A company’s digital marketing output will most likely consist of many different channels, from display, video and social to, of course, PPC.
All of these channels have an impact on each other in multiple different ways.
But what role does PPC play in this wider mix? What is it good at, and what is it not good at? We’re going to explore these questions alongside a few others today.
How important is PPC to your digital marketing?
You might as well ask, how important is the internet? The internet is essentially a free good – you pay a basic fee for access via your phone or landline, so what pays for it? Digital marketing does, and PPC is a foundational part of that.
PPC was effectively invented in its current form by Google in the early 2000s, using ad relevance to incentivise advertisers to work at providing good ad copy and only bidding on suitable keywords.
Whilst much has changed in these last 20 years, it is still the most powerful bottom-of-funnel marketing channel, and you’d be hard pressed to find a successful business that doesn’t use it as a significant part of their overarching marketing strategy.
What is PPC?
It stands for Pay-Per-Click, aka. when businesses pay a fee each time someone clicks on an ad to visit their website.
This makes it fairly simple for businesses to quantify the success of PPC. They can see how much money they’ve spent on the platform, and they can see how many sales they’ve made, and what revenue has been generated.
Whilst technically some Display advertising is “Pay-Per-Click”, like that on the Google Display Network, typically when people talk about “PPC” they mean adverts served on Google Ads or Microsoft Ads.
Why should other digital marketing be used alongside PPC?
With top-of-funnel digital advertising like Display, Social and Video, the positive impact is more difficult to measure, and usually more than the flat spend you’ve put into the platform.
Quite often, people will see a Display, Social or Video ad, not click on it, and later on search Google for the company or product before clicking a PPC ad to finally convert into a sale or lead.
It’s important to introduce your brand to people earlier on in their journey to purchase so that when they do search for the product, they recognise your brand and choose to click on your ad instead of others.
This will not only help generate sales, but also result in higher Quality Scores for your PPC ads which will result in cheaper clicks!
This means that good PPC campaigns will help performance in your top-of-funnel campaigns, and vice-versa.
Can you just do SEO and not PPC?
Plenty of businesses have tried this and failed, in our experience!
The data suggests that if you’re ranking well on both PPC and organic, you’ll do much better in both than if you just focus on PPC or organic by themselves, so there’s a symbiotic relationship between them.
This is because you can take up double the amount of real estate on the results page. People will view your brand more positively if you rank highly for both PPC and SEO.
Just running organic search can mean that other companies can jump in ahead of you with search ads, and if you just run search ads, you’re missing out on quite a few people who always scroll past the ads!
So the short answer is no, you shouldn’t just do SEO, it works best to do both.
Why is PPC marketing so good?
- Transparent. It’s easy to track what you’re spending, and what you’re getting back from that spend.
- Fast. It doesn’t require any ramp-up time. Providing you’ve got your tracking set up alongside your campaigns, you can switch ads on and start getting results immediately. SEO, by comparison, can take 18 months to start working properly.
- Controllable. It’s easy to increase or reduce spend at short notice, and to tweak your ROAS up or down slightly so you can find a good balance between volume and efficiency.
- Scalable. If you have good account management, a good approach to data and a good campaign build, you can increase spend continually without too much of an impact on cost per acquisition. (DemandMore can help you with this, just get in touch!)
- Targeting. You can narrow your targeting down extremely specifically with a combination of first-party data, search terms and demographic/platform data.
- Conversion-driving. PPC is there just before the point of sale. If someone is searching for a product, you know they are near-enough ready to buy.
When not to use PPC
If your only Key Performance Indicator is developing your brand over time, PPC probably isn’t for you.
It’s good to invest money into to get sales back out, but if you’re only focusing on the very bottom of the funnel, and not investing in any other channels, the results will not necessarily improve with time.
You also need to commit to a consistent investment in PPC. If you turn off your campaigns, they will be penalised by the provider when they are turned back on.
You may also put a target on your back. If you start advertising on competitors’ branded search terms, they may notice, and start bidding aggressively on your own brand terms!
PPC is one of the most important parts of your digital marketing efforts, and very different to basically every other channel.
It’s the most powerful bottom-of-funnel channel, as it is able to target people right at the point they’re about to buy a product.
It’s also very easy to set up and get going – but it is much more difficult to master, which is why there are a multitude of Google Ads agencies ready to help you (including DemandMore!)
It works well in tandem with other channels which can be better at getting your brand in front of potential customers when they are at the research stage of purchasing.
It’s not wise to rely just on PPC or organic search on their own – they are both technically search marketing, but require very different approaches, use hugely different targeting methods, and can appeal to different sorts of purchasers.
Finally, we discussed the multiple strengths of PPC, but also the weaknesses.
We hope you’ve learned something from this article and please get in touch with us if you have any further questions. We’re ready to help improve your marketing channels and how they interact together!