PPC vs. Other Advertising Channels: What's Effective?

Some businesses have a wide array of channels to advertise with and generate leads on. Each channel comes with advantages and disadvantages. In this article we will explore various channels, such as PPC and email advertising, and attempt to find out where PPC stands in terms of ROI and other performance metrics. Be sure to read the last few paragraphs, which contain some of the most important information in the article.

The Advantages of PPC

 First, let's talk about what PPC has that other channels don't. This is important because PPC is unique in many ways.

First, it's highly customizable. PPC/SEM service providers allow a range of tools, enhancements, and levels of automation in their applications. They also allow programmers to use their own applications as add-ons. Anybody that has programming language know-howcan create the additional functionality they need an advertising application to have. For example, our OptimalAd technology works with AdWords and other PPC applications to optimize conversion rates and reduce spend. It accesses all of the data it needs, from those applications, to do so.

Second, PPC is extremely measurable. Because many internet users allow cookies, we can market to them and track their every move. Want to know the click through rate of your remarketing campaign? No problem. How about the amount of time people spend on your site after clicking an ad? Yes, you can do that and much more with PPC. In fact, it's so measurable you can almost guarantee a certain level of success, if you have the right expertise.

These are just a few advantages of PPC. Some channels, such as social media, offer some of the same advantages. However, PPC is easier to customize and allows you to reach a larger audience than social media and other digital channels.

What about Conversions and ROI?

A quick disclaimer, before you move on. There is generalized information ahead. All of it varies by industry, web presence, etc. You should be able to get an idea of how well various channels work, though.

As you'd expect, some channels generally come with higher ROIs than PPC does. According to studies, in-person visits and inbound phone calls are cited the most as the channels with the best conversion rates.1 Of course, these offline channels are difficult to optimize because people will only call you or visit you if they know you exist and they need your product or service.

The next most cited channels are all tied for third place, according to MarketingCharts.com. They are PPC, website visits and email inquiries. All of them were cited by 11% of the survey respondents. There are big differences between these channels.

Email inquiries require email addresses, which you'll have to acquire somehow. It could take time to gather a significant contact list.

As for website visits, getting traffic to your website without PPC or other advertising requireseither lots of brand awareness or a long-term search engine optimization project.

PPC also requires costs and a time investment, but not on the same level as SEO. You can target the consumers you want and optimize your campaigns in order to reduce costs. It's less time-consuming than the other 3rd-place finishers and it doesn't rely on any other campaigns or a previously generated group of fans, followers, or subscribers. It's plug and play, if you will, in most cases.

Therefore, PPC isn't as effective (in terms of ROI) as other digital advertising channels but offers greater practicality. Sometimes you can bypass PPC and simply buy leads at a pre-determined price. Read on to learn more.

Median ROI of Respondents for Various Channels (and Cost Per Acquisition)2

*make sure to read the next section to learn why these can vary a great deal (and why this is irrelevant in many cases)

Email: 22% ($13)

Telephone: 19.5% (N/A)

Social Media: 16% ($17)

PPC (paid search): 9.5% ($25.50)

PPC (paid search with branded keywords): 24.5% (approx. $25)

PPC (display): 6% ($45.50)

Notes and Takeaways

The ROI of PPC campaigns varies based on a number of factors, including the inclusion of brand names. One could conclude that the key advantage of PPC is not ROI but rather conversions that are attainable quickly and effectively, without needing an email list, telephone list or thousands of followers on social media in advance. There's also no minimum budget or other constraints. PPC's ROI can be quite impressive when campaigns are managed well.

What if you could almost ensure a positive ROI on your PPC campaign? Experts like the people at isotree can sell you leads at a pre-arranged price. You don't have to worry about your campaign's effectiveness. Simply pay for leads that we generate for you, no matter what product or service you're selling. Interested in learning more? Feel free to contact us. 

1. "Which Channels Do Marketers Find Best for Generating and Converting Leads?" May 20, 2014. MarketingCharts.com. Available Online: http://www.marketingcharts.com/traditional/which-channels-do-marketers-rate-best-for-generating-and-converting-leads-42755/

2. "Direct Media Response Rate, CPA and ROI Benchmarks" April 14, 2015. MarketingCharts.com. Available Online: http://www.marketingcharts.com/traditional/direct-media-response-rate-cpa-and-roi-benchmarks-53645/

Jennifer Stainforth