What Is PPC Advertising? Definition, Terminology & Strategies

June 19, 2023

What Is PPC?

PPC (pay-per-click) is an online advertising strategy that promotes a product or service on search engines like Google, Bing, and Facebook. PPC ads are sponsored listings users see in search queries. According to Backlinko, 45% of page clicks are earned by ads that appear in search results. PPC ads run on a bidding auction based on keywords, CTR, landing page, and UX. Then an advertiser pays a fee every time a person clicks the ad. The more money they spend, the higher their ad will land in the SERPs.

PPC Vocabulary & Descriptions

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to any digital marketing strategy that results in more visibility for a website on the search engines, for example, SEO and paid ads. But in 2024, SEM is now most commonly used to describe paid search methods like Google Ads or PPC ads. 


CPC, or cost per click, is an online metric that dictates how much a publisher pays every time a user clicks their ad and is a key aspect of bidding strategies. The goal is to get the most clicks for the lowest ad spend. 


CPM, cost per mille, tracks how much an advertiser pays for every thousand visitors who view an ad online.


CTR, or click through rate, is the number of clicks an ad gets divided by the number of times it's shown. For example, clicks ÷ impressions = CTR. CTR measures the effectiveness of an ad campaign. A good CTR is 2%-5% depending on your industry. Get a higher CTR through retargeting campaigns, search intent ad copy, and compelling visuals. 

Quality Score

Quality Score refers to the metric used to define the value of an ad. The Quality Score is a scoring system that assigns each ad a score from 1-10 based on ad relevancy, expected CTR and the users' landing page experience. The higher your score, the better your ad placement and the lower your overall costs per click. Quality Scores can offer insight into how well your ad performs compared to other online advertisers. 

Ad Rank

Ad Rank is where your ad appears in the search engine results. The Ad Rank is determined by how much you're willing to spend (your bid) and your quality score. 

Maximum Bid

The maximum bid refers to how much the advertiser will pay per click. Maximum bids can define profit margins. So a proactive approach is to bid twice the highest average CPC. For example, if the biggest average CPC is $6, plan to have a maximum bid of $12.

Pro Tip: Google's CPC is generally 20% lower than the maximum bid amount. 

Ad Group

An ad group is one set of ad options that tell the search engines what ads to show for certain keyword searches. Ad groups include content and links and are integral to PPC marketing. The goal of an ad group is to save you money and convert more users. 

Ad Text

Ad text is the copy you write in your ads. Include popular keywords and terms in your ad text to get more clicks and better ROIs. 

Ad Campaign

Ad campaigns are a group of ads that focus on the same message and have one specific and targeted goal. For example, get more calls, drive sales, or create brand awareness. 

What Is PPC vs. Google Ads?

PPC is an online business advertising strategy that promotes products or services on platforms like Microsoft, Yahoo, Bing, and Facebook, not just on Google. Google Ads are Google's PPC advertising quick fix and the only way to run paid ads on Google. Statista suggests that Google Ads is currently the biggest search advertising provider. Furthermore, in 2024 Google Ads are the most popular type of PPC ad. According to Search Engine Journal, 73% of the total ad spending is Google's US ad search revenue share. 

What Is PPC vs. Paid Ads?

PPC ads are funded by an advertiser and found in search results. PPC ads aim to send users to a business's website or landing page. The goal of PPC ads can be to increase brand awareness and get more calls. 

Paid ads are a method that uses numerous formats to connect with a customer. For example, paid ads can be CPM, display, or social ads. According to WebFX, 75% of people say paid ads make it easier to find what they need. The majority of paid search ads are PPC ads. But not all PPC ads are paid search ads.

How Does PPC Advertising Work?

