Pay Per Click (PPC): A beginners guide

Chances are if you have any form of online business, you’ll have heard the term banded around. PPC is known in the marketing industry by many names and abbreviations. From PPC to Pay-Per-Click, Paid Search to Google Ads (or Google AdWords pre-2018).

In this article, we’re going to explore PPC marketing in detail. Answering the questions that are important to you. We’re going to show you what PPC is, how PPC marketing works and how you can use it to help your business.

What is PPC?

PPC is a form of digital marketing that allows an advertiser to pay a fee every time their ad is clicked. Once the ad is clicked the user is taken to the advertiser’s website, to view the products or services that they offer.

The term PPC can apply to paid advertising on social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. It also applies to advertising on search engines such as Google and Bing. In this article, we’re going to focus on the most popular form of PPC advertising – on Google.
Every day there is an average of 3.5 billion searches on Google. With more than 60% of adults in the UK searching actively on the search engine. This means that whatever your service or product there is an audience on Google for you. Whether you are looking to drive leads, acquire new customers or grow your sales, there are tactics to suit all goals.

Why are keywords important for PPC?

Keywords are an essential component of PPC advertising. To get your ads to appear when people search for your product or service, the keywords you choose need to match the words or phrases that people search for. 

Keywords and phrases should be specific and relevant to what you are offering. When someone types your keywords into a search engine, they should be looking for a business exactly like yours. As a result, those people that click on your ad will be ready to buy from you.

The cost for each keyword will be different depending on the industry and the product you are offering. Wordstream recently released a list of the top 25 most expensive industries for PPC bidding. 

CPCs for casino-related terms can be as high as £59. That is £59 every time someone clicks your ad. If not managed correctly you can quickly blast through your entire budget, with little to show for it but a large bill from Google.

What does a PPC ad look like on Google?

When searching ‘digital marketing agency’ on Google we can see four businesses who are competing to appear at the top of the search results page. All PPC ads on Google and Bing have a small ‘ad’ label to the left of the website address to ensure they are identifiable. has the highest ‘Ad Rank‘ in the example shown above. Due to this, they are appearing at the top of the search results page (also known as the SERPs). 

To appear above the other businesses will likely be paying a higher bid than the other businesses. But, the bid is not the only factor that leads to a strong ‘Ad Rank’, with other factors including:

  1. Ad quality (including expected click-through rate, ad relevance and landing page experience)
  2. Competitiveness of each auction
  3. Context of the person’s search. For example, the person’s location, device, time of the search, the nature of the search terms, the other ads and search results that show on the page, and other user signals and attributes
  4. Expected impact of extensions and ad formats

What makes a good PPC ad?

A PPC ad has a strict character limit and so you need to be able to get your point across in a succinct and engaging way. We’ve put together a list of five things to consider when writing your ads:

  1. Ensure your ad references the keyword that was triggered. This shows Google that your ad is relevant to the customer’s search
  2. What is your unique selling point against your competitors? Think about delivery, price-point, quality, discounts.
  3. What call-to-action will resonate with your customers? Think about conveying urgency in your ads, incentivising with promotions.
  4. Use ad extensions such as site links, call out extensions and location extensions to take up more room on the SERPs
  5. Don’t use one ad, you should always test different messages to see what resonates the best with your customers

How much does PPC advertising cost?

This is a question that we hear frequently. After all, those new to PPC advertising are keen to understand how much they should expect to pay to advertise on Google. 

Costs can be high if PPC campaigns are not managed correctly. It can take a long time to learn the tactics to ensure that campaigns work efficiently and don’t overspend. Optimising your CPCs on a daily basis is essential to ensure the efficiency of your campaigns is not compromised.

A bonus to advertising on Google is that you are able to use their Keyword Planner Tool to understand how many people are searching for your services. This information then allows you to judge the level of competition and also get a view of how much you can expect to pay for each click.

This data will help you create a forecast. Allowing you to understand the budget that will be needed to appear in strong positions and the amount of traffic that will be achievable. 


There are many benefits to using PPC for your business. If you want to get results quickly, then this is definitely the channel for you. Building your organic SEO performance is another option, but this is a long-term strategy and can take months to gain traction. 

Managing PPC ads yourself can be challenging. Without the right knowledge, ads have the potential to spend a lot of money without gaining any results. Google offers great online courses in their Google Skillshop, which can help you get to grips with the set-up if you’re feeling brave. 

The way we like to explain PPC at Green Ginger is: 

“PPC is easy to set-up yourself. But if you are looking to do it right, make sure you’re not wasting budget and maximise performance, get an expert to help. Especially if you have ambitions to scale and grow – it will be a worthwhile investment”

Nick Cranwell, Head of Digital

If it all sounds a bit daunting, then that’s where Green Ginger can help. We are experts in managing PPC campaigns and have done so for some of the UK’s biggest retailers. That means we have the skills to be able to manage campaigns at scale and can also apply these tactics to smaller more agile businesses. 

