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Top 6 Misperceptions of PPC Marketing


The motivation for this post comes from years of hearing things about how to succeed with PPC Marketing. There are people who think a good PPC Marketer is all about passing the Adwords Professional Exams, and others who think that buying their way into Adwords and taking suggestions from Google is the way to go. I have to disagree completely with both of them. Understanding Paid Search best practices is one thing. But knowing and developing a strategy that is built for ongoing optimization and expansion is another. Below are my Top 6 Misperceptions: (hard to rank them)


Misperception #6: High Quality Score means a Good Campaign:
This sounds confusing, but this is absolutely not true. How many times have you see a High Quality Score rank for a term that has no conversions. How many times have you seen a very low Quality Score Rank for a term that possesses many conversions. This metric means nothing and should not be looked at with any concern. Furthermore, the algorithm behind this rank is very suspect and should be modified to be based on Conversions. Word of advice, STOP thinking about it.


Misperception #5: Good CTR% is Most Important Metric
Yes, a good CTR% is a sign that you have a good impressions vs. clicks ratio. But it does NOT mean SUCCESS. You could argue that a good CTR% is a sign of a good quality score and that is correct. But that doesn’t matter if you are not getting any conversions from it. Wouldn’t you rather have a lower CTR% and 10 Conversions, vs. a high CTR% and 1 conversion? Having both a high CTR% and many Conversions is the best of both worlds, but don’t rely on a good CTR% as a success. The only success is the sound of the cash register.


Misperception #4: Lots of Keywords and Negatives is a Good Thing
This one makes me crazy to no end. Having lots of keywords in a specific adgroup is a sign that it needs to be broken out into many other adgroups to improve on relevancy. If you have tons of Negative Terms, that is a sign that you are (1) not targeting the right audience or (2) not using the proper keyword matching options available to you. Just because you spent money on expensive keyword research tools does not mean you will make a return on that investment. In most cases, you will have 500 keywords running and at the end of the month, you might have like 10-20 that might actually perform well for you. Remember, you are trying to reach and identify potential customers, not everyone under the sun.


Misperception #3: Display/Content Network is a Waste
That may have been true 5 years ago, but not today. In a world of high competition and inflated CPCs, Google’s Display Network is “Prime Real Estate” right now for advertisers. Now it does NOT have the amazing targeting abilities such as LinkedIn and Facebook, but they do have the power of Remarketing as well as YouTube Targeting. Also, so Branding is making a comeback in PPC and is a must strategy that deserves a larger piece of the Ad Budget. The only downfall you may have with the Display Network is the person behind the Strategy and “day to day” management. Remember the days when your Content Network budget was consumed by a few Adult-Oriented or completely irrelevant sites which made you freak out and demonize the network? Well, perhaps it was a matter of Management and in today’s world it could be a potential goldmine for your business.


Misperception #2: It’s OK to Use PPC To Drive Traffic WITHOUT Conversion Tracking
Sorry to break it to you, but unless you just won the lottery and want to make a donation to provide more Filet Mignon’s and Italian Gelato to the Google Cafeteria Budget, I would never suggest to use PPC for just driving traffic and not monetizing anything. For every dollar you spend in PPC, Google has provided every advertiser with all of the tools needed to ensure that you know what is working and not working with your investment. Tip: Don’t be lazy, find someone to set this up. It’s worth it!


Misperception #1: Being Adwords Certified Means your an Expert:
Being Adwords Certified means only one thing. You have an idea on how to use the platform. Just because someone is Certified does not mean they can outsmart someone who is not Certified. This is probably one of the biggest issues in PPC today. Yes, the Certification provides some excellent best practices that are crucial to a successful campaign. I would rather hire someone with past experience than someone who just passed the exam. Here are just a few things that the Exam does not teach you:

  • How to come up with a Good Strategy
  • How to be Proactive and Reactive when it matters most
  • How to deal with Client Management
  • What to do when something goes wrong
  • How to understand true ROI and Atrribution
  • How to look at “Offline” influencers that affect PPC efforts
  • How to deal with Affiliate and Resellers who are invading the advertisers space
  • Shall I go on………..


In Conclusion:
Good PPC Marketing comes from experience, best practices and passion for doing the work. It also encompasses a strong dedication and loyalty to the client and/or company you are working for. Passing an Adwords Exam only show that you are either a Good Test Taker or you know how to use their platform. That is all it does. The key to success is how you use the platform and all of it’s bells and whistles to your client’s advantage.

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2 Responses to "Top 6 Misperceptions of PPC Marketing"

  1. Can’t agree more with you Greg. Experience should be the qualification in hiring a PPC manager. Certification is a plus if you already have the “good” experience though. And yes, at the end of the day, conversions matter most.

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