Are Paid Advertisements and PPC the Same?

Are Paid Advertisements and PPC the Same?

June 3, 2024

Paid Ads and PPC are often used interchangeably, even by marketers. This is the reason why it raises the question, “Are paid ads and PPC the same?” However, they are not. Although they fall within the same circles, they are different. The close example would be the difference between “marketing” and “advertising”. While advertising is a subset of marketing, involving the promotion of products or services through various channels, marketing encompasses a wider range of activities including market research, product development, pricing strategy, and distribution.

Similarly, “paid advertisement” is a broader term, while PPC (Pay-Per-Click) is a specific type of paid advertisement. Paid ads include any type of advertising that requires payment for placement, such as display ads, social media ads, sponsored content, and video ads. PPC, on the other hand, is a model of online advertising where advertisers pay each time a user clicks on one of their ads. Therefore, all PPC campaigns are paid ads, but not all paid ads operate on a PPC model.

To make you understand even better, let’s dig in deeper.

What are Paid Advertisements?

Paid advertisements refer to any form of advertising where the advertiser pays to have their message displayed or broadcasted to a specific audience. This can include a wide range of formats and platforms, and it encompasses various payment models. Here are the key types of paid advertisements:

Types of Paid Advertisements:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads:
Advertisers pay each time a user clicks on their ad.
Common platforms: Google Ads, Bing Ads.
Example: Search ads that appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

Display Ads:
Visual ads that appear on websites, apps, or social media platforms.
Often in the form of banners, images, or videos.
Common platforms: Google Display Network, Facebook Audience Network.

Social Media Ads:
Ads that appear on social media platforms.
Can be in various formats including images, videos, carousels, and stories.
Common platforms: Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Ads, TikTok Ads.

Video Ads:
Ads that appear before, during, or after video content.
Common platforms: YouTube Ads, Facebook Video Ads, TikTok Ads.

Native Ads:
Ads that blend in with the content of the platform on which they appear.
Often seen in social media feeds, news sites, or content recommendation widgets.
Common platforms: Outbrain, Taboola, Facebook Native Ads.

Affiliate Marketing:
Performance-based advertising where affiliates earn a commission for driving conversions (sales, leads) for the advertiser.
Common platforms: Amazon Associates, ShareASale, CJ Affiliate.

Sponsored Content:
Content created or funded by an advertiser but appears as editorial content.
Common platforms: Sponsored blog posts, articles on news websites, influencer posts on social media.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM):
A broader category that includes both PPC and other paid search tactics.
Involves paying to place ads on search engines, typically appearing as sponsored results.
Platforms: Search Engines as Google, Bing, etc. (appears on search engine results page)

Programmatic Advertising:
Automated buying and selling of online advertising.
Uses algorithms and data to target ads to specific audiences.
Common platforms: Google Ads (for display), The Trade Desk, MediaMath.

What is PPC (Pay-Per-Click)?

It is a payment model where the advertiser has to pay a certain amount when someone clicks an ad displayed on an ad platform like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, etc.

Now, if you are new to this, as I was years ago, the most important question running through your mind is how this works? Who gets the money? Who do you have to pay?

Do you pay each time someone clicks an ad? Who decides how much you have to pay? and many more questions that need an answer.

Since I don’t want you to search every nooks and corner for the answers, I am going to answer all your questions right here. Let me explain the billing process of the PPC Model of Ads, which is somewhat applicable to almost all models too. The difference is how you are charged. So, let me explain this taking PPC as an example.

Billing Methods in PPC Ads

In Paid Ads, as an advertiser, you need to first deposit a certain amount of funds in your advertisement account on ad platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Think of it as depositing money in your bank. However, in PPC, a certain money will be deducted from your account, each time someone click an ad.
To make it simpler to understand, I am going to break it down to easy steps.

Step 1: Selecting the Publisher
In this step you need to select your ad platform. The role of the ad platform is to connect you with different ad publishers.

No what is an ad platform and who are publishers? An Ad platform aka advertisement platform is a service that connects marketers with publishers.
For Example
Google Ads is an ad platforms, and it has tie up with a vast array of publishers, including;
  • Google Search,,, amazon search results
  • Blogs, forums, and News sites like,, etc.
  • Google-owned platforms like youtube, gmail, google finance, etc.
  • Mobile apps, google play, google play, etc.
  • Personal blogs, niche websites, small business websites, and more.
This means, if you choose Google Ads as your ad partner, you can display your ads in any or all of the publishers above.

Step Step 2: Account Funding
Once you choose your ad partner, and open your account, the next step is to deposit funds in you ad account.
The amount you deposit is your budget. It will remain in your ad account until you run an ad. Once your ad is running, and someone see and click your ad, the amount will be deducted from your Ad account.

