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Take It or Leave It: Is Pay-Per-Click on its Way Out?

10/06/16, 9:10 AM
Alex Kastanas


Is Pay-Per-Click, once the darling of digital advertising, going the way of the Dodo Bird? Well, not quite. But it’s fair to say there’s a growing movement away from PPC advertising among online marketers as consumers grow wary and alternatives take shape.

Consumer perception is everything when it comes to ad buy-ins. Over the last few years, the average Internet searcher has become keenly aware of the difference between paid ads and organic search results, thanks in no small part to changes made by search giants designed to boost transparency. There’s a growing distrust in advertising as a whole, particularly among the coveted millennial demographic, and PPC is not immune.

Shocking exactly no one, studies show that consumers really, really don’t want to be intruded on by ads, and PPC ads, in particular, ring a bit clumsy. Brands are having success in 2016 with more targeted, opt-in advertising methods like newsletters and social media; it’s no wonder so many smart marketers are shifting advertising dollars away from expensive PPC campaigns to more holistic digital marketing plans.

And expensive PPC is. For many brands, particularly startups or small companies, going after important keywords using PPC is simply unaffordable, particularly when facing up against international conglomerates who receive special authority discounts from Google. The good news for brands who can’t afford to “pay to play?” Many of the leads that come through paid advertisements aren’t qualified, anyway, leading to wasted ad dollars and low conversion rates.

There’s a better way, and we’re seeing a shift. Smart brands are spending more time going after organic traffic, which tends to be more qualified and further along in the purchasing funnel. Leads from organic sources tend to stay on (well-designed) sites longer, and turn into more sales conversions. SEO campaigns, targeted brand content, and social media engagement are all cost-effective ways for companies to get exposure and gain consumer trust, both of which are difficult to do using a paid campaign alone.

So, is Pay-Per-Click going anywhere? Not likely. But should your digital marketing campaign throw all its resources at the medium? Absolutely not. Invest instead in more long-term, sustainable ways to build your brand online, and reap the rewards for years to come.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

Alex Kastanas

Alex Kastanas