PPC advertising works like this: Advertisers promote products or services on the Internet. Then they pay when users interact with their ads through impressions or clicks. In 2024, PPC ads are a popular paid adverting approach. Setup is a simple process that consists of the following steps:

  • Sign up for an advertising account on the platform
  • Pick the type of campaign for your objective
  • Dial in your target and settings
  • Set your maximum bid
  • Add the applicable URL
  • Create your ads

Once your ad is live, it goes into an auction with other ads based on similar keywords. Then, ads are shown depending on the bid amount, relevancy, keyword, and additional complex search engine algorithms. Then you pay for each click on your ad. 

PPC ads are a fast way to reach more people and connect with your potential customer. They're also a chance to target a specific market. Of course, they come with a price tag. But Moz suggests that traffic from PPC advertising can yield 50% more conversions than organic advertising. In 2024, PPC is also one of the driving factors for on-page engagement.

PPC Metrics To Track

PPC metrics to track are the CTR, average position, and CPC. But you should also track the quality score, impression share, and source. Tracking your pay-per-click ads ensures you get the best ROIs for your paid ads and meet the marketing goals determined for each PPC management campaign. It also gives you access to data like:

  • How much did you spend?
  • What was the number of conversions? (# of ad interactions X 100) 
  • Do you need to optimize your campaigns to improve performance?

Metrics are a way to track data and keyword performance. They can also help you understand buyer behavior. For example, data suggests that 65% of consumers click on PPC ads. So, the more data you obtain, the better you can position your ad and get more clicks to your offer. 

5 Innovative PPC Ad Strategies To Adopt In 2024

1. Optimize your PPC ads for UX & search intent

Your ad copy should include dynamic keywords. But use the right ones and utilize negative keywords wisely. Then optimize your landing page, website, or GPB. Where you send users after they click your link is as important as your ad. Make sure it's mobile responsive, and the location bid is set to target the right people.

Ads that meet search intent and get in front of a ton of eyeballs will produce results. According to Pew Research, over 93% of Americans use the Internet to search for products and services they need. Impressions don't equate to profit. So take advantage of remarketing your PPC campaigns. Then your business will stay top of mind for people who might be interested in your sponsored product or service.

2. Make the ad platform work for you

Leverage PPC automation to track audiences, forecast future ad CTR, and provide real-time data around customer conversions. Use smart bidding over manual bidding. Then you can get insights on the best way to match your audience with your ad goals. And take advantage of responsive search ads and the target outranking share strategy. For example, the bid of your Google ad can be adjusted automatically on certain search networks.

But this is a chance to outrank the competition. Use Sitelink Extensions, like Lead Form Extensions, Video Campaign Sitelinks, Callout Extensions, or Location Extensions. Google states that adding site links boosts the average CTR by 20%-50%. So extensions are a chance to take up more space and rank higher in the SERPS. And you get higher quality clicks from people ready to take action.

3. Develop an omnichannel approach

Google isn't always the best choice for your PPC ads. Of course, you have access to a massive audience. But the right people might not be searching for your product or service. Instead, implement an omnichannel strategy to get in front of a broader audience.

For example, run ads on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok & LinkedIn. The key is to post ads that get people to take action. Include things like:

  • A killer hook-add a WOW factor
  • Keep it short (under 30 seconds)
  • Lead with value-show how your product or service can solve a problem
  • Have a unique angle-shock, entertain, or invoke an emotional response
  • Add a clear CTA

Sprout Social reports that short-form video offers marketers the highest ROI of any social media marketing strategy. However, Google Discovery ads on YouTube with their TrueView Discovery ads are another PPC strategy. Here ads are shown in YouTube search results, and users must click on them to watch the video. But you're guaranteed they'll view your ad.

4. Leverage the power of AI

The global AI market will reach a size of half a trillion US dollars in 2023. Leverage AI with tools like ChatGPT or OpenAI Playground to stay on the edge of industry trends and automate PPC ad targeting and keyword research. Other ways to use AI to improve the quality of your ads include:

  • Creating more personalized ads
  • Using voice search optimization
  • Adopting mobile-first strategies
  • Curating content
  • Improving efficiency

According to Tidio, AI algorithms increase leads by as much as 50%. Of course, you still need to fine-tune and monitor your ad campaigns. And be selective about which tasks you automate. But in 2024, leveraging AI can get your PPC ads more clicks and better conversions. 

