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PPC Case Studies: Have They Really Lost Their Mojo?

When a prospect wants to research a search marketing firm, usually they would visit the website and take a look at their case studies of current or existing clients. However, even though the "art of the case study" has seemed to lose MoJo and/or purpose, All PPC gurus must ask themselves the following: Do they have the "influence power" as they once did in the recent past? Is word of mouth from colleagues more powerful? Or has the bad economy and increased competition become so great, that the final decision is made over the phone or a visit to their offices with PowerPoint presentation guaranteeing a projected (Oxy-moronic)  ROI or ROAS. Oh yeah, can't forget the Free buffet lunch.

Let's discuss….

Why PPC Case Studies Are Losing Their MoJo:

Now, as this is solely my opinion on the matter, I feel that building a reputation through a case study has become less of a persuasive tactic while "cold hard over-selling" of agencies, consultants and PPC wanna-be's who can promise 10000% ROI's and profitability above and beyond their wildest dreams.

However, I find this very ironic considering the enormous "Turn Over" rate where even in my own experience, have seen companies every few years switch from agency to agency in order to try and find the best service for the lowest price.

Many companies are faced with the following PPC Pricing Matrices:

  • Percentage of spend (almost guaranteed to be "NON-Quality Score" Friendly.
  • Percentage of Revenue (very popular, but complex and "super-accurate" web analytics must be fully tested.
  • Percentage of Leads (popular, but again complex, needs web analytics and agreements on what is considered a qualified lead.
  • Flat monthly Fee, regardless of monthly spend.

The Art of a PPC Case Study:
Even though there is a debate going on whether Paid Search is an Art or a Science, the PPC case study, even though results may be from science tactics, is 100% Art when it comes to the finished product. Why? it acts as your very own creative license on the following:

  • How you view what is important
  • How you want your company to be viewed
  • How you want you clients or prospects to be represented.

What's Important in a PPC Case Study:

There are many versions of Case studies out there on the web, but making it as simple to read, understand and interpret is the key to a good PPC Case Study. Even if the Case Study does not make an impact on the prospects decision to hire the agency, it at the very least is attractive marketing material. The only problem with case studies is that they sometimes do not have a "long shelf life" and a case study from last year may be seen as obsolete in today's standards.

Here are some important elements of a PPC Case Study

  • Making sure your client's KPIs are clearly stated
  • Understanding of what the client does (Industry, services…)
  • Use of percentages and not specific numbers are displayed.
  • Clear Goals/Objectives of the PPC efforts
  • Precise date ranges that reflect the results
  • Accurately represented tactics and strategies which enabled the successes
  • An honest testimonial from the client (this should be prominent on Case Study)
  • Any other customization or successes based on client.

In Conclusion:
Case Studies are still very important and a viable marketing technique. They represent all of the hard work PPC gurus have done to make their clients successful. However, the economic climate along with a saturated industry filled with "so-called" experts who are selling themselves as "too good to be true" make the value of the Case Study not as significant as it once was. (Even though I can see the opposite happening with "too much crap out there, where a real, truthful testimonial is more reliable". 

Perhaps, Case Studies will re-invent itself as a more of a successful time line of change and how the PPC agency/Guru has evolved with the industry. What can be more impressive than an PPC Professional who has many success stories under many different economic climates and technological advancements. So maybe the MoJo is not entirely lost, it just needs to re-invent itself.

Filed under: Paid Search in General

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