A Guide to PPC & Google Ads for Managing Directors and SME Business Owners

Reading Time: 13 mins

Digital marketing helps increase your visiblity online, and increases your overall web traffic to funnel down a sales funnel to generate leads or direct sales. PPC advertising has long been a very powerful way to get more visitors to your website, find new customers and ultimately generate revenue. But still, some business owners or managing directors do not understand the impact it can have on their business or SME.

What is PPC advertising?

So what is PPC, or pay-per-click advertising? Essentially, it’s any form of advertising where (surprise, surprise) you pay by the click.

So on Google, which is the most famous of PPC platforms, you pay each time someone clicks on an ad you have created. This may be in the search results, or elsewhere on the web.

Of course, there are other platforms that offer PPC advertising, but Google has become synonymous with PPC.


So, you may ask, what’s the difference between Google PPC vs SEO? Why do you need to do PPC when your SEO is good? Or – why do I need SEO if I can pay for clicks and traffic?

While SEO helps you rank organically in the long-term, Google Ads help you appear at the top of the search results for the exact search terms you want to appear there for overnight.

SEO is essentially optimising your website in order to inform Google that your content is the best and most relevant for certain searches, which Google recognises and rewards when clicks to your site do indeed interest Google searchers.

Google’s PPC Advertising lets you pay to skip the queue and appear directly at the top of the search results on page 1 before your competition in the organic listings. You will be bidding on advertising space within Google search engine results pages, and you bid against the competition for specific keywords or search terms that will help you generate traffic and/or business.

You should be putting resources into both your SEO and PPC campaigns – but we will dig into exactly how and why PPC advertising can play a huge role in expanding your business growth going forwards.

PPC Platforms

Of course, there are other advertising PPC networks to consider.

While you can run Google Display campaigns across the web, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media networks allow you to advertise on their networks, which can be very effective for particular campaigns. There are other social media networks to consider such as Pinterest, but really, most businesses focus on 1 or 2 to begin with.

Bing is also worth considering, along with other search engines. But the big one to consider is Google, and then perhaps consider expanding this out once you have mastered the goliath that is Google.

Benefits of PPC Advertising

Some businesses have bad experiences with PPC, but this is often a result of trying to do a bit of PPC advertising in-house with no experience. And what do you know, they stop all efforts after a month or two.

PPC advertising requires a lot of research, continual optimisation and expert knowledge. While this may sound like a lot of effort that may not be worth it, that’s often the wrong approach to take.

There’s a lot of potential to be had with PPC ads, whether you’re looking to target Google search results, Facebook or otherwise. You can really make a big difference to your online and overall business performance off the back of well-created PPC ads. There’s almost no industry or business that couldn’t benefit from some form of PPC advertising – whether that’s to sell a particular product, create brand awareness or generate leads.

So what makes PPC advertising such an attractive prospect?

Relevant visitors

Instead of targeting ads at a specific audience and hoping they are interested, Google Search Ads allow you to put ads in front of people specifically searching for a business, product or service just like yours.

Social media advertising platforms such as Facebook allow you to drill down to the fine details of someone’s demographics and interests. LinkedIn offers much deeper audience targeting based on their professional life, such as job title, industry or organisation. If you need to target industry-specific personnel, or even people that work at specific businesses, you can do this. Twitter also allows you to target based on preferences or interests, and can be a very effective way at getting the word out about your brand and creating a buzz online.

Reach the right people at the right time

On Google, as you can choose the exact keywords that will trigger your ad, this means you can target ads to the most relevant people exactly at the moment they are looking for what you have to offer. Add into that, that you can target based on where they are based and otherwise, it becomes very specific.

Immediate impact

SEO is worth the time and effort – but it takes a long time from scratch. If you already ranks, your tweaks and edits can take weeks or months to make a difference that may be a place or two.

However, PPC lets you advertise at that very second, getting you in front of your audience immediately.

You can be at the top of Google in a few minutes for a specific key term, if you so wished. Your ad could be getting shown to a specific demographic on social media in a matter of minutes once your creative is live on the platform of your choosing.

That’s not to say SEO is a waste of time – far from it. But the idea of taking months to rank for key terms can be tiresome for some businesses. Coupled with PPC campaigns, you can make up for lost time.

