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Has PPC Gotten a Bad Rap in Inbound Marketing?

By John McTigueJul 30, 2012

pay per clickIn a word, yes. Inbound marketing has many advantages over push marketing, most notably the tendency to build relationships over time with earned media, but the demise of paid search has been greatly overstated. In fact, PPC is alive and well, and businesses that ignore this channel are making a huge mistake. Here's the breakdown.

The folks at Wordstream put together a great infographic on the subject (see below). I love infographics, because the good ones boil down the essence of the argument and frame the discussion at a glance. In this case, research shows that PPC is still crushing organic search results for "high commercial intent" keyword phrases such as, "purchase inbound marketing services." When consumers are ready to buy, clearly they don't care that the most relevant search engine results are paid ones. To be clear, organic wins over PPC in the overall number of clicks, but for buy-cycle searches, the opposite applies.

has ppc gotten a bad rap in inbound marketing

Click here to view the enlarged infographic.

Here are some more eye-opening results:

  • Organic search results only occupy about 15% of the above-the-fold visibility on the average SERP—ads are crowding them out
  • Paid ads have become far more appealing in terms of visibility, design and content—leaders in the space are optimizing them for maximum click-throughs
  • Click-through rates on Google ads for high commercial intent keyword phrases are 600 times higher than those for equivalent Facebook ads
  • SEO/organic still wins the day for "informational" keywords and branded keywords, but leads generated from these keywords need additional lead nurturing
  • PPC wins in the "ready to buy" category—can your company afford to ignore these potential leads?
  • Google Adwords has become a very sophisticated tool, requiring expertise and experience to perform well—should you hire/outsource to experts?

Time to Get Back in the Game?

If you have abandoned PPC because you weren't getting the results you desired, it's time to rethink your strategy. Inbound marketing is a powerful cocktail of demand generation, content marketing and lead nurturing. By itself, inbound marketing helps you build a sustainable, growing sales funnel over time, but there is always an untapped element—targeted buyers who are ready to buy from you right now. Will those people find you through organic searches, blog subscriptions and the occasional social media update at just the right time to influence their impending decision? Done right, PPC can cover that base for you while driving more targeted leads in your direction faster than conventional inbound tactics. That's why when we hear clients say that they want to divert their SEM budget into more effective channels, it makes us pause. In most cases, it's not the effectiveness of PPC that's at fault, it's the way it's being used.

I'd love to hear from you. Is PPC staging a major come-back? Did it ever leave?

Infographic reproduced from Wordstream - thanks guys!

Photo: Search Engine People Blog





Spending Too Much Per Lead?

Additional Topics: paid media
The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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