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Pay-per-Click – Waste Not, Want Not

Pay-per-click advertising is, all too often, misused.  Businesses spend lots of money to drive ‘leads’ which ends up creating a lot of cherry picking by the sales team and a lot of missed opportunity just because the qualified buyer doesn’t have an immediate need to buy.

That’s why The Death of Pay per Click Advertising, written by Sookie Shuen, caught my eye over morning coffee.

Sookie starts off with some interesting stats – one of which comes from and it tells us that “…recent research has revealed that just 18% of SMEs using Google Adwords actually recoup their investment.”

Now, the closest I came to finding that research was here.

According to a recent survey we ran with YouGov, only 18% of SMEs who use Google Adwords can actually recoup the cost of their investment.  82% either don’t make enough sales to cover the cost of advertising or just don’t know.

First, I don’t thin PPC is dead and I do think it’s a good use of your cash – but, as Sookie wrote in her post, you have to be strategic.

And you have to do a better job of measuring and reporting campaign performance and account profitability.

Let’s focus on the reporting part for a minute…and here’s a typical example.  Last year, I performed a search and stumbled across your PPC campaign that was promoting your upcoming webinar and white paper.  So I registered and attended the webinar and downloaded the white paper thanks to your PPC campaign.

Over the past 12 months, I have visited your website, attended another webinar and called into your call center with a couple of questions.  Last month, I decided to give you a shot and, it just so happened, I received a “Save 20%” coupon in the mail that very same day.

So today I made my first purchase from your business, and I used that coupon.

When you run your reports, will my purchase show up for last year’s PPC campaign or last week’s coupon?  (Hint: For many, it will show up with the coupon.)

Which brings me back to the key point (I think) in Sookies’ post – when it comes to PPC, be strategic.  It’s not about a sales today, it’s about a lifetime’s worth of sales.  Some of your PPC leads will be like me – a qualified buyer that isn’t ready to make an immediate purchase so you need to focus on qualifying me and prioritizing me so that when I am ready to buy, you’re my choice.

Oh, and the process needs to be monitored to ensure your business turns a profit – which makes this quote all the more frightening.

What was most interesting in the survey we put together was that over half of businesses really didn’t have any idea if their online advertising was working or not. This indicates that these organisations are just spending money, not knowing if it is worthwhile or not.

Got questions about how to track campaign performance and account profitability?  Give me a call so we can discuss ways you can effectively measure promotional campaign performance.


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