Pay-Per-Click Advertising: What Is It?

Pay-Per-Click Advertising: What Is It?

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Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is familiar to anyone who has seen advertisements alongside search results on Google and other search engines.


  • Definition of Pay-Per-Click Advertising
  • How Does PPC Work?
  • How Use of Keywords Work in PPC
  • Top PPC Channels


Definition of Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Advertisers pay PPC each time a user clicks on one of their online ads.

Paid search ads are one of the most common types of PPC ads. These ads appear when people use a search engine like Google to look for things online, especially commercial searches, which means they want to buy something. This could be a mobile search, a local service search, a gift search or a high-end item like enterprise software. All of these searches result in PPC ads.

Pay-per-click advertising charges advertisers only when a user clicks on their ad, hence the name.

Display advertising (serving banner ads) and remarketing are also forms of PPC advertising.

How Does PPC Work?

Advertisers cannot simply pay more to have their ads appear above the results on a search engine (commonly referred to as a SERP). Instead, ads are subject to an automated process known as the Ad Auction, which allows Google and other major search engines to assess the relevance and validity of ads that appear on their SERPs.

How Use of Keywords Work in PPC

The Ad Auction is a bidding system. Advertisers must bid on terms to “trigger,” or display, their ads. These terms are referred to as keywords.

Assume your company specializes in camping gear. A user looking to buy a new tent, sleeping bag, or portable stove might search for “camping equipment” in a search engine.

When a user submits a search query, the search engine performs the Ad Auction’s complex algorithmic calculations. This determines which ads are shown, in what order, and by whom.

Because you must pay for each ad click, you must only bid on keywords that are relevant to your business. A keyword tool can help you find low-cost keywords that are likely to drive sales or conversions.

Top PPC Channels

Some of the channels or platform for PPC are as follows:

  • Google Ads

Google Ads is by far the most popular pay-per-click (PPC) system. It allows businesses and website owners to show ads next to relevant searches on

  • Facebook Ads

Within the Facebook Ads Manager, you can create your own PPC ads. Photos, videos, or carousel ads (among other formats) with compelling copy, a CTA matching your campaign goal, and multiple links.

  • Linkedin Ads

Linkedin has one of the highest CPCs. For B2B advertising, this platform allows you to target prospects almost precisely. LinkedIn collects a lot of user data. You know their positions and almost every company move. If you want to target store managers or owners, you can even specify the company name and the employees’ positions… also the geolocation of these stores you’re interested in, which makes your clicks expensive but ensures that you’ll reach the right person.


Both Taboola and Outbrain give advertisers access to some of the world’s most popular websites. News outlets like NBC News and CNN have partnered with Mashable, Business Insider and The Weather Channel.

  • Bing Ads

Microsoft Advertising (Bing Ads) is a PPC system. You bid based on the cost per click on your ad. When you advertise on Bing, your ads appear on Yahoo and Microsoft Network Partners. Bing processes 10 billion searches monthly.

  • RevContent

Marketers can use RevContent’s platform to target audiences and increase sales. It works with major media outlets.

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