HomeWhat Is PPC Management? The Definitive Guide

What Is PPC Management? The Definitive Guide

If you’re in the habit of learning how to grow your business, you’ve probably at least heard of PPC (pay-per-click). PPC refers to an online advertising model in which marketers and business owners pay for customers to click on their ad, fill out a form, make a purchase on their website, or take some other predetermined, meaningful action related to their business.

In a world in which 8.5 million searches are made on Google per day, and in which 62% of the population uses social media in some form, business owners that are not leveraging digital media to grow are leaving serious opportunity (and bottom line revenue) on the table.

Still, so many businesses are simply not taking advantage of this powerful model of marketing. They equate advertising to a billboard or TV spot. You spend the money to run the spot, but after that, your money enters a black hole, right? Sure, you may see a few more calls in the near term, but how can you tell whether you’re actually getting a worthwhile ROI (return on investment)? I’m doing well enough as is, these operators think. Why take the risk on an unnecessary expense?

This mode of thinking is truthfully one of the biggest mistakes business owners can make today. Because not only does PPC offer more visibility into ROI than perhaps any other form of marketing; it is also extremely low-risk when done correctly.

We’re here to help elucidate some of these common misconceptions. We’ll walk you through what exactly PPC management is, explain the different PPC channels and why you might leverage one versus another, and most importantly, explain how investing in this method of advertising can completely change (for the better) your business.


What is PPC management?

PPC management refers to the management, either in-house (by yourself or a member of your team), or by an outside consultant or agency, of your PPC campaigns. As we discussed, PPC refers to a model of advertising in which operators pay-per-click, literally. That means you, as the marketer or business owner, only pay when a qualified customer clicks on your ad or takes another action you desire.

example of ppc display ad on weather channel website

A display ad run through Google’s Display Network.

If you are running a PPC campaign on one of Google’s networks–for instance, a search advertising campaign–you also have the exciting opportunity of setting targets based on the following metrics and actions:

  • Sales: Drive sales or conversions online, in-app, by phone, or in-store
  • Leads: Encourage relevant customers to express interest in your products or services by signing up for a newsletter or providing their contact information.
  • Website traffic: Drive potential customers to visit your website.
  • Brand awareness: Introduce customers to what you offer when releasing a new product or expanding your business into a new area.
  • App promotion: Drive app installs and engagement with an automated campaign showing ads on the Google Search Network, the Display Network, Google Play, within other apps, and on YouTube.

This variety is superb for business owners. It means that no matter what your vertical or objective, platforms like Google allow you to drive the kind of value that can help you grow significantly.

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How does PPC work?

Typically speaking, though each channel has its own method of operation, PPC campaigns function pretty similarly across platforms.

That process looks like this:

  1. Choose your campaign type based on your objective (as discussed above).
  2. Refine your settings and targeting (audiences, devices, locations, schedule, etc.).
  3. Provide your budget and bidding strategy.
  4. Input your destination URL (landing page).
  5. Build your ad.

set budget for ppc management

An example of the budget step in Google Ads.

When you launch your ad on Google, its Ad Rank and cost per click are dynamically determined by Google’s algorithms. These algorithms consider factors such as your budget, bid, campaign settings, and the relevance and quality of your ad.

In the pursuit of maintaining user satisfaction, PPC platforms favor advertisers who craft pertinent and credible campaigns by granting them higher ad placement at lower costs. Therefore, in order to maximize your PPC profits, it’s crucial to grasp the intricacies of effective implementation on each platform.

PPC channels and how they work

When it comes to PPC management, there’s far more than one game in town. There are tips and strategies you can use to make each platform function properly for your business, and depending on your goals, you’ll most likely gravitate towards some more than others.

The three most common (and effective) PPC channels are the following:

Search advertising

Search advertising involves running PPC campaigns on platforms like Google, Microsoft, and the like. This method of advertising is extremely powerful and profitable, but especially so for service and local businesses whose customers are actively searching for their products and services. Want your roofing business to show up first whenever someone searches for “roof replacement” in your area? Then you need to leverage search advertising.

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Social media advertising

Social media advertising takes place on platforms like Facebook (now Meta), LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), and Snapchat. Social media is an inherently more visual style of advertising than search advertising, and because of that, it has long been a favorite of direct-to-consumer brands. It is also a more passive style of advertising.

example of ppc ad on facebook meta

An example of a Facebook ad. 

Rather than bid on keywords that customers are actively searching for, marketers create audiences based on what people like, what they do, and what actions they may or may not have already taken on their website and serve ads to these audiences while they are passively browsing on social media.

Because of its passive and visual nature, social media advertising can be an amazing tool for brand awareness. That said, you can still drive amazing profits on these platforms with the right strategy.

Display advertising

Display advertising involves running visual ads across a network of sites, like the Google Display Network. Any site (from CNN and Fox News to your local blog) that has signed up for Google’s AdSense program can earn money by advertising your business on their site. That means that with great creative, targeting, and the right messaging, you can put your business in front of highly relevant prospects that are browsing their favorite sites.

The key here, much like social media advertising, comes down to targeting. By targeting demographics, interests, locations, and placements that overlap with your target audience, you can get some serious bang for your buck on the Display Network.

Like social media advertising, Display is a more passive style of advertising. As such, it may be more challenging to drive direct revenue here than, say, on Google Search. However, by using the Display Network, you can get your brand in front of a ton of relevant prospects with a relatively low ad spend.

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How PPC management can level up your business

We’ve talked a little bit about what PPC management can do for your business. Now, let’s dive into some specifics. Here are the top six ways PPC management can amplify your business.

1. Expand your reach and visibility

Unless you have killer existing market share, a large segment of your target market may not know your brand exists. And if you haven’t yet delved into PPC as a viable channel, that’s almost certainly the case.

Why? Because everyday, people in the market for your products and services are actively searching for them on search engines. They’re using queries with commercial intent that show they want to buy right now. They’re browsing on Instagram with that quote they just got from your competitor in the back of their minds. Or, they are reading an article on their favorite online publisher.

example of ppc ad on instagram

A well-placed Instagram ad can give your business invaluable exposure.

With the correctly placed PPC ad, you can capture the substantial percentage of your market that is browsing online right now, many of which will be gaining exposure to your brand the first time. That kind of brand reach is irreplaceable in today’s business landscape.

2. Gain qualified inbound traffic

Here’s the thing, though. This isn’t a billboard on the side of the highway you’re buying. By virtue of keyword targeting, each person you serve a PPC ad to on Google is 100%, demonstrably in the market for your product. That is a level of consistent lead quality that doesn’t exist anywhere else in marketing.

Similarly, if you’re leveraging the Display Network, or even Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media network for advertising, you know, by virtue of audience targeting, that the people who are seeing your ad have interests that are strongly correlated to your product.

Increasing your reach is one thing. But knowing that each one of those prospects is a bona fide potential customer is the real value of PPC advertising.

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3. Develop a list of potential customers

In traditional modes of advertising, prospects who see your ad and don’t call your business or buy something right away don’t just forget you exist. But you have no way of contacting them after the fact.

In PPC, you have the ability to deliver ads to anyone who has previously clicked by virtue of remarketing. What’s more, every person who fills out an interest form on your site but doesn’t immediately buy enters your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform.

At that point, you have the ability to contact them and sell to them whenever you want. Building a list is a surefire way to keep your sales pipeline filled, and it’s another massive draw of PPC marketing. Nothing is ever lost!

4. Diversify your audience

The prospect that sees your ad on nytimes.com may never have searched for your product or service on Google. And the person that searched on Google may not be the same person that you target with that perfect Facebook Ad.

This is another huge benefit of PPC: each platform has a unique profile of users. By experimenting with different types of PPC campaigns, you’re likely going to discover people that are interested in your business that you never would have discovered had you stuck to traditional methods.

5. Get results you can measure

As we’ve harped on throughout this article, everything in PPC is measurable. This means that when you run a campaign on Google, Facebook, or any other platform, you know exactly how much you’re paying for each click, lead, impression, and sale.

example of google ads dashboard

A sample Google Ads dashboard.

This is an unprecedented level of reporting, and it allows marketers who manage PPC to constantly evaluate data and optimize. For the budget-conscious business owner, that’s a huge draw–no penny is ever wasted, and if you know which levers to pull, you can dial in profit margins that you can’t experience anywhere else.

6. Maximize your budget

We mentioned that PPC provides business owners with unprecedented visibility into performance. Bidding strategies play a huge role here. Knowing how much you’re paying for each click is great, but what if nothing happens after that click? Isn’t the whole point to drive tangible revenue?

That’s where automated bidding, which is available on the majority of PPC platforms, can really pay dividends. Business owners running PPC campaigns can optimize their campaigns for things like:

  • Target cost per action (CPA): Increase conversions while targeting a specific cost per action (a form fill, newsletter subscription, or other meaningful website action).
  • Target return on ad spend (ROAS): If you’re an ecommerce operator, and you want to optimize for conversion value, you can use Target ROAS to help increase conversion value while targeting a specific return on ad spend (ROAS).

maximize conversion value in google ads

Target ROAS in action in the Google Ads platform.

  • Maximize Conversions: For operators who want to optimize for conversions, but just want to spend your entire budget instead of targeting a specific CPA.
  • Maximize Conversion Value: For operators who want to optimize for conversion value, but just want to spend your entire budget instead of targeting a specific ROAS.
  • Maximize Clicks: Set your average daily budget, and the Google Ads system automatically manages your bids to bring you the most clicks possible within your budget.

Remember when we mentioned that PPC is low-risk? It is this ability to set daily and lifetime budgets, and to spend no more money than is absolutely necessary to produce the exact result that you want, that makes PPC an extremely viable option for business owners looking to maximize value while on a budget.

Better PPC management, more revenue for your business

There you have it. We’ve run through exactly what PPC management is, how it works, some popular channels you can leverage, and what it can do for your business.

That’s all well and great, but if you’re not a PPC professional, where do you start?

Plenty of business owners manage their PPC accounts in-house, and that is a completely fine strategy. But if you want to get the kind of results that can give you tangible growth while freeing you up to focus on other areas of your business, we always advocate hiring a professional.

Whatever way you choose to go, know that leveraging PPC management is always a positive choice for your business.

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