I am in a debate with someone who doesn’t believe search is any more accountable, measurable or effective as a marketing channel than traditional media like TV, radio and magazines. It’s a bit like arguing with someone who still believes the earth is flat.
My only problem is that the arguments made aren’t that bad. I don’t agree with them, but the ideas are deceptively simple to understand. I’m having a hard time coming up with equally simple counterpoints to de-bunk them.
Can you help me out?
Here are the main points.
PPC Analytics data can not be verified on a high volume website:
What if we shut PPC & Search off for a month or two and then turned it back on? The resulting drop & spike in visits and revenue should indicate the “Real” value of the ad campaign but given the large fluctuations in our competitive conditions and seasonality the resulting drop then spike in traffic and revenue is not accurately measurable.
PPC traffic can not be properly tested or accurately measured. The PPC ads are either there or not. You can’t show ads to only half the audience. There is no way to set up a control group and measure the difference in performance.
People will find the website anyway:
We do not rank well organically in the SERPS for generic phrases like “Blue Widgets” so we purchase unnecessary PPC advertisements.
The PPC advertisements are unnecessary because people will find the website anyway. If they don’t find us on that particular query, it’s no big deal because they will find us on the next one or the one after that. Or they will find a Widget review website or a Widget aggregator, and then compare prices on our website against the aggregator. Or they will follow a link or whatever. Either way… This is a large purchase decision that usually does not happen with a single query or visit to a single website. People comparison shop and PPC ads are an unnecessary convenience that does not drive the traffic or the sales.
If the lift can’t be accurately measured or verified, then how can we justify attributing ROI to the expense? ROI from PPC/SEM is supported in most situations by anecdotal evidence only just like traditional media. Analytics data is not an accurate representation of reality and we should not pretend that it is.