PPC for cybersecurity is the process of running paid ads on search and paying a fee every time your ad is clicked. HawkSEM offers end-to-end PPC services to cybersecurity firms. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you create a strategy that works.

Here, you’ll find:

  1. What is PPC for cybersecurity?
  2. Why use PPC ads?
  3. Tips for cybersecurity firms to run successful PPC campaigns
  4. How to set up a PPC campaign
  5. How to find a cybersecurity PPC agency

A cyber attack happens every 39 seconds. And roughly 71% of businesses worldwide experienced at least one ransomware attack in 2022.

With PPC for cybersecurity, you can gain more visibility vs. competitors on platforms like Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook. And engage your target audience right when they’re searching for you.

Let’s explore how you can use PPC to grow your cybersecurity firm.

What is PPC for cybersecurity?

PPC, or pay-per-click, for cybersecurity is a targeted advertising strategy designed specifically for cybersecurity firms. It involves placing ads on digital platforms, like search engines, where you pay a fee each time someone clicks your ad. You only pay for when someone clicks your ad.

Here’s an example of a paid search ad on Google:

Example of Google ads for cybersecurity services

Here’s another example on Facebook:

Example of Facebook ads for cybersecurity services

This ad model helps cybersecurity businesses boost their online visibility and attract potential clients. The primary goal of PPC ads is to generate more marketing-qualified leads (MQL) by reaching the right audience at the right time.

When someone searches for cybersecurity services, your PPC ads appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) or on relevant social media platforms.

This strategic placement ensures your services gain maximum exposure to those who need them the most.

Expand your reach on social media

Here are the most common terms used in PPC campaigns:

  • CPC (Cost Per Click): Amount you pay each time someone clicks on your ad
  • Bidding: Process of setting a price you’re willing to pay for each click on your ad
  • Quality Score: Metric search engines use to determine your ad’s relevance and quality to the selected keywords
  • Impressions: Number of times your ad is displayed on a search result pages or social media platform
  • Target audience: Specific group of people you want to reach with your ads. For cybersecurity companies, this could include IT managers and CTOs.
  • Retargeting: Technique that allows you to show ads to users who have previously visited your website
  • Geotargeting: Practice of delivering ads to users based on their geographic location
  • CTR (Click-Through Rate): Rate (%) of people who click on your ad after seeing it
  • Conversion rate: The rate (%) of users who take a desired action (like filling out a form) after clicking your ad

What’s the cost of PPC for cybersecurity?

The cost of PPC advertising for cybersecurity can vary widely, depending on factors like the platform, geographic segmentation (target location), keyword competitiveness, and ad quality.

For instance, the average CPC for the keyword “cybersecurity” on Google can be as high as $10.61, while more specific (and commercial) terms like “cybersecurity service” might see a CPC of $18.24.

CPC of cybersecurity-related search phrases

It’s important to note that a higher bid doesn’t guarantee your ad will be displayed.

Platforms like Google Ads also consider the relevance and quality of the ad and its landing page.

Therefore, while budgeting for PPC campaigns, cybersecurity companies must consider the potential cost and focus on creating high-quality, relevant ads that are meaningful to their target audience. They should have a clear understanding of what factors influence an ad’s cost and how to lower CPC.

Further reading: Google Ads Campaign Cost: What Should You Expect?

Why use PPC ads to promote your cybersecurity service?

Here are some of the benefits of PPC marketing for cybersecurity business owners:

Delivers instant visibility

For cybersecurity, where timely solutions are crucial, PPC ensures your service appears promptly in front of potential clients.

It bypasses the slow climb of organic search rankings, pushing your offering to the forefront when businesses search for immediate cybersecurity solutions or browse related content online.

Trackable investment returns

PPC ads provide tangible metrics to gauge your return on investment.

You can measure success through detailed PPC analytics reports showing how many viewers become leads.

This data-driven digital marketing approach means you can swiftly spot which ads connect with your audience, allowing adjustments to maximize campaign performance.

Precise targeting ensures relevance

With PPC, cybersecurity firms can target audiences by demographics, online behavior, and even company size or industry. This ensures your message reaches the decision-makers who need it most.

