An Introduction / What is it?

Paid search, often referred to as PPC, is a marketing tactic that allows businesses to advertise their products, services and content across search engines and associated platforms.

The term PPC, which literally means “Pay per click”, summarises the most prevalent payment model of paid search advertising – where the advertiser pays a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Strictly speaking paying per click is not the only method of cost attribution for paid search, but it is the most common and does illustrate the principles of the activity, where the advertiser is essentially buying visits to their website. Alternative models such as CPM (cost per mille / cost per thousand impressions) & CPA (cost per action / acquisition) have other advertising purposes, such as increasing brand awareness.

Paid search marketing forms part of the SEM (Search engine marketing) toolset, but unlike other SEM tactics, PPC provides businesses the opportunity to appear within search engine result pages (SERP) based on the amount of money they are prepared to pay for that position, rather than earning the position within organic results on the same page.

The mechanics behind search engine advertising works on the principle that the advertiser bids on an ad placement within the SERP when someone searches for a related keyword. The search engine then ranks the advertisement using an algorithm that considers the amount of money bid, the quality of the advertisement and the relevance to the searched keyword, before displaying the winning advertisements on the search results page.

Benefits of using paid search include the speed you can take a product to market and the opportunity to present your products, services and brand alongside competitors who may have better organic positions. Paid search platform Google Ads (formerly known as Adwords) is arguably the most commonly used and recognised, but similar services such as Bing Ads are also available.

With a paid search campaign requiring expertise and experience in the platforms and strategies to make it a success, it often pays dividends to engage an experienced agency in PPC management and paid search marketing strategies.

Want to find out more about Paid Search?

From recent client case studies to PPC articles and thought leadership pieces on the subject, start your journey with The Drum Recommends.

Our agencies are some of the worlds leading and most respected paid search marketing companies. Specialists in their industry, each agency shares valuable insights into their craft, providing commentary, views & ideas on the latest industry news as well as helpful content so you can become better educated on the subject and make the right decision for your particular requirement.

Ready to find your next PPC agency?

We’re here to help you find the right paid search agency for your specific project. Whether you’re a startup or large organisation, we have the right agency for you – all of which have been rated, reviewed and recommended by businesses such as yours.

Simply search, shortlist and compare paid search agencies below.

Latest Insights

Latest Projects

The Top Paid Search & PPC Agencies in the UK