Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is the industry name for the ads you see on Google and also the ads you see on websites and social media. It’s the name for ads on the internet because you as an advertiser pay for the ads when users click on them (never when they do not).
Here are the main types of PPC ads:
- Ads on search engines like Google and Bing
- Ads on websites
- Ads on social media.
As such, pay-per click ads are both a guaranteed way to get traffic and a more efficient way to get traffic than ads in the real world. Why?
Virtually Guaranteed Traffic
If you are not getting (enough) traffic, you can pay for it. Because the internet is gigantic, and is used by billions, it’s pretty unlikely that you will set up an ad campaign, no matter how niche, and get zero clicks. Whether your advertise on search engines, on websites or on social media, you will probably get some traffic. (Search engines being the best option.) Whether or not that traffic converts is another story.
More Efficient Than Real World Ads
Provided you are set up to convert the traffic, PPC ads are more efficient than ads in the real world. Why is that?
Say you have a billboard in the real world; you pay for the billboard. With PPC ads, you only pay when someone not only looks at your internet billboard, you pay only when they actually follow that billboard to your virtual storefront. That is a much more specific group of people, as you are only paying for the people who “travel” to your store, not the people who just look at your billboard, nor the people who drive by it and don’t even notice it. So you’re spending money only when people decide to visit your virtual store. That’s much better.
What Could Go Wrong?
Well, as anyone who has ever set up a Google AdWords account can tell you, PPC is expensive. Very, very expensive. Inefficient or poorly designed AdWords campaigns can cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars a month, and even efficient Adwords campaigns can cost this much, depending on your settings. Google will just charge you even if your ads are up without you realizing you published them. The same is true for Bing Ads and the social media ads – you must be ready to go “live” with your ads when you set up the campaign, otherwise you are literally throwing money away.
Prepare Before You Advertise
You need to make sure you have a good landing page, which should convert, before you launch your PPC campaign. Don’t just use your homepage as the url for your AdWords or AdSense ads.
If you’re using social media PPC, you need to have a strategy how to make money off of those ads before you start paying.
Unless you find the dashboard for your ads account super intuitive, it is worth looking into getting help from an expert or getting help from the provider as well. A PPC expert will help you save money and get a better ROI. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you should hire an expert before you even set up the account.
Is PPC Worth It?
Whether or not PPC is worth your money is a complicated question. A PPC expert will tell you that you should advertise, as will representatives of AdWords, Bing Ads, or any of the other PPC providers. But I won’t.
Deciding to spend your advertising money on PPC is a huge, expensive decision which could lead to much bigger profits or huge losses. Whether or not PPC makes sense for your business depends upon what your business is. If you are selling $15 t-shirts enshrining current internet memes, PPC may make sense. If you are offering a complicated, expensive service, it’s hard to imagine why PPC would make sense.
So what’s the short version? If your product or service is affordable, there is a low threshold for the customer to buy, it or it’s an impulse buy, PPC is a great option to improve your sales. However, if you need to convince your potential clients over time, PPC makes basically zero sense.
Still not sure what to do? I can help you decide whether or not to invest in PPC ads. I have years of experience with PPC ad campaigns (for search and for social media) and alternative marketing strategies that have replaced PPC ads or made them irrelevant. Contact me for more information.