5 Reasons PPC is Undisputed Champ of Internet Marketing

by Benin on September 13, 2010

Pay per click marketing

Internet marketing consists of several key elements. They can be summarized as follows:

  • Online PR and Social Media
  • Usability and Website architecture
  • Email Marketing
  • Organic or Natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Paid Search (PPC)
  • Online Branding and Internet Consumer Behavior
  • Web Analytics
  • Display Advertising
  • Affiliate Marketing

In the past when considering the scope of these tools I’ve operated under the premise that each of these tactics were created equal.  However, recently I came across an interesting statistic that indicates otherwise.  According to MagnaGlobal, a division of IPG’s Mediabrands the online advertising industry will reach $61 billion by the end of 2010.  The same study indicates that paid search will reach $29.8 billion or nearly half of the online marketing industry by the end of 2010.  These massive numbers serve to illustrate the sheer muscle that PPC wields in the online marketing industry.

My aim is to lay out the five reasons that paid search engine marketing remains continues to dominate online marketing spend in 2010 even against the backdrop of tremendous excitement over other online channels-such as social media.   So let’s begin!

  1. Immediate Results
  2. In the universe of online marketing there aren’t many tools that you can employ on day one and seriously expect to yield income from by day two.  Unless, of course, you’re talking about PPC- PPC allows for near immediate results.

    The alternatives to PPC often take long and sustained efforts before results begin to materialize.  One of the best things about generating quick results is that this often translates into generating a quicker return on marketing-spend.

  3. Marketers Can Target Intent
  4. Providing advertisers with a systematic method of accurately targeting their messages to audiences that actually want to buy what the marketer is selling represents a cataclysmic shift in marketing. Prior to PPC online marketing was essentially nothing more than a mirror image of the offline world where marketers were just throwing spaghetti or marketing spend at the wall and hoping that some of it stuck. The benefit of targeting user intent is that it allows you a greater chance of reaching motivated buyers as opposed to window shoppers.

  5. Pay for Performance
  6. Prior to PPC online marketers were only able to pay for exposure or activity.  This meant that regardless of whether even one consumer clicked through an ads to the marketer’s website the marketer still had to pay for the campaign.

    Giving marketers the ability to pay for performance has gone a long way towards increasing the popularity of search engine marketing.

  7. Convenience Factor
  8. Let’s face it search engines such as Google have gone out of their way to simplify the process of doing pay per click advertising.  With little over a $50 monthly budget, a set of keywords, and a basic landing page even the smallest of online advertisers has access to hassle free online marketing.

  9. Actionable Metrics
  10. For many brands the lure of actionable metrics alone is enough to draw them into using pay per click search engine ads.  Metrics such as the click through rate, conversion rate, cost per conversion, view through conversions, and etc. allow marketers to gauge the effectiveness of their messages.

    The richness of these metrics empowers marketers today’s online marketers with as much (or more) data as research firms had prior to the Internet era. This means that online marketers are single handedly able to make the most educated decisions possible.

Finally, let it be said that this article is not advocating that online marketers use PPC advertising in isolation. But rather it has been my observation that when combined with the other Internet marketing tactics PPC performs at its optimal levels.

Image Credit: Byron Shell

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Article by Benin Brown

Benin Brown is a recent Full Sail University Internet Marketing Master's Degree graduate who works in Atlanta, Ga as an eMarketer. When he's not working, spending time with his family or changing diapers you can find him blogging about how to build better mouse traps (website marketing) at www.beninbrown.com.

Benin has written 2 awesome articles for this blog.

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{ 43 comments }

Danny @ Tampa Homes September 13, 2010 at 12:54 pm

The thing I like about PPC marketing is the abilty to turn on and off your campaign at anytime. What other marketing can yo do that? Maybe your advertising budget is lower some months or you have a seasonal product or service with PPC you have total control when, where and how much you want to spend. Great article!

Benin September 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Hi Danny, you’re right PPC gives you pretty near full control over your spending. On a related note it also gives you control over your targeting. Both of those things are pretty huge, because as you’ve hinted at its one of the few online marketing channels where the marketer has so much control.

Thanks for the comment, Danny, I’m glad that you enjoyed it. Take care!

Alex Dumitru September 13, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Unfortunately there are a lot of clients who don’t want to listen to the marketer, which makes their job much harder.

Benin September 13, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Alex, yes, unfortunately that seems to be a fact of life in the marketing world. Marketing is definitely not a one dimensional playing field. I think that facing tough clients and sticking up for sound marketing principals even in the face of the most difficult clients makes for stronger marketers. Wouldn’t you agree?

