Is PPC past its Sell By date?
For something that’s been around for just a few years, PayPer Click advertising, or PPC has become an established part of online marketing for many companies. Put simply, “Paid search marketing is the process of gaining traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. It is sometimes referred to as CPC (cost-per-click) or PPC (pay-per-click) marketing, because most search ads are sold on a CPC / PPC basis.” (Source: Search Engine Land). Yet while PPC seems to have become a staple of online marketing, there are clear signs that it is dying out as a lone marketing resource. For example, recent research has revealed that just 18% of SMEs using Google Adwords actually recoup their investment (Source: ‘Workbooks.com’ in September 2011).
Why use something that’s not working right?
So why do businesses continue to use a marketing channel that is failing to win them new business? On the surface of it, PPC looks like an easy way to bring in new leads. After all, you can automate it - or ask one of the thousands of PPC agencies out there to do it for you. PPC is part of the many ‘get rich quick’ approaches that sprang up alongside the exponential growth of the internet in the past ten years. That isn’t to say that PPC doesn’t have its value, but it is currently being misused by many businesses. PPC can deliver results when it is used for a short-term, highly targeted campaigns, but used in the long-term it often becomes costly. Web users have quickly learned to filter out internet advertising, with fewer people clicking on advertising than on organic listings. All these issues add up to the important fact that PPC delivers lower returns than SEO and content marketing. In short, PPC done on its own is costly when compared to the alternatives.
Two important reasons why PPC is failing businesses:
PPC appears to offer a simple solution - paid ads to drive people to your website. But used on its own it actually fails companies because:
It’s a short-term fix
PPC is purely about grabbing the potential customer’s attention without actually developing a lasting relationship with them. It focuses on the attraction stage and neglects to actually nurture and convert the buyer. This is why used alone, it can only ever offer limited returns.
It is brand-unaware
PPC is purely about the ad and about capturing the interest of window shoppers. With no brand awareness or value proposition around it, the PPC campaign tends to attract window shoppers who are focused on cost rather than quality.
Making Pay Per Click really pay
So PPC as it stands right now is not bringing businesses the rewards it could be. But what can companies do to win better returns from PPC?
Be strategic, not short-term
Planning your PPC campaign for the long-term will make it more effective and profitable. Fit it in with an overall inbound marketing strategy and you’re likely to gain more long-term leads and revenue instead of window shoppers.
Get real intelligence on web traffic
PPC is focused around gaining high volume results and often comes with confusing data and analytics on visitor numbers. Use inbound marketing technology to track conversions so that you can gain full intelligence on all your web traffic, right down to each individual web visitor.
Build loyalty to create long-term revenue
Use PPC within a wider inbound marketing approach to align your ads with matching content on your site and nurture visitors into customers. This also helps you to build a profitable profile as a thought leader.
Plan for the long-term
Instead of taking the quick fix route, use inbound marketing technology to shape a long-term PPC campaign that uses the relevant keywords and allows you to stay up to date with the search terms people are looking for right now.
Finetune and optimise for better results
Inbound marketing technology allows you to identify more effective and more targeted keywords. It also lets you eliminate negative keywords and reminds you about including misspellings – all helping to win you more sales. With inbound marketing technology you can also optimise your keywords for better results – so you know the exact details you need to know to reach the right people, including times, location of ads and demographics.
Test for the best
Get more from PPC by continually testing for what works best. Undertake regular A/B testing to create the most effective ads, keywords and landing pages to nurture and convert your web visitors.
Use Ad Extensions
Use Ad Extensions to include sub links in your text adverts and increase click throughs and boost traffic to your site.
Get linked up
Link your AdWords account to use Google Analytics and find out which positions your adverts perform best in and adapt your strategy accordingly.
Increase Click Throughs and Cost Per Conversions
Work on increasing your Click Through Rate and Cost Per Conversions as you could gain a reduction in your Cost Per Click as a thank you from Google for giving Google search users what they want.
Think bigger than basic
Look outside of the basic text adverts. Use graphic and animated banners across highly targeted websites in the AdWords Display Network.
The next step for PPC
PPC isn’t dying yet. But is still being underused by many businesses and offering very limited returns. So what is the next step for companies looking to get better results from PPC?
Create a strategy
It can be very tempting to go for a quick win with PPC. But this can end up costing you in the long-run. Instead, build a clear strategy using inbound technology to monitor and update your advert content, location and links. Use inbound marketing technology to gain a better insight into the results of your campaign, right down to the individual web visitor and how they got to your web page. Use A/B testing to make your PPC as effective as possible. Within this, include a plan to increase your Click Through Rate and Cost Per Conversion for rewards from Google. Create a clear strategy and you’ll begin to see the results you want with PPC.
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