Like any form of digital marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a game changer for the companies that effectively leverage it, but it’s also continually changing. That means forward leaning marketers need to keep their noses to the ground, testing which trends reflect significant inflection points, and which are little more than hype.
PPC IN 2020: MARKETING AUTOMATION, TARGETING AND A NEW GUY ON THE BLOCK
Several marketing threads and emerging technologies are coming together this year to change the way PPC is leveraged, and the way PPC advertising managers work. For example, although marketing automation isn’t new, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning became more pervasive last year, with an increasing number of marketers automating many mundane and time-consuming PPC tasks—things like A/B testing, email marketing (as it relates to PPC) and keyword selection.
That trend changed the role of PPC managers who now had time to pursue more campaign-critical tasks. High on their list of priorities was a more granular targeting of audience and a more effective construction of buyer personas. This included an extension of PPC’s utility from lead generation to lead nurturing, with ads now targeted at consumers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
But as compelling as those trends are, there’s one more that promises to fundamentally change what it means to do PPC. Until recently, that’s meant, almost exclusively, 2 principal marketing channels: Google Ads and Facebook advertising.
So dominant were those players in fact that the most contentious arguments were over which was better, or as in the case of WordStream, whether marketers should view them as essentially adversarial or complementary. That, too, is changing this year.
It bears repeating that PPC advertising is, if you do it right, remarkably effective. For one thing, site traffic funneled through sponsored ads convert on average 50% more than those that come from organic traffic. For another, small startup businesses on average see a 200% return on investment (ROI) for every dollar they invest in PPC ads.
Given that kind of marketing potential, it was only a matter of time before other companies showed up to challenge the big guys on the block, one of the reasons this year we’re seeing a lot more sponsored ad spending on Amazon, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest—and LinkedIn. For a variety of reasons, among this group of “upstart” PPC players, LinkedIn shows the most promise across a wide swath of industries, this because of the consumers who make up its active user base. Consider for example these revealing metrics from HubSpot:
- LinkedIn has more than 500 million active users, and half of them subscribe to its premium service
- 40% of LinkedIn users visit the social media giant at least once a day
- CEOs who are LinkedIn users have on average more than 900 connections on the professional network
- LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform for delivering content that promotes audience engagement
And, as AdEspresso points out, LinkedIn, once the darling of the B2B world, shows equal promise for B2C businesses and nonprofits:
“LinkedIn Ads is a B2B advertising juggernaut, giving you an edge and a chance to connect with audience members who may be more inclined to keep scrolling past when they’re scrolling through their Facebook feeds and see your ad, but who are happy to engage when they’re in a business mindset. LinkedIn Ads aren’t just for B2B companies, however; B2C companies, nonprofits, universities, and most other types of organizations can also use this ad platform for specific purposes to great success, including to find the right applicant for a job opening.”
WHAT DO PPC MARKETERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LINKEDIN?
The nuances of LinkedIn PPC advertising are many—too many to fully vet here. Suffice it to say that LinkedIn does many of the same things for business as Google Ads and Facebook, and it does them just as well (some might argue better). Among its chief benefits for PPC marketers are the following 3:
1. IT’S EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE FOR LEAD GENERATION
Although marketers are, as noted above, increasingly viewing PPC as a complete sales funnel solution, for the lion’s share PPC still means meeting what they say is their number one marketing challenge, namely, generating more leads. Like Facebook, LinkedIn has a robust set of tools to simplify lead generation, and to increase the odds it’s effective.
For example, its lead gen forms are easy to use and even enable automated form completion based on information already in the system. In addition, LinkedIn will let you establish granular targeting criteria and select from among several ad formats.
2. ITS ANALYTICS PLATFORM IS SECOND TO NONE
LinkedIn’s robust analytics platform (Website Demographics) does many of the things you can do using Google Analytics. For example, when prospects go to your company page on LinkedIn, you can gather key demographic information as well as behavioral data about their activity on your company’s website—a major advantage.
With LinkedIn, you’ll be able to collect and analyze the data most relevant to your marketing campaigns, whether they’re B2B or B2C. For example, B2B businesses can get information about industry, number of employees, location and job titles to inform more effective ad campaigns.
3. ITS “MATCHED AUDIENCES” FEATURE BOOSTS CONVERSIONS AND CLICK THROUGHS
Effective ad targeting is critically important to successful PPC advertising campaigns, and LinkedIn, with its Matched Audiences feature, enables powerful ad targeting. You can, for example, target B2B ads to key decision makers within an organization, prospects who’ve visited your website and email subscribers.
The utility and versatility of LinkedIn’s ad targeting options help businesses achieve many of their top-level marketing objectives. For example, marketer’s who’ve used Matched Audiences have seen (on average):
- A more than 30% increase in conversion rate (and a corresponding 5% reduction in cost)
- A 30% increase in click through rate (and an almost 15% decrease in cost-per-conversion)
- An almost 40% boost in content targeting click through rate
The bottom line is this: PPC advertising, and the digital marketing landscape more generally, is a brave new world for businesses of all kinds, one that is challenging, at time confusing and full of enormous promise for those who understand how to navigate it. Said differently, when effectively leveraged, digital marketing can take your business to the next level. That’s where we can help, giving you the guidance and expert advice you need to succeed.
To learn more about the ways our PPC, SEO, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, growth driven design and analytics services can make your business more visible—and more profitable—contact us today.