I found the following article on Social Media Today: The Death of Pay Per Click Advertising.
It’s well worth a read. The most striking statistic was that only 18% of SMEs using Google Adwords actually recoup their expenditure. No figures for larger businesses but presumably these are higher and not so newsworthy.
The article has lots of useful suggestions on how to make PPC work, which I won’t repeat here. I’m going to concentrate on more basic issues.
PPC advertising is about quality, not quantity
Of the 82% of SMEs not getting a return from PPC advertising, I wonder how many are doing it themselves rather than using a professional marketer or copywriter. Writing Adwords is superficially simple, writing ones that work is a skilled business, further complicated by the rules on characters. It’s like a modern version of Haiku.
I wonder how many of these SMEs have created an image of the shopper who is likely to become a purchaser, and then written an ad that appeals directly to that person; one that excludes the merely curious. An attention-grabbing ad is valuable only if it grabs the attention of the right people. Getting clicks from people who are not likely to purchase just eats up your budget.
PPC – nobody knows everybody
How many of the unsuccessful SMEs did small-scale pilots using several versions of the ads to see which ones appeal to the right kind of customer? PPC is not an exact science; we know the words most likely to appeal, but none of us knows enough people to predict with absolute certainty how the mass of the population will respond. Test different versions and record what works best for future reference. And remember: it’s conversions, not clicks, that count.
The road to nowhere
Not just the title of an excellent song but, I suspect, also a description of some links from Adwords. I did a recent post on landing pages which gives advice on making these more effective These need to be as scientific as the PPC ads. Is there a natural link to the ad, or will people think they’ve been misdirected to some mysterious place? Does the landing page pick up the sales process where the ad leaves off and lead to a natural call to action? Is it well written, using positive language and without spelling or obvious grammar errors? Finally, has it been tested before committing the whole PPC budget?
PPC is not dead and it can work very effectively. The key for SMEs is to think and act like big companies (or their advertising agencies) in the way that you plan and write PPC campaigns. If any SMEs out there want help with this I would be delighted to hear from you. Just fill out the contact form on my blog.
I’d love to hear from anyone with anything to add to this discussion. Any common pitfalls or, better still, examples of SMEs doing this well would be great to share.