Practical Ecommerce

Outsourcing Pay-per-click

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a long-term, time-consuming endeavor. Business owners that are serious about search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns, and who want those efforts to lead to strong sales, must realize the implementation of PPC is not something to take lightly.

To achieve success, a great deal of time and effort must be dedicated to PPC campaigns. Consequently, one of a business owner’s first decisions should be whether to hire someone in-house to conduct PPC campaigns or to outsource it to an agency.

If you decide to keep your PPC campaigns in-house, be prepared for the hurdle of finding qualified, trained employees. Unfortunately, the supply of people with a good working knowledge of the industry is very limited. Since colleges and universities don’t teach this element to students (at least not yet), most of the people who wind up in this field have learned it on their own; they’re more likely to want to go into business for themselves.

When you do hire someone, it is crucial to provide him/her with adequate training. Many agencies offer training services in which a person or a team is sent to your office to teach your people how to use PPC. Once the initial training is complete, you must continue to invest in the education of your employees:

  • Direct them to read blogs and forums on a regular basis;
  • Send them to SEM conferences;
  • Encourage them to experiment with other aspects of search marketing (local, social, etc.).

Consider outsourcing

If all this sounds like too much trouble, or you don’t have the resources to hire a full-time PPC manager, consider the outsourcing option for your campaigns. Firms available to do anything and everything for you in SEM — from managing a PPC campaign to performing SEO work on a website to developing link baiting campaigns — abound. Because of this, selecting the agency that is right for you is not easy.

Every agency has different strengths, and there is no universal way to rate them. It’s important to check references, talk to existing clients about their experiences and ensure the company is willing to dedicate the time and the effort to your account.

Most agencies charge a flat setup fee, plus a percentage of your monthly PPC expenditures — generally around 15 percent.

Whichever route you decide to take, realize you still have to oversee matters on a higher level to ensure your marketing plan proceeds as you hoped. With time, you may become more familiar with PPC and decide to move back to an in-house model from an agency or vice versa.

Concentrate on results and you will make the right choice.

Practical Ecommerce

Practical Ecommerce

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  1. Legacy User January 9, 2007 Reply

    Make sure that they have good tools to test and measure the success and failure of changes.

    — *Jeffrey Levy*

  2. Legacy User January 9, 2007 Reply

    I think everyone’s long-term goal should be to write pages that will attract traffic so you can avoid pay-per-clicks altogether. I my humble opinion, the value of pay-per-click is being decreased because of huge number of pay-per-click farm pages showing up. For instance, we use Yahoo! and Google Adwords. This fall, a site showed up where a it was getting traffic at $.25 a click from Google, and all the outgoing links on the page were from $.30 to $1.45 via Yahoo!. Nice profit margin for the page creator and Yahoo!, but not my bottom line.

    — *Mark Heverly*

  3. Legacy User February 9, 2007 Reply

    In my opinion, too many site owners are outsourcing already. Web owners need to know and understand where their PPC dollars are going. Yahoo has partnered with and enormous amount of companies who use parked domain names to pose as directories displaying only Sponsored Ads. In additon, there are the arbitrage companies which Mark is refering to above who bid against you with one search engine to display ads your ads from the other!

    Yahoo gives you no way to block your ads from these partners and their geo-targeting is a joke. US advertisers have to pay for clicks on ads displayed in all countries outside the US even if you only sell within the US. There is no way to limit you ads to the search engine only either. You must accept their partners, like it or not.

    At least Google gives you all of these options to help control your spend.

    Until the web site owners and advertisers educate themselves on what is happening to their budget, the search engines have no incentive to change.

    The gravy train rolls on.

    — *Scout*