Our founder and CEO, Nate Burke, recently appeared on The PPC Experts Corner Podcast, a series dedicated to providing insight into pay-per-click management.
Nate talked to the PPC podcast host, Jeremy Adam, about improving ad performance, how click fraud is a significant issue, and why the lack of PPC transparency is proving problematic for marketers.
You can listen to the PPC podcast (episode 25) on Anchor.fm for free, or alternatively, here’s our summary of what we talked about.
When most people talk about pay-per-click advertising, they immediately think of Google Ads. While it’s true that many organisations see success with Google Ads, PPC covers a wide range of different platforms. Therefore, it’s important to find the pay-per-click management platform that’s right for your brand and/or your clients.
As an example, many customers and agencies scoff at the thought of Microsoft Advertising (formerly known as Bing Ads). Google has an 84% market share while Bing only has 9% – so you’ve got to go where the people are… right? However, in our opinion, the Microsoft search network is one of the best areas of search traffic today.
While the traffic volume is important, intent to buy is even more so. Users of Bing are typically older, well-established in their careers, and have more money to spend. Rather than teenagers on mobile phones, Bing has middle-aged people with black credit cards burning a hole in their wallets.
We spoke to one of our clients, who worked out that the value of a click coming from Google was worth $5.50 while the same click from Bing was worth $26 – nearly five times more.
Some of our clients have also mentioned that Microsoft is managing click fraud better, leading to between 20% and 50% improved ad performance. We’ll talk about this in a little more detail later.
Another advantage of Microsoft Advertising over Google Ads is that clients can use it to reach other search engines. Yahoo, Bing and DuckDuckGo are all managed by Microsoft Advertising, meaning that ads are served on these platforms too.
DuckDuckGo is a particularly interesting one as it’s one of the fastest-growing search engines around, doubling its market share in the US in the space of two years. DuckDuckGo’s key ethos is that internet searching should be private and safe, which is resonating with many people frustrated with Google’s approach to managing data.
Microsoft Ads also has LinkedIn profile targeting as an option, which lets users serve a variety of ads to customers based on their company, job function and industry, something which Google Ads does not offer. Between this and adding an extra 100 countries to its footprint this year, the company is in major expansion mode right now!
Will Google Ads become less of a monopoly in the future? It’s hard to say, but it looks like there are changes on the horizon.
Paid social advertising is becoming more of a dominant force, with platforms like TikTok doing exceedingly well, and third-party marketplaces like Amazon owning their own powerful ad presence. As a result, businesses that want to place ads have a lot more choice than they did five years ago.
Plus, with Google Russia applying for bankruptcy, the platform has taken a hit, both in usage and reputation.
Are we saying you should abandon Google Ads and take advantage of other pay-per-click management platforms? Not at all, Google Ads works for many businesses, and if it works for you, that’s great. However, it might be worth looking at alternatives if your performance is not where you want it to be.
If you’re looking to improve your PPC analytics, there are certainly things you can do in-platform to optimise those all-important metrics and improve return on ad spend. For example, implementing single keyword ad groups, reviewing keyword match types, and introducing A/B testing.
While this will increase your pay-per-click advertising performance by about 5 to 10%, the only way to boost performance by 50% or even 100% is to look at the underlying infrastructure of your account – for example, the core data going in or the data inside the company.
Getting the data you need is hard as you have to get this information from various places and put systems in place to process it – this can’t be done manually. While large companies like Amazon have the in-house resources to do this, most businesses don’t.
The good news is that our PPC management software helps companies assimilate data, so they get even more from their advertising.
As an example, take B2B lead generation. We can integrate ‘reverse IP’ technology into searches made so you can see which companies were searching for which query and the pages they looked at on your website. We can even tie in all the names of people from the relevant company, from the sales director to the chief marketing officer! You can then send that information to your sales team so they can reach out and make a potential sale.
Click fraud has always been an issue in pay-per-click advertising; however, many advertisers aren’t aware of or deny that it is happening. We estimate that more than 70% of advertisers don’t use click fraud protection.
Does Google Ad manage click fraud? While the platform’s automated system investigates ‘invalid clicks’ and refunds the customer if it believes fraud has occurred, the system could be much better. We’ve queried invalid clicks and said we don’t want to pay for traffic before, but Google Ads has just said, ‘turn off the keyword’ – which, of course, helps no one.
Microsoft Advertising is typically more aggressive at managing click fraud; after all, it’s a software business that deals in security and virus protection! You get transparent reporting from every publisher that sends you traffic, and you can exclude any publisher you want.
Once again, thank you to The PPC Experts Corner Podcast for having us on the show. It was an honour to feature on the PPC podcast and have an opportunity to talk about PPC and eCommerce.
Our final say on the matters discussed: transparency when it comes to managing pay-per-click advertising is a challenge. And with upcoming changes like the removal of third-party cookies from Chrome (now pushed back to 2024), it’s going to get even more challenging.
It’s up to PPC platforms to balance privacy concerns with marketers’ needs; otherwise, marketers may start using alternative channels to target customers.
Pushing automation and going, “hey, you can trust us; give us your credit card details” is never the answer.
Chester Yang is the Microsoft Program Manager at Diginius with a background in economics and quantitative research.
At Diginius, Chester focuses on nurturing partnerships with PPC agencies and integrating marketing and sales solutions.