Can there be disadvantages to PPC? Yes, there can.
With PPC or paid search, it is very easy to spend far too much money on poor results. And leading search engine platforms such as Google AdWords will help you to do this.
What is the main disadvantage of PPC?
Some PPC AdWords accounts waste a lot of money by producing no sales or leads. Many more waste money on poor quality leads or low-value sales.
This happens because not all accounts are actively managed. The AdWords bidding algorithms and suggestions encourage higher spending without ensuring this is actually beneficial. Many accounts are set up well, but over time they deteriorate, and the return on investment falls.
In theory, new smart bidding and conversion optimisation on platforms allows accounts to be run to “maximise conversion value” or ROAS (return on ad spend) – but this requires correct tracking and is unable to account for things like product returns. The algorithms also help bidding wars and tend to increase the total amount spent on paid search.
PPC is expensive
Paid search is expensive. Even if it is profitable, there may be more profitable ways of generating sales and leads. Content marketing or SEO will generally produce sales and leads at a lower cost.
On the other hand, PPC is both fast and responsive – and if you need leads or sales quickly to test a concept, then there is a big role for PPC.
New disadvantages of PPC
Recent developments mean platforms such as AdWords use AI-based technology to create the best ad copy based on a range of titles and descriptions. This means you have less control over the exact content that is shown. Companies with very strong brand guidelines may find this worrying.
It is worth checking that you are aware of how any ad copy will be used and which types of ad copy can be altered by the platform. A good agency should ensure your ad copy follows best practices as well as meeting brand guidelines.
The same applies to a very useful AdWords feature called “Structured snippets”. It is worth checking you are aware of how these are being used in your ad copy.
The disadvantage of paid search on other platforms
With paid search, the market leader is Google Ads, formerly called AdWords. Within the UK other paid search providers have minimal impact on most markets. Wasting management time on these other providers is not worth it for most businesses.
But paid social is different. As people learn they can obtain the information they are looking for on social platforms instead of search engines, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube will continue to take some of the market share from search engines such as Google.
Focusing on Google Ads, (conventional PPC), at the expense of boosted social media posts and paid ads on social will limit the marketing opportunities for many businesses.
There are many potential disadvantages with PPC, mostly around money being wasted.
However, it is easy to record and measure value from PPC, so 100% of Google Ads accounts should be running profitably, and their relative value known compared to paid social media advertising.
For a review of your existing PPC account or a discussion on how you can ensure you are using PPC profitably, call ExtraDigital on +44(0)1227 68 68 98 or contact us today (form or link).