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The Effectiveness of PPC Advertising

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PPC Advertising Effectiveness – A Defense of PPC Spending

I’ve heard from several potential clients “I don’t like PPC – I feel like I’m just throwing money away.”  I can’t begin to enumerate just how much I hate hearing this, especially since I’ve spent all of my adult, working life building and optimizing PPC campaigns.  Not only is that statement wrong, it’s fairly offensive to what I’ve spent my life learning about and doing.

Besides the fact that that statement is borderline offensive, the problem isn’t that PPC is ineffective; it’s that PPC, when campaigns are built poorly, is a monumental waste of money.  PPC campaigns, when built effectively, can lead to more conversions and better lead generation than most other forms of marketing including direct mail, TV advertising, email, and print ads. While I applaud Google’s attempt to bring AdWords and PPC into easy reach for small businesses, AdWords Express is almost always a bad idea for small businesses.  Having your IT guy build it and maintain it is also a pretty bad idea.

In a recent study from Wordstream, it was found that PPC advertisers who did not use the aid of PPC professionals wasted approximately 25% of their monthly PPC spend.  You wouldn’t trust just anyone to make a video commercial for you, or build a high end e-commerce website, or do your taxes, or purchase commercial real estate for yourself or your business, so why would you insist on doing your PPC advertising in-house?  Just because it can be done in-house, doesn’t mean it should be.  You could save a huge amount of time, money, and gain better quality leads by paying a little bit more for a quality PPC company.

A (good) PPC professional is going to provide significant gains in each of the following categories:

  • Interface Navigation – True PPC professionals who have worked on dozens if not hundreds of campaigns know the ins and outs of the interface. Sure, Google is the best at building intuitive interfaces, but there are a lot of features in the navigational menus in AdWords, and when you don’t know what you’re looking for you can waste quite a bit of time looking for things. Time is money with small businesses.
  • Reporting and Auditing – According to the Google Terms and Conditions of working with a 3rd party reseller of AdWords, your PPC professional MUST provide monthly (or more) reporting to you including information about click cost, clicks, impressions, and more.  If you use an agency or other professional, they can monitor your campaigns for issues that arise or major changes in conversion rates, CTRs, CPCs, and more and will keep in touch with you at least monthly with updates. If there are issues with disapproved ads, they’ll see the drop in impressions and clicks. If there is a seasonal shift causing impression share changes, they should see that, too.
  • Keyword Choices – The more experience you have searching for and selecting keywords, the better you are at making those decisions and using the available tools to make informed choices.  Using a PPC professional also provides enough distance to make the best keyword selections based on what your customers would search for, what general search traffic patterns indicate, and what matches up well with your business. Over the years, I’ve seen accounts where advertisers try to bid on keywords that aren’t reflected in the website content (bad quality scores result), keywords that imply too high a level of information (no traffic is recorded), keywords that are much too broad (advertisers waste budget), among numerous other keyword issues. A professional can help you find the right keywords to qualify your customers effectively.  Additionally, PPC professionals are more likely to use negative keywords and other match types than inexperienced account managers, crucial for minimizing heavy budget expenditures unnecessarily.

I’m going to stop there because already the length is getting a bit unwieldy, so stay tuned for part 2 of this series, which will continue to expand on the benefits of using a PPC professional instead of managing AdWords in-house.