PPC misconceptions

There’s no question that PPC advertising is a lucrative space right now; the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reported that search ads accounted for over $9 billion in revenue in the first half of 2014– that’s almost 40% of total Internet-based revenue. Unfortunately, many would-be advertisers hold misconceptions that don’t just prevent them from reaching their PPC potential, but can actually cause them to lose money on their PPC campaigns. Before you dive headfirst into PPC advertising, here are 10 common misconceptions about PPC that need to be cleared up.

1.      Anyone Can Run and Manage a PPC Campaign Easily

Getting started with PPC is deceptively simple — setting up an AdWords account and getting your campaigns up and running can seem like it’s just a few clicks away, and bids start at just a few cents per click. But just because it’s easy to get started doesn’t mean that it’s easy to manage PPC campaigns. Adwords and other PPC platforms have a huge array of features, functionality and settings that can make or break your campaigns if they’re not properly calibrated, and launching into PPC when you don’t know what you’re doing can leave you with wasted time, lost budget and a lot of frustration. PPC is about more than just launching campaigns and using tools — great results require strategic thinking and the ability to think about PPC as one channel within your advertising strategy as a whole.

2.      If You Ads Aren’t in the First Position, They’re Worthless

It’s true that CTR drops significantly for ads in positions below number one. But you don’t have to break your budget to push your ads to the top of results every single time. In many competitive industries, especially the legal and insurance industries, highly sought-after keywords carry CPCs of over $100. In fact, in these cases, advertisers can actually maximize their ROI by aiming for the top three ad positions, rather than focusing solely on #1. Adjusting your ad position strategy to maximize profit can be a much wiser move than simply racing to the top of the page.

3.   High Bids = High Ranks

While high bids are one way to increase the visibility of your ads, simply increasing your bids and your budget isn’t a scalable way to improve your PPC results. Your bid isn’t the only factor Adwords uses to determine how and where your ads will be served. Your Quality Score, which is how Google determines how relevant your ads are to the keywords to which they’re matched, plays a significant role in determining the position of ads for any given search. In many cases, a high Quality Score can give your ads a bump in position more effectively than raising your bids will do. By focusing on increasing your Quality Score, you can help keep your ad spend manageable while enjoying higher positions for your ads.

4.      PPC Takes Too Long to Produce Results

Getting a PPC campaign from zero to full-speed doesn’t happen overnight, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll have to wait weeks or months to see any results for your efforts. While realizing the full potential ROI of your campaigns usually takes at least a few months, you’ll still benefit from increased visibility and brand awareness soon after you turn on your first campaign.

5.      You Don’t Need PPC if You Have Good Organic Rankings

SEO and PPC are two distinct ways of driving online traffic, and it can be tempting to think that good SEO is enough. However, their respective costs and benefits mean that you shouldn’t neglect one for the other. Google’s SEO algorithms change frequently, which can mean that a site with great organic rankings one day can plummet the next. If your business depends on web traffic to thrive, relying solely on SEO ranking is an inconsistent, unreliable way to ensure traffic. Additionally, having good organic rankings makes your site a great candidate for PPC, as SEO contributes to your Quality Score and can help you get better ad rankings for your ad spend.

6.      PPC is Too Expensive

While enterprise-level corporations can funnel millions into their PPC campaigns each month, that doesn’t mean that PPC is prohibitively expensive for smaller companies. The average CPC for keywords on Adwords is between $1 to $2, and many keywords cost only a few cents per click. Since Adwords allows advertisers to control their daily budget for various campaigns and keywords on a granular level, PPC advertisers enjoy a great deal of flexibility when it comes how much, when and where they spend their advertising dollar.

7.      Never Use Broad Match Keywords

Broad match keywords get a bad reputation — they tend to be expensive, and because they’re so broad they carry the risk that the traffic they’ll bring won’t be a great fit for your business’ needs. But savvy advertisers know that using broad match keywords can be a powerful tool in your advertising arsenal. Analyzing data from broad match keywords can help you identify more specific keywords that might be a better fit for your campaigns, and they can often bring good-quality traffic as well. We often recommend using broad match modifier, which lets you get some of the benefits of casting a wide PPC net, with a little more focus.

8.    Bid Only on Long Tail Keywords

As an extension of refusing to use broad match keywords, some novice PPC advertisers maintain that long tail keywords are the only way to go. Because they’re so pinpointed and often have very low CPCs, long tail keywords can have great CTRs and great conversion rates for a low cost. But by the same turn, if you rely solely on long tail keywords, you’ll miss out on a lot of high-quality traffic that can come from broader keyword strategies. Long tail keywords can be a cost-effective means to capture great leads, but to build PPC campaigns that are scalable and sustainable, you’ll need to diversify your keyword strategy to include a variety of keyword matching techniques.

9.      The More Keywords You Target, the More Traffic You’ll Get

More keywords means more matches, and more traffic — right? It’s important to keep in mind the fact that quality of keywords is far more important than quantity of keywords. While you can use up to 20,000 targeting items (including keywords) in a given ad group, Google reports that most advertisers find that having between five and 20 keywords per ad group is the most manageable and effective range. Using too many keywords, or using keywords that don’t fit well with your business, will only drive up your advertising costs without giving you high-quality leads.

10.      PPC is Click Fraud and Brings Irrelevant Traffic

Click fraud, which involves people or automated scripts clicking ads to drive up advertisers’ costs, is a common fear among advertisers. Fortunately, Google takes fraudulent and malicious clicking behaviors seriously, and has a series of safeguards, from automated anti-fraud algorithms to dedicated investigation teams, in place to prevent advertisers from becoming victims of click fraud. When executed correctly, PPC campaigns are one of the most transparent forms of advertising; advertisers can review and analyze their conversion rate and the ROI of their campaigns at a much more granular level than with offline advertising channels.

Building Smarter PPC Campaigns with Webrageous

There’s a wealth of advice about PPC practices on the web, but wading through the sea of information and finding the knowledge you need to run better campaigns can be daunting. By working with Webrageous to develop and manage your PPC campaigns, you’ll gain access to years of hands-on PPC management experience and knowledge. Whether you’re just getting started with your first campaign or are looking to revitalize existing ones, Webrageous can help you optimize your PPC campaigns and maximize your ROI. Contact us today for a free PPC consultation.