Although “age-old” might be a slight exaggeration, the question of whether pay-per-click (PPC) or non-pay-per-click (N-PPC) advertising offers the better return on your online investment has been around since, well, the dawn of search engine marketing. The truth of the matter is: what works for me may not work for you. There is no definite answer; however, there are definitely guidelines that can send you in the right direction. Both PPC and N-PPC models have their advantages; the key to a successful online advertising campaign is determining which model will work best for you based on the particular business challenges you face (for example, steady lead generation, awareness, a launch, seasonal marketing, etc.).

PPC advertising, the primary model offered by major search engines such as Google (known as AdWords), can be ideal for companies looking for a “blitz” advertising push. Seasonal promotions typically see quick return for engaging in PPC keyword campaigns during peak buying periods. A company that manufactures snow plows, for instance, might want to boost PPC keyword spend once winter weather sets in — and, conversely, an air conditioning manufacturer may decide to stop its PPC spend within the New England region during the winter chill. Seasonal campaigns are typically crowded, however, which will force the price for your keywords up, so this is something you will want to take into consideration.

Quick-response campaigns are also a natural fit for keyword PPC advertising. A typically low search product or service might see demand explode in reaction to an unforeseen event. During a recent snow storm that buried Washington state, snow removal suppliers might have wanted to alert emergency response teams that they had the equipment needed in stock. In about two hours, these suppliers could target the Seattle-area response teams via a blitz keyword PPC campaign. And then, once the snowfall had ceased and the roads were cleared, the online campaign could melt away with the snow. These quick-response opportunities may only last days or hours, so effective campaigns require you to move quickly — far more quickly than any other type of advertising.

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