Saying people are "iffy" about PPC would be an understatement.
Depending on who you ask, PPC advertising either prints money for your business or is a complete waste of time and budget -- but it's really not that black and white.
In reality, there are several factors that can determine the success your company has with PPC, but one of the most important is whether or not it is right for your business to begin with.
Free Guide: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
What is PPC Advertising?
In case you're unfamiliar with it, PPC stands for pay-per-click and is a form of online advertising where you pay a set or bid amount for each time that someone clicks on your ad.
While social media networks offer it as well, most of the time when people talk about PPC advertising, they are referring to the ads on search engines, also known as paid search, which this article will focus on.
PPC advertising has benefited a wide range of businesses and it can work well for more businesses than not. There are some organizations, however, that PPC is better suited for and we're going to discuss those particular situations.
The Benefits of Using PPC Advertising
Before we get to which businesses can benefit most from PPC advertising, let's take a look at the primary benefits of it (aka the reasons any business would consider adding it to their marketing strategy.)
Entire books have been written on this subject, so we obviously can't cover them all, but we've found that these four are the most prominent benefits that PPC advertising has to offer.
Benefit #1: Immediate Traffic
It takes time for your company's website to start generating a healthy amount of organic traffic -- but most of us don't like to wait.
With the right keyword selection, PPC advertising allows you to start getting traffic to your website in minutes, instead of days.
If you've already built a great website and you have a quality product or service for sale that's positioned correctly for your buyer persona, the key ingredient you're missing is traffic and PPC advertising can solve that quickly, in most cases.
Benefit #2: Increased Visibility
On average, 71.33% of searches result in a page one organic click. Page two and three get only 5.59% of the clicks. On the first page alone, the first five results account for 67.60% of all the clicks. (Source)
81% of B2B purchase cycles start with web search and 90% of buyers say when they are ready to buy, “they’ll find you.” (Get more 2015 SEO stats here)
PPC advertising helps ensure that you'll be easily found when people are looking for what you offer. Because search engine PPC advertising relies on targeting keywords, you can put your money behind what the most sales-ready leads are searching and deliver an ad that is most relevant to what they're looking.
Benefit #4: The Power of Data
Traditional advertising methods offer very few options for measuring performance aside from predicted viewership, readership, etc.
PPC advertising, on the other hand, provides more data than you likely know what to do with. With PPC, there's never a question of where your campaign is performing well and where it is lacking, because you can track everything.
As long as you're using HubSpot or any other analytics software, you'll be able to follow the behavior of your prospects from the time they click your ad, all the way to becoming a customer (or not), and adjust your PPC strategy accordingly.
Which Businesses Should Use PPC Advertising
Frankly, everyone uses Google these days, so it's likely that every business will benefit from PPC in some way, but there are definitely characteristics that may lead to more success than others for certain businesses. Take these for example:
Type #1: Local Businesses
Local businesses caught on to the value of building SEO before many other businesses did. Even as recent as five years ago, a mediocre attempt at SEO was enough to get most local businesses top ranks on Google, but things have changed a lot since then and local SEO is one of the most competitive areas of marketing for big industries.
That's why so many local businesses rely on (and benefit from) PPC advertising until they start to rank organically.
The biggest reason that local businesses benefit from PPC advertising is that people searching for local businesses have a higher intent to purchase.
If someone searches computer repair in Google, it's hard to gauge their intent.
They may be looking for a service that does it or they might event want to learn how to repair their computer themselves. On the other hand, when someone searches computer repair Philadelphia, you can safely assume that they are looking for a computer repair business in that area.
Why does this matter?
In addition to keywords, PCC can target geographical areas. This makes it much easier to target people with the highest intent to purchase.
This is also important if your business only does business in a particular region. Set up a PCC campaign for your service area and you'll more likely to avoid wasting time on people who are out of scope.
Type #2: Businesses With a High Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
Other types of businesses that benefit from PPC advertising are those with high CLV. These are businesses where customers tend to make a lot of repeat purchases or prefer to stick with one brand over a long period of time like:
Doctors and other medical services
Service providers (cable, internet, cell phone, etc)
Since customers are lkely to stick to a brand once they find it, companies like these are more likely to see a positive ROI.
Type #3: Businesses With High Margins
Like those with high CLV, businesses with high margins also have an advantage with their PPC budget. Businesses with high margins see a higher ROI with lower conversion rates than businesses that operate on lower margins because they don't need as many sales to make a profit. This may include:
If you're doing PPC advertising on your own, you will likely make a few costly mistakes on your first campaign. However, a company with high margins might get all of their wasted money back on one purchase.
If people are looking for your product, PPC advertising can make it far easier for them to find, but keep in mind: your results with PPC advertising rely heavily on how well you optimize your campaign and your landing page.
Even if your organization falls into one of the categories mentioned above, you may not make a single sale if your campaign is setup completely incorrectly. It's important to do your research beforehand, or to hire an expert like IMPACT to manage your campaign for you, before you jump in.