PPC stands for Pay Per Click and is a model of online marketing in which advertisers pay a fee for every click on one of their ads. Rather than earning visits to a website organically through digital marketing practices like SEO, advertisers can buy visits to a website via PPC advertising.
Remember before you clicked on this web page? The Ads at the very top of Google, those were PPC advertisements. PPC, also referred to as Paid Search, is one of the most common forms of Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
What makes PPC marketing unique is the ability for advertisers to bid on ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links. An advertiser’s sponsored link is placed when someone searches a keyword phrase that is related to the advertiser’s business, product, or service. However, these keywords must “win” the bid in order to show up for specific searches.
This is where a PPC Specialist comes in. A lot goes into building a PPC campaign that will “win” bids and effectively generate leads, ecommerce conversions, and website traffic.
A PPC Specialist must first identify which keywords they want to bid on and how much they plan to spend and are willing to bid in the auction.
The bid amounts needed are auction based and determined, in-part, by what other advertisers are willing to bid for the same keywords. These keywords will be grouped together and paired with ads. An important thing to note about ad spend is that an advertiser cannot just “pay the most” and have their ad show up every time it is triggered by a keyword.
Search engines like Google and Bing have complex algorithms in an auction format that determine which ad wins the bid and gets displayed, in which order, and by which advertiser.
Part of this algorithm takes into account “Quality Score.” Quality Score plays a huge influence on the cost and effectiveness of an ad and can earn an advertiser major points in the eyes of a search engine.
Google rates the quality and relevance of both the keywords and the PPC ad itself to determine which ad will be most relevant and helpful to the person’s user experience. After all, the purpose of the internet is to make the transfer of information as easy as possible.
If the landing page, ad copy, and keywords are not in correlation with one another, an advertiser’s cost per click will rise. It is up to the PPC Specialist to align these efforts toward the Quality Score to maximize ROI.
Keyword research is conducted through Google AdWords, the most popular advertising system amongst digital marketers, along with other 3rd-party tools. PPC Specialists ensure that keyword lists are relevant, exhaustive, and expansive. Why pay for web traffic that has a minimal chance of conversion? A PPC expert must strategically choose targeted keywords that will lead to higher click through rates while maximizing the most effective cost per click.
However, once the PPC campaign is created, it must be managed regularly. Pay per click management is the bulk of a PPC Specialist’s duties. A specialist must align specific search queries to appropriate landing pages to boost conversion rates.
This includes expanding the reach of your campaign by adding keywords, adding negative keywords for terms that you determine to be irrelevant or discover to be non-converting, and splitting your Ad Groups to create more targeted ad text and landing pages. PPC campaign management also includes modifying calls-to-action (CTAs) of landing pages.
Since Pay Per Click advertising is very flexible in terms of editing, this is a huge perk since audience behavior is ever changing. A PPC Specialist can make adjustments to their campaign at any time to adapt to changing market conditions.
With that being said, a Specialist monitors a PPC campaign on a daily basis to evaluate campaign performance and identify areas of improvement.
The goal of a Paid Search campaign in Google AdWords and Bing Ads is to drive qualified traffic to your landing page. However, advertisers are increasingly using Facebook and other social platforms to run their PPC campaigns as well.
Not only does Facebook have over 1.8 billion active monthly users, but you can tailor each campaign to satisfy your specific goal such as: brand awareness, lead generation, or store visits.
Any of the following Bachelor Degrees listed above are acceptable to get your foot in the door, however, realize that this is really only a stepping stone into a specialized industry that will more than likely require self-teaching or a great deal of on-the-job training.
Employers want to know that you are either familiar with marketing concepts, proficient in writing, and computer savvy, but that’s just the barrier for entry. PPC campaigns thrive off of data analytics. Therefore, the modern Paid Search Specialist must be data driven and familiar with at least Google Analytics. Another great differentiator is to be certified by Google’s Academy for Ads. These two certifications will prove that you are serious about getting into the field.
These skills are essential to the toolbox in order to break into the field of Paid Search because almost all of them will be required on a regular basis.
The ability to learn quickly is mandatory in order to secure a PPC career. Not only because most employers will require on the job training, but the field of Search Engine Marketing is constantly evolving. PPC Specialists must have the ability to anticipate and adapt to market trends.
Though digital marketing channels like PPC are incredibly results-and data driven, it is still important to have strong presentation and communication skills since client relationship management will be prevalent.
Though the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data directly under the title “PPC Specialist”, they reported a 2% - 4% growth for the category of Search Marketing Strategist during 2014-2024.
Paid Search is an integral part of the digital marketing field. Businesses do not always have the luxury of time to organically rank at the top of the SERPs. With that being said, they turn to Paid Search for immediate results.
Since this field is always evolving, one of the biggest trends is adapting to machine learning. Google has upgraded its smart bidding technologies, ad rotation settings, and smart display campaigns for better audience targeting. This signals to employers that they can precisely advertise to their target demographic. In turn, PPC jobs are going to continue to be highly valued.
The average salary for a PPC Specialist according to Indeed is $52,354 a year.
PayScale reports an annual income of a Pay Per Click Specialist at $40,591.