Yesterday, I went over some of the best reasons to run short-term pay-per-click campaigns. Today, I'll be going over the reasons that long-term campaigns can be beneficial. While the reality is that most pay-per-click advertisers are already running long-term campaigns, many of them haven't really thought through what the purpose of their campaign is. If you are one of those advertisers, this article will hopefully give you something to think about.

As I explained yesterday, pay-per-click marketing isn't just about setting up a campaign and letting it go, it's about understanding the many ways that you can use PPC to your advantage and then launching the type of campaign that makes the most sense for your business. After all, if you're not even sure why you're running a campaign, how will you make sure that you are running it well?

Long Term Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

Long term pay-per-click campaigns are setup with no end date planned. Usually, they are set up either by a company that doesn't have the time or knowledge to put organic search marketing in place, though quite often they are setup to supplement organic search marketing efforts. They are designed to serve as an on-going source of sales or leads and tend to grow over time as new phrases are added.

Primary Search Marketing Effort

The easiest to understand, and most common use of long term pay-per-click campaigns is to drive ongoing sales and leads to a web site that is not using any other type of search engine marketing. These campaigns are designed to cover a wide range of keyword phrases and ideas and usually cover all related topics to the web site. While these types of campaigns are beneficial in driving more traffic to a site, they tend to be one of the most expensive forms of search marketing because they have no residual effects. They end as soon as you stop paying for them.

Competing on Highly Competitive Phrases

This type of campaign usually covers fewer words and phrases than ongoing sales campaigns, but still run with no planned end date. Campaigns are setup to fill in the gaps in an organic search campaign, often for phrases that a site simply isn't capable of ranking for organically. The danger of these campaigns is that highly competitive organic search terms send to drive flocks of advertisers to pay-per-click campaigns. This drives up the prices and lowers profit levels, leaving advertisers trying to scrape by with paper-thin margins. Unskilled PPC advertisers can find their wallets quickly drained as they are forced out of the market by competitors.

Creating a Balanced Search Presence

One of the most effective types of long term PPC campaigns are those that are run concurrently with a well executed organic search marketing campaign. These campaigns are often setup to fill the gap on competitive phrases that might be difficult to rank for organically, but often are also used to create a double presence on a search results page. Marketers that view PPC as a part of a larger search marketing effort tend to see stronger results for lower costs than those relying solely on one type of search marketing. Studies show that about 40% of searchers will click on a PPC ad and about 60% will click on an organic listing, so companies that create a balanced mix of both listings stand a better chance at getting their site in front of more customers.

PPC as a Branding Tool

While PPC campaigns have always been touted for their direct response nature, many within the search marketing field are starting to see the benefits of PPC as a branding tool. Studies show that more users are turning to search engines as navigational tools, meaning that they'll search for a brand name rather than guessing a URL. Companies that lack a presence in the PPC ads for their own products may be missing out on potential customers. Additionally, having your brand name ad show up for the right generic phrases is a great way to brand your business.

The beauty of PPC ads is that impressions are free. That means that rather than paying for impressions like a company would for a typical banner ad, they pay only for any actual visits. This sometimes means that advertisers pay less than a banner ad would cost while reaching a highly targeted audience.

So before you sit down to tackle the next expansion of your pay-per-click campaign, think about what goal you are trying to accomplish. Do you simply want to use pay-per-click to drive more sales to your site, or do you want to use it as part of an integrated online marketing effort. If so, figure out how PPC ties in with your other efforts and make sure that you budget and track accordingly.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
September 13, 2005

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > The Purpose of Pay-per-Click - Part Two: Long Term Campaigns