Dive into the ways that awareness advertising can recession-proof your sales funnel and get insights on how to use it effectively.
A recession may seem like the time to cut back on advertising, but it’s actually the perfect opportunity to increase your visibility and come out even stronger.
In fact, study after study has shown that cutting back on advertising during a recession actually hurts your brand, sales funnel and bottom line in the long run.
If you want to stay top-of-mind during a recession, you can’t afford to go dark. Brands that cut back on their ad spend during a recession put themselves at risk of losing customers and market share, as the data clearly shows.
- McGraw-Hill Research looked at 600 companies from 1980 to 1985 and showed that those that maintained or increased their advertising spend during the 1981 recession had sales that were 256% higher than those that didn’t by 1985.
- In 2008, Millward Brown shared evidence that 60% of the brands that went ‘dark’ during an economic downturn saw a significant decrease in brand use and brand image.
- More recently, Kantar Group estimates that brands who went dark to save costs in the early part of 2020 will see a 39% reduction in brand awareness and delay recovery.
If you want to ride out a recession and emerge on top, you can’t afford to skip awareness advertising — a type of advertising designed to make a brand or product more familiar to consumers at the top of the sales and marketing funnel.
Don’t let a recession make your brand fade into the background. Keep reading to learn the benefits of awareness advertising during a recession, along with tips and best practices for adapting your marketing strategy to tough economic times.
- Historical data shows that advertising during a recession can give businesses a competitive edge and lead to success when the economy rebounds.
- During a recession, sales cycles become longer, and awareness advertising can help businesses connect with potential customers earlier in the buying process, create a larger pool of prospects, and increase brand recognition and reputation to build trust and loyalty.
- By understanding your target audience, telling stories that connect, and being authentic and transparent, you can create campaigns that resonate with your audience, build trust, and help your business succeed in difficult economic times.
Why Awareness Advertising is Key to the Recession-Proof Sales Funnel
During tough economic times, sales cycles tend to become longer as customers become more careful in deciding what and when to buy.
Your customers spend more time in the consideration phase, conducting more research, comparing products more closely, and taking longer to decide on a purchase during an economic downturn.
In other words, the sprint becomes a marathon — and your business has to keep prospects engaged and interested throughout the process.
But in some ways, a longer sales cycle is a blessing in disguise. It gives you more opportunities to connect with customers and demonstrate the value of your product or service.
One of the best ways to keep a longer funnel flowing during a recession (without increasing ad spend) is to reallocate more budget to awareness advertising aimed at the top of the funnel (TOFU).
Awareness advertising is designed to create a lasting impression that keeps your brand, products or services front and center. These ads are typically aimed at a broader audience to attract potential customers who may not yet be familiar with your brand.
By casting a wider net and reaching more people earlier in the sales cycle, you can create a larger pool of prospects to warm up and convert into customers over time. Awareness ads help you connect with potential customers earlier in the buying process so that, once those prospects are ready to make a purchase decision, they are more likely to turn to your brand over others since you have already established a relationship with them.
In addition, awareness advertising can help businesses to build brand recognition and reputation, increasing consumer trust and loyalty.
By allocating more of your advertising towards TOFU awareness-based campaigns, you lay the groundwork for a more effective sales funnel that helps warm prospects and close more sales — even in the midst of a recession or other economic challenges.
Awareness Advertising vs. Other Types of Advertising
The primary objective of awareness advertising is to enhance brand recognition and promote customer engagement, in contrast to direct response advertising, product advertising, and promotional advertising, which serve different goals.
- Direct response advertising: Direct response advertising is designed to elicit a specific response from the consumer, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, or calling a phone number. Unlike awareness advertising, which is focused on building brand recognition, direct response advertising is intended to drive immediate sales or leads.
- Product advertising: Product advertising is focused on promoting a specific product or service. While awareness advertising can be used to support a particular product or service, its primary goal is to build brand recognition and customer engagement. Product advertising, on the other hand, is designed to showcase the benefits and features of a particular product or service to potential customers.
- Promotional advertising: Promotional advertising is focused on promoting a specific deal or offer, such as a discount or free trial. While awareness advertising can be used to support promotional advertising, its primary goal is to build long-term brand recognition and customer engagement.
In general, awareness advertising is most effective when used in conjunction with other types of advertising. By building strong brand recognition and customer engagement, businesses can position themselves for long-term success and increase their chances of success with other types of advertising.
Does It Work? Case Studies on Advertising During a Recession Say Yes
The numbers don’t lie – history shows that advertising during a recession can be a game-changer for businesses looking to gain a competitive edge.
