For new businesses just getting started in internet marketing, almost nothing can beat Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. This is because it gives the business owner or advertiser the most control in what messages they get out, who they target with ads, and get immediate feedback as to whether or not their ideas are working out.
The best thing about PPC, however, may be the fact that it does not waste impressions. With a radio or television ad, for instance, hundreds of thousands or millions of people may be exposed to the ad. Unfortunately, the people actually interested in the product may number in the hundreds or thousands, with the rest of those ad impressions completely wasted on people who are not interested in what is being marketed.
With Pay Per Click ads, this is entirely different. Marketers pay only for the clicks that the search engine (Google, Bing, and so on) deliver, so the cost per impression is not factored in. While a greater search volume and overall reach may help in generating more clicks, the price is not completely dependent on the reach of the search engine as with a television channel or radio station.
The ability to target ads to very specific segments of the population is another factor that is simply unavailable with traditional marketing. With PPC, advertisers can choose their search audience based on demographic information, geographic information, and even what types of devices they use for their internet activities. It is possible to target people searching for pizza in New York at 5:00 PM from their cell phone, while eliminating everyone else, for example.
Although traditional search engine marketing and search engine optimization can also be used, they do not provide as immediate of feedback as Pay Per Click. With a few hundred dollars in an advertising budget, marketers can create a Bing or Google campaign, get their website to the top of the search engines quickly, and start getting feedback on ad copy and landing page offers. This can then inform their SEO efforts in terms of building a better website and testing new offers.
Along with eliminating the guessing game from internet marketing, PPC can also help provide valuable feedback in the form of conversion data, ad testing, and data mining for what customers are most interested in. This can then be used to reinforce ad messages, or to develop new marketing methods entirely.
Finally, the search engines are catering more and more to their advertisers, allowing them to create text and image ads, and providing more and more statistics to help track and improve ads. If the businesses advertising are making money, then so are the search companies. For example, Google AdWords has an image ad builder tool that can easily put together custom image ads.
Thus, the main reason to consider Pay Per Click marketing is that it provides a level playing field for small and large businesses. Anyone can get started for relatively cheap, and then begin building a larger campaign and expanding the paid search effort. All of that immediate feedback can also help inform traditional methods of advertising, both online and in print, on the radio, and on television.