We often hear brand marketers say, “I’ve tried PPC and it does not work for our company.” As an interactive marketing agency, we know PPC works quite effectively. It is, without a doubt, the most cost-effective advertising medium today.
We also know there are many times brands do not get the outcomes they want from PPC, but not because PPC does not work.
What Does “Work” Mean?
First, we must define what “work” means in terms of PPC campaign outcomes. The effectiveness of PPC campaigns should be judged on one result – conversions. No matter how many impressions or clicks the campaign provides, if it does not produce conversions, it is not effective.
A conversion for your company may include a web form submission, an online purchase, an eBook download, or a telephone call to your sales department. The completion of your selected conversion should always be the true measure of PPC campaign success.
So why doesn’t PPC work for some brands?
Set It and Forget It
In most cases, the reason PPC does not work for brands comes from a lack of planning and monitoring. Here’s what that looks like:
A company decides they want to try PPC advertising. The company immediately sets up a Google Adwords account, bids on a few keywords, sets up an ad, and lets it run. After 2 weeks, the company has spent a lot of money on clicks, but no one has called or contacted their business. The company determines PPC does not work.
What happened there? First, there was no planning. A successful PPC campaign has a lot of steps between deciding to run one and actually doing it. There was no plan for split testing, for landing page optimization, or even keyword research.
Second, they bid on only a few keywords. Successful PPC campaigns usually begin with bidding on hundreds of keywords, and then eliminating unsuccessful keywords over time.
Third, the company did not create clear calls to action, which meant they wasted money on those clicks.
In this case, the PPC ad itself DID drive traffic to the company’s website. But because the company failed to plan and include calls to action on their website, there were no conversions, which led the company to say, “PPC does not work.”
To run a successful PPC campaign, you cannot set it and forget it. It requires planning and ongoing monitoring to ensure the most effective outcomes for your business.
Hiring the Wrong Company
What’s another reason PPC does not work for brands? They hire the wrong company to run their PPC campaigns.
There are many companies offering PPC services for a slim budget (let’s say $300 per month.) But you must ask yourself, “What does that really buy?” Most of these companies will run PPC ads for only a few keyword terms. Successful PPC campaigns start with hundreds (even thousands) of keywords, and trim down the list from there, based on the actual results of the campaign.
Many of these companies offering low-cost PPC campaign management also lack the knowledge and experience needed to run an effective campaign. For example, most only focus on Google Adwords. While Google is the gold standard for PPC advertising, it makes up only 65% of the search engine market share. That means other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and AOL have around 35% of the market share, and in many cases will convert at a higher rate than Google. An experienced PPC advertising company will not only select the right keywords for your brand, but they will also make sure your ads show up on the right search engines.
If you hire a company that only bids on a few keyword terms for your campaign, solely on Google Adwords, you’re right - PPC advertising won’t work for your brand.
Other Reasons PPC Doesn’t Work
While setting it and forgetting it, or hiring the wrong company, make up most of the reasons why PPC does not work, there are a few other reasons for ineffective campaigns.
- Wrong keywords. Sometimes even if you put in the time to do keyword research, you may still bid on the wrong keywords. Ignoring negative keywords is also a common mistake.
- Poorly written ad text. PPC ads will bring your targeted audience to your business, but only if the ad text accurately describes what you offer. For example, if you sell only women’s shoes, write ad copy that attracts people shopping for them, but also turns away people shopping for only men’s shoes. Including prices in ad text also ensures your ad receives only highly relevant clicks.
- Your assumptions keep you from trying it. We hear this one a lot, actually. “It won’t work for my business. I never click on PPC ads, so I’m sure my potential customers don’t either.” First, if you never try it, how do you know it does not work?
Second, don’t assume your target audience uses the Internet the same way you do. It’s very likely your target audience consumes online information differently than you do. Google’s reported ad revenues through the 2nd quarter of 2015 were $31.5 BILLION. Google only makes that money if someone clicks on a PPC ad. Are you still sure your potential customers aren’t clicking on them?
PPC Does Work
PPC does work if implemented correctly. Many brand marketers find running PPC campaigns difficult and time consuming. Trying to take shortcuts to save time will only lead to ineffective campaigns. Hiring the wrong company to run PPC for your brand will lead to poor results.
PPC is like anything else in business – you get out what you put in. For PPC to work, you must either invest the time to do it correctly yourself, or invest money in hiring an experienced company to run the campaigns for you. If your brand invests in a good PPC strategy, the PPC campaigns will achieve conversions.
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