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7.6 Pros and Cons

Learning Objective

  1. Fully understand the benefits of PPC (pay per click) while also understanding the negatives.

PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns are relatively quick to set up, can provide high volumes of traffic, and are by nature highly trackable—what’s not to love? But there are some pitfalls that you ought to be aware of.

Click Fraud

Click fraud occurs when your advertisement is clicked on by someone who is not a legitimate potential customer. Because an advertiser has to pay for every click on his advertisement, sometimes unscrupulous competitors can click on the advertisement to force the payment. There are even automated bots that can click on advertisements, costing advertisers millions.

Google said in February 2007 that click fraud accounts for only 0.02 percent of clicks. You can read more on its blog:

The search engines, however, have taken measures to combat this. Advertisers can report suspected click fraud, and the search engines will refund invalid or fraudulent clicks after investigation.

What can you do? Keep an eye on your campaign. Any sudden leap in CTRs (click-through rates) should be investigated, and you should pay particular attention to see if the conversion rate drops (which would indicate potential fraud) or stays the same. Pause the campaign if you suspect fraud, and alert the search engine.

Bidding Wars and Climbing Costs per Click

High-traffic keywords are expensive, and the battle to stay on top means that the CPC (cost per click) of these keywords is escalating. Convincing yourself that it’s number one or nothing can result in burning through your campaign budget quickly with nothing to show for it.

What can you do? Keep focused on your campaign goals and ROI (return on investment), and keep investigating to find the (cheaper) niche keywords that work for you.

Time Required to Keep an Eye on Things

PPC campaigns require a lot of monitoring, and the bigger your campaign gets, the more time this takes. PPC advertising can provide a fantastic ROI, but you need to check in and tweak regularly to make sure that it continues to perform for you.

What can you do? Make sure that you have allocated the time required to run a successful campaign. There are also tools available that make managing large campaigns easier. But remember the following good reasons (and many, many more) why PPC works for you:

  • No- to low-cost barrier. You only pay for traffic; there are minimal setup fees involved.
  • Tracking every cent. PPC advertising allows you to track your advertising spending down to a keyword level, so you can learn what works and what doesn’t on a small scale.
  • Targeted advertisement placement. You can make your advertising relevant with the many filters available when selecting where to show your advertisements.
  • Giving your customers what they want. PPC advertising lets you place your advertisement in front of people who are searching for your product. It lets you provide a solution, as opposed to creating an interruption. What more could you want?

Key Takeaways

  • While there are many advantages to PPC (pay per click), there are some things to be wary of:

    • Click fraud
    • Bidding wars and climbing CPCs (costs per click)
    • Time required to keep an eye on things
  • However, there are many advantages. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons to see if PPC is right for you.


  1. Both PPC (pay-per-click) advertising and SEO (search engine optimization) are based on keywords. How can PPC advertising and SEO be used to complement each other?