Digital Marketing

An Introduction To Pay Per Click

A Guest blog from Deploy Dental. The opinions expressed are from Deply Dental not Dr. Larry Emmott. However I believe it is valuable for dentists to get various takes on technology issues in order to make good technology choices. This is the first of a two part series on Pay per Click (PPC).


If you are looking for a fast and proven way to generate new business, there are few options that can provide results comparative to Pay Per Click (PPC).  Dentists have been one of the largest benefactors of this form of advertising, spending more on PPC than almost every other market segment (second only to law firms).  In this guide we will cover the uses and benefits of PPC, as well as the basics of setting up a campaign.  The main providers of PPC are Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Facebook, but the topics of this article will focus mainly on Google AdWords, since they currently dominate the market with 65.9% of search engine users1.

What is Pay Per Click?

Pay per click is a form of Internet advertising that allows small to large-sized businesses to directly target their prospective clients.  Your ads appear at the top or side of search results on Google, Yahoo, or Bing, and (as the name infers) you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.  They are then linked to a destination web address (generally your website) where they will hopefully find the relevant information or services they were searching for and contact your practice.


One of the most attractive aspects of PPC is the versatility it offers.  With a minimum of only $50 required to set up your first campaign, it is accessible to even those with limited marketing dollars to spend.  You also have the option to set daily spending limits and the length of a campaign, so your budget is rationed evenly over a period of time. 

Additionally, since you pick they exact keyword(s) and/or keyword phrases that trigger it, it is guaranteed that the people viewing your ad will have an interest in your service and very likely be a prospective patient.  And, by picking more specific keywords, you can target very specific procedures or specialties that your practice offers.  You basically have complete control over how patients find you and what information they are presented with.

Measurable Results

Traditional forms of advertising such as newspaper, phonebook, or even radio ads are very hard to measure effectiveness.  Unless your office staff is very diligent in asking new patients how they heard of your practice, you probably aren’t getting any accurate statistics.  Even other forms of Internet marketing like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires that your website be enabled with an analytics program like Google Analytics in order to interpret any meaningful results.

Pay per click, on the other hand, gives you hard statistics on how many times your ads were viewed, clicked, and even the average cost you are paying for each click. You are also able to track phone and email inquiries since you can send the paid traffic to a customized landing page or some other trackable location.

How Pay Per Click Works

Choosing Keywords

With an AdWords campaign you pick the keyword(s) and/or keyword phrases that your prospective patients will be searching for, and there are several strategies to choose from.  The general rule of thumb is that broad keywords will have a greater potential audience where more specific keywords will be shown to a smaller, more targeted audience. Choosing more specific terms like ‘cosmetic dentist San Francisco’, or even specific procedures like ‘dental implants San Francisco’ will generate less overall impressions and clicks, but the clicks that you do receive can be considered more valuable since the person is showing a very targeted interest in one of your practice’s specialties.  You can even further narrow in on your market by limiting the geographic area for which your ad appears.  This ensures that only people in your market will be able to view the ad, saving you money on erroneous clicks and allowing for more spend allocation towards only the most valuable prospects.


There are two main bidding models for pay per click advertising. Cost per click (CPC) and cost per 1000 impressions (CPM). For the sake of this article being an introduction on pay per click we will only cover the CPC bid model.

Cost per click refers to the method of payment, in this case you pay every time someone clicks on your advertisement. This model is generally based around a keyword auction that takes place in milliseconds after a user has searched and before they get presenting with the search results.

The amount you are going to pay for a specific keyword is based off the total amount you are willing to spend on that keyword, and in most instances multiplied by other factors such as ad quality and relevance. Google’s term for this multiplier is Quality Score.

If you are advertising with a limited budget, chances are you will want to have the advertising platform automatically determine your budgets. This will ensure that your clicks are distributed evenly. If you are a more advanced advertiser and have performed the due diligence for each keyword then manual bidding might be the right solution for you.

Final Thoughts (Almost final more to come in part two)

Pay per click has proven to be an effective way for dentists to advertise and one of the few that can provide immediate and measurable results.  As the world of local-based search engine optimization continues to increase in competitiveness, PPC will always remain an accessible option into the realm of online advertising, and this guide should provide a good handle on starting your campaign.

Part two will look at creating the ad, evaluating results, landing pages, PPC providers and Facebook.

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