What Is the Difference Between Google Ads and PPC?
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Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and Google Ads are common digital marketing strategies used to drive traffic from search engines like Google and Bing to increase sales conversions. They are a perfect way to grow your audience quickly, raise brand awareness, and increase your revenue.
However, many businesses are not familiar with Google Ads or PPC. Even if they know the basics of each advertising strategy, they are not sure how to optimize these approaches for the best results. In this article, we’ll help you learn more about Google Ads and PPC, discover their differences and similarities and decide which one to use for your business.
What Is PPC Advertising?
With PPC ads, the advertiser pays only when a person clicks on the ad that takes them to their website or another target location. You can place these ads on search engines, websites, social media, or other advertising platforms depending on where your target audience is located. The platform host then facilitates ad placement. The most common advertisement hosts are Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Bing, Yahoo, and Twitter.
Business owners love PPC advertising because it allows them to stay on top of everything. You have complete control over ad content, cost, and target audience, which can produce quick results if you know what you’re doing.
What’s the Difference Between PPC and CPC?
It’s not unusual for people to confuse PPC with CPC (cost-per-click). Although both these terms are vital parts of your online marketing campaign, they are not the same.
PPC is a specific online marketing approach where you pay a certain amount each time someone clicks on your ad. On the other hand, CPC is a metric that shows how much you pay for each click in your PPC campaign. So, if a platform charges $0.10 per click, you’ll have to pay $100 for a thousand visitors. However, the actual cost-per-click also depends on factors such as ad quality, ad relevance, targeted keywords, landing page, ad position, and other factors.
How Do Google Ads Work?
Google Ads are a form of pay-per-click advertising that allows businesses to create ads that pop up on search engine result pages when potential customers type in one of the selected keywords.
The advertiser only pays when a person decides to click on their ad, so Google ads are a PPC solution where Google is the advertising host. However, there is a difference in how the Google algorithm rates and chooses to display ads it finds the most fitting.
PPC advertising can be challenging to optimize and maintain, which is why Google created a platform called Google AdWords to simplify keyword research, bidding, optimization, reporting, and other aspects of online advertising. With time, Google AdWords evolved into Google Ads, which is the current platform for people looking to create PPC ads on this search engine.
How Does Google Decide Which Ads to Show in Search Results?
Business owners create relevant ads for specific search queries they believe are important for their potential customers. So, when a person types the selected keyword into the Google search engine, there is a chance your ad shows up in the search results. If the person clicks on it, you pay a certain amount of money to Google.
So, how does Google decide which ad to show if there are hundreds of ads competing for the same keyword?
Google analyzes five factors to decide which ads to show. That includes:
- Ad Bid – Every time somebody types a specific keyword into a search console, it creates a bidding competition that works similarly to an auction. When creating ad campaigns, you select the maximum amount you are ready to pay for a click, and you can change this amount at any time. Once the bidding is done, you get the exact cost of a click, which is usually less than your maximum bid.
- Ad Quality – Google analyzes your ad’s relevancy and usefulness, giving it a unique Quality Score. Your ad is rated on a scale of 1-10, with higher numbers representing better quality. The final score reflects ad relevance, expected click-through rate (CTR), and landing page experience. The higher your Quality Score means you’ll have to pay less and have better ad positioning.
- Ad Rank – Google ranks ads to decide which one to show. They set the minimum quality requirements an ad must meet to be displayed at a particular ad position.
- Ad Extensions Impact – When you set up your ad, you can add additional information like specific website pages, your business phone number, etc. These are called ad extensions and can help you improve the chances of your ad appearing in Google search results.
- Ad Context – Google also considers context when deciding which ads to show. They look at search terms, used device, person’s location, time of the search, search intent, search results on the page, and other vital factors.
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How Does PPC Compare to SEO?
PPC is a form of search engine marketing (SEM), which is a digital strategy aimed at improving your website’s visibility on search engine result pages (SERP) with paid promotions. SEM is one of the most effective ways to quickly grow your online presence, raise brand awareness, and promote your products.
On the other hand, search engine optimization (SEO) seeks to improve your website’s visibility on search engines by creating relevant, quality content. Do you know how every time you search for something on Google, you rarely go to the results on the second page? That’s because Google assesses the quality of each text on the web and puts the most relevant and best-quality articles on top of organic search results. The goal of SEO strategies is to get Google to rank your content higher and put it at the top of search results.
In contrast to SEM, SEO doesn’t require a significant budget to see the results. However, this strategy requires a lot of time and effort. Search engines like Google are continuously improving their algorithms to become better at recognizing good-quality content. SEO rules are quickly changing, and something that worked just a few years ago is now almost useless. So, if you want to take full advantage of SEM and SEO strategies, the best idea is to work with a professional familiar with current trends.
Should You Use Google Ads or PPC for Your Business?
If you want to improve your online presence, reach more customers, and boost profits, PPC advertising is an excellent choice of strategy. Since Google is the most popular search engine, advertising via Google Ads is usually the go-to option. However, you should consider the nature of your business and your customers’ online habits before creating PPC ads on any platform. That will help you maximize the conversion rate and success of your campaigns.
About the author
Graham is a lifetime entrepreneur whose passion is helping other business owners find and reach their audience online. As a partner at the firm Graham has helped numerous businesses achieve success online by understanding them, their consumer, and the channels and messaging needed to enact change. A native Texan Graham spends his free time with his wife and their two dogs exploring our beautiful state.