Online advertising is a frenetic, digital minefield. Its ever-shifting nature makes it quite difficult to determine the correct approach and the appropriate arena to advertise within. Inside the tumultuous realm of online ads is the omnipresent pay-per-click (PPC) system. Pay-per-click ads are the ones you see on the sides and often at the top of search results as well as lining the tops, sides and bottoms of many websites and social networking platforms. While pay-per-click is not perfect, it can be very beneficial and cost-effective method to expand the reach of a small business. What follows are the pros and cons of PPC ad campaigns:

PROS

 

Affordability
The pay-per-click system of online advertising makes it easy to stay within the parameters of nearly every budget—as the name would suggest, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Limits can be placed on PPC ads so the amount one intends to spend on advertising can be pre-determined and will not be exceeded. This also enables small business owners to be able to dip their collective toes into the pay-per-click waters and see if it’s a beneficial allocation of their advertising dollars.

Reach
Let’s be honest, the reason why businesses have websites is to generate more business, but a website on its own is only a piece of the binary puzzle. Think of the website as the vital core of an online presence, and the job of everything else is to feed that core to help it expand. Pay-per-click advertising is an effective method of getting your website out there to be seen by a larger audience.

Customization
One of the biggest pros of PPC is its capability to pinpoint when and where an ad will be seen. This power of being able to tailor an ad’s visibility enables a business owner to be able to target an ideal set of areas that would appeal to the greatest total of potential customers. Every year, millions upon millions of dollars are wasted on ads that do not target the right audience and demographic, with pay-per-click there is far less capital wasted on misplaced ads.

CONS

 

Time
It often takes a fairly significant amount of time to see if a PPC campaign is going to be beneficial. Far too often business owners place a pay-per-click ad and do not see a direct upswing in revenue in the first month and end up removing the ad. To see if a pay-per-click campaign will generate more business if takes at least a three months.

Fraud & False Clicks
This is where things can get a little tricky. There have been cases in the past when businesses have been guilty of selling pay-per-click ads and then clicking on them themselves until the budget runs up. In addition to scams like these, a business owner has be mindful of the fact that a competitor could run up the click total on a rival’s website in order to drain their ad dollars and gain an advantage. While there is, essentially no way to fully guard oneself against either of these occurrences—especially competitor clicking—it helps to place PPC ads within trusted arenas such as Google or Yelp.

No Guarantees
Clicks do not necessarily always lead to $. The idea of paying for a click really means you’re paying because your ad was clicked on and your site was visited – you’re paying for visibility. It does not factor in purchases made or time spent on the site. Therefore, while clicks can generate capital, they are not directly tied to revenue gains.

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