When you think of old school marketing, you think of print, television, billboards, and radio….but pay-per-click?  Now pay-per-click is not necessarily old school marketing in the sense that you are shouting your message out to everyone and anyone that will listen to it.  But the amount of competitors, advertising saturation, and return on investment is starting to seems a lot like the marketing of the past.  I will say that with a properly setup PPC campaign, you can see a sizable return, however at what point are you paying too much for someone to come to your site?

Here are some Average Cost-Per-Clicks pulled from the Google Traffic Estimator for some localized search terms:

  • Raleigh Web Design: $4.43 – $5.53
  • Houston Plumber: $5.45 – $6.81
  • San Diego Dentist: $8.85 – $13.28
  • Arizona Lawyer: $15.64 – $23.46

From my experiences with managing PPC campaigns the estimator tool is never accurate.  If you want to be competitive in PPC and actually have your ad show up within the top 6 advertisers you need to bid at least the higher range of what the tool suggests, plus usually another $1.00 – $4.00 (depending on the industry).  So I pose the question….does the amount spent on PPC advertising sound a lot like traditional advertising costs?

Now of course with PPC you can geo-target your audience, set up day-parting, bid on only relevant terms you want your ad to show up for, control your ad copy and destination link, etc…etc…  But the days of paying $.25 a click are over.  And that really was not that long ago.  Now imagine the PPC landscape in 2 years from now? 5 years from now? 10 years from now?

What Does That Mean For Advertisers

This is not to steer you away from running PPC campaigns.  It simply means that you need be smart with how you plan your strategy.  You need to spend more time refining campaigns, analyzing the data, creating targeted landing pages, and working on conversion rate optimization.

It also means that Search and Social Media will play that much more of a bigger role in overall marketing campaigns.  Getting involved in social outlets and creating valuable content is going to fuel marketing strategies at least for the years to come.

As for pay-per-click…that is a good question.

Where do you think Pay-Per-Click will be in the years to come?