PPC: When Conversions Are Not Everything

If you’ve spent any time running a marketing campaign, you understand that there are different stages a potential customer will pass through on their way to becoming an actual customer. Each of these stages is carefully crafted to move a customer along their buyer’s journey. In some cases, the use of pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can be used in this process. Yet, a lot of people still only view PPC as a one stage marketing strategy where the only acceptable results are instant sales.

A Broader View of PPC

Google understands that PPC can be used to achieve any number of results. This is best exemplified by all the different bidding strategies Google allows users to select from. Google offers multiple bid strategies all geared to achieving one of three primary goals: site traffic, user action, and brand awareness.

For example, you can attempt to outbid others for the top ad spot in hopes that more people will visit your site. This traffic will almost certainly result in an increase in brand awareness. To do this you might select an automated bid strategy like “Maximize Clicks.”

However, if you just want to make sure people are seeing your ads and your brand is “getting out there” you might care more about impressions. Google offers impression focused bid strategies for this goal.

What does this all mean? Well, it simply means that Google knows that a business owner might want more than conversions from their paid search ads.

A Piece of the Puzzle

Keeping in mind everything I’ve said to this point, you can imagine my dismay when I encounter business owner after business owner that insist on measuring the success of a PPC campaign by conversations and nothing else.

If your SEO work is used to get people to your site, and your offers are used to get leads, then why not view PPC as a part of the same pie? Maybe PPC can be used to boost the traffic of a site that is currently going through an SEO overhaul. Or perhaps you can use PPC to get company news in front of readers in a fast and efficient way. All of these things are possible thanks to Google’s bidding strategies.

Keeping brand awareness in mind, PPC is an excellent way to announce a rebrand. In fact, I have a client that is currently preparing to rebrand, and I’m excited to use PPC to speed up the process for them.

Conversions Do Matter

Ok, so now that you’ve had a chance to consider all the ways PPC can be used to get results other than sales, I want to make sure it is clear that PPC is still a great way to get sales‚ or at least for some, it can be great. One of my favorite bidding strategies for actions/conversions is “Target CPA” or “Target Cost Per Acquisition.”

If you sell shoes and usually make a lot of sales per day, then PPC is only going to help increase daily sales. If you sell giant machines and a good year for you is 20 large sales then don’t expect PPC to result in triple your sales, but it would be reasonable to expect more site traffic, more leads, and an increase in sales over the course of a year.

A PPC Plan

Hopefully, you are starting to feel better informed and are ready to reevaluate any existing PPC goals you might have. This could mean shifting focus to use PPC as a way to get people to sign up for a drip email marketing campaign, or it might mean doubling down on trying to increase sales instantly. Ultimately, the approach is up to you, but if you feel you need help or this all feels like it might be too complicated, don’t despair. Contact us today, and let’s have a chat about your PPC goals.

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Jared Stanton joined the SMA team in April 2017. He has worn a lot of hats during his time at SMA but has found his permanent niche running the company’s paid-per-click advertising campaigns. PPC allows Jared to make data-driven decisions in the best interest of his clients.

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