The Pros and Cons of PPC Marketing
With businesses sprouting up every day of the week, the online marketing landscape can be very competitive. Many businesses invest in social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and even pay-per-click (PPC) marketing to increase their online visibility and increase their sales. PPC can either be one of the most effective ways you can market your business, or it can be a black hole in your budget. That is why you should know the pros and cons of PPC before investing your time, money, and effort into it.
The Pros of Utilizing PPC
Show up Before Organic Results
One of the best benefits of investing in PPC is that you get immediate results and can even show up on the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) by simply bidding enough for your target keyword and making your target URL relevant to what you are advertising or marketing.
As you can see above, the first organic result doesn’t even show up until the 5th result, which means all that dreaded content creation and optimizing your website for best search engine practices goes out the door as most of the ads show above the fold.
You can even see the ramifications of this on local searches, as you don’t even see an organic result at all, unless you count the Google map pack below the ads!
New businesses can leverage PPC when they are first starting out because they might not have their website optimized for SEO or have the proper visibility online. As you may know, to see results in SEO, it takes about 6-12 months on average. As we will get into later though, just because you are at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) it doesn’t mean that you will convert those users!
Set Your Own Budget
With PPC, you can set the budget of how much you are willing to spend on your ad campaign. If you are a new small business and are strapped for cash, that means you can dictate how much you want to invest in your campaign even if that means only $20/day. Traditional forms of advertising that so many small businesses invest in such as local TV commercials, can run you anywhere from $250 to $1,500 at a set price.
Even if you don’t utilize Google’s AdWords platform, there are other PPC marketing channels such as Facebook that you can also control the budget of how much you are willing to spend each time a user clicks on your Facebook ad depending on your objective. The example below shows a Facebook Ad with the objective of targeting individuals who are more likely to click your ad and only be charged when that action takes place.
When advertising online, you want to make sure that you reach the audience that is most likely to invest in the services your business provides. You can achieve detailed audience targeting with PPC marketing.
If you were like us at Better Bistro Media and service clients from all over the world, when setting up a PPC campaign in Google AdWords, you have the option to target:
- All countries and territories
- United States and Canada
- United States
- Another Location
This means that even though we are located in Warner Robins, Georgia we could target an audience in California for our SEO and PPC services if we wanted to. Targeting such as this allows you to target your brand nationally without being restricted to your local area. The more places your business is showing up, the more opportunity for sales you have. It is simple mathematics.
On the contrary, if you were a service area business or a local brick and mortar business and could only provide your services in particular location(s) or have an audience in a particular location then you could target your audience for particular locations or radius around your business.
For example, if you were a roofing company that only serviced particular areas, locations, or cities you could target particular areas and even exclude them as well.
If you were a brick and mortar business such as a pizza shop but delivered pizza as well, you could target the radius around your business for how far your delivery services go out to.
Not only can you target locations, but if you are utilizing search engine PPC marketing such as Google AdWords, you can also include keywords you want to target for particular audiences.
You can use the Google Keyword Planner to find keywords that your audience may find your business using.
If someone was searching for Better Bistro Media’s services, they may type “Georgia SEO”. We can use the Keyword Planner to then analyze the search volume, cost per click, and competition so that we may target that keyword in our PPC campaign.
After researching the metrics of a keyword, you can add them to your campaign so that your ad shows up when that keyword or similar ones are typed by your target audience.
You Can Leverage What Times Your Ad is Displayed
Unlike traditional forms of advertising such as billboard placements that display no matter what time of day it is, you can control what times your ads are displaying with PPC whether that be on Google AdWords or Facebook.
Google Adwords Day-parting:
Facebook Ads Day-parting:
This is important because you don’t want to be wasting your budget during times that you are closed or not capable of providing your service.
For example, if you were a dental company and was investing your money into Google AdWords, if someone clicked on your ad at 2am because you were displaying it at that time, you just wasted some of your budget because not only are you not providing that service at that time, but you don’t have anybody to take that call either.
Is Measurable and Can Track Conversions
Marketing is all about adapting, which is why the benefits of PPC is that it is measurable, and you can track your conversions.
