For many a small business, especially those that rely on generating as many leads as possible online, pay per click is an easy answer, but it may not be the answer to your marketing dilemma. Your lead generation is what drives your business, and your marketing budget must yield as large an ROI as possible, which PPC can sometimes deliver quickly. Sure, people will tell you all of the great things about pay per click, (otherwise known as PPC) but PPC has some downsides that need to be understood as well.

When depending on your PPC Article Imagewebsite to attract new clients and prospects to your business, there are a host of tools to consider. Pay Per Click is just one of them, yet many businesses have come to rely on PPC only to see diminishing returns in this form of advertising. You probably have heard about all the great things about PPC, but frankly, not all of it pertains to every business model; some models definitely work better with PPC than others.

Before we get into the negatives about pay per click, let’s discuss the advantages of PPC, because there are many. The problem is with the deployment of a PPC campaign to solve your marketing dilemmas is that there are often more negatives than positives. If you are new to this discussion, you’ll be wise to consider all sides in the use of this tactic.

PPC Article ImageSome Pay Per Click Advantages

  • Targeted Traffic – PPC advertising is a tool that can target specific niche markets due to the design and placement of the ads. People clicking on your ads should have a pre-conceived interest in your product or service.
  • Quick Results – PPC ads bring quick results, so if you are in need of a quick ramp up in leads, this is a great tool. Because it takes only a few hours to set up, your site can be receiving new traffic in no time. And if you are utilizing A/B testing to validate a marketing message or design PPC can help accelerate the results, make a choice faster and help minimize risks before rolling it out.
  • Easy to Implement and Use – Once the ad is designed and contact is made with the search engine (be it Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other), you are off to the races.
  • Controllable Costs – Because you will bid on the cost of your ads, you know in advance how much a particular campaign will cost. Your costs are only incurred when someone actually clicks on your ad. If no clicks, no expense.
  • Ad Rankings – If your ad is popular and the click through rate is high, your ad can be on the first page of Google Search. Mind you, your site may still be on page 10, but your ad visibility can be on the first page.

At this point PPC must sound like a magic carpet ride to success. And for some businesses it might be. But very little is written about the downside of PPC, mainly because this tactic is so easy to get involved and doesn’t require a highly technical skill set. It is easy for someone to become very enchanted if good results are achieved quickly or one a first time campaign, leading to over-rely on this method of lead generation. In a sense they get lazy and don’t implement other useful tactics.

Here are some of the easily overlooked disadvantages of Pay Per Click, and why it may not be the answer to your marketing and lead generation strategies.

Some Pay Per Click Disadvantages

  • Typically “Deal” Oriented – Some of the most successful PPC ads revolve around discount offers. If someone is looking for a “deal” on say, hotel reservations, then an ad on the first page of Google Search for hotel deals will display PPC ads offering such a service. If yours is one of them, great. However, if you are merely offering an opportunity to drive traffic, your PPC ad will not generate as much traffic as you might have hoped.
  • Abuse & Fraudulent Clicks – This is a topic that receives far too little attention when speaking about Pay Per Click. A PPC ad costs you nothing until someone clicks on it, but you get charged against your budget even if no one leaves their email address. There are a lot of nefarious characters behaving badly on the Internet, and the PPC arena is a fiercely competitive landscape. Have you accidently clicked on an ad and regretted it? What if someone was actually seeking out your ads and clicking on them merely for the sake of exhausting your PPC budget? Do you think that can happen? Would you believe that there are companies willing to pay spies to burn through competitor’s PPC ads just for the sake of maliciously hurting them? It shouldn’t be assumed that online business is more honest than any other- abuse and fraud are competitive tools many businesses utilize.
  • Price Escalation – Like everything in business, there is a process that must be followed to attain top ranked keyword PPC ad costs. The top keywords are used to price ad placement and therefore cost is based on this and other factors. If your ad is bid at a price and performs well, the next purchase you make will more than likely require a higher rate than before.
  • Diminishing Law of Returns – When the PPC ad is fresh, your click through rate will be much higher than after it has been visible for a length of time. Naturally, the return on such an ad will diminish, especially when you consider the price inflation you will experience when you re-negotiate another campaign contract. Adding additional keywords to the campaign will drive up the individual click cost, but may not generate any increase in leads. Costs rise, return falls; one of the greatest laws of business.
  • Competitive Bidding Wars – The search engines are in the business of making large profits, and it has to come from somewhere. The bidding process drives the price per click, and the two highest bidders will share the spotlight, whereas the lower bids will pick up the lesser performing placements. PPC ads can cost as little as a few cents to $50 per click. The old adage “It costs money to make money” remains as true in Pay Per Click as anywhere else. But keep an eye on the trends, as your budget will only go so far.
  • Ads Go Stale Quickly – If you plan on using PPC as the primary driver of leads to your site, you will need to spend a great deal of time refreshing your ads. Once viewed by the public, they quite literally become invisible in short time. To be in the pursuit of targeted leads, you must have fresh appeal to draw the attention away from the fierce competition PPC creates.
  • Requires Micro-Management – Based on everything mentioned here, you probably have already deduced that PPC marketing requires a great deal of management time. If you have the resources to utilize PPC as your primary marketing lead generation vehicle, you had better have sufficient financial resources to manage the great many tasks in oversight of the program. Constant ad refreshment, placement contracts, pricing wars, and a plethora of other management duties involved with driving the leads through nothing but Pay Per Click.
  • Only a Short-Term Strategy – When marketing online, PPC is a great tool to gain visibility, grow some leads quickly, and is a means that controls your budget expenditure by each campaign. You will know what it will cost at the onset, regardless of how long (or quickly) it takes to exhaust your pre-paid arrangement. Pay Per Click advertising is piece of a strategic marketing plan that any company should utilize, but it should not be looked at as the panacea. PPC while a part of the plan, is not a long-term strategy. PPC costs can be turned on and off as leads are needed, but to generate a constant flow of leads, there are other alternatives that are less costly in both time and money.


Pay Per Click is another method of advertising and when used tactically can be a good addition to a marketing plan, but it is just that- a subset of the overall plan. It is a terrific way to accelerate test results but when expanded beyond short term, tactal use can require significant time and financial assets.

At Zen Marketing, we will provide a no-cost assessment of your current web marketing and advertising strategies, and highlight where you may want to adjust or tweak it. Visit our website to discover new ways to drive and manage lead generation using the web.