Traffic vs. Conversions
(originally posted on the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Blog)

Over the past few years Google AdWords (also called Pay-Per-Click or PPC) has started getting a bad name because of the way some internet marketers and large media companies have misguided their customers.  If someone is running a PPC campaign for you and the primary success metric they track for you is “traffic”, then your campaign is doomed from the start.  The primary success metric you should be tracking is “conversions”.  That is a much more difficult result to achieve, which is why many don’t focus on it.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you look at PPC as an option for marketing your business online:

Landing Pages
When someone clicks on your PPC ad, you typically should not take them directly to your main website because it probably is not designed to receive traffic from a PPC ad.  Research shows that people who click on PPC ads are much more conversion-oriented, which means they are ready to make a purchase or complete an action.  So instead of taking people to your website, you should take them to a Landing Page that is specially designed to successfully convert visitors in some way that you can track: clicking a button to “Buy Now”; submitting information through a contact form; calling a phone # you can track internally; etc.

Ad Placement
Your PPC ad will appear higher than your competitors if you are willing to pay more Per-Click than they are.  The inherent problem with this model is if your competitors are running campaigns that aren’t optimized properly they may be artificially inflating the Cost-Per-Click for everyone competing for the same words and phrases.  Increasing your Quality Scores can help mitigate the impact of competing against poor campaigns.

Quality Scores
This is often something business owners are unaware of.  Google assigns Quality Scores to your PPC campaign based on the quality of your ads, the quality and substance of your Landing Pages, how long people are staying on your Landing Pages and whether or not they are converting.  If you have better Quality Scores than the other ads you are competing against, you will pay less than your competitors every time someone clicks on your ad—even though your ads are positioned above your competitors.

Return On Investment
If it costs you $5.00 every time someone clicks on your PPC ad, and you understand that average Conversion Rate for a PPC campaign is 10-15% (it varies from industry to industry) and you charge $15.00 for your product, you can quickly see the math doesn’t add up and a PPC campaign may not be the answer for you.  If your internet marketing team isn’t going through this exercise with you be prepared to spend a lot of money and not get any ROI.

It’s easy to throw a bunch of money at PPC and get traffic to your Landing Pages, but if that traffic isn’t targeted (i.e., they aren’t qualified leads) you are spending money attracting people to your Landing Pages who really aren’t interested in your product or service.  High traffic and no conversions means you are fighting an uphill battle.  Your business can’t afford to run a campaign this way.


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