7 Paid Search Marketing Myths – Busted!

Patrick Coyne
Patrick Coyne Director of Organic & Local Search

paid search marketingTo the uninitiated, the world of paid search marketing can seem like a strange and mysterious place. But we are the initiated! At Arc Intermedia, we’ve been able to help our clients devise, launch, and maintain successful paid search campaigns, so we certainly know a thing or two about how effective of a tool it can be. But often times when the idea of utilizing paid search marketing is first brought up to the client, it’s usually met with some trepidation. Most businesses think they have an idea of how paid search works (or in their opinion, doesn’t work), but the reality is that paid search advertising is an effective marketing utility that can deliver immediate results. Here’s our list of some of those common paid search misconceptions:

  1. “I Rank High in Organic Search Results, so I don’t need PPC”:

    Organic success is a huge achievement for any website, but SEO and PPC are so much more effective when working together. We all know it takes multiple mentions for a brand to resonate with a consumer. And by buying ad space for keywords you’re already ranking for organically, you’re getting another space on the search engine results page. Think of it another way- 53% of people click on the first organic search result. So even if you’ve got the top spot, you’re still missing out on nearly half of those potential customers. PPC helps you increase your odds of reaching that 47% that aren’t clicking on your organic link.

  2. “Nobody Clicks on Display Ads- Therefore they Don’t Work”:

    compared to other paid search marketing options, banner ads have a low click-through-rate. But that doesn’t mean they don’t work. The misconception here is that CTR is the best metric to measure success of a display ad. When the truth is that even when a click doesn’t happen, users are still influenced by display ads. Think of display and banner ads as similar to billboards and TV commercials. When you consider the amount of impressions you can receive at a minimal cost, display ads can be an effective piece of your digital marketing mix.

  3. “Re-targeting Ads are Only for Retail”:

    You’ve seen re-targeting ads before. You’re shopping on a website looking for new shoes, and suddenly you’re seeing ads for those very shoes across every site you visit. While it’s true that re-targeting is very effective for retail websites who are trying to get online window shoppers to come back and make a purchase, many industries are having a tremendous amount of success with re-targeting. In fact, retargeting ads used across several industries can boost ad response up to 400%.

  4. “With PPC You Can Just Set it & Forget it”:

    This couldn’t be further from the truth. The misconception seems to stem from the fact that initially setting up a campaign can be easy and quick. But if you’re not periodically checking in on your account and optimizing your keyword list, ad copy, landing page, and other elements, you could be missing out on traffic and conversions. Even if your campaign is already running well and is ROI positive, you should always be optimizing.

  5. “Conversions Are All that Matter”:

    Yes, conversions are what it’s all about, but it’s definitely not all that matters. And if your ad isn’t getting conversions immediately, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a failure. While the goal is to increase conversions, there are other metrics to tweak first. Does your ad have a high number of impressions but a low click-through-rate? Then your keyword list probably needs to be better targeted. Take a look at the big picture, not just conversions.

  6. “I need to Bid High Because My Ad Needs Top Placement to be Successful”:

    This is wrong for two different reasons. First, bidding high doesn’t guarantee top placement. In addition to your maximum bid, Google ranks ads based on quality score. The quality score is calculated based on your ad and your landing pages’ relevancy to the user’s search, and the quality of your ad copy. Second, the top spot is not always the one that gets the most conversions. After you’ve run your PPC campaign, take a look in analytics and see which spot is converting best. It could be the top spot, then again it could not be.

  7. “I Heard that PPC Helps You Rank Higher in Organic Search Results”:

    This paid search marketing myth has existed for just about as long as there has been PPC and SEO. To be clear – PPC has ZERO impact on your organic search rankings. With that being said, PPC and SEO work very well together – Particularly for brand new websites. Search engine optimization takes time before you start to see results. But Pay-Per-Click and Display advertising can generate immediate results. Try using PPC initially while you get your SEO campaign off the ground. And if all goes well, once you start ranking organically and your paid search campaign is turning a profit, both will work together to deliver better results.

Despite some of the misinformation out there, paid search marketing can be a very successful part of your marketing arsenal – So don’t be dismayed by the rumors!

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