In fact, some of the most successful companies in history have continued to advertise during tough economic times and emerged even stronger once the recession ended.
Take the recent public health crisis. When COVID-19 forced people to stop traveling, VRBO and Airbnb responded in very different ways. While Airbnb scaled back its advertising, VRBO saw an opening and increased its spending to $90.8 million in advertising from January to February 2021. The strategy paid off, with VRBO seeing a 61% recovery in bookings while Airbnb’s bookings dipped by 15%.
In a sea of struggling travel businesses, VRBO found a way to come out on top – by investing in advertising when others held back.
Another well-known example comes from the recession of 1990, in the responses of three fast food giants: McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. When times were tough, McDonald’s cut its advertising budget, while the smaller competitors Pizza Hut and Taco Bell strengthened theirs. As a result:
- Pizza Hut increased sales by 61%.
- Taco Bell increased sales by 40%.
- McDonald’s sales decreased by 28%.
Want to grab a bigger slice of the market during a recession? Follow Pizza Hut and Taco Bell’s lead and ramp up your advertising efforts, while the competition holds back.
Then there’s Amazon. Even during the Great Recession, Amazon continued to innovate with new products despite the slumping economy, most notably with the new Kindle products – supported by millions spent on advertising. When the rest of the economy hit its nadir, Amazon’s sales rose by 28%.
When the going gets tough, the tough get innovative. Amazon proved this during the Great Recession by continuing to invest in new products and advertising, and reaping the rewards with a surge in sales.
These are just a few of the countless examples demonstrating that companies that invest in advertising during a recession can come out ahead when the economy rebounds.
By keeping their brand top-of-mind for consumers and continuing to offer value and promotions, these companies were able to maintain or increase their market share and build customer loyalty.
Awareness advertising during a recession can pay off in spades, as the historical data demonstrates.
Benefits of Awareness Advertising During a Recession
When times get tough, businesses need to get creative to maintain or grow their market share. That’s where awareness advertising comes in.
Here are a few reasons why awareness advertising can be a powerful tool for businesses during a recession:
- It strengthens brand recognition: Awareness advertising can help businesses build strong brand recognition, keeping them top-of-mind throughout a longer sales cycle so that customers remember the brand when they’re finally ready to buy.
- It increases customer engagement: By communicating with customers through advertising, businesses can create a stronger connection with customers, showing them that they are still here, still providing value, and still committed to serving their needs.
- It leverages lower competition: When other businesses are tightening their belts and cutting back on their advertising spend, there is a unique opportunity for companies to take advantage of awareness advertising and gain an edge over their competitors.
By building brand recognition, increasing customer engagement, and positioning for long-term success, businesses can emerge from a recession as stronger players in their respective industries.
1. Strengthen Brand Recognition
One of the most important benefits of awareness advertising during a recession is its ability to build and strengthen brand recognition.
During tough economic times, many consumers cut back on their spending, making it more challenging for businesses to compete.
However, by keeping their brand top-of-mind through awareness advertising, businesses can increase their chances of being chosen over their competitors when consumers do decide to make a purchase.
In addition to helping businesses stand out in a crowded marketplace, building brand recognition through awareness advertising can also lead to increased customer loyalty.
When consumers have a positive association with a brand, they are more likely to choose that brand over others, even when there are cheaper or more convenient options available. In a crowded market, positive brand associations are worth their weight in gold.
As well as building brand recognition, awareness advertising can help businesses establish themselves as thought leaders. Awareness ads provide businesses with the chance to show customers that they are knowledgeable and experienced in their fields. It’s not enough to be good at what you do – you also need to show it. By doing so, your business can build trust and authority which pays off in the long run.
The ability to keep your brand at the top of people’s minds and establish yourself as an industry leader will provide your business with a position to emerge from a recession as a strong player.
2. Increase Customer Engagement
In a time of financial uncertainty, customers need more than just a sales pitch.
Many consumers feel nervous about their finances during a recession, so they’re more cautious about their spending. In this environment, it’s important for businesses to find ways to engage with their customers and demonstrate the value they can provide. This is where awareness advertising comes in.
By sharing stories and experiences that resonate with their target audience, businesses can create a sense of community and belonging that can keep customers coming back. For example, a restaurant might use awareness advertising to showcase its commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, or a clothing brand might use awareness advertising to highlight its commitment to sustainability.
Through awareness advertising, your business can show customers that you are still here, still providing value, and still dedicated to serving them, even in the toughest of times. In a world of faceless corporations, that kind of connection and authenticity makes a world of difference.