The next question” How and who will decide how much will be deduced when someone clicks an ad”? Let’s go to step 3 for the answer.

Step Step 3: Bidding on Keywords:
So, when you post an ad, you bid on the keywords based on their search volume, and popularity. Keywords are queries searched by users on search engines and other platforms. The more search volume a keyword is, the more chance is that more people are likely to see it, which increases the chance of clicks, or possible leads.

However, the ultimate cost per click (CPC) not only vary on the competitiveness of the keyword, but also the maximum bid set by the advertiser. That means, a popular keyword will costs you more compared to less popular keyword.

Step 4: Setting Bid Strategy:
Once you’ve identified the keywords you want to target, you need to determine your bid strategy. There are several bid strategies you can choose from, depending on your advertising goals and budget:
  • Manual CPC (Cost Per Click): With manual CPC bidding, you set the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for each click on your ad. This gives you full control over your bids and allows you to adjust them based on performance.
  • Automated Bidding: Alternatively, you can use automated bidding strategies provided by the ad platform. These strategies use machine learning algorithms to automatically adjust your bids to maximize your campaign’s performance. Examples include:
    • Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition): Automatically sets bids to help you get as many conversions as possible at your target cost per acquisition.
    • Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend): Maximizes conversion value while reaching your target return on ad spend.
    • Enhanced CPC: Adjusts your manual bids to increase the likelihood of conversions.
Step 5: Monitoring Performance:
Once your ads are running, it’s crucial to monitor their performance regularly. Keep track of key metrics such as click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, cost per conversion, and return on investment (ROI). This allows you to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to your campaigns as needed.

Step 6: Optimizing Campaigns:
Based on your performance data, continuously optimize your campaigns to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. This may involve refining your keyword targeting, adjusting bid strategies, testing different ad creative, or targeting specific audiences. By making data-driven optimizations, you can maximize the impact of your PPC advertising efforts.

Step 7: Budget Management:
Manage your budget effectively to ensure you’re getting the most value from your PPC campaigns. Monitor your spending and adjust your budget allocation based on campaign performance and ROI. Consider reallocating budget to top-performing campaigns or increasing your overall budget to scale successful campaigns.

By following these methods, you can effectively manage your PPC advertising campaigns, optimize your bidding strategies, and drive meaningful results for your business.

Common Payment Models in Online Advertising:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC): In PPC, Advertisers pay each time a user clicks on their ad.
Best For: Driving website traffic and specific actions (e.g., sign-ups, purchases).
Platforms: Google Ads, Bing Ads.

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM):
In CPM, Advertisers pay for every thousand times their ad is viewed.
Best For: Brand awareness and reaching a broad audience.
Platforms: Google Display Network, Facebook Ads.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA):
CPA refers to a paid ad payment model where advertisers pay each time a user completes a desired action (e.g., a purchase).
Best For: Performance-based campaigns focused on conversions.
Platforms: Affiliate networks, Google Ads (Target CPA).

Cost Per View (CPV):
In In CPV, Advertisers pay for each view of their video ad.
Best For: Video content and engagement.
Platforms: YouTube Ads, Facebook Video Ads.
Flat Rate:
In Flat Rate Payment Model, Advertisers pay a fixed fee for ad placement over a specified period.
Best For: Budget predictability and long-term campaigns.
Platforms: Direct placements on websites, sponsorship deals.

Cost Per Engagement (CPE):
CPE is a payment model where advertisers pay when users engage with their ads (e.g., hover over, interact with an element).
Best For: Interactive ads and engagement-focused campaigns.
Platforms: Social media platforms, interactive ad networks.

Cost Per Install (CPI):
In In CPI model, advertisers pay each time their app is installed via the ad.
Best For: Mobile app promotions.
Platforms: Google Ads (for apps), Apple Search Ads.

Revenue Sharing/Commission (Affiliate Marketing):
In Affiliate Marketing ads, advertisers pay a percentage of the revenue generated from the ad.
Best For: E-commerce and sales-driven campaigns.
Platforms: Amazon Associates, ShareASale.


By selecting the right payment model and following a structured approach—from selecting the publisher, funding your account, bidding on keywords, to setting bid strategies, and continuously monitoring and optimizing your campaigns—you can maximize the impact of your advertising efforts. Utilizing data-driven decisions and effectively managing your budget ensures that your campaigns not only reach the right audience but also achieve meaningful results.

As the digital advertising landscape evolves, staying informed about different payment models and best practices will empower you to make the most of your advertising investments, ultimately driving growth and success for your business.