The Reality of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC) | AdWords, DoubleClick, Bing

If you’re reading this there’s probably a good chance you’re either researching about Pay Per Click (PPC) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to try out by managing in house or using an online marketing or digital agency to manage your SEM campaign. You may be considering AdWords alongside a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Social Media Management (SMM) campaign. There’s also a good chance that you’ve read some great promotional marketing material or attended a seminar and have been impressed by what you can achieve with massive ROIs and the features and benefits of online advertising. In todays post, we’re going to debunk some of the the sales pitches with realities which you should know about. We are not discouraging PPC marketing by any means. If anything we encourage it because many businesses have seen success from platforms like AdWords, Bing and DoubleClick.  However, we have seen many who are sold a dream and go in expecting the goose that lays golden eggs.

Google AdWords - DigiHub360

The Sales Pitch for SEM Products like AdWords

These are the usual key selling points that businesses love to hear:

  • The reach of your ads (how many times your ads could be shown to potential customers)
  • Increased Website Traffic (usually with some impressive numbers of new and returning potential customers)
  • 24/7 Exposure where your ads can run all day long for maximum exposure
  • In market audiences where you can reach customers in your type of product and service
  • Remarketing to go after those who have visited your site before to keep you front of mind
  • Conversion tracking and being able to quantify your spend

All of these are definitely true! So you know all of this already and probably more from the research and asking around that you’ve already done. Why bother with this article? What drives us crazy at DigiHub is the sales pitch which isn’t substantiated with some form of reality setting unrealistic expectations for both the customer and the agency which can lead to frustrations from either side along the way.

Note this is a general article and everyones situation is different so we encourage you to jump on chat or drop us a message to find out more but here’s some of the most common pitches brought to reality:

AdWords Campaign Budget Limitations

Everyone has a budget to work with and we respect that but realistic expectations also need to be set. There are keywords which competition are willing to bid heavily on in advertising platforms like AdWords and Bing so be prepared to see some keywords cost some serious $$s. There are still keywords which are reasonably priced or cheap, but from experience it’s just human nature that one would look for the most searched keyword to bid on. These ‘popular’ keywords would usually attract competition and hence higher bids.

Lets look at a very simple example. If you wanted to ‘try’ with $500 for a month but one particular keyword costs you say $10 per click. Realistically, that’s 50 clicks a month or 1-2 clicks a day. How can one expect 10 phone calls a day or even a week especially if the environment is competitive? Not to say that you couldn’t get more than 50 clicks in a month for $500, but you get the idea. Apart from the big keywords, we would definitely recommend pushing for other keywords which may either be cheaper or likely lead to a conversion for you. This is what an AdWords management service is for rather than having to manage these campaigns yourself. Afterall,  like most businesses, your’e most likely already busy doing what you do best in your field of expertise.

Bing Advertising

Website Traffic from PPC

Just because someone visits your website doesn’t mean they will make an inquiry. Your website has to be relevant and inviting for someone to contact you. Even if you had the best website in the world, or one of the strongest brands in the world, you will not convert 100% of your website traffic into inquiry. That would just be living in utopia if that was the case.

We place a level of importance on the website too because it requires commitment from the business owner whether it’s their own time or even finances to bring a website either up to date or implement measures to improve campaign performance. We’ll give honest feedback and suggestions based on years of experience having watched this industry evolve as well as from experience through the campaign as it runs.

24/7 Exposure – Your Ads Can Run 24/7, 365 Days a Year!

This is very true but here’s what the sales pitch doesn’t tell you:

  • Just because your ad is scheduled to run 24/7 doesn’t mean that you will be seen every time someone searches or goes to a site that might be relevant to your website. What it does mean is that your ad can potentially be served any time of day. In fact, if your campaign is not properly optimized, you could end up simply wasting money with ads showing at times when they either wont convert for you or convert at times that are just not feasible for your business.
  • Someone like Google or Bing will try to best spread out when your ad is served over the period of time that you have set so if you’re set to 24/7, you may find it harder to see your ads as frequently as you wish. Scheduling your ads to appear within certain hours may make this exercise much more efficient.
  • You can schedule your ads to also display as often as possible. But, this could mean that your daily budget is clicked out first thing in the morning which obviously means that your ads will not be served up for the rest of the day

Conversion Tracking & Quantifying Spends

This is definitely a great feature of this type of advertising. Platforms like AdWords, Bing and DoubleClick have a plethora of information available when a campaign is running from how many times ads appear to the number of actual clicks. It can even determine when a conversion (an inquiry to you) has been made. This type of information is valuable when optimizing campaigns and to review campaign success. However, there are some elements that may not be tracked. For example, if someone called you at a phone number that isn’t call tracked or if someone sends you an email through their own email provider. Aside from that, the website owner needs to be aware that to best track for conversions, the website may need some work. Tracking codes need implementing and some user experience optimizing may be required.

Call tracking also comes in different forms and may have additional charges. It’s best to discuss with your marketing manager or agency whether this type of service is required.


As we mentioned earlier, PPC advertising is definitely something that we do encourage and promote. After all, it forms a main part of our service offering. Rather than selling someone a dream, we work with our customers to provide the best outcomes possible to the goals and budgets that we have to work with.  This promotes a healthy relationship which we can openly communicate and work together to get great results.

For more information about our PPC AdWords Services or if you want to see whether there’s opportunity for us to work together, contact us or jump on chat if we’re available. We’re happy to do a quick review of your account too before either of us commit to working together.

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