3. Leverage Lower Competition
As businesses cut back on their advertising and marketing spend during a recession, competition for customer attention goes down as well. This can be a valuable opportunity for you to take advantage of awareness advertising and gain a stronger foothold in your industry.
- With fewer businesses vying for ad space and airtime, advertising costs may be lower during a recession. This can be especially beneficial for small businesses that may be operating on a tighter budget — more bang for their buck.
- With less competition for ad space and airtime, businesses may be able to increase their ad exposure and get their message in front of more people. This can be especially valuable for businesses that are looking to build brand recognition and increase customer engagement.
- With lower advertising costs and increased ad exposure, businesses may be able to achieve a better return on investment (ROI) with their awareness advertising efforts during a recession.
By taking advantage of lower advertising costs, increased ad exposure, and improved ROI, your business can position itself for long-term success and emerge from a recession stronger.
Don’t wait for the storm to pass – make your move now. Use awareness advertising to seize the opportunities that a recession presents and come out on top, stronger and more successful than ever.
Strategies for Effective Awareness Advertising During a Recession
In a time of economic uncertainty, your advertising needs to work harder than ever.
So, how do you create an awareness advertising campaign that will stand out and make an impact during a recession?
- Know your audience better than anyone: To create an effective awareness advertising campaign, it’s essential to understand your target audience. Who are they? What are their needs and pain points? What motivates them to make a purchase? By understanding your target audience, you can create messaging and content that resonates with them and helps build a sense of familiarity and trust.
- Tell stories that connect on a deeper level: To create a strong connection with your target audience, it’s important to use storytelling and emotional appeals in your advertising campaigns. By sharing stories and experiences that resonate with your target audience, you can create a sense of community and belonging that can keep customers coming back.
- Be real and transparent: During a recession, it’s more important than ever to be authentic and transparent in your advertising campaigns. Be honest about the challenges that your business is facing, and communicate with your target audience in a way that shows that you care about their needs and are committed to serving them.
Use these tips to create campaigns that resonate with your audience, build trust, and help you weather the storm.
1. Know Your Audience Better than Anyone
When the economy is down, it’s imperative to understand how the spending behavior of your target audience may change. Harvard Business Review identifies four general segments that illustrate how consumers behaviour changes during a recession:
- The slam-on-the-brakes segment is the most vulnerable and suffers the greatest financial losses. These consumers reduce all types of spending by eliminating, postponing, decreasing, or substituting purchases. While lower-income consumers are usually part of this segment, higher-income consumers may also join it, particularly if their health or income deteriorates.
- Pained-but-patient consumers are resilient and optimistic about the long term, but less confident about the prospects for economic recovery in the short term. They economize in all areas, but less aggressively than slam-on-the-brakes consumers. This segment includes the majority of households unaffected by unemployment, representing a wide range of income levels. As the economic news worsens, more pained-but-patient consumers migrate to the slam-on-the-brakes segment.
- Comfortably well-off consumers feel confident about their ability to weather the economic storm. They spend at levels close to pre-recession, but tend to be more selective (and less conspicuous) about their purchases. This segment primarily consists of people in the top 5% income bracket, as well as those who feel secure about the stability of their finances. This group includes retirees, as well as investors who had low-risk investments.
- The live-for-today segment continues as usual and remains unconcerned about saving. These consumers respond to the recession mainly by delaying major purchases. They are typically urban and younger, more likely to rent than to own, and prefer spending on experiences rather than possessions (except for consumer electronics). They are unlikely to change their spending habits unless they become unemployed.
By understanding the impact of a recession on different consumer segments, businesses can create awareness advertising campaigns that resonate with their target audience and enhance brand recognition.
It’s also crucial to understand where your product or service falls on a scale from ‘essentials’ to ‘expendables’.
- Essentials are necessary for survival or seen as essential to well-being, and consumers are likely to continue buying these items even during tough economic times.
- Treats are indulgences that consumers may still splurge on occasionally, even if they cut back their spending in this category during a recession.
- Postponables are needed or desired items whose purchase can be delayed until the consumer’s financial situation improves.
- Expendables are perceived as unnecessary or unjustifiable, and consumers are likely to cut back their spending in this category during a recession, potentially eliminating these purchases altogether.
While basic levels of food, shelter, and clothing are essentials for all consumers, transportation and medical care are also often seen as essential. However, the assignment of specific goods and services to each category is unique to each consumer.
During a recession, consumers typically reevaluate their spending priorities. Products and services, such as dining out, travel, arts and entertainment, new clothing, automobiles, appliances, and consumer electronics, can quickly shift from essentials to treats, postponables, or expendables.
