For companies that desire sustained business growth, an effective digital advertising strategy is not optional - it is essential. Several pieces of the digital marketing puzzle, such as a strong online presence, SEO-driven content, and social media advertising, have to cleanly fit together for the big picture to make sense.
However, there is one important piece of that puzzle that has been the subject of significant confusion and controversy. Yes, that's right: we're talking about paid advertising. And in the context of digital marketing, we're specifically talking about PPC (or pay per click) campaigns.
Here are some burning questions that many business owners and executives want answered:
- What exactly does PPC marketing involve?
- How effective is a PPC campaign in reality?
- Is the ROI worth the cost?
- What benefits could be realistically expected from such an initiative?
The following information will answer such questions and dispel some common myths about paid advertising as a digital marketing tool
At the end of the day, your campaign exists for one reason: to increase your business. Any other outcome isn’t worth spending money on.
pay per click,
or per action.
PPC Marketing Defined
PPC is basically an online advertising model in which a business pays the curator of an ad platform, or other online space, to place advertisements on its website. To further clarify matters, it may be helpful to compare and contrast PPC marketing with traditional print advertising, such as newspaper ads.
In the old days, newspapers would charge companies for advertising space per edition, and would also charge depending on the ad's size (full page, half page, quarter page, and so forth). There was one big drawback to this method of advertising: once the paper was circulated to its readers, only a fraction would pay much attention to the ad, and only a fraction of that fraction would take action and make a purchase. Still, no matter how many readers actually responded to the advertisement, the cost to the company remained the same.
In contrast, the cost of PPC advertising is in its name: companies pay per click, or per action. In other words, the more prospects that click on your ad and are taken to your website, the more money you owe the owner of that ad space. However, maybe you've already spotted the upside to this method of advertising: even though you're paying more with each click, you're only paying for prospects that are actually interested in your product or service. That's a huge plus!
pay per click,
or per action.
Google's 2018 advertising revenue:
over $100 billion
Common Paid Advertising Myths
There are a lot of myths that surround PPC marketing. While these myths in their entirety would be far too numerous to discuss in a single article, here are 4 common misconceptions that people have about paid advertising:
- Nobody really clicks on Google Ads. In 2018, Google's advertising revenue checked in at well over $100 billion. The fact is, people do click on Google Ads, and ads from other platforms; otherwise, Google wouldn't be rolling in a sea of cash.
- PPC campaigns do not require as much research, creativity, or strategy as other marketing efforts. While platforms like Google and Facebook can expose your ads to a broad consumer base, it's on you to make those ads as alluring to prospects as they can be. The level of effort and craftsmanship that you put into each ad will have a large influence on its ultimate effectiveness.
- Paid advertising affects positioning on Google. While an effective PPC campaign can indirectly have a positive effect on your SERP ranking, there is no direct correlation (positive or negative) between PPC marketing and your website's position on Google.
- PPC marketing is too expensive. Actually, the exact opposite is true: PPC advertising is extremely cost-effective. Think back to our contrast between PPC marketing and print advertising. Isn't it so much better to pay based on how many potential customers interact with your company, versus having to pay a high, flat rate regardless of how effective the advertising actually is?
Benefits of Paid Advertising
If properly implemented, there are a multitude of potential benefits that paid advertising can bring to your company. Here are some key advantages that PPC marketing offers
The average CPC (cost per click) of a Facebook Ad is a little over $1; for a Google Ad, the range is generally between $1 to $2. Those are, proportionally, much more cost-effective rates than what newspapers and other print publications offer.
Ease of tracking
With PPC campaigns on Google and other platforms, you have the ability to not only track how many people are clicking through to your website over a specific period of time, but also what they are doing on your site once they get there.
Whether you want to "laser target" a small, niche demographic, or want to reach as many potential customers as possible within a broad pool, PPC marketing gives you the power to customize your advertising efforts down to the smallest details.
Independence from SEO changes
While Google's SEO algorithm is extremely complicated and always changing, PPC marketing is relatively stable, and completely separate from SEO updates.
Generally speaking, PPC campaigns are meant to be short-lived affairs. That means that they are extremely scalable in nature. If you are not seeing the desired results, you are free to halt the campaign early; and if the campaign is exceeding your wildest expectations, then you have the option to prolong it as you see fit.