For years, paid advertising online was straightforward. You set a budget, started and AdWords campaign and started running ads. Sure there were lots of other steps involved – split testing, keyword research and conversion analytics – but it was all done in one place.
Today, things are changing. While Google still holds the PPC crown, there is an increasingly greater range of options out there to choose from when it comes to investing your monthly ad money. From alternate search engines like Bing (and by extension Yahoo!) to social media advertising opportunities on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you have to be smart about where and when you budget money for PPC spending.
Defining Your Goals and Target Audience
Everyone has different goals when it comes to advertising. Most are driving traffic to a website where they hope to convert prospects into customers. The best PPC advertising platform for ready-to-buy users is usually Google, though increasingly Bing is offering affordable alternatives in non-competitive niches (i.e. anything not related to weight loss, fitness, clothing, insurance or making money online).
But savvy marketers are not always advertising their products. A lot of them, and possibly you, are using PPC advertising to grow their audience and create new lists and develop new relationships with people who will one day become customers and evangelize on their behalf to boot.
This is where Google loses some of its clout. Google, as a search platform is second to none. People look for information on Google. They research products and reviews there. But they don’t connect with people, at least not yet. They do that with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even to some degree Yahoo! and Bing (both of which are better integrated with social media that Google). So, advertising your free report, a new webinar you are holding or a local meetup or event should be done on one of those platforms.
Balancing Your Ad Spend
Where many people get caught up is in balancing their budget across multiple campaigns. They see the “come buy my stuff” ads as different from the “sign up for my list” ads. In reality, these ads are part of the same basic formula, and one reason that Google needs to worry.
Buying something is becoming a secondary concern to many marketers. It’s great to make sales up front to justify your ad spend, but in the long term, the best way to ensure an effective marketing campaign is to recruit readers, viewers and evangelists who will work on behalf of your brand and static search PPC doesn’t do that very well. So, as you create your campaigns, aim for balance. Forget about ROI for a moment and instead focus on engagement and the future value of any single lead you generate and how it will ultimately affect your marketing campaigns. You might be surprised to see what comes out of your calculations.