The question of ‘Why should a company do both PPC and SEO?’ has been answered many times by experts from both specialties with the recurrent argument that while SEO takes time, PPC can achieve results almost immediately.
But what happens if you change the question to “Why should a company do PPC and SEO in the long term?”
A tiny difference that suddenly raise doubts; “Isn’t PPC just supposed to bring me leads while I am waiting for my SEO to perform well?”
The answer is, although it is perfectly okay to use PPC to this extent, it is absolutely not its only purpose.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of reasons to keep going with PPC even though your SEO strategy is at its best:
1/ Be number 1, every time
PPC campaigns can hugely aid in the growth of your business’s online presence, helping your website dominate search engine results and allowing your digital strategy to go beyond an intrinsic focus on organic rankings.
Your SEO strategy may have produced some excellent results, perhaps acquiring the first position on Google for the priority keywords you are optimising for. As a result, some of your competitors are likely going to invest in PPC campaigns in order to win themselves a position in the search results. Some of them might even decide to bid on your brand name and their ads will appear at the top of the search results page (when users are actually looking for you). Many website owners aren’t aware of the impact that this may have on their website traffic and thus potential conversions.
Take this study conducted by Google highlighting this notion:
After analysing the cases of 390 different businesses Google concluded that, on average, 89% of ad clicks are incremental (meaning that organic rankings will cover only 11% of clicks the websites would have received from PPC). Even with the top rank in organic search results, Google estimated that 50% of the ad clicks were still incremental. In other words, if you are the only company in your business field and you don’t have any competitors who could bid on the same keywords as you, neither any reseller that could bid on your brand name, you can afford to not do PPC. If you are not in that situation, you may want to reconsider before pausing your campaign.
2/ Flexibility & Adaptability
It’s not a secret that SEO takes time. Everyone who has dabbled with SEO knows this fact which is often the reason why they agreed to do PPC in the first place. But while PPC is useful if you are not ready to wait months to see your website receiving traffic, there are also plenty of reasons why you might need to regularly adapt the keywords you are targeting (via PPC). Take the following examples:
- Seasonal businesses, for example brands selling swimsuits and snow equipment, or even companies providing air conditioners,
- Fashion businesses who need to change all their communication every season,
- News businesses that must be able to relate any important event as quickly as possible,
- Every brand giving, at some point or another, some special offers or promotional events,
- Sportive, cultural, musical and entertainment event organisers and tickets sellers,
- Companies evolving in a changing environment as technology or new media,
- Firms keen to do rebranding in order to improve or modernise their brand image,
- Any business that wants to be ready to bring a quick answer to any competitors’ innovation.
- Did you just say “everyone”? Yes, pretty much… everyone needs to be flexible.
3/ Targeting and Segmentation
Targeting is the bread and butter for all traditional media and has proven itself useful since the early stages of advertising. Therefore, I don’t see any good reason not to use it in your digital strategy. Let’s take some illustrative examples:
- Ad scheduling – If your company provides services only from Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm and if you are only interested in leads generated in these working hours, you may want your ads to stop showing during evenings and weekends, so you don’t spend your budget for clicks that are not converting.
- Demographic Targeting – If you are selling upmarket cars, you will probably decide that you want to target people above a certain age only, in a bid to target only people who really think about buying those cars (and not the teenagers just looking for a nice picture).
- Geographic Targeting – If you are a homebuilder covering the Sunshine Coast only, you will most certainly want to design your ads to show in this precise location, as there is no point in showing the ads to users who won’t be able to benefit from your services anyway.
- Device Targeting – If a few weeks after the launch of your campaign you analyse your data and discover that users coming from mobile have a better conversion rate than users from computers, you can also decide to increase the bid on mobile and therefore attempt to attract more mobile traffic.
- Re-Targeting – Re-targeting allows you to serve ads to specific audience lists built from people who have previously visited your website and therefore to recapture their attention, which is extremely valuable for any company selling products or services with a long purchase process. With the almost infinite number of information sources available for free on the Internet, many customers are looking for the best offer through various websites before purchasing or even submitting a request. Being able to reach, through customised display ads, customers who visited your website a few days or few weeks ago along their buying process is a wonderful way to remind them of your services and, possibly, to win their business over the competition.
- Segmented ad messages – PPC also allows you to avoid the headache of expressing all you would like to say about your brand in just one short sentence. Imagine for a second that you are a jewellery brand with a very large range of products; you may want to be able to write an ad message about the affordable prices for users researching keywords like “fantasy earrings” and another about high quality and timeless elegance for users researching for “gold necklaces”. Adapting your ad messages to the each target is a must do in order to improve your campaigns results and the users’ engagement.
4/ Multi device media consumption
People have been using multiple devices for years now, but the trend is still growing every year. More and more people are using several devices at the same time, encouraging companies to quit the siloed approach and to consider how mixing their media channels can offer a much better experience to users and, eventually, better results for their business. A Nielsen study conducted in 2012 revealed that 41% of tablet owners declared using it at least once a day while watching TV and another study from Econsultancy found that 47% of owners were likely to use their tablets to start an action in response to what they just saw on TV. As these insights were from 2012, it is more than likely that the numbers are now even higher. So, being able to use PPC to target timeframes related to your other media campaigns could be a very interesting path to explore. Or, if you don’t have the budget for a TV campaign but you hear about a TV show on a topic related to your industry, you might want to try and benefit from it.
This is only a quick overview of some of the reasons why using PPC on a long term basis is desirable for many companies and I am sure you can find many more related to your personal case (please don’t hesitate to share your ideas by writing a comment below). Remember, PPC is more than quick results, it is an integral part of your marketing mix!