Most PPC networks such as Google AdWords allows you to see metrics that tell you if your campaign is effective or not.
If you take a look below, impressions are every time someone sees your ad and clicks are obviously anytime a user clicks on your ad. You can determine your click through rate (CTR) which is the percentage of people visiting your webpage by simply dividing the number of impressions by the number of clicks.
If you have a low CTR then that should be a signal to you that you need to change something in your ad campaign which can beneficial. PPC allows you to constantly measure your results so that you can maximize your budget.
PPC channels such as Google AdWords and Facebook allow you to set and track certain conversions such as website visits, app activities, phone calls, and engagement on their platforms.
Google Adwords Conversion Tracking:
Facebook Conversion Tracking:
This means that you will leave no stone unturned and can maximize the effectiveness of your PPC marketing for later campaigns by setting up conversions that Google AdWords can track.
If you want to familiarize yourself with how to track conversions on Google AdWords visit here.
Can Retarget Audiences Who Have Already Interacted with Your Business
Just as we spoke about being able to track conversions on your PPC campaigns, you can also retarget or remarket those individuals on PPC platforms such as Google AdWords and Facebook.
With Google AdWords, you can target a particular group based off of website visitors, app users, YouTube channel, and custom audience files you can upload yourself such as a CSV file of your e-mail list.
Google Adwords Re-marketing:
You can also do the same on Facebook, in which you can target website visitors, app engagement, people who visited or called your store, and people who engaged with your Facebook business profile.
Facebook Ads Re-marketing:
This is powerful because you can target your PPC campaign to individuals who are already familiar with your business and brand which can increase conversions, the PPC campaign’s effectiveness, and most importantly your bottom line.
If you want to know more about re-marketing on Google AdWords you can visit here.
Aggressive Landing Pages and Control
With PPC, you have more control over user’s and visitor’s experience than you do with SEO. Typically, content that ranks on the first page of Google organically is long-form content that is 2,000 plus words which is not intended to necessarily convert users. Also, it is hard to predict visitor’s experience organically in Google as there are many determining factors on if your webpage will show up on the first page of Google. That makes it difficult to craft a strategic user experience for visitors.
With PPC channels such as Google AdWords, you can control what page visitors will see, and you can also have visitors follow a particular path that you want them to.
That is why you can make aggressive landing pages with PPC that focuses in on your service, offer, and products which will lead to higher conversions.
For example, if I’m searching “Roofing Atlanta Ga” on Google this is what I see below:
Besides the new Local Service Ads, which is another PPC type of placement on Google besides AdWords, the first roofing result I see is KTM Roofing. When I click on their PPC ad this is what I see below:
This landing page by KTM probably converts a lot of visitors because their number is conveniently located at the top and is clickable. They add an incentive of $250 off any roofing project while giving a free roofing estimate which can entice users to complete the form. Also, there are no distractions or other pages you can visit, you simply fill out the form for a free roofing estimate and go about your day.
If you have a simple yet aggressive landing page such as KTM Roofing you will probably convert many visitors as you have more control with your PPC campaign and how users engage with your webpage.
PPC Can Be Cost-Effective in the Right Niches
While you probably hear that PPC can be very expensive in certain niches it is actually cost effective. According to Wordstream, the average cost per click (CPC) in AdWords is 2.32 on search. If you take a look below you will see the CPC across all the industries.
If you optimize your campaigns correctly by targeting the right keywords, factoring in your negative keywords, and have a high converting landing page, your CPL (Cost Per Lead) will probably be very low.
Think about it, if you were a roofing company your average CPC in the service industry is $2.00 according to the infographic above. We know that the average cost for a roof replacement can range from $5,000 to $10,000. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t care if you incurred costs for those clicks as that one lead or job would definitely make up for it!
If Used in Conjunction with SEO and Other Marketing Platforms It Can Be Lethal
It would seem counter-productive to utilize PPC if you are already implementing SEO into your digital marketing strategy. In fact, we at Better Bistro Media actually advocate that you do both!
The reason being, we have seen phenomenal results from clients in the past when they utilize both strategies, especially if you are in the market for obtaining more leads and sales into your business.
