Is PPC Really Worth It? There is 1 Way to Know.

Posted by Kelly Braun on April 19, 2018 at 11:51 AM     Digital Advertising
Is PPC Really Worth It? There is 1 Way to Know.

Is PPC really worth the costs? There is only one way to know. And that’s ROI.

Calculating ROI is one of the basic tenets and beauty of PPC. Nearly every factor of Pay Per Click is trackable

Therefore, if you’re currently spending hundreds or thousands on PPC and wondering, “What am I getting for my PPC spend? Is it working? Is it worth the costs?,” then raise a red flag.


Knowing The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

As a Google-certified digital marketing agency, we manage PPC campaigns for multiple organizations and have audited campaigns in various industries. We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

In a recent PPC audit for a manufacturing company, we found campaigns with no goals and no trackable codes established for metrics. Therefore, they had spent thousands without knowing if the ads were working or not working. In the digital world where nearly everything is trackable, that’s the ugly.

We’ve also found organizations that worked with PPC agencies that never optimized their ads nor provided them ROI reports. When working online, there is simply no reason to remain stagnant. You should be monitoring, testing and optimizing ads based on the data for continuous improvement and optimal ROI. Again, that’s part of the beauty of the digital world.


Auditing Your Pay Per Click

For a comprehensive check, get a fresh set of eyes on your campaigns and any data reports you’ve been given. There are likely strategies and new options in PPC you may not even be aware of.

While Google Adwords is tactically easy to set up and start, the PPC strategy, targeting and retargeting, optimization, continuous improvement and ROI metrics behind a truly effective PPC campaign can get very complex.

For the PPC audits we conduct, we utilize our direct support with Google (one of the many benefits of being a Google-certified partner).

In fact, we have weekly PPC strategy and optimization sessions with our Google support analyst and accounts managers where they provide:

  • Recommendations on new campaigns or optimizing existing campaigns by looking at industry-specific trends, audiences, competitors and other valuable metrics they get from within Google.
  • Access to the latest PPC features and real-time knowledge on changes within Google and PPC.
  • And mostly, assurance that we are providing the highest level of PPC service to our clients. As a Google-certified partner, we must maintain our certifications and prove we are meeting standards and achieving optimal ROI for clients. Obviously, Google wants to see you succeed and so do we.

What Should I Expect in ROI with PPC?

In order to determine ROI, your PPC campaign should start with a strategic approach. Who is your audience or persona? What are their pain points? What are your competitors doing? Does it make sense to focus on brand awareness, conversions or retargeting?

From there, establish expectations and goals — and make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Bound) goals. With PPC, metrics can include a variety of factors, such as clicks and impressions, impression share, CTRs (click-thru rates), CPCs (cost per click), costs per conversion, etc.

Once you have strategy and goals aligned and in place, then you can determine what metrics you need to be able to calculate ROI.


5 Components to Improving ROI of PPC

After you’ve kicked off your PPC campaign, monitoring for continuous improvement and optimal ROI should begin. There is no reason to just launch it and leave it. Here are five components of PPC that can be adjusted to improve ROI.

1. Exact Match Keywords. These keywords are strategically selected and bid on so that Google or other search engines show your ad to the people who search these exact match keywords or close variants of the keywords. This limits the reach of your ad, but when done properly, the people who see it will be the most likely to click-thru, convert to a lead and buy your product or service as those were the exact words they were searching. 

2. Negative Keywords. These keywords are selected to prevent an ad from being shown to the wrong audience. For example, if you are advertising your memory care service at a senior living community, you may want “short-term memory loss” or “alcoholism” as negative keywords to avoid the wrong audience clicking your PPC ads and driving up costs with useless clicks. 

3. Quality Score. When using Google AdWords, you are given a Quality Score. The 1-10 score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages. Google wants to see ads succeed, therefore, higher quality ads get better ad position. It’s a Google metric showing you what is working and what is not so real-time adjustments can be made.

4. Targeting. PPC is most effective when you create multiple, targeted campaigns. Using just one ad to reach all audiences typically leads to poor ROI. You want the ad to appear to the right audience at the right time, just like any other marketing effort. There are multiple — and very complex — ways to create targeted campaigns and retargeting campaigns that are based on a person’s location, language, demographics, interest, device used when searching and even search history.

5. Strategic Landing Pages. They clicked the ad, now what? Where a PPC ad takes them is just as important as the ad itself. Effective PPC campaigns should be part of a digital marketing strategy and strategic landing pages, which could be a custom-built page just for an ad or a page already existing on your website but optimized for the ad. The key is ensuring this landing page has all the strategic elements to meet the goal of your PPC campaign.

There is no one-size-fits-all for a landing page. It depends on the product or service, your audience, competitors and more. However, the factors to evaluate when developing a PPC landing page should include:

  • Ad to landing page message match
  • Impactful headline
  • Supportive content (product benefits vs. sales lingo)
  • Trust symbols or testimonials
  • A clear call to action
  • Lead capturing form
  • Enticing images and design
  • Trackable metrics

And, just like the PPC ad itself, the landing page should be continually monitored and improved based on metrics. Landing pages also can be targeted to give a specific page to different users depending on which ad they click.


Get an ROI-Focused PPC Strategy

We are seeing it more and more each year: Marketing dollars are shifted from traditional ad spend to PPC and other digital tactics because that’s where their audience is and that’s where they can capture trackable ROI.

The most effective PPC campaigns use strategy, analysis and continued optimization. For us, it’s a no-brainer to put a plan in place that aligns strategy, goals and data so we can make the real-time advertising adjustments that are needed to gain optimal ROI.

Even for the nonprofit organizations we are helping manage their Google Adwords Grants and corresponding PPC campaigns, we are pushing a strategic approach that includes continuous improvement for optimal ROI.

Is PPC worth it for your organization? Define your strategy. Set your goals. Look at the data and metrics. Use the tools to optimize and make real-time changes. Let the ROI clearly tell you. Whatever you do, don’t just throw dollars at PPC and wonder if it’s working.


Marketing Essentials is proud to be a Google-certified partner


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