PPC is an essential marketing tool for almost every online business but especially for retailers and eCommerce operation. However, while the basic concept of PPC is easy to get your head around, the finer details can be more challenging and running an account that delivers the required ROI trickier still. For firms without experience and the right skills in place, using PPC can quickly become a nightmare that doesn’t deliver the conversions required to make the exercise profitable

What does your budget actually cost?

The dark side of PPC is something that many businesses have faced – hours spent conducting keyword research, crafting ads, studying data only to find budget is being drained, traffic isn’t of a high quality and the orders just aren’t coming in. The sheer commercial power of Google means many businesses will keep plugging away at AdWords even without achieving the desired outcome. As a result, overspending is easy. Balancing the money spent on PPC with tangible results is vital. It’s not enough to know that you need to be easily findable on Google to have a hope of staying afloat – you also need to know that your marketing spend is justified and your resources invested wisely.

Draining resources

On top of the monetary cost of PPC is the time investment required. Effective PPC campaigns require a huge amount of time to create, run, optimise and analyse. Simply setting up a basic PPC ad is not enough to get the most out of an investment. Keyword position, campaign performance, bids and ads all need to be continuously monitored. Customer behaviour, conversions and attributions all need to be tracked. Targeting has to be continually refined and the cost of converting clicks into purchases religiously monitored and ideally, reduced.

Factor all of this time and effort and the cost of running a decent PPC campaign soon extends beyond the budget itself.

Seeing the light

Not all businesses are equipped with the right resources for PPC either. Even a firm with an existing in-house marketing department can find that they’re lacking the necessary skills, know-how and tools to build and manage an optimised PPC campaign.

The dark side of PPC can sap cash and other resources from a business. But there are ways to overcome the barriers.

  • Find the right talent – Having an experienced hand at the helm of your PPC campaign is vital. This is where dedicated agencies can help – it’s their business to have the right skills, understanding, tools and expertise to run crack campaigns. Looking outside of your own business can actually help to reduce overall costs, especially if your chosen agency has a commitment to meet targets.
  • Know your market – Retailers that find they’re frequently overspending on PPC just to generate clicks and not getting much in return should take a closer look at their target market. From narrowing the location of customers to using scheduling to turn off ads when clicks are less profitable, understanding customer search behaviour can have a big impact.
  • Track and respond – PPC isn’t a marketing method that can be set up and left alone – it needs to constantly be monitored, tested and optimised. Tracking how well campaigns are doing just isn’t enough.