For example, if I were to type in “Roofing Miami FL” this is what I would see below:
Besides the Local Service Ads (which are completely different than AdWords and I highly recommend you look into it if you are a business that qualifies for it) you will see that TS Roofing System has a current AdWords campaign.
Upon scrolling further down the page, you will see that they also have a Google Map ranking along with ranking second on organic (first if you don’t count directories like Home Advisor).
You can take up a lot of market share on the first page of Google which will only increase your chances of getting new leads and sales into your business, as you take up more equity on searches which you are capable of doing if you implement SEO and PPC into your marketing strategy.
Some other benefits of utilizing SEO and PPC:
- Testing keywords with PPC before implementing an organic SEO campaign to know what users are looking for.
- Keyword conversion data can be used for your organic SEO campaigns.
- You can move high cost and low converting keywords in PPC into your SEO campaigns instead.
- Retarget customers from organic searches with PPC advertising as you would be able to customize a message based off of their engagement with your website.
The Cons of Utilizing PPC
Pay to Play
One of the biggest reluctances and downfalls for small business owners is that it costs money to utilize PPC unlike SEO. We know that small business owners are trying to save every dollar they can, and that means that every time somebody clicks on your PPC ad, you are paying a price whether or not they convert, which can get pretty costly.
This spells bad news if you are in an industry where the CPC is very high. If you take a look below, you will see competitive niches such as insurance, loans, or even attorneys can pay anywhere from $40 to $50 a click!
That is why many businesses hire agencies such as ourselves to manage their PPC campaigns, but that also is another expense for your business which is why some businesses turn their head when it comes to utilizing PPC marketing.
Although it does take money and effort when it comes to implementing SEO onto your website and building your brand online, it is more cost effective because in the long-term every time somebody comes onto your website organically, it is completely FREE.
Can Be Very Costly in the Long-Term
PPC marketing is not a strategy you can rely on in the long-term if you are a small business on a budget. Reason being, they do not improve over time and you will have to continue to pay to stay atop of the search engine result pages (SERPs).
You can be three years into a campaign with PPC and optimize your landing page, keywords, and ad copy and that can bring your business more quality leads. Yet, you will still be paying the same fixed amount every time someone clicks on your ad and will only see more customers and leads come in, if you increase your budget.
Digital marketing strategies such as SEO tend to increase exponentially over time with consistent effort which is a more sustainable way of getting the online visibility you want for your business as you do not “pay” to stay atop of the search engines.
When starting a PPC campaign on platforms such as Google AdWords, you can bid on keywords and phrases that you think your target audience will use when searching for your services as you can see below.
Your bidding price is dependent upon your budget, keywords you are targeting, and competition from other advertisers. The more popular your keyword, the higher your PPC bids need to be in order to secure a top spot on search engine result pages (SERPs).
Since the digital landscape is very competitive, a competitor can see that you have the top position for their targeted keywords and bid more than you. Once you realize your competitor has the top position you may bid even more as well. This can create what is known as a “bidding war” between you and your competitor and can drive up costs for not only your business, but your competitor’s as well.
Usually this does not end up well for either business as you both can be paying a price way too high for those targeted keywords just to maintain a top spot on the search engines. Not only is this costly but it is definitely not sustainable.
Clicks Don’t Mean Sales
Just because you are investing into PPC it does not mean that you will instantly start getting leads and sales. Many businesses make crucial mistakes when it comes to their PPC campaigns whether it be not doing enough market research, targeting the wrong keywords, not adding negative keywords to their campaigns, or even having a very ugly landing page. This means that you can be wasting your precious dollars because you are not investing enough time into your campaigns or don’t have the expertise to properly execute a PPC campaign.
For example, if you take a look below, when I searched for “Roofing Miami FL” I saw a roofing company called Whitco Roofing.
When I clicked on their ad, I was taken to a landing page that probably does not convert any users.
Our advice at Better Bistro Media is that you should never use your homepage as the destination when a user clicks on your PPC ad. Reason being as we stated before, you can make aggressive landing pages that are solely focused on getting leads and calls to your business which is what I think Whitco Roofing is trying to do.
