I wrote last week about why inbound marketing prices and quotes are (justifiably) high.
But one of my most consistent messages has always revolved around good, clean, practical web design to help convert leads into sales, educate and inform those that visit your site to turn them into loyal brand users.
And those that have been following this train of thought are set to reap huge rewards over the next few years.
The State of Paid Search Report
That’s according to Hanapin Marketing’s marketing report on the 2013 State of Paid Search. The annual survey is respected in the industry and is free to download here.
And it’s thrown out some pretty interesting statistics, especially this one: 85 per cent of PPC marketers say they’re planning to focus their attention on conversion rate optimisation more than any area in 2014.
The real value of CRO
Turning traffic into income is one of the biggest challenges facing online businesses of all shapes and sizes.
It’s therefore good to know that Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is going to be a more noticeable search marketing trend over the coming years. Paired with a consistent PPC strategy it’s a marketing phenomenon that can provide phenomenal results.
It looks like it’ll be a path a large number of marketers are going to be taking. 83 per cent of survey respondents said they were positive about the outlook of the paid search model.
70 per cent increased their PPC spend this year while 72 per cent are looking to adjust their budgets for the better in 2014.
Where’s that money going?
That budget increase is going into a number of networks with the most popular being Google AdWords. 73 per cent of marketers are looking to pump more money into Google’s PPC services. 55 per cent will go on Bing ads and 52 per cent on display networks.
I wrote about the differences between sponsored search results and paid social spend earlier in the month and how each medium can offer different results for specific brands.
However despite the popularity of social networks and their ability to target certain groups of people only 52 per cent of increased budgets are going to be spent advertising on Facebook.
26 per cent will be spent on LinkedIn advertising with 24 per cent heading Twitter’s way. 18 per cent will go toward other social networks.
So despite the positives that can be gained from a social media campaign the paid search model will still be by far and away the most lucrative area for marketers according to The State of Paid Search report.
Are you throwing your money away?
As I’ve previously explained though that high sponsored position will likely count for little unless you’re willing to invest in an attractive site that gives detailed breakdowns of your products, services, brand benefits and much more besides.
And PPC may not be the medium to boost business through your site. At 16 per cent the retail industry is currently the most popular user of PPC with the lifestyle sector second on 8 per cent.
The education industry comes third at seven per cent with five per cent of users coming from the finance industry. 54 per cent of the survey’s users fall into the ‘others’ category.
So before you even begin to consider investing into paid search, research your market and figure out whether you’re selling the right things to the right people.
Faith in traffic
There’s no doubting PPC’s ability to drive traffic back to the site that budgets well and targets the right search terms. And the State of Paid Search report makes for some positive reading indeed in regard the future of the medium.
Search engines will be happy to hear that marketers are looking to spend more on their model (as they should be!) but while PPC is a great source of targeted traffic It’ll be a waste if your site is hard to navigate, lacks interesting content and is plain unfriendly.
I’ve touched on this subject before and have created a checklist of things that your site should have to help generate leads and increase sales on your site.
Keeping your site’s design in line with your overall brand and its message will eventually turn that traffic into a steady stream of loyal customers looking to make your site their first port of call when they need a reliable, professional service.
Who stands to gain the most?
Though the stats are impressive from a PPC point of view, it’s important to note that these aren’t new techniques that have appeared overnight.
Those that have sought to provide an incredible user experience first and foremost throughout the years would benefit greatly from a campaign that attracts more users in a subtle manner and accentuates the brand’s unique selling point.
And if a site is serious about converting leads then it would be wise to spend some time with an eCommerce expert to ensure the site’s performing as well as it possibly can before investing any more money into a PPC campaign.
A lot of people feel PPC can circumnavigate the effects of Penguin, Panda and many other past, present and future algorithm updates.
But managing a site and a campaign isn’t a case of some new marketing combination appearing online, spending money on it and watching the cash roll in.
Site management and inbound marketing takes a lot of hard work, maintenance and consistency. Most importantly though, and for those looking to spend money this year, in 2014 and beyond on PPC, the core message should always be the same.
Have faith in your brand, its message and provide the best user experience you possibly can in a positive, ethical manner.
To find out more about how to generate income from your online brand contact Webpresence’s experts today.
(Image credits: PPCHero.com)