Advertising has always been a pivotal part of any business. In the US alone, it is projected that US$30 billion will be spent on marketing this year. In the last 6 years, Coca Cola has been spending roughly US$4 billion every year on marketing. I am sure you get the picture; times are changing though – there is a shift towards digital marketing. Over US$300 billion was spent globally in 2020 on digital marketing – that was a 12 per cent surge from the previous year. There are many digital marketing approaches and in this article, I am looking at pay per click (PPC) advertising.

What Is Pay Per Click Advertising?

As the name suggests, it means every click costs something. An advertiser comes up with an ad that they hope prospective customers will click on. The end game is to realize conversions i.e. sales. This all stems from an ad being a means to redirect people to your site. It is all about generating and driving leads. When a user clicks on the ad, the advertiser will pay for every click. It is search engine platforms (e.g. Google) that will facilitate the placement of your ads.

Different Types Of PPC

There are several PPC advertising types and here I will discuss some of them:

Social Media Ads

If you have ever been on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, you have seen these. These are ads that you see appearing on feeds; you will notice they will be labelled ‘sponsored’. They are a great tool to use and there are several types to choose from. You also have the room to effectively target, down to characteristics such as location, gender, age groups, and so on.

Search Engine Ads

When you do a search engine search, for instance, on Google you will notice something. At the very top or the bottom of the listed results, you will see ads. They will actually be labelled ‘ad’; these are what I am referring to here as search engine ads. They are typically text-based.

Google Shopping Ads

When you do your Google searches you will also notice images above the main search results. They will be displayed as a series of images, one at a time. These images will be giving you a visual appreciation of products being offered by a business or businesses. Clicking on them will redirect you to the respective sites of the business or businesses. These are the Google shopping ads I am talking about.

In-Stream Ads

When you playing or streaming videos on Facebook and YouTube you occasionally see ads coming up. They can either play before the video starts or they can appear at several points during the video. For some, you have to wait till ads have finished playing. In some instances, you have the option to skip the ad at some point. These are examples of what we call in-stream ads.

Gmail Ads

These are ads that will appear in your email inbox, usually at the top. They will be labelled ‘ad’ to distinguish them since they will somewhat look like ordinary emails. You will also see that they usually have subject lines that are in bold letters.

Display Ads

These are often quite annoying because they will be on websites as you navigate. You will usually find them on websites that partner with Google. Essentially they will be placed on websites that deal with the related goods and services offered by the advertisers. They are usually in the form of images, text, or both – more like banners. People rarely click on them (they find them annoying), so their core strength is mostly in boosting your brand awareness.

Remarketed Or Retargeting Ads

This is closely related to display ads. You do certain setups that enable your site to keep stock of site visitors’ habits. For example, you will get to know what they are interested in and so on. That data will help you segment these people based on interests, amongst other things. Once you have aggregated that data, you can recalibrate the framework. You can appropriately target such that they will subsequently see display ads related to what they do like or are looking for. This is all made possible by what is called a tracking pixel. In essence, these ads are powered by cookies; which is why display ads end up being displayed based on the user’s browser history or activity.

I have barely scratched the surface as there is a still lot more to talk about. In future articles, I will probably zone in on how you set up the different ads. The approaches and what to consider greatly vary so it is a broad field. In this article, I just wanted to lay a foundation to appreciate what PPC advertising is and the different types.