The bane of television, the internet and any blank surface in a high traffic area.
You’ve been taught to hate them. You’ve been led to believe that behind every ad is a sinister marketer hell-bent on selling you something you don’t need. You mute the television during commercials. You may have even paid money for a TiVo just so you could skip commercials. You ignore ads on the internet so well we had to come up with the name “banner blindness” to adequately describe it. But is this prejudice justified?
Why I Click PPC Ads
For starters, a little clarification on what PPC means. PPC is short for pay-per-click, meaning that an advertiser pays only when someone clicks their ad. Google makes billions of dollars from PPC ads. You see them on virtually every Search Engine Results Page (SERP). There are two key things to remember about PPC ads:
- Someone (company, individual, etc.) pays every time an ad is clicked
- That same someone is trying to make a profit
With these two things in mind, here is why I click PPC ads:
I Get What I Want Faster
Let’s say you’re a small business with a new website and you want to add a Verisign seal to show your customers that your site is secure. If you search “verisign certificate” you might see results like these:
Clicking on the first paid results takes me to https://www.verisign.com/ts-sem-page, a custom landing page for paid traffic (this assumption is based on the “sem” in the destination URL). This page has simplified content that is more benefit-oriented and has very clear CTAs on the right side of the page, including a free trial. I’m not overloaded with tons of options. With one click I can get a free trial. Benefits are clearly presented. I can quickly get what I want and get on with my life.
Clicking on the first organic result (which is still a verisign.com page notice) takes me to http://www.verisign.com/ssl/buy-ssl-certificates/, the SSL Certificates product page. This page has lots of options, but the copy is more feature oriented, not benefit oriented. I’m on their site, but now I have to decide which of the 4 types of certificates is right for me. Each option has a Buy, Try & Renew option. This is usually when someone hits the back button or goes to check Facebook.
I Get Better Deals
Most people have that one friend who always scores amazing deals on everything. Whether it’s pointing out a dent to the checker or a super-human ability to stare down a salesman, most prices are flexible if you know what you’re doing. The same goes for paid search ads. Advertisers paid to get your click, so when you click the back button they just lost money. Therefore they try very hard to make you an offer you can’t refuse.
Look back at our search results for “verisign certificate”. You’ll see the 2nd ad is from GoDaddy and offers an SSL certificate for $12.99. If you click the ad you’ll see them compared to Verisign, Thawte, GeoTrust and Network Solutions with that same $12.99 price highlighted in yellow and basically screaming at you how cheap that is. But what if you hadn’t clicked the ad?
If you go to GoDaddy.com and click the SSL & Security link in the top nav and select SSL Certificates you’ll see a different story on pricing:
That’s right, no more $12.99 pricing.
This is your opportunity to let a marketer’s greed work in your favor. They’re spending money to get clicks and so they have to show results, and fast! Therefore, they’re going to give you the best deal possible to hook you. If you are already on their site and are browsing the SSL Certificates page, you might buy anyway. No need to give away the farm if you don’t have to.
In summary, I hope you see that when PPC advertising is being done well it delivers better results to the user, and please, keep in mind that every click does cost someone, so please click carefully.