Organic Vs PPC: Paid Search (PPC) going downhill

Do you marry for love or do you marry for money?

I think the question is flawed to begin with, I think it should be to what extent do you marry for love and to what extent do you married for money.

You must be wondering what on earth am I talking about? Read on and you will understand the logic behind it.

A recent article titled “Paid search down?” by caught my attention and got me thinking. After reading through the article, Being a natural hardcore tweeter decided to tweet it. Within minutes, I have an explosive number of tweeters RTing it (e.g @digitalengage, @BobKeyman). To me it means, this is HOT news and something that resonant with the market.

pay-per-click-12.jpgI felt that this article came at the right time, the time where marketers have been told that the marketing budget is slashed and so forth. So if that is really the case, a simple explanation to this fall in Search Engine Marketing – PPC could very well be attributed to this recession after all one can say we now need to priorities our spending. Gone are the days where we can pay a staggering 5 bucks a click (sheer madness by the way). Following this logic, its does make sense that PPC is going south.

BUT could there be another explanation? Could it be companies are getting smarter, they have in house SEO specialists that have been optimizing their search campaign after all SEO is not that new anymore. After years of experience, they have gotten the SEO skills right i.e. dirtied their hands and all, and as such they don’t really need PPC (that much anyways). They are ranked typically on the first page. So if that is the case, why do they need to embark on a PPC campaign – its such a waste of money (do I hear the CFO suddenly shout – “WOO HOO”) – they are not optimizing their strategy if they engage PPC if we follow this school of thought.

However (yes there is always a however), in my view, well though the figures do show a decline in PPC (according to, PPC still has its place in the search engine world. Its SPEED, its ability to quickly (or fastest way) get the required amount of traffic to your site, in fact, it can be instantaneous. It allows you to start getting traffic right away, allowing one to build its customer base. But the drawback can be the pricing, the strategy to it is to use less popular key words (lateral ones or long-tailed ones) and as such the PPC cost will fall accordingly – well you need to work on that strategy cause I always believe that Search in itself is a Strategy. Apply this to your SEM/SEO and you could go a fair distance.

I think ultimately, firms have to go right down to their inner self and ask this question before they embark on any execution tools.

Ask themselves this very simple basic question* What is my objective?. Get this right in the beginning and alot of wastage can be minimized and thus develop an effective solution to meet your organization’s communication and strategic marketing goals.

So going back to the introduction of marrying for love and marrying for money, now you should (hopefully) understand why I wrote that. In my view, we digital marketers should ask ourselves this very question, to what extent do we use organic and to what extent do we use PPC? of course this is dependent on your organization’s objective and marketers being accountable for every dollar they spend and measurement results, yes you guess it ROI.

Say this to your CFO and board members, “My strategy is to use as much organic as possible and use PPC as necessary”With this, I foresee you will be able to see some nice smiles on their faces.

Well thats all from me now, I’m keen to hear your views.

*I’m sorry it still amazes me though that a fair number of companies fail to do this and even if they do, they fail to appreciate the magnitudes of tools out there and that “SEARCH in itself is a STRATEGY”


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