Pay Per Click – How Important is it for B2B?

Pay Per Click – How Important is it for B2B?
Heather Rubesch - Tue Sep 21, 2010 @ 07:03AM
Comments: 8

SearchThere is little doubt that search engines are part of our every day life.  My 6 year old recently asked for my phone while we were stuck in traffic recently so she could get a jump start on her homework by using the voice search feature.  With no instruction from me she punched the tiny button in the lower right and said slowly and clearly “facts about cows”.  She and her brother paged through the options to come up with the most interesting and bizarre facts they could find.

It is for my children’s generation that Merriam-Webster made “google, googled and googling” verbs in their latest edition.  No longer is the “C” volume of the encyclopedia the first place a first grader goes to look for information about cows.  Nor do they go to section 636-637 of the Dewey Decimal System in their school or public library.

Search engines have taken over reference data in the country and much of the civilized world but have they taken over B2B lead generation as well?

Marketing Sherpa’s Chart of the Week addresses the importance of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising on marketing budgets.  Chart included below:

PPC Chart 














As the chart indicates 44% of the marketers surveyed believe there is a measurable ROI behind PPC.  Another 33% indicate they haven’t seen proven ROI but will continue to increase budget spend and only 8% still have their head in the sand and aren’t doing PPC.

What Marketing Sherpa doesn’t tell us is that of the 2,000 Search Marketers whether they are B2B, B2C or B2G.  My guess is that the 8% who don’t have it on their radar are likely B2B or B2G but even with that the significant number (77%) who are aggressively or moderately deciding on budget spend in this area at least a portion are B2B and if you aren’t talking to your leadership about it then your competitors are out pacing you here.

I admit I wasn’t quick on the PPC bandwagon myself.  I counseled clients to get their SEO house in order and stay on the Google top 3 for terms that mattered to them.  As more and more players in each space got savvy on SEO the key terms got harder and harder to maintain for position.  When companies started fighting competitors to keep top 3 position for their own company or brand name I knew organic search wasn’t going to cut it for some high demand key words.

I think the general perception has been that if you don’t sell products via a web shopping cart then they don’t need PPC.  Marketing Sherpa’s new report benchmarking search marketing trends for PPC indicates those who engage in PPC see it as far more than a sales tool.  34% found it very effective and 49% somewhat effective in increasing brand or product awareness.  Additionally 22% said very effective and 42% somewhat effective in increasing offline sales.

PPC is definitely here to stay.  Obviously Google is the main player but don’t let your guard down on Bing/Yahoo either.  As more and more prospects search for fast answers via the web and their mobile devices the window of “top of mind” really becomes “top of screen”.  In the case of smart phones the screen is even smaller.  On a few key word searches I tried today on my phone the only links that were visible without scrolling were sponsored links.

How much attention are you giving to PPC?

About the Author:Heather has spent the past 15 years advocating for the customer perspective in her approach to software development and product marketing. Her penchant for collaboration is what drew her to the Savvy B2B team. Read more of Heather's posts here or contact her directly at

Comments: 8


1. Doug Kessler  |  my website   |   Tue Sep 21, 2010 @ 07:31AM

We use PPC a fair amount with our B2B clients -- if the keyphrases are tightly focused and aren't too competitive (expensive).

Natural search is best but you can't always get top spot, so a little PPC can deliver.

If your conversion rate onsite is good (be it for downloads or sign-ups or whatever), PPC can pay. I do recommend keeping an eye on ROI. A lot of clients assume clicks is the only metric. That way lies wasting lots of money.

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