The Intricate Web of CPC

Cost Per Click - Performance-Based Marketing


To most marketers, “CPC” means one thing: Google AdWords.

Adwords is one platform for cost-per-click (CPC) advertising, but many busy marketers may not realize that a variety of CPC options exist. Google Adwords offers a form of CPC that places a marketer’s ad at the top of Google’s relevant search results - which is effective, and is certainly a viable marketing choice. However, their model is based on a bidding structure - which can go wonderfully right or terribly wrong for even the most experienced marketer.

Let’s take a step back and compare the terms CPC (cost per click) and PPC (pay per click). Some sources treat the terms as equal, or use them interchangeably. However, they can be treated individually - with CPC referring to the cost and PPC referring to actual payment. This can be a useful distinction for more complex campaigns that incorporate other marketing strategies that may restructure the way that the client is actually charged. In that case, CPC is a more accurate term than PPC, as the client may not exactly be paying per click any longer. For this reason, we’ll use the term CPC consistently to minimize confusion.

A quick online search about CPC can make the concept seem simple enough. Yes, CPC campaigns are a fairly straightforward way to drive web traffic to your site. Yes, they’re mostly hands-off, and provide instant results. But this can actually pose a problem. Imagine a high-powered fire hose: controlling the flow of water takes experience and know-how to avoid causing major damage. The same level of understanding is required to control the flow of clicks in a CPC campaign. Tons of clicks means tons of traffic, but also means that you’ll be footing a giant bill. A successful CPC campaign also requires constant monitoring; even if you know how to operate the fire hose, you can’t just turn it on and walk away.

For these reasons, it’s a great idea to consider a marketing solutions provider that has experience, monitoring bandwidth, and flat-rate pricing. A great CPC provider can give you a fully turnkey marketing solution - and you won’t need a crystal ball to project your budget. A CPC campaign also requires data, which your average user is not likely to have on hand. Driving traffic is the main goal, but an effective CPC campaign relies heavily on behavioral data and enough bandwidth to perform useful analytics that drive more data. A successful campaign targets the most appropriate audiences in the right channels at the right times.

This leads us to our next point: audience is everything for CPC campaigns. The social media-based and search-engine based options seem because they have such a wide audience. But with a huge and varied audience, your target prospects may never actually find you. For example, Facebook and Twitter have huge audiences. Investopedia put it best when they remarked that “Earth is Facebook’s target market.” LinkedIn has a wide audience as well, and a large portion of their audience consists of job-seekers, not potential clients. Those job-seekers may click on your ads to find your business’s career page, and those clicks get lumped in with those you’re looking for - and paying for. While social media sites do allow you to narrow those audiences down, the hard truth is that users do not head to social media looking specifically for your product or service. Even Google, though it is a search engine, doesn’t guarantee that the ideal customer will use the right keywords to find you.

So what’s the bottom line? CPC isn’t a guaranteed headache, but it can become one without the right assistance. Consider working with a full-service marketing solutions provider to ensure that your CPC campaign is not only effective, but affordable and accountable. If you’re ready to learn more, Advantage Business Media can help you jump in and begin driving traffic in the B2B marketplace. Our dedicated digital marketing team monitors your campaign from start to finish, providing regular updates and allowing you to be as involved as much or as little as you’d like. We perform in-depth A/B testing to ensure that your ads are receiving clicks worth paying for. If necessary, we investigate any issues and make changes and updates, continually optimizing the creative library we’ve formed specifically for your campaign. Advantage Business Media owns distinct B2B publications in the design engineering, manufacturing, and science fields, giving us the ability to run your creative in tandem with articles and information from our in-house editorial team.

Avoid getting stuck in the tricky web of CPC; research, discuss and make a game plan that works well for your organization. CPC is a fantastic blend of brand-based marketing and performance-based marketing, which provides incredible data and results when implemented correctly. Watching out for these potential pitfalls and teaming with the right marketing partner can increase your web traffic and instant sales. Don't give up on CPC yet!

- Lindsay Jawor