Pay per click advertising – is it right for your business website?

Pay per click advertisingPay Per Click advertising (PPC) has been around for quite a while now, and as more businesses compete for space online in the page rankings, it is perhaps something that needs to be considered. This article aims to help you understand what is Pay Per Click advertising, the pros and cons of PPC and whether it is a worthwhile advertising option for New Zealand businesses.

What is Pay Per Click advertising and how does it work?

Advertising online is commonplace. Enterprises that offer free content or free display space will be looking to make their money from paid ads. You see them when you visit news sites and other content rich sites that display trending articles, photos and video clips. When clicked using the mouse cursor or touch screen, the ad opens or navigates to a new webpage featuring what was advertised.

Pay Per Click advertising is one form of online advertising, and works exactly as it says; the advertiser will pay a set amount of money per click. The best pay per click ads will appear on pages with content that is relevant to the advertised business, its products or services. This makes sense as the more relevant the ad is to the person viewing the page content where it appears, the more likely they are to consider clicking on it to learn more.

The most common form of PPC is Google Adwords. These PPC ads appear on the search engine results pages (SERPs)when people use Google to find something online. For the purposes of simplicity, the following pros and cons are mainly based on Google Adwords.

Google Adwords is the preferred form of Pay Per Click Advertising worldwide for a number of reasons, the main one being that Google is the largest search engine in the world. Google has fine-tuned its search functions to provide the most relevant results to users, with over 200 ranking indicators to ensure the person searcher has the best choice of web pages presented first based on their search query.

Google Adwords Pros:

  • Instead of pinning your hopes of having your ad viewed on a single website, Google Adwords appear on the search engine results pages for the targeted key words or search phrase the ad is built on.
  • Google’s good reputation means people are less wary of clicking ads that feature on its search results pages than those that appear on a media site.
  • You only pay what you can afford. With Google Ads you can set caps for each month the campaign runs. Once the number of clicks reaches your set budget, the ad will stop running until the next month.
  •  Adword campaigns can be built using multiple key search phrases, so you can spread your advertising budget over a range of ads that will appear in different search results.
  • You can cancel an ad campaign at any time.
  • Google ads appear on the first page, above (and sometimes below) organic search results.
  • Google Ads are placed geographically – you are not competing with businesses in the USA or Europe.

Google Adwords Cons:

  •  Some more discerning consumers online will only click on organic searches, although recent studies suggest that many online users no longer differentiate between the ads and natural listings.
  • The more competition there is for a search term, the higher the cost per click.
  • There is no guarantee that your ad will be the first one to appear even if you are the highest bidder – the page content linked to the ad will also need to have a level of relevance to the targeted search phrase.
  • Costs can escalate. Lack of experience can make it easy to over-invest on too many variations of search terms that are too general or not aligned well with your target market.
  • Many companies who sell AdWords campaigns as a service don’t do a good job – this is especially true in New Zealand where customer awareness on how it works is low and easily exploited.

When is a Google Adwords campaign a good idea?

As with any advertising medium, there is no silver bullet for knowing which ones are the best advertising methods for your business. This takes trial and error, and making sure the advertising message is aligned with your business goals and your target market.

Google Adwords is worth considering when:

  1. Your business website is new and you want to boost its early rankings – this is best done in conjunction with a long-term SEO strategy.
  2. You are in a highly competitive industry –Google Ads appear first on the page in search results and Google Business listings appear second. Sometimes this means the first natural rankings will appear as low as 7th or 8th on the page, which is below the fold on a pc or laptop.
  3. You are running a multi-platform campaign and want your business to appear on as many different channels as possible to gain a higher spread of visibility. Even if you don’t get a lot of clicks on your ad, having a first page placement with your Google Ad will reinforce brand recognition and can improve engagement rates with other online activity.
  4. You have a limited budget for advertising but want sustained exposure over a longer time frame.
  5. The majority of your business is going to come from your website.

Is Pay Per Click a viable option for the New Zealand market?

This is a commonly asked question, and for a long time for many businesses the answer was ‘not really’. However, with more New Zealand companies promoting themselves online and more New Zealand consumers going online to research products and services, having a strong online presence is more important than ever.

Even those businesses who rely on word of mouth for their main source of business, how does a potential new customer find you 6 months down the track, long after they have lost your business card? They look on Google.
Craig Cochrane is a web designer with experience in Search Engine Optimisation and Google AdWords strategy management. For more information about Pay Per Click advertising or to discuss running a Google AdWords campaign for your business, go to: