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Which PPC Platform Should I Use?

Thinking about PPC
7th December 2016 | PPC

Thinking about PPC? Knowing what you want to achieve is critical to choosing the right platform.

When starting to think about entering the world of PPC or paid marketing of any kind, the first thing you need to work out is what your business objectives are and what you want a paid marketing campaign to achieve.

In 2016, there are now multiple platforms available to advertisers, each one of them is different and each one of them can achieve different things for your business.

Let’s take a look at the options available to you.


Google AdWords is the original and biggest PPC platform in the world. It’s the obvious place to start for most businesses (although not always the best choice in every case as we’ll discuss later) and a good starting point for you to get to grips with PPC.

With over a trillion searches typed into Google every year and over 40,000 every single second, it’s clear to see the scale of potential customers available to you.

Google AdWords allows you to target people who are out there searching for your products right now. It’s a unique opportunity to get in front of people just as they are ready to purchase.

When people think of AdWords they normally think of the paid ads in the search results. With these ads you don’t pay for impressions, (when someone sees your ad but doesn’t click on it) you only pay when someone clicks. There are other payment options other than CPC (cost per click) such as CPA (cost per acquisition) and some others but most people, especially people just starting out, will use CPC.

AdWords can be expensive, depending on the industry you are in and how competitive related search phrases are. This is why good account management is so important. Well managed campaigns can ensure that you get the most relevant traffic coming to your site at a profitable cost to you.

There are other options with AdWords such as using the Google Display Network to advertise on websites across the internet with image or video ads. This is often less cost effective than the text ads in the search results but as with everything, every case is different and some people see great success with the GDN.

Bing Ads offer a very similar system just on a lesser scale as they have a much reduced % share of the search market.

As I said, most people will start with Google AdWords and normally it’s the right place to start. However, say for example, you had a new product you wanted to promote, this form of paid advertising wouldn’t be right. With no awareness of a product, people wouldn’t know to search for it. This is where paid social comes into its own. Paid social marketing is a fantastic platform for building brand awareness and a cost-effective way of reaching people.

Once you’ve raised awareness of the product or service you are promoting through social media you can then go back and build traditional PPC campaigns through Google or Bing based on the new awareness of your offering. 


So, as we’ve seen, with Google (and Bing) you are targeting people based on what they are looking for right now. The difference with Facebook is you are targeting people based on who they are, what their interests are and who their friends are.

Facebook is massive with over 1 billion active users worldwide. It has become a part of daily life and the average user spends about 50 minutes on Facebook (along with Facebook Messenger and Instagram) every single day.

The biggest advantage to Facebook advertising is the incredible levels of targeting you have available to you. People share so much information about themselves on Facebook and this is great fodder for advertisers.

You can target people by their location, marital status, likes and interests, age, job title, who they are friends with etc. etc.

Like with Google AdWords, most people use the CPC model for Facebook ads. Also like AdWords, you don’t pay for impressions – which is great when you are using the platform for brand awareness.

CPC’s are typically significantly cheaper on Facebook compared with Google – normally costing around a third.

There are different types of promotions and ads you can run on Facebook for different conversion goals. The goals Facebook lists are:

  • Boost your posts
  • Promote your Page
  • Send people to your website
  • Increase conversions on your website
  • Get installs of your app
  • Increase engagement in your app
  • Reach people near your business
  • Raise attendance at your event
  • Get people to claim your offer
  • Get video views
  • Collect leads for your business

The ads formats available are:

  • Promoted and boosted posts – you can promote one of your Facebook posts to try and make sure more people see it. You’d think if you post on your Facebook page that all your fans/followers would see it, right? Wrong. We’ve seen over the years how Google has continued to push down organic listings in the search results in favour of paid ads – all with a view to increasing their massive profits. Well Facebook has followed suit. The organic reach of your Facebook posts has reduced significantly over the years to a tiny % now. Promoting your posts is the only real way you can get them in front of the users you want to.
  • Carousel ads – carousel ads allow you to showcase a number of different products to users so they can get an idea of what your site has to offer before even clicking through. Advertisers have seen great success with this format of ad.
  • Video ads
  • Domain ads – very simple ads that appear on the right-hand side of the news feed with a short description and link to a website
  • App ads – its as simple as it sounds – these ads encourage people to install your app
  • Event ads – if you have an event to promote, Facebook is a great platform for that and people can see if they know anyone else going which in turn could encourage them to go
  • Page likes – you can encourage people to like your Facebook page by promoting it within the News Feed or on the right hand side. Again if people see a friend of their has liked a page – they will be more likely to like it too.