Unfortunately, here are some of the things that are wrong with this landing page:
- There is no call to actions that would entice users to call like providing a free estimate
- There is no form that users can fill out their information if they wanted to e-mail them about an estimate
- The phone number is not clickable, so that means users on mobile will have to manually type the number in, which will vastly decrease conversions
- This page (home page) looks very outdated
- There are too many options to click and it is very confusing, this will cause distractions and users to leave the page as it is too difficult to determine the intent of that page.
When starting your PPC campaign, ensure that you are optimizing every facet so that every click can be a potential sale. If not, you will waste hundreds of dollars for your business.
Like with anything that produces great results, running an effective PPC campaign takes time and effort. Unfortunately, with PPC, it is not something that you can simply start and sit back and let it work on its own. You will have to continuously see what is converting and what is not converting, split test different landing pages, target new keywords, decrease your bid on certain keywords, and much more.
Many small businesses don’t have the time to learn PPC optimization either, which is why they hire experts to do PPC marketing for them as gaining that knowledge takes time and effort as well.
PPC Ads Disappear When Your Campaign or Budget Ends
Unfortunately, with PPC marketing, once your campaign ends or your budget dries up, that is when all your marketing efforts, leads, and sales disappear. If you are a business that is strapped for cash but relies on PPC for your marketing, you will put yourself in a bind because your leads, sales, and revenue are directly correlated with your PPC campaign. Unless you have a very big budget, you will find it hard to sustain your PPC campaigns even though they are generating you traffic and sales.
Many businesses rely and are sustained off of their organic traffic when marketing spend is cut back. This is possible when you are investing in SEO as well as PPC.
Paid Ads are Often Skipped
It is estimated that nearly 70% to 80% of users completely ignore paid advertisements. That means users favor organic results more than paid as users perceive it to be more credible and trustworthy.
If utilizing PPC on social media platforms such as Facebook, you want your PPC campaigns to be more personable as you are “intruding” a user’s personal feed. Personally speaking, if the ad does not go with the “flow” of my feed I will simply ignore it.
Also, investing into SEO may not be a bad idea either, because on the first page alone 67.60% of the clicks go to the first five organic results leaving very little room for PPC ads on Google.
Imitation from Competitors and Click Fraud
Strategically speaking, PPC campaigns can be easily copied. Your competitor can see that you are running a PPC campaign and steal your landing page design, ad copy, your products and services, along with your message.
Also, competitors can continuously click on your ad until your budget runs dry and your ad disappears which is called “click fraud”
With the depth of third-party software, it is easy to see how much you are spending and what keywords you are targeting as well.
That is why it is important to continuously stay atop of your PPC campaigns.
Hiring the Wrong PPC Agency
PPC Agencies can be a hassle to deal with. As we’ve explained earlier, many businesses hire these agencies because they do not have the expertise or time to learn how to manage a PPC campaign. Beware of PPC experts and agencies who make unrealistic promises and offers that seem too good to be true. Many of these agencies don’t take the time to get to know the businesses they are working with because they churn and burn many accounts only looking for their next dollar and client.
Only the lotto can make you a millionaire overnight, the best PPC agencies manage expectations and keep effective communication with their clients.
Communication should be the most important thing you look for in a PPC Agency, as campaigns may need to be tweaked and you will need constant reporting from them to see what is and isn’t working, as well as are they being effective and bringing your business more leads and sales.
If you want to know more on what you should look for in a PPC agency, visit here.
Should I Invest in PPC?
Hopefully after reading this you are more aware of the pros and cons of PPC. You are probably asking yourself should you invest in PPC, and in my opinion I will answer that with an emphatic YES.
When it comes to marketing your business, you should think holistically. You should not be relying on one single source of marketing for your business, as you should be implementing SEO, PPC, social media marketing, e-mail marketing, and among many others when marketing your business online.
As you saw earlier, PPC and SEO combined can be very lethal. In fact, PPC visitors are 50% more likely to purchase something than organic visitors. Which is why you should leave no stone unturned when marketing your business online.
If you are looking for a PPC solution for your business you can contact us at Better Bistro Media as we are a premiere Georgia SEO Agency that specializes in search engine marketing whether you are a roofer, plumber, restaurant, or any other service based business that needs help with their visibility online!