Paid Advertising Guide: What It Is and Best Practices for SEO

How to leverage paid advertising to your business’ advantage

Paid advertising, also referred to as “digital advertising,” “pay-per-click” or simply “PPC,” is a marketing strategy that involves using search engines and social media platforms to target segments of potential customers based on what they like or past interactions with your brand.

How does it work? 

Simply put, brands and websites pay publishers—such as website owners, social media platforms and search engines—to promote or prioritize their content. Every time a user clicks on their ads on these digital platforms, the brand is charged a fee.

Successful paid advertising strategies require a specific set of skills, knowledge and experience, which is why we recommend hiring a reliable digital marketing consultant to help you in lead generation and driving traffic to your website’s home page or landing page through paid ads.

Types of paid digital advertising

What are some of the paid online advertising strategies?

There are multiple categories of paid advertising that you can use for lead generation. These include:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC). PPC ads, including search ads, account for up to 65 percent of clicks compared to organically generated leads. One of the most common utilizations of PPC campaigns is Google search. Also known as paid search marketing, PPC offers image display ads and text ads to searchers on platforms such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. PPC marketing campaigns are positioned higher on Google than organic search results.
  • Social media advertising. This is one of the easiest marketing techniques to help you reach out to your target audience through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media channels.
  • Influencer marketing. This more modern strategy involves partnering with individuals on social media in your space that have enough followers and social influence to effectively advertise your brand.

How to be successful in paid advertising as a small business

Operating a small business with a limited budget means that you have to be smart with where you allocate your finances and how. Here are some tips we’ve learned along the way:

1. Filter your audience

The main goal of paid advertising is to attract the right people to view your ads—not necessarily the highest number of people. You should concentrate your efforts on persuading your target audience when creating your ads.

To accomplish this, take a look at your buyer personas and be specific in terms of geographical location, audience demographics, needs, interests, etc. What search terms is your audience using and what are they interested in? Avoid using broad, general terms so you can get the most out of your planned budget. Also, be sure to utilize your highest-priority keywords.

Customize your ad content to attract the right buyer instead of wasting your budget on users who are not interested in what you’re offering.

2. Choose the best platform

Before you launch any paid advertising campaign, make sure you know what sites your customers mainly use. 

If you are targeting older millennials, for example, consider buying ads on sites where this age group is most active such as Pinterest and Instagram, rather than investing in TikTok which is mainly used by younger audiences.

If you don’t know what sites are most popular with your users, consider asking them. Run a poll or email campaign asking which channels they use the most.

3. Dig into the data

The only way to know if your approach to paid advertising is working or not is to track your key performance indicators (KPIs). Pay-per-click hosts such as Google and Facebook allow you to track your results, including click-through rate, conversion rates and cost-per-click (CPC) as well as monitor ad performance.

Just be sure to give your ads ample time to work before you make adjustments.

4. Choose strong keywords

Use a combination of popular search phrases and broad matches right words to attract your ideal target audience.

5. Optimize your ads

When it comes to paid advertising, you have a limited number of characters to convince a visitor to click on your link over all the others. To convert the maximum percentage of customers, take time to review the platform’s policies and create ad text that meets their guidelines with the user experience in mind.

Why invest in paid advertising? Everything you need to know:

There are more than 2 billion social media users every day. Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day. Businesses that don’t market on social media and on search engines risk falling behind. 

A paid advertising strategy is a powerful marketing tool that can assist you in accomplishing visibility (brand awareness), lead generation and drive traffic through:

  • Search advertising. The search engine results displays ads as search results.

  • Display advertising. These are ads displayed as videos or graphics on social media feeds and other sites.

Below are some of the benefits experienced by brands that effectively use paid advertising:

Brand identity

Paid advertising guarantees you a place in the customer’s feed. You get a direct window to drive website traffic, leads and sales.


Paid advertising (and digital marketing as a whole) is a cost-effective way to market your business compared to traditional marketing methods such as TV and radio commercials. Most platforms use a PPC payment model, meaning you only pay for the number of clicks your ad receives.

Easy-to-track results

Unlike traditional marketing, paid advertising metrics are easy to track and measure through the use of Google Analytics and Google Ads tools. Statistics on the performance of your campaigns can reveal the ROI of your campaign and help you tweak your efforts for maximum results.


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Paid advertising can also work well with other advertising channels. For example, search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, including keyword research, and PPC ads can be used in partnership to drive more traffic to your site and boost your search engine rankings and elevate your marketing strategy.

Do you need help coming up with a paid advertising strategy? Contact our team at Brown Bag today and we’ll get started.