Google AdWords is a PPC ad framework that businesses use to drive traffic to their websites and offers.
PPC stands for "pay-per-click". This means that, instead of paying a flat fee to have your ad displayed in a certain place for a certain amount of time, you pay each time someone clicks on your ad.
AdWords works by letting you select Google search keywords that you want to target. For example, if I want to advertise a family law firm in Houston, I could set it so that my ads display whenever someone goes to Google and searches for "Houston family law".
AdWords works on a bidding model: instead of charging a flat fee for all clicks, AdWords lets marketers bid to display different ads.
Is AdWords beneficial? It is beneficial in that it allows you to spend money today and get sales today. It is immediate and very responsive, and if you know what you are doing, you can definitely turn a profit.
There are, of course, other PPC frameworks you could use instead of AdWords. Bing, for example, offers a similar service, and bid prices tend to be cheaper. The main drawback is that, since Bing is not used as much as Google, your market potential is much smaller.
Facebook also runs PPC ads. The framework is very different, however: instead of targeting people based on what they are searching for right now, you target people based on personal details such as age, sex, place of residence, family situation, career status, and interests. Other social media platforms such as Twitter also offer PPC options, though their frameworks are not as extensive.
For some businesses, search-engine-based PPC works better. For others, social-media-based PPC works better.
One thing to note, though, is that, no matter which framework you use, PPC is expensive. It is more expensive than other types of digital marketing, such as SEO, email marketing, and influencer marketing.
SEO (search engine optimization) is the act of creating content and structuring your website in such a way that your website will come up in the organic search engine results for relevant keywords without you needing to pay the search engine. Its advantage is that it is extremely efficient. Its disadvantage is that it is not responsive: it usually takes about six months for an SEO campaign to have an effect, and if your business model changes, it will take time for your SEO strategy to adapt and produce results again.
Email marketing is the most efficient type of digital marketing, and it is highly responsive. You can get results immediately. The problem is that you need a list. And no, you CANNOT JUST BUY A LIST! Those days are gone. In order to obtain a list, you have to invest in other aspects of digital marketing first.
Influencer marketing is when you pay a YouTube or Instagram personality to pitch your offering. This can be a highly effective method of marketing, but it requires a high level of creativity, and you have to make sure that you pick the right influencer, someone with an audience demographic that fits what you are selling. Dealing with influencers can also be a pain (sometimes).