The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of PPC
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is a popular way for businesses to market themselves online due to the perceived value and controllable nature of this advertising tactic.
We often tell our clients that, in a perfect world, we would focus on optimizing their organic presence online first for a few months before investing in PPC.
But sometimes a business needs to drive traffic to its site RIGHT NOW, and there are few better ways to do this than a paid position at the top of a search page.
With PPC, a business doesn’t have to wait for Google to deem them credible for optimized positioning on search pages. You control where you want your advertisement to appear and how much you’re willing to spend each time someone clicks on your ad.
Google is the most popular website in the world (by A LOT - over 40k searches each second, or 1.2 trillion searches per year!), but there are many viable options to help you find the right audience for your product or service for the right price. PPC campaigns provide ample data to let you target very specific audiences and measure how well your message is inspiring them to click for more information.
Unlike traditional advertising tactics like TV, print, radio, etc., if you manage your settings and monitor your campaign closely, you can control your budget and tweak messaging whenever you detect opportunities or problems. And of course, most businesses like the idea that they only pay when someone clicks on their ad.
The concept of PPC advertising seems simple enough. Most of the dashboards make it easy to enter information about your target market, the content you want to promote, and the creative imagery you want to use to catch your prospect’s attention. Just pop in your credit card information and let the leads flow in.
The hidden cost for PPC, however, is the amount of time you’ll have to invest in learning your audience and best practices to actually experience measurable ROI. Implementing PPC campaigns that convert prospects into customers rather than just clicks on your website can be a complex process that requires constant monitoring to ensure your marketing dollars are being spent effectively and efficiently.
Without the ability to gather, review, and analyze all the data available to you, you’re in danger of wasting money on attracting the wrong visitors (non-buyers) to your site without realizing it before your budget is spent and your phone is silent, or your inbox is empty.
Unfortunately, no matter how much traffic you receive there’s no guarantee any of those visitors will buy your product or service. And with the time people spend on the internet quickly gobbling up time previously spent on other activities, there’s no reason for the cost to advertise online to go any direction but up - meaning, unless you’re willing to allocate a significant portion of your marketing budget to PPC, it may not be a cost effective tactic for your business.
So What Now?
PPC advertising has proven to be a reliable and profitable channel for many B2B and B2C companies seeking quick hits, quality traffic, and measurable results. If you have the budget and are already investing in SEO, content creation, and social media, PPC is a no-brainer. However, if you’re looking to play the long-game with a sustained, credible presence online, investing in other strategies where you have opportunity to test against target audiences and competitors can make your PPC investment the prettiest belle at the ball.