PPC GraphicAlmost all of our clients want guidance on how aggressive to be with Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising. Many of our clients’ competitors are running PPC, and frankly, they’re spending a boatload on it. So when is it a smart move, versus a giant drain to dump money down?

A Little History

A couple years ago, we used a dedicated Google rep who was there to “help” us get clients up and running on PPC. It made our clients feel good that Google was actually helping with the PPC and we took their recommendations as to how to create campaigns effectively. But what we found is that the Google PPC reps did a great job of setting up campaigns that would require more and more spending to be successful, and that’s not how we work for our clients. We now do all PPC setup in-house and control every facet of the client spend. As a result, PPC costs have gone down and conversions have gone up.

PPC: The Good

PPC can really help new businesses or brand new sites, especially when you don’t yet have the organic search rankings to get traffic. If you are willing to dish out a few thousand dollars per month, you can usually get on page one of Google in the ads for top search terms related to your business. But the problem is that 1) you are paying every time someone clicks your ad and 2) PPC is shown to bring more “tire-kickers” than real buyers. That being said, for new businesses it can help to bring those all-important eyeballs to your business.

PPC: The Bad

The giant problem with PPC is that it doesn’t help you long term in any way whatsoever. It’s not going to increase your organic rankings. It only helps with the Now. An effective ongoing search marketing campaign is what you have to have for long term results. Most of our clients are very aggressive on their search marketing campaigns, and some supplement with PPC to fill in the gaps. We monitor these PPC campaigns closely, and if we can’t get a strong ROI even with careful campaign management, we always recommend to stop the campaigns promptly. If it’s not working for you, then we need to move you into something that will perform better. Other platforms outside of Google Adwords, including Facebook Ads and third-party remarketing from companies like Adroll and PerfectAudience, may offer a better ROI.

Our Recommendation

So should you do PPC? It depends. If you are a new business and have no rankings, then plan on a modest PPC budget to coincide with your aggressive search marketing plan tactics. That way you can get some traffic right now while also focusing on the long term results. If you are a seasoned business and have been online for a while, you might consider PPC for supplementing your current search marketing campaign or to introduce new products. But the bottom line is that you need to be very careful with all paid advertising and manage it closely to understand the real value it is offering.

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