As consumer priorities change, they may eliminate purchases in some categories, such as household services, moving them from essentials to expendables. Consumers may also substitute purchases in one category for purchases in another, such as dining out (a treat) for cooking at home (an essential).
In a recession, consumers become more price-sensitive and less brand-loyal. They may seek out their favorite products and brands at reduced prices or settle for less-preferred alternatives. For instance, they may choose cheaper private-label products or switch from organic to non-organic foods.
2. Tell Stories that Connect on a Deeper Level
During a recession, businesses can build trust and emotional connections with their target audience by using storytelling and emotional appeals in their advertising campaigns.
Storytelling can create a sense of community, empathy and inspiration by weaving a narrative that resonates with the audience’s experiences. Emotional appeals can tap into the emotions that the target audience is feeling, whether it be fear, uncertainty or hope, to show that the business understands their struggles and is there to help them.
However, it’s important to be authentic and avoid exploiting emotions for the sake of sales. Messages should be positive, uplifting and empowering, reinforcing an emotional connection with the brand.
Worried consumers, including those in the comfortably well-off and live-for-today segments, often seek comfort in familiar and trusted brands during a recession. To build trust with their audience during tough times, businesses need to communicate reassuring messages that reinforce an emotional connection with the brand and show empathy.
3. Be Real and Transparent
During a recession, consumers are looking for brands that they can trust. When businesses are honest and genuine in their advertising, consumers are more likely to believe in the brand and feel that they have their best interests in mind.
Transparency is another crucial factor in building trust with your audience during a recession. Businesses need to be open and honest about their practices, including pricing, product quality, and any potential issues that may arise. This can help to establish trust with consumers and show that the business is committed to being transparent and upfront.
Being authentic and transparent can also help businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors. By showcasing unique values and practices, businesses can stand out and appeal to consumers who are looking for something different.
While authenticity and transparency can help businesses to stand out during a recession, it’s essential to ensure that these qualities are genuine, rather than just a marketing tactic. Consumers can easily detect when a brand is being insincere, which can harm the brand’s reputation.
By prioritizing authenticity and transparency, businesses can build trust and foster long-term relationships with their customers. However, businesses should be careful to ensure that these qualities are ingrained in their values, rather than just a superficial marketing strategy.
Awareness Advertising: Your Key to Resilient Sales Funnel in a Recession
When the economy takes a hit, your sales funnel can take a hit, too. But with awareness advertising, you can keep the leads coming in and the sales rolling.
Navigating a recession as a marketer or business owner can be challenging. While it may be tempting to cut back on expenses, including your marketing budget, during tough economic times, this decision could have long-term consequences.
But we want to encourage you to stay the course and continue investing in your business, even in the face of a recession. The truth is that advertising during a recession can make a significant difference in your business’s ability to weather the storm
Instead of reducing your marketing efforts, consider investing in targeted and strategic campaigns that can help your brand stand out and build loyalty with your audience.
We understand that these are challenging times, and want to assure you that you’re not alone in this struggle. Our team of experienced marketers can help you develop a comprehensive and effective marketing strategy that will allow you to stand out from your competitors and connect with your target audience.
Whether you need help with awareness advertising, lead generation, or closing more sales, we’re here to help you achieve your marketing goals.
In-house vs. agency marketing: which is the savviest approach to your PPC ad management?
If the circumstances are right, there is a solid business case for both in-house and agency marketing.
Choosing the right approach for your business will have a huge impact ‒ whether that means in-house, agency, or some strategic hybrid. There are many factors to consider and making the wrong choice can be very costly.
Read on for a detailed breakdown of the real pros and cons of partnering with a marketing agency vs. in-house PPC management, starting with the one big mistake you can’t afford.
Here’s the Biggest Misconception: What Does In-House vs. Agency Marketing Really Cost?
To begin, there is a major misconception about in-house vs. agency marketing that many companies fall victim to:
The cost of keeping their PPC advertising in-house vs. agency marketing solutions.
Cost is often the deciding factor for companies on the question of when to hire a marketing agency for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
And many business owners believe that hiring a marketing agency to do your PPC is inherently more expensive than doing it in-house.
But in reality, for numerous reasons, doing PPC management in-house is often far more expensive than outsourcing it to a capable agency.
- Maintaining a successful PPC advertising campaign requires experience and skill. Adding just one intermediate PPC manager to your staff will cost roughly $86,000 in salary, insurance, and benefits alone.
- That means that having a small internal marketing department of three or four employees will easily run you upward of $200,000 per year.
