What is PPC Advertising?

On a search engines results page there are two kinds of listings, organic and sponsored. Sponsored or paid listings are conspicuously (somewhat) identified at the top and or right hand side of the search engine results pages. Organic listings occur naturally, while sponsored or paid listings are bid for by advertisers. Advertisers decide how much they are willing to pay for these ads, and they pay for these ads only when a visitor clicks on the ad, hence the definition – Pay per Click.

Why Should You Use PPC Ads?

If your company is a B2C or takes customer orders online, you probably already are …for the same reason that most B2Cs have substantial traditional (offline) advertising budgets.  You simply can’t afford to be relatively invisible in a medium that at least some of your competitors are almost certainly exploiting.  No surprise, then, that some of the highest keyword bid rates – and some of the most skilled PPC specialists – are found in the B2C or e-commerce arenas.

But B2B companies also have many reasons to advertise with PPC and determine what it can do for them.  Let’s look at some of them…

One of the most compelling features of PPC – perhaps even more to CEOs than to marketers – is the notion of paying only for leads that actually come to your web site. Your ad is seen by only those with an immediate interest in your content; and you pay for only those who were compelled by your ad to click on it to your site.

The kinds of measurement that you’d love to do with your offline programs – but probably don’t because of the difficulty and extent of “hand-waving” involved – is a non-issue with PPC, and requires no hand-waving whatsoever.  A click-through to your landing page comes about only in response to a specific keyword/phrase and ad, and all such events are captured and available for real-time analysis.

With PPC you can control:

  • Your keywords, ad creative and landing pages
  • Your target market, be it globally, nationally, regionally or locally
  • When the campaign begins and ends to the time of day your ads appear
  • Your daily budget – you decide how much and you’ll never pay more than what you allot

PPC is relatively easy to set up too. It’s accessible to everyone, not just the search marketing gurus. Be careful though as it’s kind of a double edged sword.  Google’s line is that you can be up and running in as little as 15 minutes. Sure you can, but without implementing time tested best practices a negative rather than a positive ROI is more likely.

Who Should Use PPC Ads?

Any B2C or B2B marketer is a candidate for PPC advertising. If your website doesn’t possess a lot of content, or an aggressive schedule or the resources for content development you should definitely be doing PPC. Each time the search engine spider visits your site and it sees you haven’t refreshed or added unique content you’ll lose your organic rankings overtime, and the traffic that came with them. PPC advertising ensures that you will continue driving quality traffic and leads so your business can continue to grow.

I cut my teeth in PPC advertising in the luxury travel market. PPC was a part of our overall advertising mix so we bought traffic for the seventeen destinations we represented. What we knew was that we didn’t have excellent organic rankings for all seventeen destinations so PPC helped us get a leg up. What we learned was that PPC ads converted up to four times more when those ads sat along side good organic rankings.

If you are launching a new product and you are waiting for your search engine optimization and PR efforts to take hold there is no faster way to capture quality leads than with pay per click advertising.

If you have invested in search engine optimization (SEO) the ROI does indeed surpass pay per click advertising, but SEO requires patience and dedication. A positive ROI is realized much faster with PPC than with SEO.

There are many compelling reasons to begin PPC advertising. So in those immortal words of Cosmo Kramer, it’s time to “Giddy up” with PPC.