Your Top PPC Questions Answered

Paid Media Advertising

You’re busy and you need some PPC help. Here are answers to your top PPC questions in ten minutes or less.

WARNING: These are brief answers written to simplify complex issues, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to PPC. I’m happy to chat with you and answer questions more specific to your business – just call or email me.

How long does it take for PPC to work?

Great question. We actually have a blog post dedicated to answering this.

You’ll likely see clicks and impressions right away if you’re spending enough and if there are enough people using your keywords to search. Generating positive ROI and actually getting valuable leads is the goal and the challenge, though, and that will take a little more time. We recommend giving yourself 3 months to thoroughly test, manage, and update the campaigns before you can fairly judge your PPC success.

Related: Is Your Digital Marketing Strategy Complete? Find Out Here [Digital Marketing Checklist]

What’s a good conversion rate?

I hate giving this answer, but it totally depends. You can do some Google searches for average conversion rates by industry, but those numbers aren’t very useful. It doesn’t account for your competition, your industry niche, your specific value proposition, etc.,all of which will change what “good” means for you. Again, it all comes down to your goals and budget.  

Here’s an example: you are marketing car repair services and you want people to fill out a form on your site to get in touch and schedule a repair. The “average conversion rate” for the auto industry, which you technically fall in, is 4.3%. So you run a bunch of car-related ads, and get a ton of forms submitted, but they’re all from people looking to buy a car from you. You now have a killer conversion rate, but the leads are worthless. So you overhaul your ads, trim everything way down, and now you only get a handful of forms – but they’re all quality leads and all turn into business. You now have a lower conversion rate but your leads are high quality and you’re generating positive ROI on your PPC. So it doesn’t really matter that you’re below the “industry average,” which didn’t really apply to you in the first place.

Conversion rate is important, and it’s good to have a goal to work toward with your PPC team, but it’s not an objective, stand-alone metric to measure overall success. This article from Unbounce has a lot of great info.

How much do I need to spend?

At a minimum, plan to invest between $1k-$2k/month for the first 90 days. You may find you can spend less and still see a positive return, but if you don’t spend enough right out of the gate you won’t be able to do accurate testing. The first 30-90 days in a new Google Ads account are filled with crucial daily tests and adjustments, and if you aren’t spending enough you won’t get a glimpse into the breadth of opportunity. You may also find you can spend a lot more and still get a positive ROI.

Monthly spend also depends on your goals; for example, a branding-focused campaign that’s heavy on display and remarketing requires less money than ads aimed at generating form completions on your website. In other words, when it comes to Google Ads, creating brand awareness is generally cheaper than driving on-site purchases and contact forms.

Why can’t you guarantee certain results?

There are too many variables beyond our control, and no one can guarantee certain results – be wary of anyone who says they can. We can guarantee clicks and traffic, but we can’t guarantee how much, at what cost, and clicks and traffic do not always mean qualified leads you can convert into sales.

Do people actually use Bing?

Yes! Roughly 24% of internet searches are done on Bing, though Bing claims it’s higher, and the largest search focus is on retail, finances, travel, and tech. There’s a big audience here and it may be a great fit for you, depending on your offerings and target demographics. When you do some searches for Bing demographic info (age, gender, etc. of who’s using it), take it all with a grain of salt; none of the data is totally accurate and everyone publishing it has some skin in the game one way or another. Bottom line, if you have the budget, it makes sense to try Bing out.

I did a bunch of searches – why didn’t my ad show up?

We don’t recommend this, and if you must, you should definitely use the ad preview tool so you don’t skew your own PPC data. There are many reasons you may not see your ad, and these are the most common:

  • you’re outside or excluded from the locations you’re targeting
  • you have a daily budget set and it’s already at its limit, so the ad won’t show again until tomorrow
  • your ad delivery settings limit it from showing every time
  • Google has a good algorithm – if you keep searching from the same IP address but don’t click on the ad, then Google stops showing it to you

Why do I need to run ads on my own brand?

The main reason is to dominate the search engine results page (SERP). You want to show up in a positive light as high up and as often as possible in the results. Anyone searching for your brand name is already part way down the funnel so it’s an easy win, and it’s usually one of the cheapest campaigns in your account.

Another big incentive: your competition may be bidding on your brand name as well.  Sometimes this is done intentionally as a tactic, and other times it’s unintentional. If the service you do is part of your brand name, your competitors’ ads could be showing up when someone searches for you. For example, if your company is “Salem Landscaping,” it’s likely competitors are bidding on your name without even realizing it.

Should I be running Yelp ads?

Nope, I would not recommend it for many reasons. If you want to know how strongly I feel, give me a call so we can chat offline! More prudent to not have a public record of it.

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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