Jun September 13, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I agree with Danny, and like him I like the control I have over the PPC campaigns.

Benin September 13, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Thanks Jun, I appreciate your comment. Certainly control is nice. Which is brings me to something I didnt get a chance to mention in the post. Its this…I’m sure you’ve probably heard pundits claiming that social media will bring about an end to PPC, right? I’ve heard that a lot too. But for precisely the reason that you and Danny mentioned PPC will continue to thrive.

I think the best way to use social media is to build awareness so that when your audience sees your PPC ads they recognize your name and are more likely to click. Otherwise, thanks again for your comment.

Jun September 13, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Each is a different ballgame. SEO, Social Media, PPC. The other one can’t kill the others, but instead compliment the others. Like what you have mentioned, you build a social media profile for brand awareness, do SEO for long term goals, yet you still do PPC for quicker results. When these three compliment each other, you will have a very successful SEM campaign.

Property Marbella September 14, 2010 at 12:39 am

Hi Benin,
What I can read here is that many of us are agree about PPC, full control over the spending, turn on and off the campaign at anytime and what I like most is that I can see which keyword give me best result and change all the time the key words.

Cheap Voip Calls September 14, 2010 at 4:30 am

i also one of the firm believer. Less time more exposure

Benin September 14, 2010 at 8:23 am

@Jun, I could not have said it better myself!
@Property Marbella, true…That’s a great point. Being able to change campaigns “on the fly”, as needed, is especially important too.

seobro September 14, 2010 at 9:50 am

SEO is great, but it takes for ever. PPC is fast and you are up in seven secs. Also, you can tailor your campaigns.

Benin September 14, 2010 at 11:09 am

Hi SEOBRO, very very valid. This is why using both in conjunction with one another works so well. Ideally, overtime-as organic SEO lifts traffic marketers should find themselves in a position to slowly pull in the reins on PPC spend.

evan schulte September 14, 2010 at 12:12 pm

I believe PPC campaigns do dominate the market due to the ability to target people directly and to turn it on and off when needed. But I think that SEO is more important. If you are able to optimize your site correctly everything else will fall into place.

Car Rental September 14, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Whether you are a publisher or advertiser, I think in both cases PPC is the better option. I have experienced it from both sides and I never like to pay per impression.

used tires September 14, 2010 at 5:18 pm

That’s a really funny cartoon! Hope that doesn’t really happen ;-) In regards to your post though Benin, I was interested in the overall money that advertisers spend online in a year, would be interesting to compare it to traditional advertising like Television, and how the money spent there differs from online advertising.

Till then,

Jean

Plumber Sydney September 14, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Im a fan of both PPC and SEO. For me both have their own beneftis and there is no real need to choose between the two.

Benin September 14, 2010 at 8:00 pm

@Evan. Thanks for the comment. I can see where you’re coming from on that based upon the fact that organic SEO results engender greater trust than PPC and also based upon the fact that organic gives you benefits long after you stop your SEO efforts; whereas with PPC the moment the campaign is off the traffic stops.

However, from the business standpoint -most businesses are into making sure bets or rather they prefer making their risks as calculated as possible. And even if organic can produce higher results over the long haul if you’re a small biz owner whose thinking about keeping the doors open today then you’ll go with the chance of an almost guaranteed smaller ROI-today. Its the case of the fast nickel beating the slow dime.

@Car Rental. Interesting that you mention that. There was a time when I dealt with pubs for a living and they all seemed to hate CPC. Perhaps times are changing-which is indeed a good thing.

Thanks for the comment.

Software Development Company September 14, 2010 at 11:47 pm

There are some good advantages of PPC like instant ranking, define targeted location, set up time of show ads, monitoring and more.. But ppc is expensive compare to organic seo.

Property Marbella September 15, 2010 at 12:26 am

Hi Benin,
The only negative with PPC is that everybody use Google keyword tool and Adwords to find the best and most popularly words (do they think) so everybody fighting with the same words to be at the top on the sponsor links wich cost more P/C (perfect for Google), when there are other program and trick to find cheap and very good keywords with high traffic.

Dan Lew September 15, 2010 at 12:39 am

PPC has it’s benefits juts like any other campaign but unfortunately the problem is the clicks are far too expensive for small businesses and it gets higher and higher per as bidders compete, not only that more and more small businesses start their online journey, so they have to compete with more experienced PPC account holders!

Like I have said before and I will say again, 90% of users will look at organic search results when searching, less then 10% will look at the right hand or sponsored results!

