Five Reasons Not To Use Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Would you rather spend your marketing dollars paying for customers or paying for clicks?

Over the last few years, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising (like Google Adwords) has become the go-to-choice for many businesses hoping to grow their sales online. Today, I am going to show you five reasons why it can be a bad idea. In its most basic form, PPC does seem to be very straight-forward. You decide how much you will pay for a click on your ad, and you only pay when someone clicks. The more you are willing to pay, the higher up your ad is listed and the more likely someone will click on it. Simple right? The reality is that this simple formula is full of hidden speed-bumps, high expenses and uncertain return, especially if you are a small business trying to stretch your marketing dollars. At BoostSuite, we believe that content marketing and website optimization are the best use of your online dollars. PPC is best employed by companies that have fully exploited content marketing and believe their site is as optimized as possible, AND have the budgets to experiment with this potentially costly medium.


Before you decide to use Pay-Per-Click advertising with your marketing dollars, here are five reasons to consider using that money somewhere else.

  1. It’s Expensive!! – If your company operates in an obscure industry, the cost to get to the top of PPC may not be very high. But for most companies, there are many other competitors also bidding for space for the same keywords. Instead of paying pennies for each click, you might find yourself spending tens if not hundreds of dollars just to get a click.
  2. It’s Time Consuming – Managing a Pay-Per-Click campaign correctly really takes a lot of time. You have to learn how to use the tools, you have to setup the system, you have to actively manage your ads and keywords you are bidding on – constantly adjusting what is working and not working. It can easily add up to a day or two a week, even if your budget is relatively small.
  3. It Requires Full-Time Efforts of You or an Employee – Since PPC can be so time-consuming- it’s quite possible that you don’t have time to do this yourself. This means either working even more hours (and for a startup, what’s a few more hours on an 80 hour work week), or hiring another employee (or an agency). These additional “hidden” costs are never talked about by the big proponents of Pay-Per-Click.
  4. It Only Delivers Clicks, Not Sales – PPC is all about you paying to get someone to click on your ad. What if the keywords you are bidding on and the text of your ads don’t deliver the right prospects to your site? What if your landing page or website is not optimized for that traffic? Even with the best Pay-Per-Click campaign ever, if you cannot convert those visitors (that you paid for) into paying customers, then you paid for a click, and not much else. No lead info, no phone number. Nothing!
  5. It Gets More and More Expensive – The biggest secret of PPC advertising is that the more successful you are with it, the more expensive it gets. If you’re in an industry that can find customers and convert them using PPC, the chances are that your competitors can do this too. As each company starts using PPC, the cost to get to the top increases. Each company basically bids up the cost of PPC until you get to the point where it’s so expensive, that you really can’t make any money acquiring new customers using this channel.

So, should you never use PPC? Of course not. It has its place, just like all other marketing channels. However if you are trying to acquire as many customers as possible, at the lowest cost possible, use BoostSuite for free to optimize your website and deliver the right kinds of visitors to your business. Don’t pay for clicks, pay for customers!

Have any bad (or good) stories using Pay-Per-Click advertising? Let us know about them!

About Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith is co-founder and CMO at BoostSuite. Daniel is a car enthusiast, world traveler and wanna-be wine snob. When he’s not at BoostSuite helping small businesses succeed you can find him skiing, wake-boarding and driving fast cars.

  • Ryan

    This isn’t exactly true. SEO campaigns are long and expensive and you cannot gurantee results. PPC is an excellent medicum for growing businesses online and it doesn’t have to expenise either. Having a qualified PPC pro can help comapnies find which keywords are most profitable and then pursue them later in an SEO campaign. Last but not least PPC does bring sales. It’s a combination of keyword research and landing page optimization. My advice would be to rewrite your article as you lose credibility with this. Best of luck to you.

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  • jonathon

    I would tend to agree, and Ryan has some good points, but the issue is adwords don’t work with small business budgets. I have worked with major companies that willingly spend thousands on adwords and now that i am working with a small business its just not a viable option without spending most, if not all of our advertising budget at it. We sell a niche product in a big industry, targeting a relatively small population we were way over paying for clicks without any competition for spot number one.

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