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by Tara West on 14th April 2014
PPC used to be a ‘nice to have’ element of many Digital Marketing strategies, but it is fast becoming a ‘need to have’ as the Digital Marketing landscape becomes more volatile. Can your business afford to ignore PPC in your Digital Marketing strategy?
Here’s 10 reasons why you shouldn’t:
This has always been true, but especially in today’s SEO climate where algorithm updates are happening left right and center! If your site is more than 50% dependent on organic traffic, you really should consider PPC as a secondary traffic source, in case your organic traffic reduces, for whatever reason. I know what you’re thinking; ‘but that’ll never happen to me!’. Well that’s what Interflora thought, and JC Penney, and most recently, Halifax. These are just some of the big reputable brands that never dreamed their site could be dropped from Google’s index, but they were dropped. Using PPC to balance your traffic sources is a wise move in today’s organic traffic climate.
PPC isn’t just about search. It can complement your other marketing activities in ways you probably haven’t considered. If you are running an offline campaign which directs users to a specific URL on your site that is unique to that campaign, why not run AdWords Remarketing to users who visit that URL? Your image ads can use the same ad creative and messaging used in your offline pieces that drove users to that URL and tie your whole campaign together nicely.
For example, a brand that could have used remarketing to complement their recent branding activity is Innocent Drinks. Their campaign encouraged users to start a chain of good by sending compliments via the Innocent microsite to their friends online. This is an awesome concept and they could have taken it one step further; the could have used remarketing to follow the sender of the compliment to say thanks as well as send them a compliment back.
We used to think that conversions were as simple as someone clicking an ad and then converting. We now know that the journey to conversion is much more complex than this and the user may interact with our online campaigns at multiple touch points before converting. Users who found your site organically may search for it later down the line and click on a paid search ad before converting. Here’s an example of this as seen in one of my clients’ Google Analytics accounts: (to see this in your own GA account go to ‘multi channel funnels’, and then ‘top conversion paths’):
Even having a PPC brand campaign alone can enhance the conversions you receive. Give it a try today and analyse how PPC can assist in the conversions you receive via your other traffic sources.
I’m not just saying this because PPC is my baby, and believe it or not I also have a hefty few years of SEO experience under my belt. I’m saying it because it’s true. Take a look at this SERP for the commercial term ‘Apple ipad air price’:
Only three results above the fold of the page are organic, which means that a huge percentage of the clicks for this search will go to paid ads. If you’re offering a product of a commercial nature you may notice that more and more of the SERPs for your keywords are reflecting this ad format. It’s no big shock really – the PLA ad format has an excellent Click through Rate (CTR) which means it naturally makes Google more money, so naturally they are increasing the amount of ad space dedicated to this kind of ad format.
Ranking well organically isn’t enough on its own if you are hoping to capture search queries with commercial intent. According to WordStream 64.6% of people click on Google Ads when they are looking to buy an item online!
To capture some of this this 64.6% of users you are going to at least need to try PPC advertising. If a search results page has both standard PPC ads in the top 3 positions and product listing ad results in the right hand side top corner, then research has shown paid results can take up to 85.2% of above the fold pixels, making them very prominent and making organic results fall further below the fold of the page.
Most SEOs have probably heard this from their clients at some point or another. PPC is ideal if you are working with a client who needs an extremely high level of accountability for spend and return. You can pinpoint exactly which campaigns lead to which conversions and trace which optimisation activity was taken around that time that is likely to have led to a particular increase in performance. As a result you can pinpoint your results down to specific optimisation actions and keywords. You can also attribute your ad spend in future PPC campaigns accordingly.
PPC is one of the most dynamic and adaptable forms of Digital Marketing; you can see performance statistics incredibly soon after ads have shown, which enables you to make changes pretty much instantly.
If PPC just doesn’t work for a particular type of product or service you can pause or switch off the campaign. Additionally, you could re-allocate your spend to an area which is converting. All this can be done pretty much instantly or with a 24 hour lag at most.
By ‘yesterday’ I mean so soon that you wish they were already here. I’m sure there’s not one marketing manager out there who has been in a situation where results are needed as soon as possible, whether it’s because you’re reacting to a change in the market or because something was left to the last minute. PPC can start generating traffic pretty instantly and the results of optimisation can be felt very quickly. It is perfect for time sensitive offers or promotions. Keep PPC in your back pocket for occasions like this even if you don’t plan on using it is a regular part of your Digital Marketing strategy.
This point comes back to the issue of owning the SERP. If your competitors are doing PPC on the key terms you are trying to rank for organically, then you should try to do PPC for these terms as well as organically ranking. This is because if these terms are commercial then you really can’t afford for your competitor’s PPC ad pushing your organic ad further down the page. Have a PPC ad there as well as your organic listing and you will increase your chances of conversion and stop all your potential organic traffic going straight to your competitor’s PPC ad just because it’s higher up on the page.
Even if you have only a tiny budget for PPC, try a brand campaign to protect your brand name to stop competitors appearing 1st for it in paid search results. If you’re not there for your brand, but they are, it not only gives them an advantage on owning space in the SERPs, but it can make consumers consider the competitor as a more reputable brand because they appear higher than you on Google for your own brand name.
With algorithmic changes, the SEO landscape is a lot more complex than ever. This is great if you have a big budget to spend on an integrated search, content and social campaign – but not everyone does. If you haven’t got the big budgets it takes to conduct a high quality long term SEO strategy, then PPC could be a really cost effective option for you.
There was a time when the targeting options in AdWords were limited and that meant that your ad spend wasn’t always used in the most effective way. Things have come a very long way since, with the introduction of bid adjustments and other great features like Remarketing Lists for Search Ads. For example, RLSAs allow you to tailor your bidding strategy based on a user’s previous interactions with your site. This kind of targeting is giving PPC specialists the opportunity to be even more targeted than ever before and ensure their ad spend is used in the best possible way. PPC isn’t a wide shot approach anymore, where your ad spend might get wasted. If you use PPC well you can have highly targeted and highly effective campaigns that can deliver your business the results it needs.
Naturally PPC isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and not all of these elements will be applicable to all businesses. There will also be some businesses where PPC just isn’t suitable to achieve the goals required, but for many businesses PPC is something which has become so influential in the digital marketing landscape that you cannot afford to ignore it.
Just ask yourself if your business can ignore it. Depending on your answer, check out our PPC services page or contact us for a friendly chat and see how Koozai can help with your Digital Marketing efforts.
Change Ahead via BigStock