Business owners and digital marketing companies know that paid advertising can be an effective way to drive traffic to your website, boost brand visibility and sales. It speaks volumes about its potential to maximize ROI. Does the claim stack up for small businesses, too?
Let’s dive into the pros and cons of pay-per-click advertising and why small business owners should consider adopting this popular paid advertising strategy.
What is pay-per-click advertising?
How your small business can benefit from PPC advertising (Pros and Cons)
What is pay-per-click advertising?
Pay-per-click (PPC) is an online marketing option that lets business owners control ad spend budgets, when and where you want ads to show up, and which audiences and demographics you want to target.
It is primarily used on search engines, but also big e-commerce websites like Amazon and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
We will focus on Google PPC ads, but you can use the information presented on other platforms as well.
How your small business can benefit from PPC advertising
Let’s discuss the benefits and disadvantages of PPC.
Advantages of investing in PPC for your small business
1. PPC guarantees a spot at the top of search results
Organic traffic is great, but if you’re looking for quick results, you’re much better off choosing paid ads. Until you’ve developed your SEO strategy enough to gain significant traction organically and receive a high search engine ranking, PPC ads can keep your site at the top of Google’s SERP (search engine results page).
It takes lots of patience and dedication to grow an organic search engine presence. If you’re able to combine paid advertising with your SEO strategy, you can get excellent results, both long-term and short-term.
PPC is especially effective if your competitors are already dominating the top organic search results for your targeted keywords. In this case, PPC ads can provide a shortcut and put you right up there with the biggest names in the niche.
2. PCC is highly customizable
Having an extensive list of sophisticated customization options enables you to test different approaches for different fractions of your audience, giving PPC a considerable advantage over other channels, including organic social media marketing or email.
Small business owners can take advantage of these options to retarget leads and show the most appropriate type of ad, depending on their current stage within the funnel.
Pay-per-click advertising allows you to select the exact audience you’re looking to reach. You will also have the option to display a wide variety of different ads, including images and videos and use them in various stages of the buyer’s journey.
3. Increases click-through rate
In 2019, Backlinko analyzed over 5 million Google search results for their CTRs (click-through rates) and found that the best-ranked results get more than 30% of the clicks on Google, while second-page results receive a meagre 0.78% of the clicks.
Your business should show up at the top or near the top of the results to achieve the level of traffic you’re looking for. Going back to the first advantage we listed, a guaranteed top spot in the SERPs also ensures more clicks and provides an edge over your competitors.
4. Provides important data
The combined data you’ll receive from Google Analytics on your website’s performance and your PPC advertising results might be a bit overwhelming at first. There’s no such thing as too much data.
When it comes to traffic opportunities and impressions, SEO and PPC are a match made in heaven. From the standpoints of clicks, impressions, and conversions, you can gather a surprising amount of information from PPC advertising.
Since the future of service is digital, this also allows you to provide the best possible service to your customers.
PPC data keeps track of KPIs in your marketing campaign. You’ll know which ads perform well at which times of the day and which ads are most suited to which sections of your audience. All this data helps you refine your overall campaign until it is firing on all cylinders.
Some important considerations before investing in PPC advertising
At Clipchamp, we love a good comparison. Let’s take a look at the disadvantages of using PPC ads.
1. PPC can be costly
The way pay-per-click ads work is quite ingenious. Basically, payment is taken whenever a user clicks on your ad, hence the name. Business owners only pay when people click. If the campaign doesn't provide tangible results in terms of traffic, there’s no cost. That sounds like a win-win proposition.
However, there’s a difference between traffic and quality traffic. Payment is still taken for the click whether a user accidentally clicks the ad or decided to bounce back from the website immediately. If you’re paying for costly keywords and only receiving traffic from users who have no intention of buying your products, your ROI can quickly plummet.
2. Be on the lookout for negative keywords
When Google PPC ads are created, add all keywords so the ad can show up on the SERPs when those particular keywords are used in a search.
To avoid low-quality traffic, review ads and figure out which keywords your ad doesn’t need to be associated with.
Negative keywords enable you to exclude specific search terms from your pay-per-click campaign, meaning your ad won't appear as one of the results. This lets you focus your ad on the exact audience you’re looking to target, limit unwanted clicks, and, ultimately, save money.
Negative keywords aren’t a disadvantage per se; in fact, we’d call it an advantage in terms of customization. The reason we put it in the disadvantaged category is the fact that it is another aspect you’ll have to focus on and put extra time and effort into.
3. Competitive keywords will cost more
Like the first disadvantage, this is primarily a cost-related drawback. Namely, if your business is in a highly competitive niche, you’ll likely be fighting for the top SERP spot with a lot of other companies.
Depending on your competitor’s budgets, you’ll be forced to pay top dollar for the best keywords. To make matters worse, the cost could go up each month, as long as your competition is willing to pay more.
There’s always an option to step away from the bidding war on the most competitive keywords. But this means you won't show in the top spot, and your ad is likely to produce much less traffic. Somewhat defeating the purpose of the exercise.
If you find yourself bidding for the top spot in the SERPs, take some time to evaluate the expected ROI and whether focusing on some less competitive keywords may be the best option going forward.
So, is PCC still a worthy investment for business owners?
PCC is a handy tool for small business owners, as it’s highly customizable, guarantees your business a spot on the top of search results, increases user click-through rate, and provides valuable data.
All depending on your small business marketing budget, PCC can be a beneficial tool to add to your marketing strategy alongside your video ads.