- Compare that to the cost of outsourcing your PPC management to an agency, which ranges from $20,000 to $200,000 per year depending on your needs ‒ and which gets you an experienced team managing and creating your PPC ads.
Plus, as with any employee, hiring an in-house PPC manager will cost more than just what you pay in salary, benefits, and insurance. There’s also:
- Recruitment costs. To find the right candidate, you have to set aside a budget that covers the costs of ads, networking events, and recruitment staff.
- Training and onboarding costs. Even the best new employees take time to adapt and reach full productivity.
- Equipment and software costs. An in-house marketing team will need software tools for analytics, ad creation, and more in order to do their jobs.
- Management costs. Spending time and resources managing and maintaining that person’s employment, from payroll to ensuring they produce quality work.
PPC advertising is an integral part of your lead generation strategy. It should be managed with the same care and attention as any other key part of your business.
If you are not able to dedicate the resources to this area, then it is almost always better to outsource your PPC management to a professional agency instead. Full stop.
Beyond Costs: Doing PPC In-House vs. Agency Marketing
Let’s put costs aside for a moment and look at other factors to consider when deciding whether to hire an agency or manage your PPC campaigns in-house.
When it comes to in-house vs. agency marketing, the TrafficSoda team has experience on both sides of the coin:
- We’re a digital marketing agency, and PPC management is something we handle for a number of clients across North America.
- However, there are times when we tell prospective clients that they would be better off handling their own PPC management, or outsourcing only a small part of it.
- And as a company that does most of our own marketing in-house, we are fully aware of the advantages and challenges involved.
In the following sections, we will examine the differences between working with an agency and hiring your own PPC team to help you decide the best choice for your business.
3 Benefits of a Professional PPC Management Agency
Marketing agencies that provide PPC management services are invaluable partners for small and medium-size businesses that want to increase traffic, leads, and sales online – but don’t want to spend $200,000/year or more on an internal marketing department.
1. Agency Expertise Gives You More Value
The best agencies give you access to a level of skill and expertise at a cost that is otherwise out of reach for most small and medium-sized businesses.
Many agencies give you access to team members specializing in many areas so you can take advantage of multiple marketing channels: Google Ads management, eCommerce PPC management, and more.
The benefits of agency experience include:
- Confidence in decision-making. Giving up some control can be scary, but a trusted digital marketing agency will give you the confidence that they have your best interest in mind with their ideas and execution.
- Advanced technology. Most agencies have an expert knowledge of the technologies they work with. They know the best ways to employ these technologies to reach their desired goals. You will gain access to advanced tools and bespoke services to suit your needs and requirements.
- New opportunities. The creative potential when you work with an agency is virtually limitless since you get an entire team of specialists with a wide range of skill sets who can be quickly called on depending on the project needs.
Agencies are experts in their field, they know how to create the best PPC strategy for your business.
2. You Can Ramp Up Advertising FAST (and Scale Back Just as Quickly)
Scalability is one of the biggest benefits of outsourcing your PPC management to an agency. Whether you want to boost your advertising during busy seasons or get more business in slower times, an agency can help.
In-house teams are limited in both resources and team members. Agencies have access to a larger number of team members with different skill sets that makes scaling seamless on your end.
Among the benefits of ramping up and scaling back quickly are:
- Outpace competitors. A quick response to changes in your market gives you an advantage over your competitors by targeting specific needs or segments of your audience.
- Get to market faster. Have a new business or product line? Hire an agency instead of building your own team until you have the time and resources to do so.
- Always on point. If you ever need to stop your ads or change your messaging quickly, an agency can handle it. There is no need to mobilize your internal resources. Remember how many businesses had to shut down or switch to curbside service early in 2020? Our team at TrafficSoda immediately jumped into action to ensure our clients’ advertising complied.
3. Your Agency’s Success Is Measured By YOUR Outcomes
Reputable agencies go out of their way to make sure that they deliver the best results for you and, in return, get more business opportunities with future potential clients.
You and your agency partners both know what’s on the line if they don’t deliver results. So, agencies work tirelessly to deliver.
There are many benefits to you from this dynamic, including:
- Fuel your growth. A good agency knows that they must deliver results and work hard for your business. You can trust an agency partner to deliver what you need to grow, whether it’s traffic, leads, or sales.
- Know what you’re paying for. In order to prove their results, a professional PPC management agency will meticulously track the performance of your ads and provide you with detailed reports. You see exactly what you’re paying for, so you’re confident you’re making the right choice.
- Constant improvement. Agencies are constantly evolving to stay competitive in the industry. With clients demanding more and better results, agencies have to find ways to keep up with that. It’s hard to maintain that kind of momentum in an internal team.
