Bad Self-Managed Campaigns Have Soured Many SMBs on Paid Search
March 7, 2016 | Contributed by: Greg Sterling
Yesterday LSA held another digital marketing bootcamp for local businesses in San Francisco. While there were some really interesting moments and discussions, the most interesting moment to me came during Bing’s presentation about mobile and mobile paid search.
The Bing speaker asked the local businesses in the room for a show of hands of how many people were currently doing paid-search marketing. Two hands among roughly 100 SMBs went up. Then I asked how many had ever done paid search and nearly 40 hands went up.
Wow. Presumably these people who no longer were doing paid search had not seen sufficient ROI to justify continuing their campaigns. I didn’t interview these people but my guess would be that they were managing their campaigns themselves and simply didn’t have the expertise to do so effectively.
They probably failed and blamed the medium, rather than recognizing their own limitations and that they needed expert help.
While SEO is consistently identified as a critical marketing method or channel by SMBs, the same cannot equally be said of paid search. Ironically, however, paid search is more controllable and can yield much faster results than than organic. It’s also less of a mystifying black box. Beyond this, the case for paid-search is extremely strong in mobile.
A recent survey by LSA found the following regarding local business awareness and adoption of paid search:
- Had heard of paid-search: 86%
- Were currently using paid-search marketing: 41%
- Viewed paid-search as “essential” for online success: 46%
These are preliminary results and we’re still collecting responses. But this illustrates the gap between awareness and perceived need.
It strikes me then that there are two or three issues confronting providers of PPC to local businesses. They need to assume that many SMBs have had bad experiences from self-managed campaigns — as our session yesterday implies. Thus they need to do a great deal of educational “repair work” to rehabilitate SEM for their audience.
PPC also needs to be excluded from packages below certain budget thresholds. This is for the benefit of the advertiser and ultimately the provider. If media companies and local sellers aren’t confident that they can deliver (indeed, over-deliver) great ROI for the advertiser they need to just say no to PPC for local businesses.
Turn them away or sell something else rather than deliver a bad experience.