For example, a firm can target ads to IT directors in the finance industry just as they’re researching compliance solutions after a regulatory update.

Controlled spending with pay-per-click

You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, making PPC a cost-conscious choice. This can lower customer acquisition costs.

This is critical for cybersecurity startups where advertising budgets must be justified with direct lead generation.

You ensure you only spend your B2B marketing budget on people interested in your services (vs. casual browsers) by paying only for clicks.

Here’s an example of how you can set your per-day budget on Google Ads:

Google Ads budget

Builds brand awareness strategically

PPC ads can build brand familiarity in a crowded market.

When potential clients frequently see your cybersecurity ads, they begin to recognize your brand as a trusted solution.

Even if they don’t click right away, your brand’s visibility ensures your name is already familiar when they need cybersecurity services.

Gives an edge over competitors

PPC ads put your cybersecurity service in the spotlight ahead of competitors.

When businesses urgently search for cybersecurity support, a well-placed ad ensures they see your solution first.

This prime positioning can be the decisive factor that steers potential clients towards your services over others, directly impacting your client acquisition rates.

10 cybersecurity PPC advertising tips

Here are common tips to follow when planning and implementing PPC cybersecurity ad campaigns:

  1. Refine your keyword strategy for targeted reach
  2. Use negative keywords to improve campaign relevance
  3. Leverage ad assets for enhanced visibility
  4. Align ad content with landing pages
  5. Tap into the power of videos
  6. Implement advanced retargeting strategies
  7. Employ A/B testing to refine ad elements
  8. Integrate interactive elements in ads for higher engagement
  9. Rely on a good PPC tool for rich data
  10. Focus on social media too

Refine your keyword strategy for targeted reach

Like SEO, the success of your PPC campaign hinges on the keywords you select. Research your audience’s search habits and the specific language they use when looking for cybersecurity solutions.

Use PPC keyword research tools like Semrush to identify long-tail keywords that capture highly targeted traffic.

For instance, instead of targeting “cybersecurity,” you could target “enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions in Atlanta” to attract a more defined, local audience likely to convert.

Include these keywords in your PPC ad copy to improve relevance and Quality Score, which can lower your cost per click.

Use negative keywords to improve campaign relevance

Negative keywords are a powerful way to refine your ad targeting. Identify terms commonly associated with your chosen keywords but not relevant to the services you offer.

You can add these negative keywords to ensure your ad isn’t shown to people searching for unrelated or low-value content, saving your budget for serious prospects.

For example, if you offer high-end cybersecurity consultancy, you might add “free IT security assessment” as a negative keyword to avoid attracting users who aren’t your target clientele.

Add negative keywords on Google Ads

Leverage ad assets for enhanced visibility

Ad assets expand your advertisement, giving potential clients more reasons to choose your service.

Use sitelink extensions to direct users to specific pages on your site, like ‘Case Studies’ or ‘Free Security Assessment.’

Callout extensions can highlight unique selling points like “24/7 Monitoring” or “Compliance Expertise.”

Google Ads assets (sitelinks and callout extensions)

These assets make your ad more prominent and provide valuable information that can compel a prospect to click.

Align ad content with landing pages

The message on your ads should seamlessly transition to your landing pages. This consistency reassures users that they’ve come to the right place.

For a cybersecurity PPC ad promoting a “Network Security Check,” ensure the landing page explains this offer in detail, including what it entails and how visitors can sign up.

A coherent message from the ad to the landing page improves user experience and increases the likelihood of conversion.

Further reading: 21 Landing Page Examples You’ll Wish You’d Thought Of

Tap into the power of videos

Incorporate video ads into your PPC strategy, especially on platforms like YouTube and Facebook, where visual content is highly engaging.

Example of Facebook ad using video

Create concise, informative videos that explain your cybersecurity services, showcase client testimonials, or provide quick tips on cyber safety.

Videos can capture attention more effectively than text-based ads, offering a dynamic way to convey the value of your cybersecurity solutions.

