In the age of digital media, where influencers reign supreme and notables such as Tai Lopez emphasize the need for social media in any successful marketing strategy, the buzz around pay-per-click(PPC) ads has vastly declined. Not long ago, YouTube was teaming with countless tutorials on how to leverage the power of PPC. Videos like “How I Made My First Million With PPC” or “10 PPC Tricks That Will Make You Rich” touted the great effects PPC can have on your business, and almost made you feel stupid if you weren’t in the know. Those days have since come and gone, now being replaced with tales of social media riches and the like.
It’s clear that there’s been a shift in the marketing world, with new players providing more cost-effective ways to reach customers than ever before. But is PPC dead? Is it no longer beneficial to setup a Google Ads(formerly Adwords) account and bid on search terms? The truth is, there’s no single answer to these questions. As with most things in life and business, it entirely depends on your specific circumstances. Though there are numerous factors that go into determining whether PPC makes sense for your business, here are my Top 4 Factors to think about when considering whether PPC makes sense for you.
#1 Your Budget
This one is number one for a reason. Possibly the single most important thing to consider when debating whether to launch a PPC campaign for your business is budget. Unlike social media and Search Engine Optimization(SEO) campaigns which can gain significant traction organically, PPC follows the old adage that you have to “spend money to make money”. The potential to make money with PPC campaigns is very high but is only possible if you have the budget to continually support an active campaign. If you have a large marketing budget and are open to testing things out, there’s no doubt in my mind that PPC can help grow your business. However, if you’re operating on a limited budget with very little room for experimentation, you need to fully understand your business, and realize the value of a customer before attempting to pay for acquisition. Fully understanding the key metrics of your business such as: lifetime-value(LTV) and website conversion rates is paramount in setting bid amounts and operating a successful PPC campaign.
#2 Time Frame
Tools like social media and SEO are powerful ways to develop organic traffic, but often take time to take effect. If your need to boost traffic is time sensitive, it may make sense to opt for a timelier approach, such as a PPC campaign. PPC campaigns are unique in their ability to reach thousands of viewers in a very short amount of time. Once your campaign is set up and active, it’s only a matter of minutes before clicks start rolling in. Compare that to, say, an SEO campaign which typically takes 6 months before any realized effects take place, PPC makes a lot more sense for those time sensitive marketing initiatives.
#3 Your Target Market
In order to maximize your click-through rate (CTR), you must have a strong understanding of your audience. Users are more likely to click on ads targeted to them, so targeted PPC advertising has great potential. For instance, if your business thrives on local involvement, geotargeting your ads can positively impact your CTR (and, in turn, your conversions). However, if you’re interested in a broader campaign that doesn’t focus on a specific demographic, such as increasing general brand recognition, PPC may be less effective than a carefully-monitored cost per impression (CPI) campaign that does not target specific keywords or locations.
When considering your target market, you should also think about customer value. It’s important that a click on an ad — and the subsequent visit to your site — costs less than what the visit is worth. For instance, if you pay $2 per click for an advertisement but the product you’re selling is only $3, then paying for PPC is not helpful. However, if you pay $2 per click and the product is $600, the profit margin is much wider.
We do a lot of inbound marketing for our business on account of the reasons mentioned above. Although I can see we’re making progress judging by the increases in our traffic and weekly signups, I would hardly call it trackable. Mostly, I write a lot of posts and appear on a lot of podcasts, and overall, we’re moving in the right direction. People are signing up; I’m just not entirely sure what brought them to us. True, there is code that you can put in via Google Analytics to track each source, and it works OK. But it’s nothing like Adwords. Adwords tells me exactly how much I’m spending and how many conversions that led to. If I know the value of a sign up, it’s a clear yes or no answer as to whether it’s working or not and if I should be scaling up my campaign. If I want to scale the campaign, I just put more money into it, and I can see the impact of that in terms of impressions and cost per conversion. It’s really that simple. If you’re doing client work or just have a tight marketing budget where you need to prove results, paid advertising is a great option.
At the end of the day, with all of the variables that play into effective marketing campaigns, it’s impossible to know with complete certainty whether or not a PPC campaign will work for your business. PPC has long been the industry standard marketing tool, and while social media and SEO has grown in popularity over the years, PPC is still a driving force in the market. When making a decision of this magnitude, deciding where to direct valuable marketing dollars, its best to look at the full picture, with as clear a reasoning as possible as to where you spend your money. If you’re unsure of what information you need to consider, it may be wise to consult an advertising expert, who can develop campaigns tailored specifically for you and your business.