What is pay-per-click marketing?

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An online MBA degree offers those who earn it a variety of opportunities. From work in the health care industry to marketing, there are a number of different avenues graduates can pursue. Marketing is a unique case that is worth additional consideration. A specific focus on this discipline gives students targeted skills but still allows them to pursue many different roles tied to promotions, outreach, engagement, and otherwise building connections with consumers.

For businesses that have some type of digital footprint, pay-per-click advertising is a core marketing consideration. Whether it’s drawing individual consumers to a website to buy a product or convincing a decision-maker at another organization to enter into a contract for services, pay-per-click has a major influence. This form of marketing plays a crucial role in a world where purchasing decisions are increasingly driven by online searches, attracting potential customers through a model that targets potentially relevant audiences and only requires payment when a possible customer takes the next step and expresses interest. Let’s look at the importance of PPC advertising, how it fits into modern marketing efforts, best practices for its use, and how online students attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham can learn more in the MBA program.

Two marketers using a tablet with a screen showing the text “pay per click.”

Understanding pay-per-click marketing

Pay-per-click marketing is relatively simple. This form of display advertising involves the company promoting its services or products only paying the website hosting the advertisement when an end user clicks on the link and visits the associated webpage. When a user enters a search term that is tied to a list of keywords chosen by the advertiser, the promotional material is displayed. This approach is most commonly seen in search engines, like Bing and Google. Google’s PPC advertisements display at the top of the list of search results, marked by a small box that reads “ad” in the URL text line that appears below the active link. This type of advertisement can also appear on individual webpages, and is often marked with a phrase like “sponsored ad” to indicate the nature of the link presented.

PPC advertising once involved a number of bidding wars between competitors for access to the most desirable terms. Now, most companies providing the service use a mix of different metrics, ranging from the budget of a PPC campaign to the relevancy of the term, to determine pricing in a less-combative approach.

The role of pay-per-click in modern advertising

As a part of an overall marketing strategy, pay-per-click fills an important niche. It attracts people interested enough to take action and uses search terms that have a strong connection with a potential purchase. PPC also provides plenty of data tied to click-through rates and which ads lead to additional contacts and purchasing. This is why a commonly recommended best practice is to engage in A/B testing and use multiple forms of ads targeting the same or similar keywords to better understand which versions generate the most interest. Although businesses will have to spend money to determine the most effective approach to their PPC campaigns, the data and understanding of what specifically attracts customers is especially valuable. It means future campaigns will be more financially efficient and have a better chance of attracting customers.

The highly targeted nature of PPC needs to be a core consideration, as specific keywords and advertisements should be tied to similarly distinct results. Clicking on a PPC link should ideally lead users to an immediately relevant page. This is among the core PPC best practices. For online purchasing, that means a specific product or a quickly digestible list of relevant ones. In cases where additional discussion is necessary before a sale can be completed, a page providing more information and contact details that allow for quick outreach is preferable. With user intent so strongly tied to the display of PPC ads, the last thing a business wants to do is discourage someone who takes the significant step of clicking through.

The UAB MBA marketing concentration prepares you to work with tools like PPC

Pay-per-click advertising is one of many modern digital tools in the arsenal of the modern marketing professional. A critical need exists for marketing managers who can both guide and oversee the work of their teams and fully participate in and lead core tasks. An online MBA with a marketing concentration from UAB gives students the skills necessary to take on both sets of tasks. Learners develop leadership skills throughout the courses included in the Tools and Perspectives on Business and Functional Core components of the curriculum.

The marketing elective courses, meanwhile, allow students to hone their foundational skills like analysis, decision-making, and marketing research. These abilities are especially important to consider in the context of tools such as PPC, which become even more effective when managers can conduct A/B testing, analyze key metrics like clickthrough rates, and make decisions that continually improve performance. While particularly relevant for PPC success, these skills also apply to many other facets of modern marketing, from physical display advertisements to social media engagement and more.

Earning an online MBA degree with a marketing concentration from UAB means progressing toward graduation at your own pace while benefiting from top-flight faculty and powerful educational resources. To learn more, talk to an advisor today.

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