Is Paid Advertising Worth it?

Is Paid Advertising Worth it?

The world of advertising has changed from simple outbound messages to a plethora of digital marketing devices. One of the most popular campaigns is paid advertising – but is it worth it? While it is a resounding yes from some, there are some pitfalls that can significantly lower your return on investment.

What is Paid Advertising?

Marketing Insights Company, Track Maven, defines paid advertising as follows: Paid advertising is any kind of advertising that you have to pay for, versus owned or earned advertising. In essence, they explain, the marketer pays the owner of the space for the use of that space. These paid ads can be seen displayed on web pages, and can be on the sides, the top or bottom of the page.

Obviously, the aim of paid advertising is to reach as many users as possible with the ads and therefore present the product or brand to the maximum number of potential customers. Therefore, sites which have more web traffic are more attractive to marketers. However, the more traffic a site has, the higher the cost will be to advertise there. An effective paid advertising strategy needs to strike the right balance between reaching as many users as possible and staying within budget.

Paid advertising encompasses several categories, which include pay-per-click (PPC) ads and pay-per-impression (PPI) ads.

  • In pay-per-click (PPC) ads, as the name suggests, the advertiser is charged every time a user clicks on the ad. This can be a good option for advertisers as you are only paying for those ads which generate engagement. 
  • With pay-per-impression (PPI) ads, on the other hand, the advertiser pays a fee every time a user receives an “impression” that is, the ad is shown on a page they are browsing.

Why is Paid Advertising Important in Marketing?

It is important to use all channels for advertising and while paid advertising costs more, there is a strong argument that it is a more efficient way to expose your company to a larger audience. They add that as there are different types of paid advertising, like PPC, PPI and display ads, this allows for greater customization of campaigns and also for the use of large social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Calculating Return on Investment

Marketing ROI analysis is fundamental to help answer this question. MROI (marketing return on investment) can help a company decide if it is worth spending their money on a specific campaign, like paid advertising. It also allows for a comparison to what competitors are doing and help holding the marketing department accountable.

Beware of the Keyword Pitfall

While paid advertising might be easy to get going, it is not that easy to understand how to optimise it leaving marketers at a risk of getting a much lower return on investment. It is essential to understand how Google’s AdWords work as you otherwise might end up with plenty of leads for things your business does not do.

AdWords is a great tool for finding keywords that can help you sell your products through paid advertising. However, this tool has its limitations: it can over-emphasize very broad keywords which are also more expensive and can be less expensive, while ignoring more niche keywords. Google AdWords focuses on “head” keywords, which are those with the highest traffic.

However, it is important to remember that traffic volumes are not the only factor to consider. Ultimately, you need to the keywords which your customers are most likely to search for. By using AdWords in conjunction with other tools you can identify more specific keywords which will deliver a better result at a lower cost. This will help you to identify long tail keywords which are more specific to the searches your customers will make when they are trying to find your product. Additionally, long tail keywords when added together actually make up the majority of search-driven traffic, even though they may not have the highest individual traffic volumes. Use online tools like Qualaroo and Ahrefs, as well as Google AdWords, to find out what your target audience are searching for and be as targeted as possible with your ads to deliver the best results.

It Brings Unprecedented Reach

Ultimately, brands who do not use paid advertising, especially on social media, will fall behind. The rise of big data and machine learning in recent years has created tools which allow businesses to easily identify, target and reach their audience. There are now a number of paid advertising platforms around which have been specifically designed to help businesses raise brand awareness, generate leads, grow website traffic, and, ultimately, meet their goals.

There are distinct advantages to using paid advertising including amplifying your business’ reach, enhancing targeting, boosting brand awareness, maximising content marketing, gaining access to mobile users and gathering market insights. Organic reach can be very effective, but many businesses struggle to take their reach beyond a certain point. It is not uncommon for companies to hit a ceiling when it comes to reaching new users and customers, and struggle to push beyond that.

One of the key advantages of paid ads is that they are guaranteed to appear in a user’s feed, giving you a direct window to drive leads and sales in the midst of a busy social media platform or site. This medium is also a very cost-effective way to boost the visibility of a brand especially on mobile devices.  Figures show that 80% of Instagram users follow at least one brand on the platform. Of these at least 30% have made a purchase based on something they saw on Instagram.

Mobile tablet advertising 600x498

Short Term Boost

Pay per click advertising can provide a very welcome short-term boost in sales and traffic to your website. There are some impressive stats to show that paid advertising works. Due to the large numbers of users on social media organic reach for businesses are down making paid advertising a better way to get fast results. If you are struggling to rank on the first page of Google (and intense SEO competition makes this a challenge for many businesses) than paid advertising lets you avoid the work, time and investment of in-depth SEO by placing ads for keywords which will bring in traffic and sales, though arguably not as much high-quality traffic as an intense SEO approach.

Comprehensive SEO strategies, when executed well, have been shown to deliver incredible results for organizations of all sizes, from small local businesses and start-ups to the world’s biggest brands. Such strategies, however, require an investment of time, knowledge and resources. Results do not come overnight, and involve research, analysis and comprehensive application of in-depth and involved tactics such as keyword optimization, content marketing and link building campaigns. At the end of the day, a strong digital marketing strategy should include a mix of tactics, as different techniques bring different results and serve different purposes. Ultimately, paid ads are a great way to bring a short term boost to your traffic, and drive sales within a limited time frame.

In-depth SEO strategies will attract more high-quality traffic over the long term. The ideal solution, especially for those with the resources, would be a combination of both approaches. Incorporating both as part of a well-planned, research-backed digital marketing strategy will bring more traffic, more customers and more sales for your business.

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