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Pay-per-click marketing strategy

To help you decide if pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is suitable for your business, we have provided a more in-depth look at the strengths and weaknesses of this medium.

PPC has a number of strengths compared to other marketing methods:

Targeted

As with all forms of search engine marketing, the main benefit of PPC advertising is that it is targeted at people who are already looking for your products or services, meaning they are likely to be interested in your offering.

Cost-effective

PPC advertising requires very little investment or time to set up, making its use realistic for any size of business. As the cost of the advertising is controlled by how much companies are prepared to bid, in some places PPC is very cost-effective, although as competition increases, it will become less so.

Measurable

Conversion rates from PPC leads can be measured if some tracking code is added to a site, so that you are able to calculate the cost per sale and conversion rate that pay-per-click is giving you. This makes an effective PPC campaign very easy to justify compared to other forms of advertising. You can also monitor clickthrough rates (adverts served vs adverts clicked) to measure the effectiveness of your advertising messages.

Immediate

You can set up a PPC campaign immediately with Google AdWords and within the space of a few days on Yahoo! Search Marketing. All the major pay-per-click tools also allow you to control your budget and bid levels online, which means that you can easily alter your activity and spend in line with business objectives such as market penetration, sales promotions and catering for seasonal variations.

However pay-per-click advertising can also be a highly complex arena, which can present a number of business issues:

Intensive management required

Bidding against competitors, testing strategies and monitoring budgets all require significant management skills and time in order to provide the best results.

Not all clicks are equal

Making sure that the people who click on your ads are likely to generate a lead or sale is critical to the success of a pay-per-click campaign, and there are a number of pitfalls to watch out for. Bidding on very general keywords by an advertiser in a specialist sector of a market may well lead to a high level of clickthrough cost from unlikely customers.

Targeting the right kind of user in your ad text is also important and it often pays to be specific in what you are offering. Once a user clicks through to your site, it must actually provide them with a relevant offering, providing a specific landing page and improving the user's journey to a lead or sale on your actual site can be of great help here.

Multiple clicking by competitors

There is some concern that competitors may spend time clicking on your adverts in order to increase your costs. Google AdWords publish an FAQ stating that they use a number of methods to deal with this (likely to including monitoring of IP addresses and monitoring of click patterns). They advise using a tracking URL alongside checking your site’s web server log to identify suspicious traffic.

Yahoo! Search Marketing do not detail the measures that they take, however they do state that it is a priority for them and they are likely to use similar software to Google. Whilst it is clear that the major providers are putting security measures in place, it is still possible to assume that you will still receive clicks from your competitors and this will need to be built into the cost of any PPC campaign.

How sustainable is it?

Many other methods of web promotion allow you to achieve sustainable results without investing large sums of money (although hard work and astute decisions are almost certainly required). Pay-per-click is very much like traditional advertising in that as soon as you stop investing in it, you will lose any benefits immediately. In some areas the marketplace for keywords has become very competitive and will become more so, as new businesses start to use the medium, meaning that over time if may become less cost effective.


To set up a pay-per-click advertising campaign, or for more advice on the most effective approach to search engine marketing for your business, contact us now for more information. Alternatively, please request a FREE website assessment and see what you could achieve with a successful search engine marketing campaign.