top of page

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is a mainstay of digital advertising. Precisely what the term encompasses depends on who you ask. At Highway One Marketing, we take a literal approach: PPC covers any online ad campaign where you pay anytime someone clicks your ad.

PPC ads exist on many platforms: Google, Bing, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, Reddit… the list goes on. While there are some notable differences among these platforms, the business model is basically the same.


Common Types of PPC campaigns: 

  • Search ads – text-based ads that appear in search engine results pages, such as on Google or Bing

  • Shopping ads – Ads including a product image and description, usually appearing at the top of the search results page.

  • Display ads – Image-based ads with little or no accompanying text, appearing on third-party websites.

  • Video ads – Ads that run before or during other videos. Many video ad campaigns do not use a pay-per-click model, but in certain situations they do.

  • Performance Max – This is one of Google’s newer offerings, combining many of the features of the other campaign types listed here. Performance Max is primarily a replacement (or upgrade, depending on who you ask) to Shopping, but it can work for non eCommerce brands as well.

Beyond these classifications, PPC also includes a variety of platforms. Google (specifically, Google Ads) is the primary search engine platform. Bing Ads (now known as Microsoft Ads), despite having much lower reach than Google, is a secondary option that often offers a superior Return on Investment from a percentage standpoint.

Social platforms also feature PPC advertising. Facebook and Instagram use the same ad platform, while Twitter, LinkedIn, and many others have their own ad platforms.

Amazon offers a PPC platform for brands that sell product on Amazon itself. For those that do, it’s a valuable marketing channel with compounding benefits.

The most obvious benefit of PPC ads is that you can use them to immediately start generating traffic to your website (or app or social profile). In contrast to SEO, which involves some time investment, you can start advertising the same day you create your account on most PPC platforms.

There’s another less obvious but highly valuable benefit to using PPC ads. Using the built-in metrics and reporting in conjunction with some other tools, you can extract a variety of insights, including what perks and features make someone more likely to click your ad and/or make a purchase, what terms people are actually typing into Google to find your business, which of your competitors are competing with you for your most important keywords, and much more.

Even if you don’t necessarily care what’s driving your ad clicks, the data often translates into important business learnings. For example, you might learn that your customers use different terms to look for a specific product than how your business refers to it. Understanding this, and potentially changing your own product positioning, can lead to more sales — both online and in-store.

How Much Do Ads Cost on Google, Facebook, and Amazon?

If you’ve never run a PPC campaign, you might have a hard time figuring out what kind of investment one would require. The answers aren’t easy to find online. That’s because there is so much variability across ad platforms, verticals, keywords, and other factors.

Some businesses are able to generate relevant traffic for an average per-click cost of about $1.00 on Google Ads. Those with a bit more competition or more specific targeting might see an average closer to $5.00 per click. Expectations continue to scale up as competition and specificity increase. Highly competitive segments like insurance sales or real estate might need to pay in the neighborhood of $50 per click for the types of website visits they’re looking for.


Don’t take the numbers above as gospel. There are market fluctuations, geographical factors, and brand-specific strategies that can lead to efficiencies. And even with all other things being equal, you might have to pay more on Google, for example, than on Facebook.

Getting Started with PPC

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for PPC advertising, but there are a few common sense starting points:

  • Google Search Ads

    • Immediately jump to the top of search results

    • Get potential customers to the correct page of your site based on what they’re searching for

    • Collect data on how people are searching for and finding your company

  • Remarketing Display Ads

    • Show image ads to people who have already been on your website, added items to their cart, and/or made a purchase.

  • Facebook/Instagram Ads

    • Show ads in the form of social posts (various formats available) to target potential customers as they scroll through their feeds.


Highway One Marketing specializes in helping you create the most effective AND efficient ads possible while working with the budget you have available. We take time to understand what you want to get from the platform (online sales, phone call, visits, app installs, etc.) and offer some insights and suggestions on how to best target your campaigns to achieve that.

Get started by reaching out or inquiring about our PPC Audit service.

Contact Highway One Marketing

I want to...

Anything else we should know?

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page