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Debunking 5 Myths of PPC Advertising

  |  February 5, 2013   |  Comments

PPC won't make you taller and five other myths about PPC advertising.

It's amazing that even seasoned advertisers have misconceptions about what PPC can and cannot accomplish for a business. It's time to debunk a few common myths and misconceptions about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

1. PPC won't bring instant sales. While PPC is a successful channel for many, many advertisers, there is a small percentage where it just isn't an effective marketing channel. A few examples that may make PPC more challenging include:

  • Advertisers who can't measure conversions and can't justify ad spend without it.
  • A product or service so unique very little queries exist for it.
  • A very niche market is more difficult to reach. For example, if you want to target radiologists, it isn't impossible, just more difficult because the audience is limited.

Even with less challenging situations, it may take time to "find your groove" with optimizations, ad copy, and offers, so patience reins.

2. PPC is not a solution to every sales problem. Sometimes due to forces outside of our control like economy, bad PR, technology, or disasters, a company's sales can take a nosedive. In some cases, especially if this is due in part to technology outages, it's best to pause PPC or find an alternate strategy so that users don't find a poor experience upon reaching your site from PPC ads. Think about how and why the problem is occurring and what is most appropriate for PPC.

3. PPC conversions are not the only thing that matters. Conversions are king, but there are many points throughout the sales process that add value and impact a company's bottom line. Consider analyzing any data you have on multi-channel funnels, including data offered in Google Analytics. These reports show how prior website referrals, searches, and ads work together in a conversion path to create sales and conversions. Very often a customer will have multiple interactions with your brand before finally converting.


4. PPC ads do not impact SEO results. Every once in a while we see conspiracy theorists suggest that advertisers of AdWords or adCenter get better organic rankings. This is not true. However, considering how SEO and PPC complement each other, it's essential for a strong search engine marketing strategy that both are working together in harmony. Having good organic rankings and ads appearing for the same queries allows your product or service to take up more real estate in the search engine results, which can increase clicks, conversions, and overall online presence.

5. PPC top placement = top sales. "I want to be number one in Google" has been commonly heard from companies with the theory that the top position in search results is always going to be the "winner" in money making. Not always so. A report in Google Analytics called "keyword positions" can show you how your performance adds up per the position your ad is in. The examples below show that ad sales are higher when the ad is in the top position. However, we see that the conversion rate is much higher in third position. Examining this data for critical keywords can help set direction and bidding strategies.


ppc-ad-rank-revenuePPC will not make you taller or better looking, but now you can successfully head down the right path, not wasting time on the PPC myths that hold you back.

PPC image on home page via Shutterstock.


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Lisa Raehsler

Lisa Raehsler is the founder and principal strategist at Big Click Co., an online advertising company and Google AdWords Certified Partner, specializing in strategy and management of SEM and PPC for search engines, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. Lisa has led strategy on dozens of PPC accounts and puts her experience into practice every day as a thought leader in integrating clients' search campaigns with ecommerce websites, behavioral targeting strategies, and web analytics. She has participated extensively in the local interactive community, as well as at national search engine marketing conferences. Lisa's recent speaking engagements include SES, OMS, MIMA, HeroConf, and SMX conferences, as well as numerous private and public training engagements. As a columnist for ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, she writes on the topic of paid search. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRocksSEM.

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