If you have spent any time looking into the world of advertising, you have most likely heard about pay-per-click marketing. Pay-per-click marketing, more commonly referred to as PPC, is a form of paid advertising.

What is it?

In the simplest terms possible, PPC is an advertising model used by countless platforms. With PPC advertising, you'll create an ad, show it to a target audience, and then pay each time a person clicks on your ad. PPC can also charge you based on some other specific action, like when a person views a video you are sponsoring. Contrary to the actual name "pay-per-click", some platforms charge based on the number of impressions your ad gets.

However, regardless of whether you're paying when someone views your ad or actually clicks on it, PPC advertising is definitely a powerful way to get your business name out there and reach an audience who may otherwise have never known about it. In other words, PPC is invaluable when it comes to growing your business and getting more leads.

Why do I need to pay?

Many small businesses who have invested time and effort into perfecting their SEO strategy often find themselves scratching their heads and asking, "Why should I pay for advertising?" While organic search efforts are definitely worthy of your time and a necessity to building a stable supply of leads, it can take a while to see results with organic methods.

Paid advertising, on the other hand, allows you to deliver an ultra-targeted and ultra-optimized ad directly to the people who you think are interested in buying your product or service. That gets you fast results and way more exposure than most organic search efforts could score you.

Where can I find PPC advertising?

There are plenty of advertising platforms out there that work on the PPC model. Even if you are just beginning to learn about this model, there is no doubt that you have encountered PPC ads yourself in the past. Google AdWords, which is where you go to purchase sponsored listings in Google search results, is probably the most popular example of PPC out there.

Most every time you search for something, the first few results at the top of the page will be paid ads. The businesses behind them are following the PPC model in order to get those listings in front of you. They wouldn't be at the top of Google if they were just relying on organic search tactics, and so you would probably never see them.

Another popular platform is the Facebook Ads Manager, which allows you to create ultra-targeted ads and display them on Facebook (and Instagram). There is no system out there that compares to just how targeted you can get when designing a Facebook Ads campaign. After all, Facebook has a lot of information about its users to go off of.

Other platforms that allow you to use PPC advertising include Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Quora. YouTube also does, but it technically falls under the Google AdWords platform.

Which platform should I choose?

Ultimately, selecting a platform is where many businesses get hung-up with the advertising process. However, the answer to this common question all depends on who you are trying to reach. Consider the average demographics of each platform in order to make your selection. Google AdWords reaches just about everyone who's on the internet, but Facebook has a widespread too.

Most businesses use a mix of all of these platforms to reach as many people as possible.

Why do I have to bid?

Just about every PPC advertising system out there uses a bid-based platform to drive the advertisements that get displayed to users. As an advertiser, you'll be asked to place your bid when setting up your campaign. Basically, that's the maximum amount you are willing to pay for an action (i.e., a click) for your ad.

A higher bid is going to get you more frequent placement because you are competing with other advertisers who want to snag the same spot. A higher bid means you will be out-bidding more competitors and, therefore, getting your ad placed more frequently. Don't worry: You can set budgets per day, per month, or overall for every campaign.

However, a high bid isn't going to get you placement every single time. Platforms like Facebook also take the relevancy and engagement levels of your ad into consideration when deciding who to show it to.

What should my budget be?

Many businesses end up throwing far too much money at their bids when they set up their first campaign and they end up wasting a lot of their marketing budget. The fact is, just because you're working with a bid-based system, it doesn't mean you are guaranteed to get any results. Just because your ad places, it doesn't mean people will be interested in it.

Just like with all other forms of marketing, you have to first focus on creating content that is going to engage the people who see your advertisement. You also have to think about the people you are targeting with your campaign, because paying to reach the wrong audience isn't going to help your business at all.

So, start by focusing on designing a killer campaign based on real data, like by creating a lookalike audience of your current customer database. That will help you when checking the first key aspect of success off your list: targeting. Next, consider hiring a professional to actually design the ad, that will help boost engagement for the people who get to see it. Finally, you can begin thinking about your budget.

There is no set budget amount or magic number that will get you the best results. Your budget is just that: how much your business is willing or able to spend on marketing. To make sure you get a good return on your investment, always start small and measure the results. Make changes gradually and always be adapting your campaigns to make the most of your ad spend.

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