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How to Tell if Google Ads are Worth the Investment

by | Feb 3, 2016 | PPC | 0 comments

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Are you thinking about using PPC as part of your marketing, but unsure if it’s going to be worth it?

I can guarantee you’re not alone.

In fact, as an inbound marketer (and former PPC consultant), this is something I get asked about all the time – usually from people who are either considering PPC for the first, second or fifth time, or who are currently using it and are worried they’re simply throwing money away.

Perhaps you’ve even been approached by an agency who want to try PPC as part of an overall marketing strategy.

Whatever stage you’re at in this struggle, it can be confusing to know where to turn for advice.

After all, you don’t want to waste money on expensive ad campaigns that aren’t going to work, and you need to know it’s worth the investment before you commit.

In this blog post, I’m going to try and help you determine whether PPC is going to be right for you.

Why is PPC still so popular?

In my experience, a lot of companies opt for PPC as it’s a relatively simple concept to get your head around – you pay a certain amount, set your budget, and you’re off! Google makes it sound so easy, so what could possibly go wrong?

It’s also possible to get stuck in a bit of a PPC rut – and it’s easy to see why. It’s a marketing technique which does get you SOME traffic and leads, although the results could probably be better. Some companies fall into this cycle for years, and stick to it because it’s what they know.

I also used to recommend PPC for companies who were just starting to adopt an inbound marketing approach, as it can help to generate more leads and sales in the first few difficult months – and it does work.

In fact, one of my clients was using PPC when he first came to Stargazer, so we took on his account, increased his conversion rate and sales, and managed to make it work. Many inbound agencies may offer to do this for you to help alleviate the fear while you’re waiting on solid results from inbound (which can take a few months).

However, since then I’ve changed my stance on this approach, because – and not everyone will tell you this – using PPC without the data to back it up will NOT guarantee you results.

When to use PPC

PPC can be tricky to get right – it’s not as simple as just setting a budget and watching the sales roll in. It can be risky and much less cost-effective than other marketing methods.

In my opinion, you should only really be using PPC if:

  1. You want to test the efficiency of your landing pages
  2. You already know it’s a good investment (more about that below)

Let’s discuss point 1. above.

Say you’d just set up some landing pages for your new or existing site, and wanted to speed up testing so that you could gather lots of data to help you optimise those pages. This is the ultimate time to use PPC to your advantage, as it’s a quick way to generate more traffic that you can then monitor and track.

There ARE some other reasons which MIGHT make PPC a good idea, which are featured in my blog ‘6 Reasons to Use PPC in an Inbound Marketing Strategy’.

What makes it a good investment?

So, you may be wondering how you’ll know when PPC is going to be worth your while – and don’t get me wrong, there’s still a chance it might be.

First, you need to make sure your landing pages or website pages are converting. After all, there’s no point in paying to send lots of traffic to a page, only for visitors to leave as soon as they get there.

You should ideally be working to optimise your pages for a 20% conversion rate. But that’s not all; you also need to work out how much your PPC is going to cost, vs how much you’re going to make in return. This is known as your ROI (return on investment).

Look at the figures and work out how much you can afford to pay – this is known as the cost per customer acquisition – to work out your maximum cost per click.

To make it easier to work out your cost per acquisition, I’ve put together the Ultimate PPC Guide.

If it truly looks like PPC is going to be worth your while, and your landing pages are optimised for conversions, then I’d wholeheartedly recommend you go for it.

Just remember, PPC shouldn’t be your only marketing technique – it works best as part of a more holistic approach, such as inbound marketing.

When NOT to use PPC

The the best advise I can give you is to never send traffic to a page when you don’t know your conversion rate, unless your testing a page and want to accelerate your results.

There are also plenty of other pitfalls to avoid when using PPC for the first time, such as using broad match keywords, and advertising to everyone in the world – but that’s a whole other blog post.

You can read more about these in my blog post ‘5 Ways Your PPC Budget is Heading Down the Drain’.

Conclusion

There are a few reasons you might want to try PPC, but the main ones are:

  1. You want to test the efficiency of your landing pages
  2. You already know it’s a good investment

If you’ve recently introduced new landing pages to your site, and want to know how well they are converting, PPC is a great way to speed up those results.

However, the only other time I’d say should genuinely use PPC without question is if your pages are already converting well and you’ve looked at the figures.

You need to work out how much you can afford to pay (cost per customer acquisition) before you can determine your maximum cost per click – and from that, your ROI.

Finally, never send traffic to a page when you don’t know your conversion rate – unless you’re purely testing it.

Have you ever tried PPC before? If so, why did you stop?

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