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How does PPC bidding work?

  • Paid Media

You know that PPC stands for ‘Pay-Per-Click’ – online advertising that drives traffic (and hopefully conversions) to websites from search engines.

And we know you want your ads to perform better – both in terms of ROI and in comparison to your competitors’.

But to achieve this, it’s important to understand the bidding process – what it is, how it works and how you can get the most out of your budget.

What is PPC?

Put simply, when your ads run on Google (other search engines are available but – you know…) and someone clicks them in the search results, you pay.

Although there are several different types of advert, including:

  • Video pre-roll
  • Shopping
  • Google display ads
  • Email inbox ads

But the most popular (and easiest to get started with) are still the Google Ads that appear near the top of the SERPs in every search

Via the Google Ads platform, you can decide which audiences you want to aim for and which results you want your adverts to appear alongside.

But the most crucial factor is deciding which search terms and key phrases you want to target – by bidding.

How do I do PPC bidding?

Just like an auction for a prize pig, or a Picasso – whoever is willing to pay the most ‘wins’.

But in PPC campaigns, you’re bidding on a search term – a product you sell or service you specialise in – against other businesses who offer the same.

Once you’re logged into your Google Ads account, here’s how you do it:

  1. Write your advert, incorporating the relevant keyword you want to target
  2. Control your spend by setting an upper limit you’re willing to pay for a click
  3. Pay Google each time someone clicks your ad (frequency will depend on your position in the auction, plus other factors including relevance and quality)

Sounds easy right? Nope, it’s not.

PPC advertising bidding is a trial of testing, tweaking and tearing your hair out – at first at least – but there are certain tactics that can help.

How do I ‘win’ a PPC advertising auction?

Firstly, be specific – the less broad your key search terms are, the more likely you are to attract clicks from people looking to purchase.

Next, be prepared to up your bid incrementally – if a competitor has bid higher than you, their ads may well appear more frequently than yours.

But don’t worry, your maximum cost per click isn’t the only factor in determining how highly your ads will rank.

Each PPC advert also receives a quality score, dependent on numerous metrics such as relevance and the UX (user experience) of the destination landing page.

If you see one ad in particular is converting well, consider upping your bid, at least while it continues to perform – but remember to lower if conversions slow.

Some software even enables you to automate bids – but not without sacrificing a lot of control over your account.

A more fruitful alternative would be to foster a relationship with a reputable PPC agency to get the most out of your bids.

How do I avoid PPC advert wastage?

We’ve covered budget waste in greater detail previously but the absolute musts are:

  • Ensure your keyword list (and your negative keyword list) is accurate, up-to-date and regularly reviewed/refined
  • Keep your account organised and appropriately structured so you can easily keep track of your ad spend
  • Use search query reports (SQR) to see exactly how your keywords are performing and avoid paying pointlessly

Do you need help from a PPC manager?

Want to talk to one of our PPC managers about how Google Ads services could benefit your business?

Get in touch today, or if you know someone who might be interested, share this content and spread the love.


Photo by Firmbee.com on Unsplash

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