Is PPC dead? – No and here’s why

Apr 3, 2022 by
Is PPC dead? – No and here’s why

Pay per click advertising was once the darling of the online marketing world. In recent years, however, it’s started to reveal its limitations somewhat. However, if you can overcome those limitations and work within some rather strict parameters, it’s still a marketing solution that can offer a pretty solid ROI.

PPC as it was then

PPC was always seen as a complementary marketing strategy rather than a leading one. As such, in recent years as customers have become savvier and PPC has delivered diminishing returns for those not utilising it properly, it’s led to many proclaiming its demise. But they kept saying “SEO is dead” too and we all know that’s not true. These things don’t die, they evolve.

To understand where we are now, however, we need to understand why PPC was so popular in the early 2000s. It was largely thanks to Google’s AdWords system, which allowed marketers for the first time to only pay for the ads users clicked on. Back then, when the internet was still essentially in its infancy, marketers were less willing to take risks and that’s why PPC was so popular right out of the gate.

Marketers were able to analyse exactly how much they were spending using Google Analytics too, so it made everything so much easier to digest and process. But while the basis of PPC hasn’t really changed in the last 20 years, the world around it definitely has.

PPC as it is now

The introduction of ad blockers was arguably the biggest blow to the PPC market. Ever since, the cost of ads, their overall appeal and how competitive the landscape has become has meant PPC is no longer the golden long-term opportunity it once was.

Google’s bid-based system means the best keywords only go to the ones who can afford them. There’s also that much more competition around today, and since ad spend is limited, everyone is fighting each other to get to the top of the paid search results and the little guys rarely even take the scraps.

There’s also the type of traffic we’re seeing more of today to consider. Most users are aware of PPC ads these days and will actively try to avoid them. They have become white noise to the average consumer and with good reason. We also exist now in a digital world where brands are trying to build lasting relationships with their consumers. Traditional PPC is great for low-cost, one-off purchases but what about B2B?

PPC as it could be

PPC is, strangely enough, being approached and encouraged by Microsoft’s Bing Ads. While Bing was once the running joke of the digital world, Bing Ads are significantly lower than Google’s PPC and there is much less competition. Their management platform is also incredibly intuitive and is arguably skewed towards an older demographic. So, if your audience is on the older side, Bing could be a viable option.

The future of PPC lies in more sophisticated targeting. With algorithms becoming increasingly advanced, it’s fair to assume that, in a few short years, marketers will be able to pinpoint their audience and heavily reduce both the competition and cost of their PPC ads.

For now, though, PPC remains an incredibly effective supplemental tool for brands that are looking for quick, one-off sales and there’s very little that’s going to change that. In the long run, however, there is potential for PPC to branch out and become more than the sum of its parts. Let’s wait and see.