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Is Paid Search Worth it?

by James Jarrett | 13.06.2014
Does paid advertising on Google work? Apparently not, according to Ebay, who are one of many big businesses who have decided there is not enough value in running paid advertisements. Every day, companies spend huge sums on marketing their products online, however is it true that money is being spent on customers who click through a paid ad when this would have been picked up organically anyway?

The answer to this is… there is no right or wrong answer. Firstly, Ebay is a huge, huge monopoly with little to no competition and so not a reflection of the majority of companies who do use paid advertising. Secondly, Ebay’s execution of paid advertising techniques were notoriously bad, and even more reason not to make decisions based on what they have decided for their brand.

Bidding on search terms that are irrelevant to your brand, or what you are advertising, are extremely likely to be a waste of budget, as I’m sure Ebay found out bidding on the term ‘loneliness’.




Other studies, including those carried out by Tug have proven the worth of running paid search in addition to a strong organic presence, as this medium allows for possibilities which are only available within PPC, such as:

  • increasing traffic volumes, awareness of the brand and product sales
  • it can be used to stop competitors bidding on your brand, and really protecting your brand space above the fold
  • great for pushing promotions
  • great for testing (keywords, landing pages and copy)

On the other hand, there is no doubt that as an advertiser you should be highly vigilant when bidding on keywords, and daily optimisation should be done to prevent wasting money. Just as Ebay were bidding on terms that will not have brought any benefit to their brand and essentially ROI, this could happen to you if you do not take the necessary measures to ensure you have an optimised account, campaign etc.

Furthermore, paid search is still slightly behind the likes of paid social and programmatic where you can adopt bidding strategy based on audience data. Therefore there will be campaigns where you cannot get as close to identifying and targeting the perfect audience set, but i’m sure Google, Yahoo etc. will make efforts to improve this aspect of paid search.