Marketing Channels – Why PPC is Still One of the Best!
Pay-per-click marketing suddenly gave instant access to a huge volume of customers with the ability to transact there and then. A Google Adwords account combined with an ecommerce platform was a pretty potent combination. There was now no need to haggle over radio air time or a corner in the back of magazine, it would inevitably cost too much and it would always be a hard task to attribute any return.
Google Adwords was something totally different, very few barriers to entry, instant access and instant KPIs on how your money was being spent. I remember I felt like it was like a fruit machine that always paid out, for every £1 pound we put in we’d always get £10 back and usually on the same day! Suddenly the battle lines were drawn and you were either a New Dynamic Digital Marketeer or a boring old Offline Marketeer, to be honest it was a lovely time. Of course times have changed and the best part of 15 years later, the digital world is far more competitive with a never-ending flood of new entrants so CPCs have inexorably increased year after year and that “never fail” fruit machine is not so reliable as it used to be.
There have been a number of technological breakthroughs along the way, in particular over the last 5 years the mobile internet has just got better and better, bigger screens, thinner devices, faster Wi-Fi with better coverage and now most website’s traffic will have more mobile traffic than anything else. Potential customers are now contactable all times of the day and in any location and they don’t just have to be anchored to the family PC. I remember we always saw a huge surge in traffic on a Monday morning that usually followed a very poor Saturday trade, which was always fairly easy to explain by customers browsing on the High Street at the weekend but then buying when they got to work on the Monday. Times have certainly changed and the traffic and conversions over the weekend have started to match performance on a Monday and in another couple of years they will be better. Your marketing efforts have to be fluid and be flow with these changes, so they need to be nimble and this is where PPC really comes into its own and despite the fruit machine not being as reliable as it once was it is still in my view one of the best marketing channel’s out there.
In my view PPC remains the best current marketing channel around for some simple reasons.
- There are little or no barriers to entry, within in minutes you can have registered and setup an Adwords account and be ready to start your first campaign. Whilst the medium and long term costs of campaigns have converged with Offline marketing you still need to commit significant funds up front without know what the return is likely to be. On Adwords you can set up a campaign with a budget from as low as £5 to £5,000 and wait and see how your money performs by the minute. It gives PPC a remarkable edge that is almost impossible to compete with.
- You can access on almost limitless number of potential customers. There are approximately 6million searches on Google every day and I’ve seen an impressive number of searches in the tiniest of niches. It’s highly likely that someone out there will be asking a question, starting their buying journey or looking for information about your product/service and Adwords acts as an almost immediate match-maker, a virtual speed-dating exercise! This can of course be a double-edged sword, depending on the sector your potential searches could be too big for your budget. This is where the importance of setting up your Adwords account correctly is so important, you need to ensure you’ve picked the right keywords with the right match types with carefully chosen negative keywords to make sure you are cutting out the ‘noise’ from traffic that will spend your budget without making you any money. There is an extraordinary level of detail you can now use to make your Adwords account very precise and most accounts I see don’t make use of the enhanced functionality now available but it’s there if you look hard enough!
- The availability of real time metrics. For anyone accountable for the marketing spend this again is an essential feature of any digital campaign. Adwords updates most of its performance metrics every 30 mins so you can a very clear sense of what is working and what the potential will be in very short order and evolve and optimise the remaining spend as you go along. There is though another word of caution here, some “top-line” campaigns do require some time to breath and customer’s will have their own buying cycle that your Adwords advertising needs to be in sync with in order to fully benefit from the marketing. Again one of the most common mistakes made in Adwords is to make knee-jerk decisions from day to day to ratcheting bids up or down depending microcosms of activity. Your Adwords account will perform much better if bids are massaged up and down and optimised over longer periods of time, remember evolution takes time and takes a huge number of very small steps to improve I recommend the same approach in Adwords! Statistics are only as reliable as the amount of data points they contain, giving Adwords to collect more data will benefit you in the long run, so whether your customers buy every week, every month or every quarter should be reflected in your Adwords activity.
- Finally… I would say that PPC just gives you better search data that you can use more actively elsewhere in our digital activity. So much of what will define your success online will be dependent on how good your keyword analysis is, where you start and it grows over time. Having a Google Adwords account is one of the most powerful tools out there to give you search data about your keywords. The size of the market, the competitiveness and seasonal trends are all easy to analyse from the Adwords control panel and most importantly they tend to reflect the actual numbers, so many other online resources are based on trend data that I have often found to be a little suspect. Adwords acts as a great marketing tool in the first instance and a great research tool in the second.
There are of course many more reasons why I feel PPC is still the go-to marketing channel for anyone in business or thinking of starting up their own business but these are some of the more obvious reasons that feel make it a bit of a no-brainer! If you’re interested in taking your first steps into the world of PPC here are some guides to help….
Top good guides to help you on your PPC Journey