Re-imagining the Function of PPC Campaigns

PPC is a relatively new advertising channel that came about amidst the rise in search engine usage. It represents a fantastic opportunity to capture consumers that are searching for terms directly relevant to the products or services that brands and companies have to offer. If you’re a company that sells fans, why not appear for the search term ‘fans’? If your brand offers state of the art laptops, why not appear for ‘laptops’?

PPC executives the world over would claim that they would not appear for these generic terms because they do not represent value for money. They’d argue that the conversion rates would not be high enough and that the associated costs would be too high for the revenue it is making on a last click basis. They’d be right, too. I mean, when was the last time you searched ‘laptop’ and casually clicked on an advert and bought it after a moments’ thought? Probably never. It goes without saying that that can look terrible for a PPC manager. They’re essentially costing their company or client money without making any sales. (Or so it seems!)

Does this mean we should take generic keywords and throw them on the scrap heap? Well, not necessarily. What ever happened to the value of brand recognition? Do we take outdoor advertising campaigns and bin them because customers don’t come in to store proclaiming the influence that they had on their purchase? Of course not. So why should it be any different online? Our argument is that the industry has become fixated on the bottom line because of its measurability. Don’t get us wrong – it is great that these metrics are measurable, but the fact that they are should take nothing away from the opportunity that PPC presents as a brand awareness tool.

It is time to re-imagine PPC. Go back to basics. Brands chand holding mobile phone during coffee breakan appear at the top of a tool which allows people to search for the products that you are selling. How fantastic? We know that the advertising is going to be more effectively targeted than other mediums already. Why wouldn’t brands want visibility to those starting their consumer journey?

KEY TIP: Communicate brand values on generic keywords in order to attract and engage consumers at the top of the funnel, and use strong CTAs on long-tail keywords and repeat visitors to convert consumers at the bottom of the funnel.

If a PPC ad gets a conversion on the last click, great. However, that should be regarded the tip of the iceberg. PPC should be considered a media option that raises brand awareness among the people that are interested in your products as well as a conversion optimisation tool. If a brand were to bid on ‘laptop’ and ‘laptops’, that’s north of 200k searches per month, according to Google. While that is going to cost a lot more than bidding on other, more long-tail keywords, just imagine the cost of getting 200,000 eye balls for a TV ad. (Bearing in mind that’s 200,000 eyeballs in the absence of the knowledge somebody sat eating their Saturday night curry that sees your ad is even interested in laptops in the slightest. Worse, they may have only just bought one, too!)

Bottom line? It is imperative to think about the role PPC could play in your business as a brand awareness tool in conjunction with other channels.