In my line of work, it’s not uncommon for me to have clients, friends, etc reach out to me for advice on digital marketing vendors. These range from PPC to SEO to PR to Social Media, and I have seen all types across the spectrum (to say the least). Recently, I’ve noticed a few vendors that are pitching their amazing PPC services, and I’d like to address a problem I have noticed…something that irritates me to no end: Managing PPC campaigns to clicks!
Conversions? Where we’re going we don’t need Conversions!
Hopefully you know the quote/gif above, but if not, here’s the quick story:
In Back To The Future II, Doc Brown has come back from the future to take Marty into the future so he can save the family (and ultimately the world). Doc’s car needs to hit 88 mph in order to achieve time travel. As they are heading out, Marty is concerned that they don’t have enough road to reach 88 mph, to which Doc exclaims “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.” He then fires up the DeLorean, which suddenly lifts into the air and flies off to 88 mph and the future.
The point here is that in the future, cars fly, thus they don’t need roads to get where they’re going anymore. They can take a short-cut, if you will. Well, my friends, while this may be awesome, it’s a movie. It’s fiction.
Truth Is Better Than Fiction
If you know me, you know I love to help out the SMB that is getting duped by shady digital vendors, and I am seeing too many PPC vendors out there that are still selling their clients on campaigns managed to clicks. I just saw this PPC vendor that was selling their services, with nice little charts showing how they increased clicks over time.
Wow, awesome!!! Wait, didn’t you just tell me how you were going to increase my profits? Well, I don’t even see conversions listed as an option on your graphs!!! For all I know, clicks increased because you got more money from me.
Now in an ideal world, this PPC vendor is actually increasing click-thru rates, increasing quality scores, etc, and thus lowering your CPC which delivers more clicks for your budget. I can’t speak to whether these guys are doing this or not, so I don’t want to speculate further. But the point is that they’re selling you on one thing and what they’re showing you is not what they’re selling.
The thing about roads…
Merriam-Webster defines “road” as a route or way to an end, conclusion, or circumstance.
That’s the thing about roads: they take you somewhere. But, getting there is also part of the experience. For example, when it comes to getting to or from work, then getting there is the part of the process that you want to minimize as much as possible. Thus you optimize the route. But you can’t optimize the route unless you know where you’re going, the destination. So you have to have an end goal, or destination, in mind in order to figure out the best roads to take to minimize the travel time.
Websites designed for ecommerce or lead generation should be hyper-focused on minimizing this route to the goal/destination. And, this route to the goal actually starts, for the most part, on a search engine. So optimizing your route by only looking at the clicks, actually does nothing in regards to reaching your goal. That would be like starting your trip, hitting traffic, turning around and starting over and over and over again without any real regard for actually getting somewhere.
You have to assess the roads that lead to the destination, ie the path that the you’d like the consumer to take on your website in order to get there. You do this by starting with a clear goal in mind, and working you way back from there to the original click, keyword, etc. Then you optimize this process until you’ve found the route that gets you to the destination fastest. This includes bid adjustments, keyword adjustments, negative keyword additions, ad copy testing, landing page testing, CTA adjustments, etc. And these ALL are still focused on one thing: the goal/destination.
So when a vendor is only managing your PPC campaign to clicks, then they’re leaving off the most important part: the goal, the destination. The vendor has no way to optimize your account to what really matters, because there is no insight into where the campaign needs to go. Thus, the most efficient path to get there (which starts with the search engines) cannot be mapped.
Wake Up Call:
Clicks are fiction. CONVERSIONS are truth. Why are you buying PPC if not to get business? So any PPC vendor that isn’t managing your budget to a conversion, whether it’s a sale or a lead capture, is taking the “no roads” approach. And remember, that’s a movie, fiction, fantasy. The truth lies in the conversion, the sale, the lead.
Clicks & Web Visitors don’t mean squat. Conversions tell the truth. Conversions need roads. The no-roads approach is tantamount to cutting corners, and cutting corners always costs you more money in the end.
So until we have flying cars, it’s probably best to stick to the roads.
Disclaimer: I realize that some websites are built for advertising models. Thus, traffic is what they’re going for. In that case, then clicks usually are the end goal for a PPC vendor. However, for 99% of the SMB world, I am willing to bet that this isn’t the case. Just sayin…