So, Facebook is a great tool for brand awareness, you can of course push conversions on your website using this platform but building a brand is what Facebook is really great for. People see your ads over and over again (you can control this so they don’t get sick of the sight of you!) and this makes them familiar with your brand. Using ads like the carousel ads where users can get a feel for what your business is all about without realising it, slowly builds a level of trust between you and them.


Twitter ads have come a long way from when they first started in 2010. The ad formats available to advertisers are much more varied and complex these days allowing you to reach customers in all kinds of ways.

Possibly more suited to B2B rather than B2C like Facebook, although not strictly, there are various ways to utilise Twitter to promote your business.

According to the latest figures (2016) Twitter has around 313 monthly active users.

You can use Twitter to promote tweets, promote your own Twitter page, promote your own hashtags and to push people through to your website.

Twitter has now expanded its advertising platform so there are now more options available to you and more chances to get creative with your Twitter Ads. The different types of ads in Twitter are called Cards – here’s a breakdown of the different types:

  • App card – used to drive people to install their apps – ad created with button to go the app store
  • Lead Generation Cards – card with link to free service or something like that where businesses can get customers email addresses
  • Summary Card with Large Image – full width image with title, description and a link next your tweet. Image links through to your website and the tweets link expands to a full-page version of the tweet.
  • Gallery card – similar to above but with a gallery
  • Website card – good for increasing traffic to your website – can feature an image, text, link and a CTA button
  • Player card – can feature music, video or GIF’s – good rates of engagement
  • Summary card – bit like a normal tweet
  • Product Card – great for retailers as these cards allow you to show your products with an image, description (up to 200 characters), product details, price, stock availability.
  • Conversational Card – like a promoted tweet but with a CTA button with customisable hashtags – when a user clicks on the buttons they are given a pre-designed tweet by you that they can then tweet out to their followers.

The way you pay for Twitter ads is slightly different from the other platforms which are primarily focussed around a CPC or CPA payment model. With Twitter ads, – you set your budget based on different marketing objectives – Twitter offers 6 different campaign types based on these marketing objectives.

You only pay for your Twitter ads when a user takes an action matching with your campaign objective. You are not charged for any organic interaction that might take place, which is great.


LinkedIn is a great platform for advertising B2B. LinkedIn now has 467 million users and its popularity continues to grow.

Where Facebook is sometimes criticised as an advertising platform as people are there to relax, socialise, share social content and are perhaps not in the right frame of mind for marketing messages, LinkedIn is a platform where people are already thinking about business.

You’ll need to create a LinkedIn page for your business before you start advertising. Just as your Facebook page is a great way to connect with your customers, a LinkedIn business page is key to building relationships with potential clients.

Again, like the other platforms we’ve discussed, LinkedIn uses a CPC or CPM model. Your ads, whether they are text, image or video can appear on the right-hand side of the page, the bottom of the page and actually in users inboxes.

Having an image within your ad can greatly increase the CTR of your ads, LinkedIn quotes image ads as having a 20% higher click through rate than text ads.

In a similar way to promoted posts in Facebook, you can sponsor your LinkedIn posts. You can choose the audience you want this content to go out to. Choosing the most relevant audiences to what you’re talking about it is crucial. These sponsored posts will then appear directly in the news feed of those chosen audiences which is great exposure for your content.

Sponsored InMail is a great opportunity to get your marketing messages into users inboxes. It’s a great chance to get a bigger, more detailed message to people – as oppose to the limited creative space in the standard ads.

All these different ad formats in LinkedIn are a great way of getting your brand out there and it’s an effective way of positioning yourself as an authority on your subject if you create useful, relevant content.

Clearly it won’t be for everyone as there is a clear B2B focus here but for people in that space, LinkedIn ads are a must.


As we’ve seen, there are different reasons to use all the different paid marketing channels. It’s not a one size fits all solution and some channels will be suitable for some people and not others. The biggest factor in what platform to use is what your business objectives are. Once you know what you want to achieve and what specifically you want out of your paid marketing efforts, you are in a great position to make the right choice.

Still confused? We can help!

Call us on 01925 861 649 or email us at


By Laura Blackburn – Digital Marketing Director

With 10 years experience of managing paid campaigns of all sizes across multiple platforms Laura is responsible for setting up and managing our clients’ PPC accounts.

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