Can you remember a time before the internet? South Africans might still be hampered by the high cost of data, but a significant 65%of us can access the internet every single day.
This is a great thing, as better internet access is a proven positive driver of GDP growth. It’s no wonder then that savvy local businesses have been steadily cranking up their efforts with marketing their businesses online, and competition will only get more intense as the current figure of 18.43 million local eCommerce users increases to 24.79 million in just four short years’ time.
If you’re a business thinking of heading into the fray, you’ll know that you have many tools at your disposal, including social media, SEO and of course, Pay Per Click Advertising.
When should you be using Pay Per Click Advertising – and why?
Why businesses love it
Pay Per Click Advertising is an established player in the digital marketing landscape and a popular type of paid search advertising, but what exactly does that mean? To summarise, it will direct traffic to your website or webpage when you place ads or product listings on search engine results pages, most commonly in Google, or on one of the thousands of websites that make up Google’s Display Network. The prominence and position of the advert is determined by the quality of the ad (as judged by a predefined set of criteria) as well as the Cost Per Click (or keyword competitiveness) of the ad in question.
What makes Pay Per Click Advertising unique (and attractive to businesses) is that you can set a budget for a campaign and only start incurring costs when someone clicks on it, giving you unprecedented control over what you spend. A credit card and Google account is all that’s needed to get a Pay Per Click Campaign successfully up and running on the most popular Pay Per Click Advertising platform, Google AdWords – which is also free to use.
On top of being relatively affordable, quick to implement and somewhat easy to set up, Pay Per Click Advertising works, and the wealth of trackable Analytics data it generates can prove this. Google estimates that businesses who use it make an average of $2 for every $1 spent, increasing their brand awareness by up to 80%and increasing the likelihood that the person clicking on the ad in question will complete their purchase in store.
When to use it, when to lose it
At a glance, Pay Per Click Advertising ticks all the right boxes as an all-around digital marketing winner. It’s quick, highly manageable and gets results. But does that mean it should be broadly used by all businesses? Not exactly. Like most types of digital marketing, Pay Per Click Advertising shines more in certain situations than others. To squeeze the most value out of it, you should work with its qualities and not against it.
The first thing you should take note of is that it will generate the best results for you as part of a hard, fast targeted marketing attack. For example, when you’re trying to clear old stock with a time limited sale, need your traffic to kick up a notch or just want to dominate a certain search result. One of the key features of PPC advertising is that it is extremely intent-based meaning that people are more likely to click on it when they’re ready to make a purchase. Keep that in mind.
What Pay Per Click Advertising isn’t necessarily great at is improving brand identity: it’s not intended to make your business look good. And as nice as the immediate ROI boost it provides is, it’s not sustainable in the long run. For your business to remain standing, people need to do more than buy what you’re selling. They need to have a reason to come back again and again (you can ensure this by giving them a wonderful customer experience and an awesome range of stock to choose from), and to form a connection with your offering.
For that, you need to build the value of your website (marketing strategies like boosting your website’s UX are invaluable here) and be seen as an authority in your field (something that expertly written and value-laden blogs on your website will ensure), and perhaps most importantly, you need to consistently be turning up in the appropriate search results (this will take time and can only be accomplished with the help of an effective and well run SEO campaign).
If you’re a new business or just new to digital marketing, Pay Per Click Advertising can certainly help you make a splash. But if you hope to be more than a flash in the pan, then you need to consider it as part of a broader digital marketing strategy with eyes on the horizon.