When is it Smart for a Small Business to use Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising?

As a marketing agency that works primarily with small and medium sized businesses, we are often asked, “is Google Pay-Per-Click an effective strategy for my small business?” In many cases, it can prove to be a highly optimizable and effective advertising tactic. But if your campaign strategy is not properly developed or managed consistently, it can eat through a marketing budget very quickly.


When a customer is looking for a product, service, or promotion online, they’re likely using a search engine such as Google to find it. Nearly everyone who has searched for a product or service online has seen or clicked on a pay-per-click ad, whether you’re aware of them or not. Pay-per-click ads appear above the non-paid, organic search results.

At its most basic level, the way pay-per-click works is advertisers create digital search and display ads, identify what geographic areas they would like to target, identify the keywords or search terms they’d like their ads to display for, and set a keyword bid price. Once an ad campaign is live, the advertiser pays Google each time a person clicks on their ad. So rather than traditional print advertising, where you pay per impression, with pay-per-click you only pay your set bid price if your ad is clicked on.

Pay-per-click advertising’s greatest strength is that it offers advertisers the opportunity to put relevant ads in front of motivated customers, at the precise moment they are ready to make a purchase. Not many other advertising mediums can do this, which is why search engine marketing can be extremely effective and an amazingly powerful revenue generator.


1. Get Measurable Results

One of the main advantages of using pay-per-click advertising is that all campaign results are tracked and measured. I like to think of this tactic as more of a science than an art. Once you are able to identify your average cost-per-click and how many of those clicks to turn into conversions that enter your sales funnel, you can calculate your cost-per-conversion ratio. Armed with this information, it’s relatively easy to see how much it costs to generate a lead and make the sale.

2. Show Your Ads to Customers Who Have Already Visited Your Site

As consumers, we’ve all experienced these ads. You visit a site to look at shoes, next thing you know, shoe ads are following you all around the internet. This strategy is known as “Remarketing.” Google allows advertisers to track when people leave their site without purchasing or filling out a contact form. Remarketing then displays relevant ads to those consumers who have already showed interest in the products or services. These ads display for audiences across many different websites, platforms, and devices.

3. Reach Your Local Customers

Why waste ads dollars on customers who aren’t in your area? One of the main advantages of pay-per-click is that it allows advertisers to reliably target customers based on their location (i.e. city, region, or postal code). Therefore, companies who do a significant amount of business within a specific region are able to target locations within that specified area. Radius targeting is another method which allows ads to display for people within a certain distance from the businesses location.

4. Advertising Flexibility

Another advantage of digital advertising platforms like pay-per-click is the ability to turn campaigns on and off with the click of a button. Whether the budget is reaching its limit, bandwidth is spread too thin, or you only want to advertise at certain times/days of the week, pay-per-click is extremely flexible. Ad campaigns or ad groups can be paused or resumed at any point in time.

5. Maintenance & Monitoring

The final and most important aspect to consider when determining if pay-per-click is right for your business, is the need for ongoing, consistent maintenance. Not every campaign or ad group is set up perfectly on the first try. It takes hours of honing in on the correct keywords, audiences, and locations. On a weekly or even daily basis, advertisers should be monitoring and adjusting keywords to ensure they are providing the most clicks possible, researching which search terms are triggering ad sets, and auditing which ads are performing the best and eliciting conversions. Without consistent maintenance and management of ad campaigns, pay-per-click can quickly eat through a marketing budget without providing the results necessary to justify the investment.

Pay-per-click has become an increasingly popular online search engine marketing tool that can be used to attract high-quality leads, engage customers, and increase online visitors to your website. This article was aimed to provide you with a high-level overview of pay-per-click and share some best practices when considering it as a potential marketing tactic.

A version of this article was originally posted to the Mangold Creative Perspectives Blog.