5. Have a clear call to action

 Be clear with your CTA and follow a few key steps:
  • Keep it short and to the point
  • Use persuasive words that elicit emotion or enthusiasm
  • Include a sense of urgency and keep it low risk
  • Deliver your CTA two ways. (Research suggests that well-placed CTAs increase revenue by 83%).
  • Create a CTA that pops off the page

How To Create A Profitable PPC Ad Campaign

1. Define your parameters and determine the goals of your campaign. For example, How much do you want to spend? Who is your target audience? What is your objective? (Lead generation, brand awareness, more calls, etc.).

2. Pick the style of ad campaign you want to run. Will you use display ads or search ads? Learn as much as you can about your target audience. Where do they spend time online? What type of content do they like? Then leverage your paid advertising dollars on the platforms your prospects hang out online. For example, if they're active on Facebook, use Facebook ads. Or, if they prefer blog content, take advantage of sponsored product ads.

3. Do keyword research. The key is to find 1-5 highly relevant keywords. Then run tests to see which ones work. Use tools like Google Search Console or Keywords Everywhere to identify popular search terms. A/B test ads using automatic and manual keyword targeting. Then pick the ones that are the most profitable.

Pro Tip:

Use a new ad group for each keyword match type. For example, use broad, exact, and phrase-match keywords together.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of PPC Ads?


One of the primary pros of PPC ads is that they are a highly targeted form of advertising. As a result, your site gets to the top of the SERPs fast.

A pro of PPC ads is that they're customizable and easy to track. Campaigns that don't generate results are simple to adjust.

PPC ads can be a cost-effective way to reach a broad audience and generate more online traffic. According to Search Engine Watch, the average ROI for Google Ads is 200%.


A con of PPC ads is that they can be an expensive long-term marketing strategy to reach a target audience. You'll lose money if you don't know how to set up and run profitable campaigns.

One of the biggest cons of PPC ads is the hyper level of competition. You're going up against established brands that have more money to spend. Or have a strong online presence in an identified copywriting niche and publish a ton of valuable copy. 

A major con of PPC ads is that once you stop paying, you're done being at the top of the search result. Paid ads need a budget, unlike organic traffic, which is free. So if you don't pay to be on top, you won't stay there without an SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. 

Why Are PPC Ads So Popular?

PPC ads are popular because they get you in front of a ton of eyeballs fast. WordStream says 41% of clicks go to the top 3 paid ads on the search results page. So if you're willing to pay, your site can sit at the top of the SERPs. Then it's the first choice for specific search queries. 

PPC ads cast a wider net than organic traffic. Think With Google states that search ads can increase brand awareness by as much as 80%. PPC ads allow you to set your own ad spend. So you only pay when a person clicks your link. PPC ads come with a price tag. But they're a popular way for a business to get more sales and increase income in 2024

What Are The Main PPC Advertising Platforms In 2024?

Google Ads

Google Ads is the biggest PPC platform in the world and controls 28% of the market. They process over 90,000 search queries per second and are a way to target customers based on location, search history, and style of the device. But Google Ads is a competitive search network, so it takes more money to get results. And you need to know how to leverage the right keywords to drive a ton of traffic to your search ad.

Bing Ads

Bing Ads (or Microsoft Ads) is a cost-effective option for business owners. The platform is smaller than Google, but Bing ads offer lower CPC. According to Think Orion, the average cost of CPC on Bing Ads is 70% lower than on Google Ads. 

They also get 26% more branded searches than Google, which presents a significant ROI for limited budgets. In 2023, over 100 million daily users and almost half of the searches in the USA are done on Bing. In addition, data suggest that Bing Ads have a higher CTR at 2.83% vs. Google's 1.91%. 

