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PPC FAQs

WHAT IS PPC? IS IT LIKE SEM?

Many people get PPC and SEM confused. SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing, which is an umbrella term for SEO and PPC together. PPC stands for Pay Per Click, which is a form of online advertising where ads are placed in Google search results and on other pages across the web and you pay Google based on the number of clicks (rather than views) on your ad.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEO AND PPC?

Good question! Although they are often talked about together, and managed by the same agencies, they actually have little to do with each other. SEO refers to optimising a website to better rank in the organic (that is, unpaid) search results. PPC is a form of direct advertising that places ads in the search results and in dedicated ad space on other websites.

They also serve somewhat different purposes. PPC casts a very wide net and catches a lot of fish. It is very good at getting that large haul onto your website, but you have to pick through your catch to find the really juicy fish. SEO is more like dropping your lone fishing line into the area you know where the best fish live. You might only get one catch, but you’re sure it’ll be a good one. (Ok, PPC gets lots of visitors, SEO gets fewer but better visitors. I hope you liked the fishing analogy, because that was fun to write).

DO I NEED PPC? EVEN IF I’M DOING SEO?

Probably, but not necessarily. Think of PPC like you would any other form of advertising—TV ads, bus shelter ads, radio ads—in that it is designed to get your brand and product in front of a large volume of people. However, PPC is more targeted than that, since your bus shelter ads are not directly targeted at people searching for keywords relevant to your product. In this sense PPC is much more effective than traditional advertising, since it attracts much more qualified users.

So to know if PPC is relevant for your business, just ask if your business is interested in advertising. We find that the businesses most interested in this are those at either end of the business spectrum:

  • New businesses that are looking for that big dose of early exposure to get their name out there
  • Big, established businesses that have dedicated advertising budgets, some of which should be dedicated to digital advertising.

There are obviously plenty of businesses in the middle that benefit from PPC as well—indeed, all would—but for those businesses it’s more a question of where they would like to dedicate their budgets if they don’t have concrete monthly advertising spends. This is generally where SEO comes in, since SEO is an investment in your digital infrastructure (that’s a fancy way to say your website) rather than advertising per se. SEO is like building your physical shop and getting people nearby to walk in, while PPC is your TV ads that encourage people to come visit from all over town.

I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND. WHAT EXACTLY IS PPC? WHERE CAN I SEE EXAMPLES?

Fair enough, let’s make this concrete. There are many types of PPC, but here are some of the most common.

  1. Paid Search Advertising.
    These are text ads that appear at the top of your search result pages when you Google something. For example if you Google “headache tablets” you get something that looks like this:

    This is a paid search ad. You (by which I mean your PPC agency) would provide ad copy, headline, landing page, and target keywords. You (by which I still mean your PPC agency) then bid against other businesses in an automated online auction to determine which business’ ad gets displayed to the user. You only pay when a user clicks your ad.
  2. Display Advertising.
    You know how when you are on any old website and you see ads in certain spots around the page? And how these ads are often connected to products that you have searched for recently? They might look like this:These are display ads run through the Google Display Network. These are sites that partner with Google by providing Google with blank advertising space. Google then runs automatic online auctions to determine who gets to advertise in those spaces. These ads can be either text ads or banner ads, the content for which needs to be provided by you (yep, still your PPC agency). You only pay when a user clicks on your ad.
  3. Social Media Advertising.
    You would surely be familiar with the ads you get on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These work similar to the Google Display Network, with dedicated space on the social media feed dedicated to the display ads, except they are run by the social media website specifically rather than Google. Note that this is different from a social media strategy, which involves organically posting on a social media platform. Social Media Advertising does not appear on your business profile, just in the display spaces in users’ feeds.
  4. Remarketing Advertising.
    This is a subset of Display or Social Advertising that specifically targets users who have already visited your site, or a certain part of your site (for example, making it part of the way through the sales funnel, but not converting). This means that if a user has recently visited your site, then we can display ads for your site to that user specifically. Even better, we can display the exact product that they were looking at. These are especially high-converting ads, since we know the user is already ready to convert.

GOT IT, PPC IS DIGITAL ADVERTISING. WHY SHOULD I USE PPC OVER TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING?

You can call us biased, but honestly digital advertising is better than traditional advertising in every conceivable way. Just to name a few:

  • More conversions.
    Your TV advertising targets people who watch TV at a certain time. Your bus shelter advertising targets people who see bus shelters. Your PPC advertising targets people who deliberately searched online for keywords that are relevant to your business. Want to guess which one produces a better conversion rate?
  • Better measurement.
    How do you measure how many people saw your bus shelter ad? How do you measure the number of people who saw your TV ad then visited your website? Seems doable, but really vague, right? Well what if I told you that in PPC we can measure the exact click-through rate of your ads, the quality of your ads (that’s right, Google has a measure of quality), the cost per click, cost per conversion, impression share, lifetime value…we could go on. We can measure A LOT. And it all leads to better campaigns and better ROI for you.
  • Your competitors are doing it.
    Everybody is online now, including your competitors. You may have even seen ads for your competition on your work computer, since you likely Google terms related to your business all the time. If you’re not even in the game then you are getting 0% of the revenue from this all-important channel.

HOW MUCH WILL MY PPC CAMPAIGN COST ME?

Nothing, if you make that money back (and more).

VERY FUNNY, YOU SAID THE SAME THING ON THE SEO PAGE. HOW MUCH SHOULD I BUDGET FOR PPC?

Honestly, as much as you like. You set your own PPC budget, and then your agency manages that budget for you (you will also need to factor in the agency management fee). The lowest monthly budget that we typically work with is around $1000 per month. This is around about the minimum spend that we could honestly get return on investment for. However, unlike traditional advertising, there really is no ceiling on the amount you could spend, since you can always target new customer segments with digital advertising by just adding more budget. PPC spend for large corporations that we work with reaches the hundreds of thousands per month (not that you need to spend this much—the point is that you can always grow your campaign if you have the advertising budget to work with).