Are You Spending Enough On Paid Search?

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

If you ever feel like you’re navigating in the dark through stormy waters when it comes to planning your pay per click (PPC) budget, you’re not alone. Hanapin Marketing released their 2014-2015 The State of Paid Search report, gathering data from hundreds of search marketing industry professionals and big wigs to get an idea of how marketers have been and plan on devising their PPC budgets, and the results show many respondents are at a standstill with such funds.

With constantly changing rates and ever-evolving platforms, PPC can be a confusing, yet integral part of your marketing budget. Knowing how much to allocate to this indispensable facet is a skill you must gather through time and observation.

Hanapin’s findings show that the amount of money budgeted for PPC will grow in 2015, as it has in years past, but this time at a decreased rate.

In 2014, marketing associates were throwing big bucks into pay per click campaigns, with 73 percent of those surveyed that year reporting that they planned on allocating more money to such strategies. This year, just 10 percent said they were going to increase PPC budgets. So, what led to this drastic change of heart for the world’s search marketers?

Should you follow the majority and keep PPC stagnant this year? Or, is it time to up the ante and budget for more pay per click campaigns? Let’s take a look at some major factors you should consider.

Picking The Right Platforms

From social media to the margins of Google, pay per click campaigns can take up root in many different platforms. As the number of usable PPC platforms grows in popularity, so too can PPC budgets. This increase of PPC platform opportunities, from Instagram to Pinterest to LinkedIn, may be a sign it’s time to boost your budgets accordingly in order to reach early adopters and make your mark before others do. Adding such new outlets to your tactics can be especially effective so long as they don’t take money away from already-successful campaigns on other platforms.

However, if your current campaigns aren’t yielding the kind of returns you dreamed of, simply shifting your budget, instead of pumping it up, may be your best move. Social networks are continuing to leverage their unique user data to ensure your ads reach your exact market. For example, Twitter is currently testing a feature that would allow users to directly buy items through the social network. With such advances on the horizon, new PPC platforms may prove more profitable than older options for some brands.

Tracking Traffic Changes

Monitoring the number of people who are actually clicking into your pay per click campaigns is crucial to determining how you should budget your money. Decreasing traffic patterns may be a sign it’s time to test out new PPC platforms that may be better suited for your audience. However, higher traffic doesn’t always equal a bigger payout. If traffic rates grow, but not conversion, it’s best to look into where that disconnect is occurring before investing more money.

Consider Your Competition

If you’re seeing stellar results, but are worried about your competition, increasing your PPC budget can be a great way to maintain your success. But don’t consider a larger PPC campaign to be your life jacket in an already-sinking ship. More money may not lead to success if your PPC efforts aren’t doing well to begin with. Instead, it may be better to research other PPC platforms.

Review Your CPC

Even if you’ve found your perfect PPC platform, where clicks and conversions are overflowing, increasing your PPC budget may not be your most profitable strategy if your cost-per-click (CPC) is busting through the roof of your dream platform. However, if your CPC is remaining steady or decreasing while your conversion rate is stable, investing more in PPC can have lucrative results.

Automation Errors

Opportunities for automating PPC campaigns, how much you’re spending and when are growing amongst various platforms. For instance, Google AdWords allows users to have their bids automatically increased by a chosen percentage when certain predetermined criteria are met. As wonderful as these tools are, they leave room for error when not properly monitored. If you choose to get involved with automated features, it may be wise to start using budget automation.

Start expanding your paid search platforms and generate incremental sales. To learn more, contact us to schedule a digital marketing optimization review.

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