There is no denying that Pay Per Click (PPC) adverts (when properly managed) can give a business a fighting chance of securing custom from the internet and in that respect they are good news. Both Google Adwords and Bing Ads offer Pay Per Click Adverts.
But hang on though!…. when PPC adverts start taking away custom from the intended recipient, then surely things have gone too far !
A Google PPC Scenario
A scenario- the consumer types in the exact business name and town location. Expecting Google to place the business at No:1 in the results (because surely that what Google’s mission objective is with all those algorithms) the consumer clicks on the top link displayed.
Did the consumer get they wanted ? ….err sadly not.
Google in this case promotes a Pay Per Click (PPC) advert at number 1 (and no:2 and no:3) which are all aimed at taking the consumer away from the business the consumer intended to go to!
Fair Play ?
Is this fair? NO!…not in my mind, this is more akin to a slight of hand in a magicians card trick.
If you’re not looking closely enough you’ll select the wrong result and potentially buy something you want from someone you actually don’t know!
This anomaly actually happened to my dad, who at 85 wasn’t looking too carefully when trying to buy some flowers.
I told him to Google a well known florist in Ipswich. He obviously did so, but actually ended up clicking a PPC advert and buying a pretty disappointing bouquet of flowers from one of those online florists.
This got me thinking about the morality of PPC adverts and search engine results pages.
For generic search terms it’s certainly fair game for people to pay to sit above the “Organic” search result.
So if a consumer types “florists in Ipswich” it seems fair game to allow PPC ads at the top. If however a consumer types keywords that Google (being very intelligent) must know it is an exact match for the search phrase surely it should place that result at the top and any PPC ads below ?
Not doing so is a massive disservice to consumers in my humble opinion and leads on to the question……
..So Are PPC Ads Taking Your Business?
If your business name includes a generic product or service names (e.g florist, plumber etc.) you are likely to be most at risk from PPC advert competition. However any competitor, subject to monetary resources can pay for an ad to appear for any keyword phrase. These keyword phrases can, if your competitor has deep pockets, target your business name (intentionally or unintentionally) and therefore your business.
So why not go on Google or Bing, type your business name and town and/or just your business name to see if there are any PPC adverts trying to take your business! (Remember to carry out this test on both a smartphone/Ipad and a conventional laptop/PC as the search results will be different) If your business has seasonal highs try a search in the lead up to these periods to see who is trying to muscle in on your customers.
Note down the website address of any competitor who appears in any PPC adverts and have a look at who they are and what they offer. (Please don’t click on their advert though) Remember that their advert might be coming up unintentionally.
Whilst there might be little you can do about the situation, you could try asking a competitor to insert part of your business name as a negative keyword into their Ads console, but don’t be surprised if that request isn’t granted!. The knowledge however, of what your competitors are doing should in itself give you the heads up as to what should be factored into to your own marketing strategy.