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are an effective way to get more traffic using paid ads. For example, a social media marketing agency may run an ad campaign to reach a hyper-targeted audience based on interests, demographics, location, and buyer behaviors. But the competition is intense. In 2023, Facebook has over 10 million active advertisers. 

First, develop a compelling hook and a unique marketing angle. Then create ad copy or videos with a WOW factor. The goal is to get people to stop scrolling and take action. Data reports that a CTA in the middle of the video can increase conversion rates by 16.95%.

Instagram Ads

Instagram has 2 billion monthly users and is still one of the big three when it comes to social media platforms. As the fourth most used social media site, Instagram ads can increase your reach and build brand awareness. Specific target features like interests, search queries, and related topics let you connect with a broader range of people. In addition, Instagram ads are a chance to show your product or service to an audience who might not find you otherwise. 

YouTube Ads

In 2024, video marketing is it. According to Wyzowl, 89% of people say watching a video has convinced them to buy a product or service. As a result, YouTube is a powerful strategy that allows you to reach a broader audience and promote your brand. As the world's second most prominent social media platform, YouTube has over 2.68 billion users. So it offers a massive audience you can tap into and leverage the power of paid ads and see hefty returns.

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn ads can reach 900.2 million users. They're one of the best ways for B2B to connect with decision-makers. In 2024, the platform has about 875 million users and offers the chance to get to an exact audience. In addition, LinkedIn ads are highly targeted despite being a more expensive advertising platform than other options listed. (CPC averages are $5.39). But they're the top choice if the goal is to get your business in front of high-level professionals. 

TikTok Ads

TikTok has over 834 million users. It's also the sixth most popular social media platform in 2023. And TikTok users like to spend money. According to Hootsuite, the platform is the top app for consumer spending. TikTok ads are all about short-form content and video creation. The more natural and entertaining, the better engagement. The goal is to develop a video with virality potential. Something that amuses or entertains and compels people to take action. Get it right, and TikTok ads can reach 109,538,000 users. 

Amazon Ads

Amazon ads give sellers better product visibility. But they're also a way to increase brand trust and credibility. As a result, Amazon ads achieve higher sales and revenues. According to EcomCrew, the average conversion rate for Amazon ads is 10%-15%. (This is 1%-2% more than other ecommerce platforms). 

By leveraging Amazon ads, you reach a highly targeted audience. Plus, you can access a new and more diverse range of potential buyers. First, you need an Amazon PPC strategy, like setting a full-day budget or using adjacent categories to disperse brand awareness. Then determine the best type of ads for your offer and how you plan to monetize your promotions.


AdRoll is a digital advertising and retargeting platform. The platform also lets you create and display ads on your website. (But you need to belong to their network). In addition, AdRoll is an effective way to retarget people who have visited your website because it shows your ads on Google and social media platforms. AdRoll is a chance to learn critical insights and get the best performance with your ads. 


RevContent is a content platform where users can create and circulate content via a proprietary ad network. The platform offers low CPC and engaged traffic. And helps your ad reach over 250 million monthly users in three clicks or less. In addition, RevContent offers advanced analytics to track results easily. The platform offers three pricing options ranging from $49-$250/month. RevContent leverages AI algorithms to find the best placement and times to display your ads to get the best ROIs. 

Can You Make Money With PPC?

You can make money with PPC by including ads in your content or copywriting strategy, for example, on a blog or YouTube channel. Creative Website Marketing suggests that display ads can boost website traffic by up to 300%. Another way to make money with PPC is by running paid ad campaigns for affiliate networks. For example, platforms like Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, and Yandex. Direct. A few other approaches include: 

  • Using Google AdSense
  • Developing ad copy or landing pages for PPC advertisers
  • Offering PPC campaign management
  • Leveraging Affiliate Marketing with programs like
    Media.net, RevenueHits, or Skimlinks
  • Selling Products Or Services You Make

It takes the right digital marketing skills to make money with pay per click advertising. You need to produce real results with your ads. The work is ongoing, and running a PPC ad agency is not a passive income stream. But it is still a way to make money online in 2024.