Only pay when people click

While some advertising methods are based on impressions or how people people see your advert online (or when it comes to offline there’s no real way to measure), PPC ads means that the only time you pay money is when someone clicks on your ad.

If they don’t, you don’t pay a penny. This is all done by bidding, which will be set out in the preparation for your campaigns if you work with an agency.

Ad optimisation

As your ads will be running for a while, it allows you to continually improve them over time, and get the best results for your money.

While with offline ads and other forms, you will pay a certain amount and never really learn from it, with PPC ads you can see what is working, what isn’t, and spend your money in the right place. This allows you to continually improve messaging, targetting and the overall return on your ad spend.

Take on the competition

Are your competitors ranking in the search results for a key term that would really benefit your business? Finding it tough to rank organically, or would it simply take years to do so? With Google Ads, you can be appearing right at the top of the results for the key term, or a term your competitor specifically ranks for.

This can be very effective in taking business away from your competitors, or at least expanding the reach of your brand. If your business has visibility in the search results that are normally dominated by your competitors, this helps your audience understand there are alternative options out there, and they may well explore exactly what you have to offer in the future – whether they click your ad there and then or not.

Similarly on Facebook, you can target people interested in specific pages that may be those of your competitors. Think of the interests or pages your audience would potentially be interested in, and target those people with your advertisements. This can be a big bonus in expanding your audience.

Measurable ROI

PPC ads allow you to measure the exact ROI. You can see how much you have spent on an ad, the click-through-rate, the conversion rate and how much your ad generated in sales (if your ad is aiming to generate a purchase).

Measuring impressions and clicks can also be helpful for judging brand awareness.

Brand awareness

While many businesses want just results, and can get them through PPC, brand exposure is also a key part of PPC ads.

Getting your brand and message in front of those people that otherwise wouldn’t have a clue your business exists is a very powerful option available to PPC advertisers.

Whether this is in the search results or a social media feed, you can truly expand your audience to anyone you like.

Benefit your overall marketing strategy

We would always advise PPC to be but one of your marketing channels, and when used in conjunction with other campaigns, it can generate great results.

SEO and PPC in particular work very well together. You will be able to maximise the traffic you gain from search results, and you will gain more information on what keywords and search queries your existing or potential customers are using. The knowledge you gain from your PPC campaigns can be used to enhance your SEO, and your SEO can show where you may need PPC to get you the results you need.

The PPC Platforms

Which platforms should you be considering for your PPC campaigns? What do you get out of advertising on each these platforms?

The big contenders are:

  • Google

Google Ads is the most popular and has the most traffic by far. Getting the top position for certain search terms can make a huge difference to your performance. Google also includes the likes of YouTube which is another powerful channel altogether/

  • Bing

Bing may not be as popular as Google, but it is much, much cheaper. And if your business is B2B, Bing could prove to be a very viable option as many businesses use Bing at work for a number of reasons. This lower CPC can be very attractive compared to Google, despite the lower traffic.

  • Facebook

Targeting is unprecedented, and the audience is vast. By targeting demographics, geographical regions, interests and otherwise, you can create a rather large yet still very specific audience. Gaining access to everyone that is on Facebook is a hugely powerful opportunity that can’t really be turned down if you can generate results this way.

  • LinkedIn

LinkedIn can be more expensive than other platforms, but offers very powerful targeting for B2B. If you are B2C, it may be less useful – but being able to target based on specific work-related targeting

  • Twitter

Twitter can really help grow your brand and put yourself in front of the eyeballs of a targeted and engaged audience.

  • Amazon

If you sell on Amazon, then Amazon’s PPC ads can make a big difference. Many people start their shopping search on Amazon as opposed to Google, and ads can really make all the difference if you aren’t at the top for specific search terms.

Do you need to be hands-on with your PPC marketing? No – you shouldn’t need to get too involved with the PPC work. However, having a good understanding of what PPC channels exist, the techniques available and the tactics involved can really help take your digital marketing and brand exposure to the next level to help grow your business.

As a Managing Director or business owner, you need to stay close to what you do best in running a business. But remaining informed on the latest digital marketing updates and opportunities can play a big part in how quickly your business grows.

Understanding PPC can be a huge boost to outsourcing your PPC to an expert agency who really understands how PPC ads can fuel business growth. Working in a partnership with the insights only an MD, CEO or business owner can provide can really help campaigns perform at their best.