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What's The Difference Between 'PAID SEARCH' & 'PPC'?

Updated: Aug 25, 2022

The VDB Inc. Team understands with the many terms and acronyms in digital marketing, it can get confusing. We are taking it back to the basics to explain what 'Paid Search' and 'Price-Per-Click' are, what they entail, and most importantly how they look on social media and Google. They have been around a very long time and can mean several things, if you're just starting out or just want some more clarifying information, you came to the right place. Bit if you are not very keen on 'Price Per Click' and 'Paid Search' then there are alternatives you can try.

First things first: What do 'PPC' and 'PAID SEARCH' stand for?

The acronym PPC stands for Price Per Click, it was designed to refer to an advertising model where the advertiser only pays for an ad when someone clicks on it (Digivizer. 2021). When you think about it, it can be a way of paying to get people to visit your website. Another way of doing this is through SEO (search engine optimization), however, SEO gets visitors to your site naturally (Mitchell, M. 2021). The price you pay for 'Price Per Click' is minimal and is oftentimes irrelevant when you think about conversion rates. When users click on your 'Price Per Click' ad they are likely already in the consideration stage of their buying journey, therefore they are more likely to make a purchase from you (Mitchell, M. 2021). So, you’re essentially getting more money out of the ad than you’re putting in.

Now for 'Paid Search', in short, it's all the ads you can put on Search Engine Results Pages like Google or Bing (Digivizer. 2021). 'Paid Search' works on a 'Price Per Click' model, meaning you do exactly that – until someone clicks on your ad, you don't pay' (Fountine Partnership, 2018). just to give you an image of what 'Paid Search' is, it's your ad being shown on multiple platforms and devices where you only pay when a person interacts with it.

'In 2021 GroupM projects the global ad marketplace to grow by 10.2% reaching $651.1 billion. The ad spend growth will be across all five regions led by Latin America (+24.4%) and followed by Asia Pacific (+14.1%). Globally, year-over-year digital media ad spend is forecast to increase by 14.1%, totaling $396.8 billion. In 2021, the share of digital media in global ad spend is forecast to be 60.9%, up from 58.9% that was projected in 2020.' Forbes. 2021

Are 'Paid Search' and 'PPC' The Same Thing?

To start with, 'Price Per Click' is the financial model 'Paid Search' runs on. To narrow it down, 'Price Per Click' is ads that advertisers only pay when people click on them, they can show up on social media and in display advertising, e.g. banner ads that you find on news websites (Digivizer. 2021). This is so common that over the years 'Price Per Click' has become Paid Search, and that's why people get confused. The truth is almost all 'Paid Search' ads are 'Price Per Click' ads but now is where it gets tricky, not all 'Price Per Click' ad is 'Paid Search' ads. Confusing I know. Basically, if you want fast results over a short period of time, invest in paid search marketing or 'Price Per Click'.

What does a 'Paid Search' ad look like?

‘When you plug a search term into Google or Bing, you’ll typically see two kinds of ads: text ads, and ads that have pictures – also called shopping ads, or Product Listing Ads (PLAs - Sometimes PLAs will show up on the right-hand side of the search results page, too)’ (Digivizer. 2021).

With 'Price Per Click' you typically nominate a certain keyword, and just like that your ad will be placed on that specific keyword you chose in the Google Search Results Page. Then all that's left now is to pay Google, according to a fixed bidding price, when someone clicks on your ad (Digivizer. 2021).

What does 'PPC' look like in social media?

In social media, 'Price Per Click' looks a lot like a search ad, but with a 'Price Per Click' ad, you pay the relevant site where your ad is on. so that your ad is displayed to users of that site, like Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, and many more (Digivizer. 2021). So where 'Paid Search' pays a fixed amount to google or Bing, 'Price Per Click' pays a fixed amount to the social platform you are using to get your ad out in the world (Digivizer. 2021). You can narrow down the potential audience with targeting options so your ad is seen by more relevant people, then you pay the social platform a fixed price when someone clicks on that ad (Digivizer. 2021).

What other kinds of 'Paid Search' ads are there?

If you're looking for another way, CPM is cost-per-mile. This is where advertisers pay a fixed amount where only a thousand people will see your ad at a fixed cost. There is a much less common ad that's known as a call-only ad where the advertiser is only charged once someone calls the phone number in the ad you provided (Digivizer. 2021). Then there are display ads, which are text, images, video ads, or banners on ordinary websites and they fall under the paid search ad category because they get set up in the same place as Google SERP text ads (Digivizer. 2021).

Why is 'PPC' important?

'Price Per Click' and 'Paid Search' are important, because they’re relatively easy to learn and quick to implement, and you see the results of your hard work. These results are measurable and easy to track and improve via the Google Ads platform currently known as Google AdWord that helps you translate numbers into insights (Digivizer. 2021). It also works well with other marketing channels like social media, since search is more about customers looking for you, while social media is looking for customers (Digivizer. 2021).

But if you are not convinced yet? Or looking for data to convince someone else? Here are some stats:(Digivizer. 2021)

  • People make 3.5 billion Google searches every day. That volume grows by around 10% a year.

  • 35% of product searches start on Google. 34% of “near me” searches on desktop (and tablets) result from in-store visits – many within 24 hours. That’s great for local and small businesses.

  • That number is even higher on mobile – 50% of “near me” mobile searches result from in-store visits.

  • Interestingly, 65% of clicks on paid Google ads come from mobile devices. Make sure your ads are mobile-friendly.

Does 'PPC' work?

'Price Per Click' can be very effective if your ad ranks at the top results page. The ad is the first thing people see when they’re in the market to buy your products or services (Digivizer. 2021). 'You can add your phone numbers, locations, site links, pricing, and bullet points to increase the space your ad takes up and give customers more value upfront' (Digivizer. 2021). Earning clicks has never been as easy with 'Paid Search' because people are constantly looking for more information and sites to visit (Digivizer. 2021). But people that are on Facebook or Instagram aren't always in the mood to look for information on products they want. 'It’s the difference between intrusive or proactive advertising (displaying ads whether people want them or not) and responsive or reactive advertising (displaying ads when people want them)' (Digivizer. 2021). Keyword research is one of the most important things to do with 'Paid Search' to identify what it is your customers are looking for and want. Google filters all the information on their site to the keyword that you type in to ultimately give you a better user experience.

The VDB Inc Team has found this information very helpful to know what 'Price Per Click' and 'Paid Search' is and entails. We hope that this discussion about 'Paid Search' and 'Price Per Click' has helped you to get up to date with the latest in paid search terminology and strategy, so you don't have to wonder anymore which is which. Remember at first online marketing can look like this huge obstacle and be daunting, but eventually, it gets easier.


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