I want to start by saying that the purests out there would quite rightly point out that this page is about Paid Search, not PPC. PPC is simply a payment method that can be used in multiple channels. That is absolutely true but the reasons I have titled this page PPC is because people still largely refer to it as this. Anyway, enough go justifying myself – onto the more important stuff.
Some people will tell you that paid search is there to fill in the gaps from your SEO performance. If you can be number one on a keyword then why would you also pay to be there? Makes sense right? Well, no. Why? Think about when you search. Do you always skip the ads and scroll straight down to the organic listings? To be fair a higher percentage of digital marketeers will do this than the general public so you are not a good sample for research but it is a fact that a good percentage of people don’t get as far as the organic terms. If you therefore choose not to run paid search because you’re number one on organic then you are effectively fourth, and probably behind three of you competitors.
Now perhaps that’s fine because your strategy is about a low blended cost per acquisition and you do not need or desire to take all the business from your competitors. You will still receive good volume and at a low cost. We know however that organic search is not stable. Just because you’re top today doesn’t mean you won’t be page 2 or 20 tomorrow. There are so many moving pieces that it is impossible to fully predict. Paid search gives you that comfort – for a cost of course.
How you build your campaigns, understand the ad rotation, geo-targeting, ad copy, best practise journeys, keyword management, big optimization and all of the many other complexities is of course key to success, as it constant and ongoing monitoring and analysis.
I discuss all of this in much more detail in my best-selling book – Digital Marketing Strategy: an integrated approach to online marketing. The second edition is out now.