The Pros and Cons of Pay Per Click Advertising

In this post, I’m going to explain a few of the pros and cons of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, so you can get a better understanding and decide if it’s right for you.

Written by Phil 17 January 2018

Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) is one of the most popular ways to promote your business online.

It works for both offline and online businesses of any size, and, it can be very cost effective. However, if you're not familiar with it, it can seem a little intimidating, and that puts a lot of people off using it. 

So in this post, I’m going to explain a few of the pros and cons of PPC ads so you can get a better understanding and decide if it’s right for you.

In case you’re not yet familiar with PPC, I’ll briefly explain what it is.

  • Pay Per Click is an online advertising system, where you pay a set cost each time your ad is clicked. 
  • Google Adwords is the biggest and most popular PPC service, but most of the other search engines have PPC ads too. 
  • PPC ads will display right at the top of the search results.
  • The cost varies enormously depending on the competition and popularity of the keywords you use for your ad.

You’ll find more info on the basics of PPC in our other posts, but right now let’s focus on the main pros and cons.

The Pros of PPC

It’s laser targeted. This is really important and one of the main benefits of PPC ads.

Your ads are only ever seen by people who have searched using one of your keywords.

Your keywords are the words you choose to trigger your ad to be shown. They are simply search terms which people type into the search engines, to find what they’re looking for. 

For instance, if you’re a 'hairdresser in Nottingham', you could use that as one of your keywords for your ads. 

That's because your potential customers are more than likely to use search terms such as ‘Hairdresser in Nottingham’, ‘Best hairdresser in Nottingham’, ‘Late opening hairdresser in Nottingham’ when they are looking for your kind of business.

So if you used those three examples in your PPC campaign, your ad would only show when someone searches one of your phrases, and if they click your ad, then you pay for the click.

This all means you are only targeting your potential customers. 

With a newspaper ad, for instance, you pay for the size of the circulation area, even though the vast majority of people reading the newspaper are not currently looking for you. 

This means you are paying for everyone to see it, rather than only those with interest in what you’re offering. It’s not targeted, other than your ad being in the relevant section.

With PPC, however, you pay for each targeted click individually, NOT for the ad being shown to a set pool of people.

It’s cost-effective

Once again let’s use the newspaper example as a comparison.

For an average local paper, you’re going to pay £100+ for a small box ad per issue. If you’re advertising your local business with PPC, £100 could pay for 500 or even 1000 clicks, depending on competition.

The huge difference, however, is that with PPC you’re only paying for clicks from people who are interested in what you’re offering, remember. Whereas, with the £100+ newspaper ad, you pay for everyone and may only get a few new customers.

This makes your cost per customer very high in comparison to PPC. 

If your £100 newspaper ad gets you five new clients, that’s £20 each, which isn’t bad but can’t compare with the low cost of the pennies per click of PPC.

It’s FAST!

You can have targeted leads arriving at your website, or phoning your business within hours of placing your ads.

If you use ad ‘extensions’, you can add things like your business address and phone number straight into the ad. This makes it easy for people to call in or ring you immediately, sometimes without even clicking on your ad. 

Read our post on ad extensions here

You can also stop or pause your ads immediately. 

This is useful when you first run your ads, as you can run an ad for say 100 clicks and if you haven’t had a response, you can pause it and change the headline etc., to see if you get a better response.

You can’t do that with a newspaper ad.

Also, as it’s all done online, there are no set times or deadlines for placing ads, so if the mood strikes you at 3 am, go for it.

The Cons of PPC

You need to budget for testing your ads 

As with all advertising, you’re not always going to hit a home run on your first try.

You really need to assign a budget for testing your ads, before you see a real return. As mentioned in one of the previous points, the good thing is that with PPC you can test quickly and relatively cheaply.

Set up your first ad or ads, run them keeping a very close eye on your conversions and set a number of clicks before you pause, change and retest. This could be 50 or 100 clicks, for example, just to make sure enough of your clicks are turning into actual customers.

Depending on the number of people searching your keywords, this can be achieved in just a few days. 

It isn’t free 

Some people think that because with a little work they can get to the top of the search results with their actual website, they don’t need to pay to advertise on the same page.

If you can get one of the top listings, that’s great, but it’s just one way to get more customers. You need multiple sources, so if any of them stop working or dry up, you have alternatives. 

Free search engine listings take months or sometimes years to build, depending on the competition in your industry and your expertise in website optimisation. 

PPC, however, can yield results much faster and can bring you new customers, who are extra to the ones you get from free traffic.

So if paying for customers isn’t for you, and you only want free traffic to your site, then obviously PPC isn’t for you right now.

It can have a steep learning curve 

Setting up your first PPC campaign can be a little confusing if you’re not used to this kind of thing. 

You need to ensure all your settings are correct and you’re targeting correctly. You also need to get used to analysing your results and improving your ads as you go along.

However, all this is well worth it because once you get it right, you’ll have the perfect source of cost-effective leads.

Alternatively, you can join us at Adzooma and let us take care of the heavy lifting. 

Our software is designed specifically to take the stress out of using PPC, by helping you set up quickly and taking care of ad analysis to consistently improve your results.

A quick summary

PPC advertising is so popular because it works.

As long as you don’t expect home runs straight away and you’re willing to spend a little time learning, it can be the perfect lead generator.

Give yourself a small budget and take it slowly, testing as you go along and you’ll soon see results.

Once again, if this is something you feel is a little beyond your experience but still realise the benefits and want to try it, check out Adzooma, as it’s designed for you.