How To Start A PPC Agency

To start a PPC agency, focus on a game plan. Then develop a replicable and scalable system to get and retain new clients. Don't try to offer all the solutions. Instead, build out your niche and become a top-of-mind PPC agency by following a few steps:

1. Create & optimize a PPC agency website

To start a PPC agency, focus on a game plan. Then develop a replicable and scalable system to get and retain new clients. Don't try to offer all the solutions. Instead, build out your niche and become a top-of-mind PPC agency.

Start with a well-optimized website. Your website should list your services and have a clear call to action. Showcase reviews and testimonials or social proof. The goal is to build trust and highlight how your ad campaigns stack against the competition.

2. Get certified

Certifications are one of the best ways to show that your agency is legit. A few popular certs to consider include:

  • Google AdWords (Google PPC
  • Bing Ads
  • Facebook Ads
  • Microsoft Ads

Other options include Twitter ads and LinkedIn ads. But the key is to get certified in platforms your target market uses.

3. Define your services

Keep it simple. Consider specializing in a specific niche or type of ad. For example, will your agency offer Google shopping ads, Facebook ads, or text ads? Do you want to be known as the expert in remarketing campaigns and campaign management setup? Or as a Google ad specialist? Do you want to work solely with ecommerce business owners, or would you prefer a certain industry like landscaping or construction?

4. Draft an airtight contract with a clear pricing structure

Offer a reasonable pricing structure with the client's best interest at the forefront. But one that still generates profits for your agency. Then set clear parameters on what your agency will be responsible for.

5. Build a portfolio

Have proof that your agency can achieve results. For example, get case studies and testimonials. Or have social proof—tangible evidence that shows a business owner that you're worth your salt.

6. Develop a list of prospects

Get active on social media. And target companies that are already using paid ads. Then ask the right questions and really listen to business owners. For example, what questions are they asking? What solutions are they looking for to get more online traffic? Then commission family and friends. Knowing how to get PPC clients is one of the most challenging aspects of starting a PPC agency. 

7. Create your sales pitch

Learn as much as you can about your ideal client and build your brand. Then, know how to overcome objections and craft an offer they can't refuse. For example, offer a new solution or a bullet-proof guarantee. Know how to find clients for Google ads or other PPC services by contacting a ton of business owners through:

  • Cold calls & emails
  • Through social media platforms
  • Websites at the top of the Google search engine 

Be ready to get a lot of no's before you land a paying customer.

8. Market your PPC agency

Get active on social media. For example, create a Facebook business page, LinkedIn account, and YouTube channel. Be authentic, consistent, and self-promote. Share valuable content and develop your brand. Then ask the prospects the right questions. Get in-depth into their company.

What are their challenges? Where are they getting traffic right now? Become an educator and explain the technical process in a way they can understand. Then show them how you can get the results they want. The key is to provide them with a WOW solution and a reason to hire your agency.

9. Deliver results

To be profitable, your agency needs to get results. Do keyword research and target the right search phrases. Then use tools like Google Analytics to track metrics. Be ready to pivot fast when things aren't working, and know how to optimize your ads for the highest conversions. The better results you get for your clients, the more money you can make with your PPC agency.

What Is Local Lead Generation vs. PPC Advertising?

Local lead generation focuses on organic traffic. In contrast, PPC advertising targets paid ads and takes a budget to get online traffic. Build and rank generic websites that target one service and one city. Then leverage SEO to get your rank and rent websites to the top of the SERPs. They produce leads you can sell to local business owners for profit margins as high as 85%-90%.

There's no limit to how many sites or where you build. Consider that the USA has over 41,705 unique zip codes. Each represents a market with the potential to create a rank and rent website. Once you understand the local lead generation process, you can scale fast. Unlike PPC clients, with lead gen, you own the website, the tracking number, and the leads. So you're in control of every aspect of your business and don't need to worry about being fired by your clients if you don't get results or they run out of money for ad campaigns. 

Follow Me
Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}