An Introduction to PPC – Part One

17 Rebecca D'Cunha

Puzzled by PPC?

Don’t feel bad, whilst the overriding concept is simple, in practise PPC Campaigns can quickly become complicated.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Over the next few weeks we will be running a series of posts designed to give an overview of what PPC is all about, and give some handy hints and tips to improve your campaign along the way.

So, first things first. Are you sitting comfortably? Got your tea / coffee / water / G&T? Then I’ll begin.

What Is PPC?

PPC stands for pay per click. You might also see PPC referred to as Paid Search – it’s all the same thing.

So, you know what it stands for, but what does PPC mean? Well it’s advertising. Now where PPC differs from traditional advertising is that you are only charged when someone clicks on your ad (hence pay per click) rather than being charged for your ad to appear.

The PPC Model was created by Bill Gross, founder of GoTo.com (which later became Overture, and is now part of Yahoo) in 1998; and Google began offering PPC in 2002. PPC really changed the landscape of advertising on the internet – as prior to it’s inception most online advertising was based on ‘impressions’ – i.e. how many times the advert was viewed.

Why is there so much hype around PPC?

On the face of it PPC looks really good. PPC ads appear on search engine results pages, so effectively you are putting your message directly in the path of those looking for your products or services. As such – it’s a very powerful model in terms of targeted advertising. However, a poorly managed PPC campaign can burn through money and offer little in the way of return.

Which Search Engines Offer PPC?

All of the major search engines offer PPC advertising. however each search engine’s PPC programme has it’s own little nuances. We run campaigns for our clients on Google, MSN and Yahoo – however not all clients elect to run campaigns on all of the search engines.

Which Search Engines Do People Use?

In the UK, Google is strongly favoured – for the four weeks ending 9/5/09 Hitwise rank the top five search engines (measured by volume of searches conducted) as follows:

Google (.co.uk)   77.37%

Google (.com)   13.26%

Yahoo   2.86%

Ask   1.65%

Live (MSN)   1.49%

As such, you can see that by advertising on Google alone you can capture over 90% of the searches completed in the UK. Therefore many clients elect only to run their campaigns on Google.

The UK PPC Market

According to the Internet Advertising Bureau:

– Between Jan and June 2008 £981million was spent on paid search in the UK, accounting for 58.3% of the total amount of  money spent on online advertising. – this represents year on year growth of more than 20%

– To put this in context the UK advertising market as a whole grew by just 0.7% for the same period, meaning that Press, Direct Mail, Outdoor, TV and Radio all experienced falling revenues

So, PPC continues to grow – but how do you take advantage of this potentially powerful media without getting burned? Be sure to check out the following posts in the series – we’ll be talking you through the processes we implement for our clients, so you too can create a PPC Campaign that really works for you.