Marketing agencies are more than just a business that helps you with your marketing needs. They have the skillset to help you grow with your business with qualified resources, analytics and data, and insights.
3 Benefits of an In-House Marketing Team
For some businesses, building an in-house team to handle PPC advertising just makes sense. Internal PPC managers give you a greater level of control and a more focused approach.
1. Your In-House Team Knows Your Brand Inside and Out
You have a brand at the core of your marketing strategy, and your internal team knows it best. An in-house team is already immersed in and understands your company’s culture.
Your in-house team will already have more immediate and intimate knowledge of your brand and company culture, while it will take time for an agency to understand you. A PPC campaign aimed solely at branding rather than lead or sales generation may be better handled by an in-house team.
However, in the same way as your internal team takes time to get to know your brand, a good and professional PPC management agency will take time to get to know your brand as well.
2. Your Marketers Are Just Down the Hall
Because you’re all under one roof, having an in-house marketing team will save you from ever playing phone-tag with your marketers. It will be easier for your marketing team to coordinate with you and with other departments, allowing for greater collaboration and communication.
Since agencies aren’t next door, and you have to contact them by phone or email, it is essential that you find an agency that is responsive to your needs.
3. Your Team Works Only For You
Since digital marketing agencies have many clients, you might feel at times that you aren’t at the top of their priority list.
Your in-house marketing team focuses 100% on your business, not on other clients.
That said, it’s a mistake to assume that just because your team has singular focus means they’ll definitely achieve the results you need. You can still benefit from an agency’s experience even if they work with multiple clients.
When to Use an Agency and In-House PPC Advertising
While PPC advertising can generate significant business revenue, it requires a substantial investment of money and time.
Agencies, on the other hand, are more cost-effective, tend to produce better results, and offer the convenience of not having to manage PPC campaigns yourself.
We have outlined a few common business cases for both to help you better understand how they can benefit your business.
When to Hire a Marketing Agency for PPC Management
PPC advertising is a complex process that involves many strategies and tools.
You should hire an agency to do your PPC management if:
- You want a team with the most experienced people in the industry with specialized skills, and don’t want to build out a minimum $200,000/year PPC department.
- You want to be able to scale quickly, pause or pivot when required, without having to muster resources in-house.
- You value results and accountability. When your agency partner fails to deliver results, you won’t have a working relationship for long, so incentives are aligned and there’s a sense of urgency.
You can save time and money by having a PPC agency handle everything for you, and you will receive the quality of results only experienced and specialized teams can deliver.
When to Keep PPC Management In-House
In certain cases, it may be more efficient for the company to handle its PPC internally.
You may do better doing PPC advertising in-house if:
- You need local expertise. In a unique market, you might not want your ad campaigns managed by a third party who doesn’t understand local market conditions.
- You are a startup with venture funding. Startups that receive venture capital are usually expected to use that capital to expand their own internal teams, and you’ll have the means to acquire top talent.
- You work in a very obscure market. Some markets require unique marketing channels that are impossible to scale linearly. PPC aimed at government contracts or seasonal cycles, for example, may be better handled by in-house experts.
Keep in mind that this may not be an all or nothing decision. You can also use a digital marketing agency and an in-house team together, bringing some aspects of PPC advertising in-house or outsourcing others.
Drive More Traffic and Revenue with PPC Advertising
While both in-house and agency marketing have their advantages, most companies are far better off with one or the other. When choosing which method is best for your company, take the time to carefully weigh your options.
Our PPC advertising experts know how it’s done, and we have the track record to prove it.
Start with a FREE consultation and see how we get you results.
PPC (pay-per-click) advertising is often considered the fastest solution in the digital marketing “toolkit” for driving traffic, generating leads, and making sales for your business.
And while PPC advertising generates impressions and clicks faster than SEO (search engine optimization), PPC doesn’t give you instant results like form fills and sales conversions.
Just like any digital marketing strategy, buying traffic through PPC ads takes planning, patience, and monitoring.
Meaningful results don’t happen overnight.
So, how long does it take for PPC to work? Let’s look at an overview of a typical PPC timeline, the main factors that influence how long it takes, and strategies to speed up the process.
How Long PPC Takes: What a Typical Timeline Looks Like
To answer the question of how long it takes for PPC to work, it’s important to define what we’re talking about in terms of results.
Yes, PPC advertising can bring in impressions and clicks right away. Sometimes you can even get lucky with a few sales and leads in the first few days and weeks.