Organic SEO is where it’s at! Although I do not deny the fact that many businesses turn to PPC particularly in the beginning. eventually once they see the costs involved they move into organic SEO for the long term!

Tej Kohli September 15, 2010 at 1:08 am

Yeah all the points mentioned by Benin is right , besides that one more point I want to add that ” Company having no time to wait for website come into under 10 listing by doing the SEO “

Benin September 15, 2010 at 3:55 am

@ Used Tires. You’re right. That is a very funny ad. It’s actually a pretty big inside joke/rumor that you’d think would harm Google’s reputation but they just keep getting bigger anyway. Here is something for you…a annual TV advertising spend at 300b USD. Right now global Internet ad spend is approx 61 b USD. But it is expected to double by 2012.

@Software Dev. Great points. However, let me say that I work w. a small ecommerce biz and get pitched all of the time by organic SEO firms ad some of them are quite expensive. Some get up to 1000USD/hr but that I’ve heard from seem to avg around between 120/hr to 200/hr. Of course another factor is that there isn’t one standard way of pricing organic SEO campaigns. SOme firms charge by the hr, some charge on a performance basis (similar to affiliate mktg), some charge by the page (which can get really expensive if you’ve got a site with 1000′s of pages), and etc. I guess if you’re talking about handling it in house that’s a different story but then you’re coming up against the time value of money-which would suggest that the longer you wait for results the less those future earnings would be worth in today’s dollars or currency.

@Danny Very well said. You’re correct and the 90/10 rule is something that holds sway in a number of circles. However, I was attempting to explain why the PPC industry dwarfs the other online marketing tactics that make up the rest of the global Internet ad industry.

I like what Sydney said which is that there’s no real need to choose between the two. In the course of my typical day I’m constantly thinking about how to balance campaigns so that we’re not over relying upon any one tactic. However, I have to do that bearing in mind that at the end of the day immediate ROI is the thing that keeps me coming back.

@Property Marbella. Valid points. Here is something to consider…We all know that Google runs this things in the PPC universe. However, they’re not the only game in town. There’s the other large search engines (Bing and Microsoft Ad Center), there’s the independent networks such as super media, then there’s really small guys (comparatively speaking) such as 7search. As far as keyword tools there’s a lot of those too-I like SEMrush and keyword spy. But the point is that if you round out your PPC campaigns in the shape of a pyramid with the more established search engines forming the base of the pyramid and have the mid sized players and small guys on the way up you should be able to derive robust numbers. That of course assumes that you’re doing the other things right-such as testing your landing pages and etc.

used tires September 26, 2010 at 2:54 am

@Benin thank you for those numbers, I guess it is true that internet advertising is catching tv at a fast rate! I am a bit shocked thought I thought the gap would be closer.

Till then,

Jean

Auto Blog Samurai Review September 15, 2010 at 5:24 am

SEO needs time before you can see or view the result if you want to get a better reult yu should continue working for your site

UK Webmaster forum September 15, 2010 at 5:53 am

PPC campaign does add a great value to your business and services along with the Search Engine Optimization process, which make it undisputed champion on the internet marketing circle.

Vee Sweeney September 15, 2010 at 6:44 am

I agree that PPC should be integrated into online marketing, but with that being said, I feel it should only be a small part. The one thing that was not mentioned was Google slaps for Adword accounts. I’ve seen Adword accounts suspended with no notice for simply having a small opt in form on the website’s landing page. Google at free will can lower quality scores, making PPC more expensive or ban the ads all together. There is no fighting with them about it, so when it comes down to it, I actually think more marketers are starting to concentrate more on SEO and less on PPC tactics.

Benin September 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

@Auto Blog Samarai. True indeed. Thanks for your comment!

@UK Webmaster Forum. I agree. SEO and SEM go hand in hand. Add to that online pr, usability, email marketing, and analytics and you’ve got quite a combo!

@Vee. Interesting. I’ve never heard of that happening. However, now that you mentioned it I don’t doubt it. As a matter of fact, I think that’s Google across the board-not just with AdWords. In other words, their actions sometimes inadvertently harm SEO’s too. This is why I advocate using a multi-search engine/PPC platform strategy.

SEO Philippines September 15, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Each has its own pros and cons. Yes PPC maybe very expensive, but good SEO is not cheap either. A company maybe spending more on PPC for quicker results, yet if they hire a good SEO person, whether in-house or outsourced, they could be spending good money too.

