising is banners. One can choose between cost per 1000 impressions, cost per click, and cost per action for payout for such campaigns.

Video Advertising

Viewer engagement is paramount for the success of any PPC campaign. With an average viewer attention span of 8 seconds, videos have proven to be the key to win an engagement. 

As per a calculated estimate, by 2022,  82% of the internet traffic will be videos*.  Including videos in the PPC marketing strategy is gaining momentum.

Social Media Advertising

Social media users are on the rise. The user base of 3.6 billion in 2020 is projected to increase to 4.4 billion by 2025.  Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have multiple use cases of driving revenue-generating traffic. Marketers are using cross-posting of content across different social media platforms as a part of their growth hack strategy.

Mobile Advertising

With the shift in the internet ecosystem from desktops to handheld devices, mobile advertising is gaining prominence. Mobile as a platform has emerged strongly for marketers looking for geolocation-based targeting of potential customers. 

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Landing Page Design 

Landing page design is an aspect that impacts the response of the customers clicking the PPC ads in a major way. It has been observed that the customer experience is paramount in a purchase. Creating an immersive experience leads the path to revenue. Marketers have to pay a lot of heed to the design and user experience while designing the landing page. Customers prefer a rapid in and out experience. Marketers must make changes to the landing page from time to time to enhance the experience. 

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The Future of PPC Advertising

The future of PPC advertising is marked by understanding the customer journey. Customer centricity has always driven marketing efforts and strategies. Going forward, the customer will continue to enjoy the basis of any marketing efforts online. Marketers that will spin their offering around the customer will be the ones to make a mark. 

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PPC advertising is a sharper way to generate revenue as the concept provides the needed insight into the customer behaviour as well as return on the money invested. Marketers enjoy unparalleled flexibility and targeting capability in comparison to any other popular mode of advertising today.

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PPC has proven to be a boon for companies that have a shoe-string budget for marketing. The payouts for PPC campaigns are linked to clicks, thus making it the popular choice in the digital marketing space. In an internet-driven world, marketers are sure to gain if they create options for PPC in their annual marketing plan. 

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Kamal Jacob

Blog Author
Kamal is an experienced Online marketing consultant with a high degree of expertise in SEO, Web Analytics, Content/Technical planning and marketing.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1How does PPC advertising work?

PPC is quite unlike other organic forms of advertising. It is a paid advertising tool that helps in attracting the targeted audience to the website to fulfil a pre-decided objective. It allows marketers to bid for keywords, which when entered in search engines displays the relevant results along with the organic results on the SERP. The marketer is required to pay only when a customer visits their website, thereby providing value for every rupee spent.

2What are the components of a successful campaign?

The success of a campaign depends on the factors like the selection of the right platform, the right keyword selection, the right format selection, the right digital platform selection and the landing page design.

3What are the different PPC formats?

Marketers can opt for a variety of different formats depending on the objective of the campaign from different options including search advertising, video advertising, display advertising, social media advertising and mobile advertising.

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