But fine-tuning your campaign to bring in consistent, cost-efficient, and high-quality results takes time. Getting all aspects of the campaign working together can take between 3 and 9 months.
Here’s a quick overview of how this process can play out over a 9-month timeline.
Months 1-3: Gather Data and Make Early Adjustments
You can’t optimize a PPC campaign without data. So, the first stage of the campaign is getting enough relevant traffic to gather data for campaign optimization and expansion.
As soon as you have enough data to start noticing trends, you can begin to refine your campaign to increase its visibility and performance. For example:
- In a search ad campaign, adjust your keywords to ensure your ads show up for relevant searches. You can also add negative keywords to keep your ads from showing up for search queries that aren’t related or swap out headlines and descriptions that aren’t getting impressions.
- In a display ad campaign, pause underperforming ad creatives or exclude publisher placements that aren’t relevant to your ad or aren’t generating results.
- In a social media ad campaign, pause ads that are underperforming so more of your budget is spent on what works. You can also pause ad placements if they aren’t generating results or adjust your audience targeting.
With these early optimizations, your PPC traffic quality, conversion rate, and return on investment will improve. But to truly bring your PPC campaign results to the next level, there is still more work to do.
Months 3-6: Build on What Works
Once you have an idea of what’s working, you can start experimenting with new options that iterate on your current strategy.
Having some confidence in what’s going to drive clicks, leads, and sales can also allow you to increase your budget. Spending more on ad groups that are already bringing results can boost your results while also bringing in even more valuable data.
This is also the time when you have clarity on what’s not working, which may include entire advertising platforms. For example, if you started out with a combination of search ads and social media ads and only one channel is working, you should have enough data by now to decide whether to stop one channel altogether and focus on the one that is working.
Lastly, at this stage in your campaign, focus on your landing page’s quality and performance, especially if your ads are still underperforming. Be sure to pay attention not only to the technical performance (like load times and mobile responsiveness) of your landing pages but also to the relevance of its messaging to your ads.
Months 6-9: Remarket and Optimize
Now that we have collected a wealth of data and know what works, it’s time to start remarketing to track down lost leads and potential customers that need a little push.
Remarketing can also help to boost brand awareness and increase conversions.
At this point, you may need to refresh your ads with new imagery, headlines, or descriptive copy. Eventually, your audience will grow tired of the same old ads, especially if you’re dealing with a smaller audience.
Keep an eye on your social media and display ad frequency. You want to get in front of your customers, but you don’t want to overwhelm them with ads.
Why Aren’t PPC Ads Always an Overnight Success?
In order to be successful at PPC advertising, regularly monitoring and optimizing campaigns based on real, statistically relevant data is imperative.
Although PPC advertising can sometimes generate fast results, getting consistent, cost-efficient, and high-quality results is a long-term process.
You need to collect enough data to make smart decisions on which messages, imagery, keywords, and/or targeting strategies will work best. That takes time, especially if your budget can only buy you so many impressions and clicks per day.
How to Speed Up Your PPC Advertising Success
While there’s no ‘magic bullet’ that leads to overnight PPC advertising success, there are a few factors you should be aware of that may give you an edge.
- Send clicks to an awesome landing page. Having a great landing page waiting for your visitors when they click through from your ad is crucial. Clicks become sales when they land on a well-designed, incredibly relevant landing page that fulfills the promise of your ads.
- Start by building a great brand. Having a well-established product or website page with lots of organic traffic and a high conversion rate will greatly influence your PPC advertising success. It takes time for new businesses to build brand awareness and domain authority online, so expect PPC advertising to take longer as well if you are a new business.
- Make ads just one part of your digital marketing mix. The more trustworthy your brand and website are, the easier it will be to establish a foothold in PPC advertising. Using SEO, social media marketing, and email marketing in addition to PPC advertising will boost your brand awareness and produce the best results.
- Constantly monitor, manage, and optimize your campaigns. It is clear from the timeline above that PPC advertising is an ongoing process. Only by continuously improving your ad setup will you be able to ramp up its visibility, cost-efficiency, and overall success.
- Choose the best objective/goal for your campaign. There are many different ways to get value out of ads: you can build awareness of your business, get more website traffic, sell more products, and more. Think about what exactly you want to achieve and choose a campaign objective/goal that fits! For example, if you want to reach new customers and start building a relationship, choose Reach or Impressions as your goal rather than Conversions.
- Make sure your ads fit your buyer journey. Someone who already knows and loves your business won’t hesitate to click an ad that says, “Buy Now!” But someone who only just heard of you will probably need more convincing ‒ they don’t know who you are or how you can help them yet! Think about your buyer’s journey and adjust your ads accordingly.
