PPC 101: Understanding the different types of Pay-Per-Click advertising

Google makes a yearly $150 billion from ads every single year. Forecasts such as Insider Intelligence predict that within the next ten years, Google will hold 30% of all ad spending worldwide. 

Impressive? Most definitely.

But the result of something that works for marketers worldwide, which every day choose to pay Google to rise to the top.

In this blog, I’m going to discuss 5 of the most common PPC ad types that are available to people wanting to utilise PPC advertising.

Types of PPC campaigns for your marketing goals:

#1 Search Advertising

The most common and arguably the most popular type of PPC advertising, Search Advertising is when you pay Google to be shown right at the top whenever a searcher requests a particular string of keywords.

Search Ads can be seen from the “AD” sign on top of the search result:

The effectiveness of Search Advertising

Search Advertising is probably the most efficient PPC strategy out there, as well as the best known.

Here are some facts you should know about Search Advertising before you launch your very own Search Advertising campaign:

A) On average, you’ll earn just below twice the amount of money you have invested in a single campaign.

In numbers, for every £100 ad spend, you should expect approximately £187 in your pocket. This number organically increases if you focus on high-performing campaigns using some of the suggestions written in this article.

B) 70% of businesses that invest in PPC have stated that it’s a vital part of the success of their business – 64% are increasing their PPC budget every year.

C) Although Pay Per Click is mainly associated with Google, other search engines such as Bing and Firefox offer PPC campaigns – these usually are cheaper than their Google counterpart, but since Google controls 71% of the entire market share with search engines, you should expect your campaigns to be significantly less effective – but also less competitive.

#2 Google Shopping

Google Shopping ads are the visual counterpart to standard text-based search advertisements.

Depending on the Google query, they may be presented immediately below the search bar on the side of the query that is pertinent to a physical product that can be advertised.

They become invaluable if a user searches directly on the Google Shopping window, which is available right next to Maps and Images on the majority of devices.

In that case, you’ll be seeing Google Shopping Ads as the initial results of a product search, as displayed by this screenshot:

The effectiveness of Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping capitalises on search intent by only targeting users interested in making a purchase.

Furthermore, with the aid of visual content, Google Shopping is statistically proven to be the most high-converting PPC medium.

A) They are, on average, 23% cheaper than text-based ads and yet convert 26% more.

B) They are growing EXPONENTIALLY more popular yearly – 60% of ad clicks belong to Google Shopping ads in 2022, according to Search Engine Land.

C) Google Shopping benefits from plugins and applications to automatise and control the process efficiently.

#3 Social Media Advertising

Although Google is expected to hold 30% of all ad spend, Facebook is expected to trail behind and hold a whopping 24%!

Social Media Advertising can either depend on your current network and grow organically or, as we will discuss now, it can grow through paid ads.

Although they often look like many other posts on your feed, they can be told apart by the Sponsored tag and, more often than not, by a Call To Action that incites you to leave your social media feed to go onto their website.

Here’s an example of paid social media ad:

Social media advertising is deployed by brands of all sizes, including some of the world’s most renowned brands such as Mcdonald’s and Gucci, to reach new customers quickly and beat the competition.

The effectiveness of SM advertising

Social Media Advertising is slightly more complicated than Search Advertising because it requires an engaging piece of content to work effectively.

However, Social Media Advertisement pays off. It’s an engagement-driven campaign, meaning it can give you interactions with your customers that no other Pay Per Click platform can entirely give you.

Furthermore, SM advertising opens up the possibility of shares, likes and comments, which allow you to develop genuine relationships with your customers and also reach more people.

A) 28% of Internet users have bought a product after viewing a social media ad

B) Almost half of all Internet users state that they feel more confident purchasing products from a business they see advertised on social media

C) Facebook Business and other platforms allow you to target users based on their habits and interests, which is ideal if you are interested in performance-driven marketing and niche targeting

#4 Display Advertising

A very opinionated Campaign strategy is Display Advertising.

These are the paid ads you see all over the internet, sometimes changing depending on your interests and the type of data Google acquired on you.

Google is very adamant against placing display ads on Google directly – to the point that this was reported in the book “Everything Amazon”, where the “google guys” (as nicknamed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos) said that they “would never put ads on the homepage”.

However, ads appear all over websites.

The effectiveness of Display Advertising

Display Advertising is a slightly more unpredictable tool since it relies on the websites the advertisement appears on.

A) Display Advertising opens up the possibility of User Retargeting. It’s a controversial topic for sure! Our opinion on user retargeting changes depending on GDPR and cookie policy – the more cookies hit by sanctions and regulations, and the more data capture becomes difficult, the more user retargeting becomes ineffective

B) Display Advertising may work well for brand recognition since it’s often visually appealing, even if the ad isn’t clicked on

C) They are much more affordable than other Pay Per Click mediums, being 70% cheaper on average

However, one of the most significant and most concerning downsides of Display Advertising is its inconsistency – which is why we don’t particularly like this strategy as a performance-centric marketing agency.

#5 Remarketing ads

Although we have already discussed remarketing ads in the Display Advertisement section, it’s worth mentioning them again as their separate entity.

A remarketed ad allows you to target users that landed on your website but did not convert or build better brand awareness.

Here’s an example of an ad that was just presented to me after I searched for mobile devices:

Keep in mind that I was shown this ad while browsing something completely different and unrelated to what the ad is about.

The effectiveness of remarketing ads

The effectiveness of remarketing ads depends entirely on how well you know your audience. The campaign may be a massive success if you target based on a user’s search history (active retargeting), or a complete failure if you accidentally retarget uninterested people (such as those who bounced away from your website almost immediately).

Remarketing is also a time-bound PPC campaign.

Think, you don’t want to target those who have completely forgotten you!


Performance is the single most crucial aspect of any PPC campaign.

According to our previous research, Pay Per Click is becoming more expensive yearly, impacting small and medium-sized businesses the most.

So, to counter this, focus on minimising ad spending by creating “micro-campaigns” – mini-campaigns that target particular niches.

These will save you money and prove much more effective than any campaign.

Not sure where to start? Then topflight is your answer.

As a performance marketing agency, our job is to teach you how to manage your PPC budget better to maximise its effectiveness. With a straightforward, results-driven approach emphasising high Return On Interest, we pride ourselves on being one of the best PPC marketing agencies in North England.

Ready to begin? Drop us a line.

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