At some point, almost every business dabbles a bit in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and it is safe to say that the results can cover literally every inch of the spectrum in terms of success.  Much of that variance comes from the steep learning curve involved with learning the ins and outs of things like keywords and bidding options, while others simply missed the point entirely and presented a weak ad.  In any case, some companies absolutely swear by PPC marketing with Google, Facebook, and other popular venues while others are deathly opposed to the concept…so we will try to shine a little light on Pay-Per-Click advertising while explaining its benefits and drawbacks.

Near-Instant Results

If there is one absolute when it comes to pay per click advertising, it’s that there is absolutely no other way to reach motivated consumers faster.  If someone searches Google for “bicycles for girls”, for example, the chances are extremely high that they’re looking to make a purchase immediately.  If your PPC campaign includes that specific keyprhase and you’re willing to pay the most for that connection, it’s entirely possible that a shiny pink bike will be sold each and every time a search is completed.  Since 720 people type that exact key-phrase into search engines monthly, the math speaks for itself on the value of giving Google a couple of bucks per customer.

The neat thing about targeted PPC marketing is that the more specific your industry is, the higher you can expect the conversion rates to be if your ads are optimized (which falls under a completely different topic that we will discuss in the near future).  Also, for higher end products and services, it is absolutely a no-brainer to gain exposure over the naturally-ranking national corporations.

Cost Effective for Certain Industries

Then again, a major drawback of pay per click advertising is that it simply does not make sense for certain industries.  Let’s say that you’re selling vacation packages (one of the most competitive online markets around) and you start a PPC campaign for “visit Hawaii”.  While some of the click-through visitors will undoubtedly be searching for affordable vacations, a large part of them will also simply want to find out anything from the local weather forecasts to popular attractions to great looking photography.  Since you’ll likely have to invest in the neighborhood of $10 or more per click just to appear in the top three paid results, it may or may not be a cost-effective strategy.

Another thing to consider is that your per-click costs can skyrocket in ultra-competitive markets if someone is not physically managing your campaigns.  Sticking with the travel theme for another moment, there are likely hundreds (if not thousands) of agencies trying to rank for Hawaiian vacations.  If numerous companies are allowing Google, Yahoo, Facebook, or another search engine to automatically handle their bids without an actual cap, it is impossible to manage an effective marketing budget since you may pay .24¢ for a click one day and $4.79 for another click a few days later.  In other words, letting a computer algorithm decide on how much you should bid, when it’s often bidding against itself on behalf of several competitors, is literally throwing money away.

Think about it in a different perspective; when is the last time you went to a car dealership and asked a salesman, “How much do you think I should pay?”  If another interested buyer walked on the lot, would you offer to pay even more?  Of course not, so don’t do that with your Pay Per Click campaigns either.  If you need any help with your current online marketing campaigns, just give us a call at (720) 564-1231 or send us an email through ourcontact us page.  On average, we can save our clients anywhere between 15-200%, depending on how competitive their market is in the search engines.

A Lack of Long-Term Conversions

One final aspect that confuses businesses about pay-per-click marketing is that you are paying for one of two things; an actual click or an impression.  An impression is when your ad is visible to a potential customer…you pay whether they click or not.  Of course, paying only for actual clicks is much more expensive and in many cases, that is often the smarter way to go.  In either case, however, it is important to remember that the inbound link needs to be directed to a webpage that’s set up not only to convert, but it’s also user friendly and optimized to make the customer feel comfortable.  Remember, the average time that a consumer spends gauging a website’s importance is less than three seconds.  If you’re paying for the instant traffic, it is essential that you make good use of it to maximize your chance for a sale.

Another thing to keep in mind that investing in good SEO practices through your website can often bypass the need for sponsored links to begin with.  While it certainly costs more initially to build up content and achieve solid organic rankings, the steady traffic will continue to flow for years with only minor investments in maintaining rank.  It is certainly a tough decision on which path to take and optimally, companies should employ strategies for both traffic methods.

Again, if you are serious about increasing your online exposure through PPC advertising or website optimizations, then feel free to give us a call to see the comprehensive solutions that are available from true professionals.  We are always more than happy to answer any questions that you may have as well.