If you want to know more about how we can kickstart your marketing, get in touch with us today.

Searching for the Coronavirus: What can Google data tell us about the pandemic spreading across the world

Since the start of the year, one topic has dominated headlines across the world. Covid-19 or Coronavirus was declared a global pandemic in March. It has brought the world to a standstill with over 148,000 cases and 5,500 deaths (as of 14th March).

But what can a global issue tell us about search behaviour in different countries? How do people within these countries react to such news? Do people across the globe demonstrate different search intent?

We’ve taken a look using Google data to see the key insights.

The UK saw increased searches from the first reported case. Italian searches only increased following the first death.

The first death from the virus in Italy was reported on the 21st February 2020. Despite the first case being reported in the country 3 weeks earlier on the 30th January, people were seemingly unconcerned by the virus at this point.

Before the first death was recorded, searches on Google in Italy were minimal. Following the announcement of the first death searches for ‘Coronavirus’ surged over 1,800% in a single day – by far the biggest response shown online across any country at any point throughout the pandemic.

UK vs. Italy Coronavirus search demand

Interestingly, search behaviour in the UK doesn’t appear to react to this news in Europe. Rather, searches increased gradually from the 22nd February. In fact when the first death was announced in the UK on the 5th March, this appeared to have no impact on online searches – a complete contrast to behaviour in Italy.

People in the US are focused on symptoms and self-diagnosis, in the UK searches show more of an educational intent

In the UK, top Google searches over the last 90 days are focused around the virus itself. In fact, only 12% of the ‘Top 25 Search Terms’ show intent around the symptoms of the virus.

UK coronavirus searches

When comparing this to the US, the search intent differs significantly. In the US 76% – or 19 of the Top 24 Search Terms are related to specifically understanding the symptoms.

US coronavirus searches

There are many possible reasons for this difference in search intent. One potential hypothesis could be that those in the UK have been better informed of the potential symptoms through the media compared to those in the US.

UK cases are growing significantly faster than search volumes

When the first case in the UK was announced on the 31st January 2020, the rise in search volumes were minimal. Search demand actually continued at relatively low levels until the 24th February despite there being 9 confirmed cases in the UK by this point.

Coronavirus cases and search demand

Not until a number of cases were reported on the Diamond Princess cruise ship did searches show a step-change in volume – this was also reflected (on a smaller scale) in the US. It could be argued that people only really started to take notice and understand the potential pandemic of the virus from the 24th February following the media coverage around the Diamond Princess and the quarantine of 30 Britons in Merseyside.

The increases in the number of cases was inevitable, but it’s important people continue to stay updated with the latest news and advice either through digital or offline media channels.


Regardless of how people are searching online, one thing is clear. The world is taking notice and is united in the fight against the virus. The fact search volumes are consistently increasing across the board can only be positive, it indicates people are looking for more information and the more educated people are on the subject the better.

The latest information from the UK government can be found here.

Get in touch today to see how we can use Google trend data to help your business growth.

Sources: Google Trends, both accessed 14th March 2020

Clients Testimonials

Our clients are a diverse mix of eCommerce and service-based businesses.
Our team have worked with everyone from well-known UK fashion and furniture retailers to small independent companies - we love the variety!

Wren Kitchens
Harrisons of Hull
Riverford Orgnanic Farmers
Rapture Surf Camps
Mark Hill

Kate Harrison
Harrisons of Hull Ltd

Green Ginger Digital have been an absolute pleasure to work with from start to finish. They have listened to our business goals and marketing objectives and really delivered in terms of service, content and results. We would highly recommend the team to other businesses looking to build a digital marketing campaign and will continue to work closely with them going forward.

Nathan Green

Pitchy were one of Green Ginger Digitals first clients and we were really impressed with how they took onboard what we wanted to achieve and put together an impressive plan of how they could help us get there. Results were impressive and the team were always professional and approachable.

Andy Orvis

Green Ginger Digital came to us with a clear brief and set of requirements. Their communication and ability to make key decisions quickly and effectively made the design and build of their website an easy process. Clearly knowledgable in their field, I'd recommend them for any digital advertising type campaign and certainly hope to work with them in the future.

Nicola Mooney
Adult Planet

We needed serious help with our PPC campaigns as we were wasting a lot of money on ads. The team at Green Ginger restructured everything, advising and adjusting as necessary along the way to really focus the campaign. We were really pleased with the revenue growth we achieved in such a short amount of time, and although early days still, we are seeing promising results! Very happy and would highly recommend the team at Green Ginger Digital.