Paid search advertising is a great channel that should be included in your digital marketing mix. But like every other marketing channel, it requires strategic thought to produce results. A complaint I often hear from prospective clients is that paid search advertising doesn’t work. They’ve tried it in the past and it was just money down the drain. And depending on how you set up your account and the way you managed and optimized it, that could be very true.
What’s the reason for this? Well, paid search can be a difficult puzzle to understand, and for many that makes it intimidating. However, for larger companies who can afford to hire PPC experts, the puzzle seems a little less intimidating and they tend to have an easier time putting their trust into paid search. But what about the smaller companies that can’t afford that? Those companies still know they should have a PPC strategy in place, but that uncertainty holds them back. Well, Google is well aware of this feeling amongst small to mid-sized businesses, and they have begun to kindly offer their services to help out.
Many small and medium sized businesses venture into paid search advertising by building a PPC account using Google’s guided process. Shortly after setting up their account, if not even before, they get an email or phone call from Google’s fast growing AdWords department. The “account representatives” that contact you will not only offer to help, but completely build your account, campaigns, ad groups, ads, complete with keywords, bids, extensions, geotargeting – all of the fixings. How kind of them!
But don’t you dare let them. We sometimes forget that Google is also a business, and businesses need to make money. Paid search is Google’s main source of revenue. In just the first quarter of 2015, Google took in $17.3 billion in revenue, and $15.5 billion came from AdWords. It funds almost all of their other projects, Google Glass, driverless cars, etc., in their entirety and they want more. A lot more. But like most big companies, they give their biggest clients the best service, yet make the smallest margins on them (i.e., economy of scale). They offset that by targeting small and medium businesses, businesses who don’t really have a good grasp on how the cost-per-click (CPC) game actually works, and who can’t afford in-house or agency expertise, making them the biggest source of revenue at the best margins. If you fall into that category, here are five reasons why you should reconsider letting Google build your PPC account before you become one of those companies who believes paid search advertising is money down the drain.
1. Poor keyword research.
Google will use keywords for your account that have a lot of competition and a high average cost-per-click. So you will be paying a price for keywords that might not even be beneficial to your business.
2. Poor bid management.
Again, Google is a business that needs to make money. If you let them run your account, Google will place bids for their profit, not yours.
3. Poor money management.
When Google is in charge of your account, your budgets will cap in a matter of days and they will recommend that you just spend more (instead of what they should tell you to do).
4. Poor paid strategy.
Google will use the broadest reaching match types, which will match out to keywords that are not necessarily in your account. This means that you will end up paying for clicks from people who are not looking for your services.
5. Poor customer service.
Google does not treat small and large businesses the same. The account representatives assigned to small businesses are not the same account reps that the big companies get. And you can bet their training and pay aren’t either. The account reps for the smaller businesses are actually more like inside sales reps, their job is to help bring in more revenue and they have a quota of new accounts they have to bring in.
Paid search can be a level playing ground, where anybody can come compete, big dogs versus little; big budgets versus small. But you will not see results from PPC advertising without a solid strategy. If you are thinking of investing, you want to make sure you have a plan. If you enter the PPC ring without clear goals, a solid website, a fixed budget, a determined cost per acquisition, and a trained professional, you will most likely end up believing it doesn’t work.