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Paid Strategy

FACT vs. FICTION: The Value of Paid Ads

Paid ads don't work. Paid ads are the only things that work. What to believe? The truth is somewhere in the middle. Find out the real story behind paid advertising.

5 mins read time
Joe Martinez
Joe Martinez

Mar 24, 2022

The internet contains a staggering amount of valuable information, but it's also no stranger to misinformation (although that Sasquatch picture going around on Twitter was pretty convincing).

Unfortunately, paid ads are no exception, and there's no shortage of PPC-related myths and half-truths. To shed some light on the situation, we're unpacking some of the most common PPC facts and myths.

Fact vs. Fiction: Paid Ads Marketing

Whether you're talking to someone about paid ads IRL or scouring online articles for advice, you're liable to come across some less-than-true statements. Here, we'll separate the facts from the fiction.

Fact: PPC Is Valuable in the Short Term

Any SEO practitioner worth their salt will tell you that SEO is a long game and therefore requires a long-term strategy. But if it's instant results you're looking for, SEO will leave you disappointed.

That's where paid ads come in. While carefully executed SEO tactics could take months to get your site in front of thousands of new pairs of eyes, PPC can do so almost immediately.

Granted, there's no guarantee that the users who see your paid ads will click on them, convert, or even pay them much attention to begin with. However, they are guaranteed to see them. So in terms of raw impressions, PPC ads can deliver consistently strong short-term results.

Fiction: PPC Is Only Valuable in the Short Term

Don't think that just because PPC can deliver short-term results, that means it can only deliver short-term results.

In fact, PPC can only reach its fullest potential when it's used as a component of a broader long-term strategy.

For instance, you can use paid ads not only for, well, advertising, but also as powerful data collection tools. After all, the ad platform of your choice (e.g., Google Ads) will show you a wealth of information about your audience's behavior and preferences. You can then use that information to tailor future ad campaigns and your overall digital marketing and SEO strategy.

Fact: Paid Ads Can Complement Content Marketing

When comparing paid ads marketing to content marketing, it soon becomes clear that neither offers a magical one-and-done solution. Instead, PPC excels at providing short bursts of traffic, while content marketing has an unparalleled ability to create long-lasting value and drive consistent traffic.

As such, PPC doesn't always need to be pitted directly against content marketing — that's a bit of an apples and oranges situation.

Rather, you might find that you get the most value out of PPC when it's used to complement your content marketing strategy.

Fiction: PPC Is Dead

OK, so PPC isn't a standalone long-term solution, but that doesn't mean it's dead, dying, or even coming down with a cold.

In truth, paid ads marketing is growing at a breakneck pace. To see proof, we only need to follow the money. From 2020 to 2021 alone, Google's ad revenue ballooned by more than $63 billion. That wasn't a fluke, either — it had already been growing exponentially since 2001:





Similarly, Facebook's ad revenue grew by about $31 billion from 2020 to 2021, continuing the growth it had been demonstrating since 2009.

In other words, PPC isn't losing steam, and it likely won't start to anytime in the foreseeable future.

Fact: Only Google PPC Matters

There's no denying that Google is the king of web search. With a U.S. search engine market share of approximately 90 percent (and a global share of 92 percent as of February 2022), there simply is no contest.

But just because Google is the most widely used search engine doesn't mean that it's the only one you should focus your PPC efforts on. Take Bing, for example. While it might seem insignificant compared to Google, it still nets about 1 billion unique global users per month.

And if you're looking to advertise to users in certain countries, Google might not be nearly as relevant. In China, for instance, Google is practically nonexistent while Baidu reigns supreme.

The lesson here is that although Google Ads will likely have a place in your PPC strategy, it's not the only worthwhile PPC platform.

Fiction: Paid Ads Are Pricey

There's no getting around it: Paid ads cost money, and as such, any PPC strategy will demand a portion of your brand's marketing budget. And if you're not using smart tactics, your PPC budget can be better spent.

However, none of that's to say that PPC needs to be expensive. On the contrary, if you take the time to create a robust keyword strategy, target the right audience, and track critical metrics, PPC can be remarkably cost-effective.

Remember, platforms like Google Ads and Microsoft Ads allow you to set your own budget, so there should never be a reason to encounter a nasty financial surprise.

Fact: Not All Traffic Is the Best Traffic

As we mentioned earlier, PPC doesn't guarantee that people will click on your ads, let alone convert — it only guarantees that people will see them.

Thus, anyone who executes a less-than-thoughtful PPC campaign will soon discover that impressions don't equal clicks, and more traffic doesn't equal more customers.

That's why it's so crucial to distinguish between just any traffic and high-quality traffic and so important to put time and consideration into all your marketing efforts, including PPC.

Fiction: If Your PPC Campaign Isn't Delivering, It's Time to Quit

Not getting the results you want from your PPC campaign? Don't throw in the towel just yet.

Instead, carefully analyze the data provided by your chosen ads platform. Using that information, tweak the elements of your campaign that aren't performing, keep the ones that are, and try again.

Just as with growth marketing as a whole, what's most critical is not getting everything perfect the first time — it's rapidly and intentionally iterating on what you learn from reliable data.

So if you want to find PPC success, you need to stop looking at it as an isolated entity. Instead, treat it as a thoughtful component of a larger marketing strategy, as well as a valuable source of data. If you do, you're sure to love the results.

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Joe Martinez

Joe Martinez is the Co-Founder of the Paid Media Pros YouTube channel. He is a regular contributor to WordStream. He has also written for Social Media Examiner, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, PPC Hero, SEMrush, Unbounce, Leadpages, Optmyzr, and AdStage. He has hosted webinars for SEMrush, Unbounce, Quora and Microsoft Ads. He regularly speaks at conferences such as SMX (Advanced, Munich, East, West), HeroConf, Inbound, Pubcon (Pro, Florida, Austin), SMXL, SEMPO, and more. Finally, he was named a Top 25 Influential PPC Expert by PPC Hero in 2017-2020.

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