Many business owners who are new to the world of online marketing often consider pay per click as their main channel of advertisement. As what is essentially the internet’s oldest form of direct marketing, PPC ads continue to be one of the most prevalent methods of inorganic link building. It certainly doesn’t hurt that every search engine website displays its own custom PPC ads on every SERP it shows. Although PPC usage remains constant across the web, the prominence of this popular marketing method is not even across all ad networks.

Recent reports indicate that paid search activity is up year after year yet still dwindling in some markets. According to an article from Search Engine Land, the first quarter of 2012 saw a 15% increase in PPC campaign activity for American companies. At the same time, Google’s cost-per-click rates have been following a downward trend that continues its decline from 2011. While Google’s CPCs are down another 5% from last year, the Yahoo-Bing adCenter network is up by nearly 20%. Google is quick to defend its low CPCs as not being indicative of the overall health of their company, but many SEO industry analysts are quick to claim otherwise.

The Cause of Google’s CPC Decline
Although the declining popularity of AdWords may make some business owners question their PPC relevance, the fact is there’s no concrete reason to doubt the effectiveness of a Google ad. Even though Microsoft continues to push its own search engine along with its advertising partnership with Yahoo, Google still remains at the top of its game when it comes to user activity – especially on mobile platforms. Some SEO experts have seen the company’s recent CPC decline as being a result of businesses trying to go where the competition isn’t.

adCenter, being a relatively newer PPC network than Google AdWords, has a greater draw to it due to the relative lack of market saturation. This isn’t to say that Bing’s PPC results will yield dramatically better results than those ads hosted on Google’s SERPs. Rather, the chance of securing better conversion rates when using adCenter is slightly higher for certain search terms. Of course, regardless of whatever network you go with for your PPC campaign, nothing beats having a strong keyword.

The Best Outcome with any Ad Network
If business owners want to run a pay per click campaign that gets the results they want, they need to implement excellent PPC behaviors instead of fretting over which network they should pick. In particular, there are a few choice guidelines to live by when it comes to solid cost-per-click campaign management.

  • Research your campaign keyword thoroughly. An excellent selected keyword is one that is not too broad so as to get overshadowed by other ads but also not needlessly specific either. Always consider using negative keywords to help narrow your focused campaign term for best results.
  • Determine the budget of your PPC campaign prior to getting involved with the keyword-bidding process. If you find that the search term you want to use is out of your reach, decide whether or not it’s worth it to simply select a term that is lower ranked.
  • Choose an appropriate platform for your PPC ads. As I mentioned before, Google AdWords carry more weight on mobile devices that Microsoft adCenter. If you feel that the good or service you provide would appeal more to a mobile market (ie. cell phone covers, rechargeable batteries), then choose what you feel your ad network based on that.

As always, I encourage our blog’s readers to reach out to us and contact us with any questions they may have regarding PPC ads. We have extensive resources regarding PPC management along with other various PPC services. I can also be emailed directly at jwersits@webimax.com.