In the end, it’s always ROI. Whether a company engages in PPC, or SEO, or social media marketing, it is always the bottom line that counts. And as mentioned by in some comments here, a combination is always the best way.

Dan Lew September 16, 2010 at 9:10 am

The other thing that came to mind from me is that if you can find longtail non competitive keyphrases that have high search volume PPC is a real winner, you can spend very little money on clicks and get a very good ROI!

Coming from an SEO guy :)

SEO Philippines September 18, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Good point there Dan. That’s the similarity between SEO and PPC. When you get to know the long-tails, you’re in business! :)

Benin September 16, 2010 at 11:03 am

@Dan. that’s what I’m talking about! Great point. Funny thing about it is I typically hear people say that PPC should focus on broad match terms and organic should focus on long tail. However, as you said when you as an advertiser see how expensive those broad terms can get it makes you re-consider that idea quick, fast and in a hurry!

What’s your perspective on the types of keywords businesses should target organically?

@SEO Phillipines. Great point. You mentioned something I hadnt addressed which is the fact that marketers have recently figured out how to squeeze ROI out of social media efforts. Is this one of your specialties? Just curious. Thanks for the comment too, by the way!

Car Rental September 16, 2010 at 12:46 pm

you have to have experience with PPC if you are in a highly competitive industry. I would say there is no match of SEO but still you need both of them to run a successful business.

SEO Philippines September 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm

@Benin, Let’s just say I work in an environment where ROI is the name of the game. I’m leading a team of lead generation specialists for a US company operating here in the Philippines. And although the #1 target is lead volume, end of the day it’s still ROI that the boss wants to see. And like the others who gave their comments here, we use the combination of PPC, SEO, and social media to get to the targets.

Benin September 18, 2010 at 9:41 am

Nice Point, SEO Philippines. Marketers should take ROI how they can get it. One point that wasnt mentioned in my piece is that some businesses lend themselves better to SEO or social media than others and in those instances they may experience stronger ROI outside of PPC.

SEO Philippines September 18, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Spot on Benin. Conversions differ from business to business. So it’s the SEO/PPC/Social Media guy’s duty to weigh the pro’s and con’s and whether to engage in just one area, or do the combination.

Benin September 18, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Well Said, SEO Philippines. In that respect whichever online marketing tool that fits the occasion has merit.

Michele September 17, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Very well put Benin! I’ve used PPC in the past and for my needs the benefits did not outweigh the costs. My ROI was very low and at the end of the day, putting good SEO practices in place and working my way up the Google ladder worked best.

However, I was selling low-end cost items…I expect the results may have been different if I were marketing high-end products and services.

I too still believe it can be a very important tactic in your marketing efforts especially since you are applying a very targeted strategy by using this method.

If you can factor in the advertising cost per sale into the equation then that would be the ideal situation. In this case it can definitely be a effective and powerful tactic.

Thanks for sharing the great article!

Benin September 18, 2010 at 9:46 am

Michele, very well said. By the way, not sure if you were already aware of this but I work in the same industry as your ecommerce site. And deal with selling very very low cost, but new merchandise online. I’ve been meaning to ask you how you drive targeted traffic and so forth but just havent had a chance yet. So at some point we should probably talk about that.

Thanks for commenting Michele. Take care!

smart metering September 20, 2010 at 2:16 am

The immediate result is the first and impressive reason for me to count PPC as a champ of internet marketing. PPC is little costly but its very effective as it is very good method of internet marketing.

Benin September 30, 2010 at 10:59 am

@Web Design LA. Very good point, they each have their form and purpose and its good to consider that.

@Smart Metering. Right, the immediate result matters a lot. Now of course, there are certain considerations. For instance, if you’re a start up company then gaining awareness might weigh heavier on your list of priorities then anything else. However, all other factors aside PPC is a web marketing powerhouse.

Michael Foy October 7, 2010 at 2:47 am

I have to agree with what has already been mentioned that PPC and SEO both have their own advantages. Online marketers just have to analyze which one is more suitable for their business. Thanks. :)

Benin October 7, 2010 at 11:11 am

Great point, Michael. It is always prudent for us to sit down and weigh the benefits of each. However, in many cases our findings will lead us to doing both.

Thanks for the comment, my friend!

Flex Developer September 20, 2011 at 3:28 am

The main drawback of PPC is that it does not scale. If the traffic to your site would happen to increase the cost relating to the increased would also increase. Your average cost per click would remain the same mind you but your overall cost will be higher. As a result you will find yourself at times paying more for the service than you are actually bringing in. But It has also one good ability to turn on and off your campaign at anytime.

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