PPC advertising is one of the most cost-effective ways to generate qualified traffic, leads, and sales online. For small businesses, using PPC campaigns can be their “big break” and a cost-effective way to get in front of potential customers who may have never heard or thought of them.
Success doesn’t happen overnight, but the right team with the right expertise can dramatically speed up your success rate and save you money in the process.
Looking for PPC advertising advice from digital marketing pros? Reach out to our team if you need help getting started!
Understanding the Benefits vs. Rising Costs of Paid Advertising
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads aren’t as cheap as they used to be.
You can thank new privacy regulations, higher competition, and tighter audience restrictions for that.
Right now, even veteran marketers are questioning whether PPC ads are still worth it.
But even in this tough market, PPC is a powerful way of reaching and engaging with your audience.
The Data Doesn’t Lie: PPC Advertising Still Works
Study after study has shown us that PPC ads continue to offer some of the best returns on investment of any marketing channel.
We know that:
- PPC ads return $2 for every $1 spent for an ROI of 200%.
- 74% of brands rely heavily on PPC to drive their business.
- PPC visitors are 50% more likely to buy than organic visitors.
For most businesses, there is simply no substitute for PPC as a means of getting you leads, sales, and revenue.
Here’s the catch:
More than ever, proper PPC management is what makes or breaks your campaign. No exceptions.
And in the world of PPC ads, mistakes come with a high price tag.
Knowing what to look for can save you a lot of headaches, so read on to learn key background info and tips to make sure that PPC ads are worth your investment.
We’ll tell you what you should look out for, what the risks are and how to avoid them.
Why Use PPC Ads to Promote Your Business?
PPC ads are a great way to reach your target audience across Google and social media.
- Incredible ROI: A PPC campaign returns $2 for every dollar spent, which is a 200% return on investment.
- High conversion rate: PPC visitors have a 50% higher likelihood of purchasing than organic visitors.
- Fast deployment: PPC ads can be launched quickly and start bringing in results immediately, unlike search engine optimization (SEO), which can take months to really get rolling.
- Unlimited flexibility: You can switch the ads on and off easily, which is perfect for small businesses or those working on a budget. And if your market conditions change, you can immediately adjust your PPC strategy to adapt.
What You Need to Know Before Launching PPC Ads
There are many other PPC advertising platforms, but these are some of the most popular:
- Google and other search engines: you can display your website in the search engine results page (SERP) when someone types in specific keywords or phrases. Visitors will see the ads you create to direct them to your site, and you pay based on whether they click on the ads.
- Google Display ads: show up as banner ads on a huge variety of websites across Google’s advertising network, including YouTube.
- Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram: PPC ads usually appear in the audience’s main newsfeed, with the word “Sponsored” or “Promoted” tagged at the top or bottom of the post. You can also have your ads appear on videos (at the beginning, middle, or end of a video), in Facebook Marketplace, or in the Facebook sidebar.
What you need to know is that every platform demands a different approach. It isn’t possible to create one ad and run it across all PPC advertising platforms.
It takes time to experiment with which ad designs and platforms work best for your product or service industry. Not every ad will be as successful as the next.
Moreover, PPC advertising constantly changes. Keeping up with the latest trends and practices is essential if you want to stay competitive and convert those clicks to sales.
How Privacy Changes Affect Your PPC Advertising Strategy
One more thing you should know before you start doing PPC:
New privacy laws have made audience targeting harder for PPC ads.
In response to these laws and privacy concerns, a lot of the big ad platforms, including Google and Facebook, have limited how you can reach your audiences with PPC ads.
- Apple has prevented advertisers from collecting consumer data through both Safari searches and certain applications on Apple devices.
- Google plans to remove third-party cookie tracking from the Chrome browser in 2023, which will account for about 65% of the global web browser share.
These changes will make it harder to target ads to very specific segments of customers, or track conversions accurately.
Without getting into the weeds here, the bottom line is that PPC advertising is going to depend more and more on a holistic digital marketing strategy that includes other channels like SEO, Email Marketing, and Content Marketing.
PPC Ads are Worth the Time and Money
There’s no doubt that PPC advertising is still valuable. But as costs rise and challenges increase, a carefully managed PPC campaign becomes even more critical to success.
You get wildly different results based on the platform you choose, the content of your ads, and audience you are trying to target, as well as the efficacy of your overall PPC advertising strategy.
You must also optimize and monitor your PPC ads throughout the process.
To learn more about running a successful PPC ad campaign, feel free to consult with our team of digital marketing professionals who can walk you through the entire process, from planning to execution.