For instance, a short explainer video illustrating how your service protects businesses from cyber threats is more impactful than a traditional text ad. It makes complex cybersecurity concepts accessible and engaging for a wider audience.

Implement advanced retargeting strategies

Use retargeting not just as a reminder but as a strategy to provide additional value. If a user has visited a particular service page on your site but hasn’t converted, retarget them with a case study or a testimonial ad directly related to that service.

This approach transforms a simple reminder into an opportunity to build credibility and showcase your cybersecurity firm’s success stories and client satisfaction. This, subsequently, increases the likelihood of conversion.

For better results, consider learning more about different retargeting ad examples and how you can reconnect your brand-aware potential customers with a compelling message. If you need help, you can also contact a PPC consultant.

Employ A/B testing to refine ad elements

Conduct A/B testing on various elements of your PPC ads to determine what hooks your audience the most.

Test different headlines, descriptions, and display URLs to find the most effective combination.

In cybersecurity, A/B testing can reveal the nuances that make your offer stand out.

A headline like “Advanced Cybersecurity Solutions” may perform better than “Top Cybersecurity Services,” and A/B testing can provide the data to make informed decisions.

At HawkSEM, we use A/B testing as part of our PPC strategies. For our client AppDynamics, a San Francisco-based tech company, we created 200 direct landing pages, which increased the conversion rate by 20%.

We’ve also worked with cybersecurity companies, enabling them to capture and convert more leads through optimized campaigns that rely on effective targeting, smart messaging, and proactive A/B testing.

Integrate interactive elements in ads for higher engagement

Interactive ads can significantly increase engagement, especially on social media platforms.

Consider using formats like polls, quizzes, or interactive infographics in your ads to engage users.

For cybersecurity, an interactive quiz assessing a company’s cybersecurity readiness engages the user and provides immediate value — all the while positioning your firm as a knowledgeable authority in the field.

Rely on a good PPC tool for rich data

The key to a successful PPC campaign is constant testing and optimization based on data.

You can use third-party PPC optimization and automation tools to improve your campaign based on data.

At HawkSEM, we use ConversionIQ, our proprietary marketing technology. We built this tool to drive actionable insights from ad campaigns to maximize conversions for our clients.

ConversionIQ integrates with Google Ads, Microsoft Ads (Bing ads), and other platforms. And it comes with powerful features that aid in forecasting growth, allocating budget intelligently, understanding performance trends, and more.

All active HawkSEM clients get access to these insights.

“ConversionIQ has helped us 2X our clients’ lead acquisition, lower cost per acquisition by 40%, and improve lead quality by 60%,” says Sam Yadegar, CEO of HawkSEM.

“Our team takes data very seriously. It defines our strategy and tactics. This is why we’ve built a dedicated tool altogether. So that we get deep insights from every campaign, with the right metrics, and at the right time.”

Want to learn more about ConversionIQ? Get in touch with us.

Focus on social media, too

PPC isn’t just search ads. Many social media platforms have the pay-per-click ad model. So, expand your PPC marketing strategy beyond search engines to include social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.

When advertising on social platforms, dive deeper into user demographics and interests.

For instance, on LinkedIn, target profiles related to cybersecurity (e.g., IT professionals, security analysts) or industries prone to cyber risks (e.g., finance or healthcare).

Tailor your paid social content to address the specific challenges and needs of these segments.

For example, use case-specific content for healthcare cybersecurity, highlighting your expertise in HIPAA compliance and data protection. This would make your ads highly relevant to your target audience.

How to set up a PPC campaign: A walkthrough for cybersecurity firms

You can run PPC ad campaigns on search and social.

Let’s look at how to create a PPC ad campaign on Google Ads:

Go to your Google Ads account, create a new campaign, and select an objective that aligns with your business goals. For cybersecurity businesses, “Leads” is often a suitable choice.

Google Ads select objective

Choose “Search” as your campaign type to target users actively searching for cybersecurity solutions.

Google Ads select campaign type

Next, select options for how you would like to reach your goal. (Let’s go with “Website visits,” which is typical for Google search ad campaigns). Enter your URL.

