The Deceptive Simplicity of PPC

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A while ago I wrote a set of articles titled, “The Art of the Pay-Per-Click Start” explaining the deceptive simplicity of pay-per-click marketing. The idea of only paying when a visitor clicks-through an ad has attracted tens of thousands of businesses to the PPC model and it has helped traditional, non-technical marketers take greater control of their search engine marketing initiatives.

In the earlier stages of pay-per-click marketing, the planning and execution was fairly straight-forward. A business generated their keywords, wrote lengthy ads (remember 190 characters for Yahoo soon to be no more?) and designated a budget which ultimately led to the position and bid price they were able to achieve and sustain.

But as Google AdWords entered the market, the PPC model shifted. Suddenly things grew complex. To the search engines’ credit, specifically Google AdWords, a great deal of educational information including tutorials and the AdWords’ blog are available to help teach marketers how to effectively manage their PPC campaigns.

Unfortunately though, most business owners and marketers don’t have the time to study or the background to grasp some of the complexity. I have heard this first-hand when potential clients call and state that they have spent thousands of dollars on Google AdWords yet only generated a few sales – far from reaching a return on their advertising spend. They got caught up in the deceptive simplicity of pay-per-click marketing.

Like with managing your own financial investments, if you don’t have the time to research (or as Jim Kramer of CNBC’s Mad Money calls “buy and homework”) then it is better to hire a knowledgeable resource, whether in-house or outsourced, with the expertise to secure a fair return (or at least not squander your hard earned money.) If recruiting a resource is not practical then test on a small scale with a laser-focus on one aspect of your business (e.g. pilot test.)

Don’t fall victim to thinking that pay-per-click is an easy way for producing sales. It contains it’s own set of nuances that are becoming as complex as search engine optimization.

About the Author

Kevin Gold is Director of Internet Marketing at iNET Interactive, a social media company operating prominent online communities for technology professionals and technology enthusiasts. Kevin is a frequent contributing author to multiple publications including Search Marketing Standard, Practical eCommerce, DIRECT, Entrepreneur.com, ConversionChronicles.com, About.com, and On Target (Yahoo! Search Marketing newsletter).

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2 Comments

  1. Frances

    Truer words were never spoken, Kevin. One has to work diligently at PPC these days to have a decent chance of making some money. There are lots of opportunities still to make serious bucks at PPC, but you need not only the knowledge, but also to invest a significant chunk of time, not just to set up your campaigns, but keep track of them and make appropriate changes at appropriate times to finesse the market. If you can afford to invest the time and effort, you will benefit from opportunities outside (as well as inside) of the AdWords program on smaller search engines. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. True. Like plumbing, creating PPC ads is best left to the professionals.