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by Stephen Logan on 26th July 2011
Pay Per Click advertising is a great way for businesses to attract customers, of that there can be little argument. However AdWords can be as damaging to your bottom line as it can be beneficial. When properly managed and effectively targeted, you can generate huge volumes of traffic that converts. When left to wander, it can quickly become a very costly exercise indeed.
To help local businesses get to grips with the advertising platform, Google have launched AdWords Express. This reduced version requires minimal managements and will allow small companies to get visibility on local searches and Places maps. Perfect, or so it would appear.
A small budget, even on a local campaign, is unlikely to go too far. The idea of Paid Search is that you only ever pay if your advert is clicked, therefore on localised searches you’d have to assume that clicks would be few and far between. A lot will obviously depend on the cost per click, but again this should be reasonably minimal thanks to the comparative lack of competition.
Express will be watered down, it has to be. It is an off the shelf option, just simple plug and play type of advertising. As such, it doesn’t really have all that much in common with conventional PPC and probably won’t have the same impact. Whilst ideal for retailers, hostelries, restaurants and other businesses reliant on local visits, this won’t hold true for other companies.
One of the advantages of having a PPC advert is that your business will feature in Google Maps with a big blue arrow. This provides additional prominence and could be particularly useful when trying to attract visitors – particularly on mobile devices. It’s not exactly a guaranteed click, but it should only serve to help.
The major risk might come when businesses build confidence and look beyond this quicker version and attempt to manage their own AdWords PPC campaigns. This is fine, as long as you have built up a decent knowledge of the platform and what is required to properly optimise it.
Blasting away with all adverts set to broad match and targeting generic keywords is going to cost you money and conversions. Whilst Express might shield you from this kind of unnecessary overspend to an extent, in the big bad world of paid search you can get burnt.
By and large it appears to be a positive step. There will be those who see inherent risks and others who might suggest it’s a way of Google making even more cash, but there are undoubted benefits that come with advertising through AdWords. Therefore more exposure, particularly if you’re struggling for SEO, can only be a good thing.