Understand Why PPC Doesn’t Always Work
While pay-per-click (PPC) advertising brings many benefits, it also carries a number of risks. Some of these are inherent to PPC advertising, while others are limited to specific PPC providers. Taken together, these risks could result in substantial and unnecessary costs for your business. While expert PPC management removes many of these risks, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the disadvantages of PPC before embarking on your own campaign.
Major PPC providers show advertisements on web pages where content is related to chosen trigger key words. This ‘contextual advertising’ sets PPC apart from conventional banner advertising and is a major attraction of the service. However, while semantic considerations are used to determine the theme of web sites, anomalous results are still produced when advertisers accept the default ‘broad match’ option. Broad matching can result in ads that are irrelevant to the intended search. For example, using the search term ‘C5’ when searching for a C5 envelope would also lead to ads for a Citroen C5 car. If the ad did not make it clear that it was selling a car, this broad match could lead to irrelevant clicks and wasted money. Until search engines develop their technology to better determine website relevance, advertisers need to take extra care that their ads are clearly written.
The advertising revenues of PPC providers have risen by over 20% per annum in recent years. This growth is down to an increase both in the number of advertisers and their level of advertising spend. Unfortunately, an increasing number of advertisers means an increase in both the bid price for individual key phrases and the actual click-through-cost (CTC). In order to ensure that your advert is placed above your competitors’, you will need to regularly increase your bid price. You are therefore paying extra without receiving any additional benefit and a successful PPC campaign can quickly find itself priced out of the market as bid inflation takes holds. In order to avoid this situation, advertisers must be able to respond to developments quickly and adapt their strategy accordingly, otherwise PPC advertising can become very expensive, very quickly.
Google AdWords and other PPC providers display advertisements on third party ‘content network’ sites through their PPC programs. While this means that your ad will be shown on relevant web pages, it also means that you’re vulnerable to ‘click-through fraud’ perpetrated by dishonest website owners. Because websites receive money for the amount of clicks that ads they host receive, there’s a possibility that some owners may maliciously click the adverts in an attempt to generate revenue. Google has taken measures to prevent this. However, both benefit from all clicks regardless of intention so it is difficult to determine how seriously they take the problem. Rigorous campaign monitoring is therefore essential if you are to detect and adequately respond to the problem of click-through fraud.
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