Way to reach your goal on Google Ads

Name your campaign and click “Continue.”

Google Ads campaign name

Next, you’ll get to configure your campaign.

This includes:

  • Setting your bid (the maximum amount you’ll pay per ad click)
  • Choosing your target audience (defining who sees your ads by demographics and interests)
  • Adding target keywords (specific terms related to your cybersecurity services)
  • Setting your budget (your total spend limit)

Google Ads campaign configuration (bidding, targeting, keywords, ads, budget)

After finalizing everything, review your campaign and make it live.

We have a more comprehensive guide covering how to set up your ad campaigns on Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Check out: How to Set Up a PPC Campaign: Step-by-Step Tips to learn more.

How to find a cybersecurity PPC agency

Running a PPC campaign on search or social is tricky. Ineffective audience targeting and bidding management can result in poor conversion, and even cost you much higher per conversion. So, it’s usually recommended to get help from experts.

If you want to hire an agency to promote your cybersecurity services, look at various factors to find the right partner.

Here are several to consider when finding a cybersecurity PPC agency.

Relevant industry experience

Yes, they may have worked with the biggest SaaS brands. But that’s not “relevant” experience.

An experienced cybersecurity marketing agency should have a proven track record of working with other companies (startup and enterprise) in your industry.

Check for case studies and examples that show familiarity with your category’s unique language, goals, and challenges.

Without direct experience, it may struggle to connect with your audience.

Expertise and qualified team

Ensure the agency has a team of experts skilled in PPC strategy, keyword research, ad creation, and analytics. Look for titles in the team like PPC managers, copywriters, graphic designers, data analysts, ABM specialists, and CRO specialists.

The team should also be up-to-date with the latest PPC trends and changes, especially those relevant to cybersecurity marketing.

Track record of success

Look beyond claims of expertise to evaluate past client results. Testimonials can be hand-picked.

Ask for examples of goal-meeting and goal-exceeding campaigns.

How an agency has tangibly impacted ROI for other clients says more than standard claims.

Transparency and communication

Day-to-day work on PPC marketing campaigns can’t be a black box. Ensure your expectations around updates match the agency’s process for showing impact and sharing insights.

Ideally, you want to choose an agency that values transparency and open communication.

Regular updates, clear reporting of results, and responsiveness to your queries are key for a successful partnership.

Understanding of your target audience

Your products and messaging should echo the motivations of potential customers.

Ask how the agency will research and incorporate insights around your audience’s pain points and decision-making psychology.

Remember, gaps in understanding the target group can lead to wasted money.

Budget and ROI Focus

Discuss your budget and expected ROI with the agency.

A good ad agency will be able to work within your budget constraints and aim to maximize your ROI through efficient PPC management.

Get help from PPC specialists at HawkSEM

HawkSEM is one of the fastest-growing digital marketing agencies. We’ve worked with some of the biggest B2B and B2C brands, including Microsoft, Honda, Nike, and Verizon.

Our dedicated team of PPC experts helps clients plan, execute, and scale highly successful paid ad campaigns end-to-end.

HawkSEM team

“We prioritize understanding each business intimately. Our framework for cybersecurity firms is hands-on and personalized, which includes manually creating each PPC campaign and closely monitoring it to ensure positive ROAS. We never leave ads on autopilot,” says Yadegar.

“Each campaign is spearheaded by a senior strategist, ensuring that there’s always expert human intelligence guiding our efforts. This approach has helped increase conversions by up to 128% and decrease cost per conversion by 46% for our B2B clients.”

We focus on building reliable client relationships and delivering transparent, honest reporting. Our process centers on direct communication and a no-nonsense approach to drive successful marketing campaigns and high ROI.

HawkSEM offers custom PPC packages tailored to your needs, budgets, and goals.

The takeaway

If you want to reach more people and capture qualified leads, let’s plan a PPC campaign.

Get in touch with our expert. Tell us more about your business, audience, and expectations. Our ad specialists will return with a comprehensive PPC campaign plan.

We can also discuss the pricing and roadmap to success. Book a free consultation with us today.

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation