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Guide to Pay-Per-Click Marketing, PPC & Paid Search Marketing

Dec 29, 2020   |   Paid Media
Guide to Pay-Per-Click Marketing, PPC & Paid Search Marketing

Pay-per-click advertising is a popular media option because it virtually guarantees traffic with the media spend, whereas impression-based media buys can get exposure and cost but do not guarantee traffic.

PPC media can be sourced in display or banner ads, paid social, email, and paid search.

The largest providers of pay-per-click media are Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Amazon, Verizon, and Microsoft.

Paid search marketing has become a huge advertising channel with eMarketer reporting it reaching over $60 billion spent in the US in 2020, making it the second largest digital channel.

emarketer digital ad spending -, Milestone Inc.

If you are not familiar with paid search, then you may have heard one of its other names, like paid search, search engine marketing (SEM), or pay-per-click (PPC) search advertising.

In this guide, we are going to go over everything you need to know about paid search marketing.

What is paid search marketing?

Paid search marketing allows someone to place an ad within the search results pages or SERPs, usually on a search engine like Google. Each time someone clicks on the ad, the advertiser a fee in the range of $1 to $30. This is why it’s called pay-per-click or PPC advertising as well.

Over 80% of people use search engines to find a product or service. On computers, Google gets around 70% of those searches. On mobile, it’s a massive 94%. That just goes to show you that Google is still the top dog of search engines. It will be where you want to focus your search engine marketing.

Whether you’re a hotel, bank, a software company, in the healthcare industry, or something else, paid search engine marketing can work for you, depending on your objectives.

What are common objectives and how to plan for paid search?

If you’re interested in benefiting from paid search marketing, you should understand what your marketing objectives are. Here are several common ones that can help you plan accordingly:

  • Building awareness and traffic – If you are a new business, building awareness about your brand will be paramount.
  • Increasing sales – Every business wants to increase its sales. However, you also want to make it as seamless as possible for leads to become paying customers.
  • Expanding influence – This ties into building awareness. You want to increase your standing in the eyes of others and be seen as a reputable company worth supporting.

Once you decide on what your main objective will be, you can begin planning your marketing campaign. Craft your paid search ads to appeal to your target customer.

What is the basic workflow for paid search?

You should follow a basic workflow if you want your paid search marketing to be effective. Here is a workflow we suggest following:

  1. Conduct keyword research for the most relevant keywords.
  2. Become clear on what your campaign goals are and what your ad should address.
  3. Define what your audience for the ad will be.
  4. Set your PPC marketing campaign budget.
  5. Write persuasive ad copy with at least 3 to 6 variations.
  6. Make sure all links and tags are correct.
  7. Publish your ad campaign and look for it appearing in the search results.
  8. Conduct A/B split testing and tweak your ad accordingly to which version performs the best.
  9. Review the results of the search engine marketing ad campaign.

Top Tips for Success

If you want to get the most out of paid search marketing, you should keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Define what your objectives for your ad campaign are.
  2. Use the Google Keyword Planner tool to see exactly what users are searching for on Google.
  3. Group the list of keywords you have into distinct themes.
  4. Change key aspects of your budget, such as the budget, when necessary.
  5. Create ads that are as engaging, eye-catching, optimized, and compelling as possible.
  6. Create a custom landing page for the campaign or pick the most relevant landing page for your ad to direct traffic to.
  7. Monitor your paid search marketing campaign using Google Ads and Google Analytics.
  8. Outsource tasks to experts who know how to do them well.
  9. Review the quality and grammar of every ad before launching it.

Which providers and platforms to use for paid search?

There are a number of providers and platforms to use besides Google Ads. Here are some excellent options you can consider when running your PPC ads:



  • Marin Software
  • WordStream Advisor
  • Adobe Advertising Cloud

How best to track and report paid search?

Measuring the success of your ad campaigns is a must to see whether your money invested into ads is providing a proper ROI. By tracking and reporting, you will be able to either justify spending more on additional ads or scrap your current ads and replace them with ones that are more optimized.

Using Milestone Analytics, you can track the success of your Google Ad campaigns for the business as a whole or break down the numbers for each business location – all on one screen. Milestone Analytics lets users pick and choose the key KPIs of their paid performance that they wish to see on the screen such as – clicks, impressions, ROAS, Paid Leads, Paid Sessions, Cost of the campaign, CPC, CTR, etc. You can also carry out a performance comparison across multiple paid channels.

Should I run paid ads on my own brand term?

If your SEO program is in proper shape, you may not need to. Your incremental business value of running on both should provide an appropriate ROI to the ad spend.

Paid search tracking

If you are tracking ads on Google, then Google Ads and Google Analytics is the best way to do so. This free tracking service provides you with helpful insights into all of the visits to your ad landing pages. You can discover how good the lead conversion rate is, among other important information.

If you are tracking ads on Facebook, then Pixel is what you will want to use. You can use Google Analytics in tandem with Pixel as well. However, if you run ads on Facebook, you will receive even more data from Facebook that can increase your understanding of the people clicking on your ad.

Paid search reporting

Reports are an essential component of paid search marketing. Reports will help you see how well your ad campaigns perform. Here are the types of reporting you can use to improve your understanding of how well your ads are doing. This information should be available to you via Google Analytics:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Cost-Per-Click (CPC)
  • Click-through-rate (CTR)
  • Conversion rate
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Return on investment (ROI)
  • Bounce rate
  • Pages per session
  • Average session duration


Google is the largest search engine on the planet. Google Ads and Google Analytics provides the most data for ads run on Google. With most people using Google to find products and services, you are best served using Google’s services over anyone else, especially if you are looking for an omnichannel solution to paid search marketing.

There is a wealth of data you can extrapolate from and dissect using Google Analytics. Since you will have a tracking code for GA on your website, it will provide the most accurate metrics and key performance indicators out of anything else out there.

Whether it’s called paid search marketing, search engine marketing, PPC, or something else, it is an integral marketing strategy today. Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, then you should now have a better understanding of paid search marketing and consider allocating budget and attention to it in your digital marketing budget and digital marketing roadmap.

Milestone offers a full suite of paid marketing services as part of an effective omnichannel marketing solution.

Contact us at +1 408-200-2211 or mail us at [email protected]

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