Is Smart Bidding Right For My MSP?
If you’re new to Pay-Per-Click (PPC), you’re probably looking for as much assistance as you can find, so it makes sense that when Google calls with advice; you listen. However, before you give Google the reins, here are some things you should consider before you hand over control of your ads and your budget.
Should I Just Let Google Manage My MSP Ads?
It seems like a no-brainer; who better than Google to run and manage their product? They certainly have decades of experience, and their expertise can be helpful for many businesses. However, is it right for your business?
PPC, like most advertising, relies on the impulse buyer, but as you know, a managed services agreement will rarely be the result of an impulse purchase. It is not uncommon for an MSP to experience extended time between initial interest and the actual contract signing.
This extended sales period is part of the reason why it is essential to run your advertising and marketing campaigns over a long time. We often mention the “Rule of Seven,” an older marketing truism that notes that it takes a potential lead to see your ads several times before they consider contacting you. Marketing is by nature, a long-term commitment; whether it’s SEO, content marketing, or PPC, getting your business top-of-mind takes time.
This is why PPC can be expensive for MSPs because it can easily take three months or more before you see any results. However, during that time you can receive hundreds of clicks that you are paying for before you receive a genuine lead. While Google can automate the process, it can’t change the nature of how your business generates leads.
Is PPC A Waste Of Money For An MSP?
No, it is not. Please make no mistake, pay-per-click marketing can be expensive; we've seen MSPs invest $500 per day in their PPC campaigns who had phenomenal success. However, it also didn't happen in a month, and $500 per day is a lot of money to spend, if PPC is your only hope in generating revenue.
PPC can provide the desired results, but you must have realistic expectations of cost, time, and results that are achievable. Google understands that businesses new to PPC will need more expertise to navigate the ins and outs of the marketing approach, and they offer them a way to get up and running with Smart Bidding. The question is, should you entrust your PPC solely to Google’s Smart Bidding systems?
What is Smart Bidding?
There are several types of bidding strategies you can use on Google Ads. For the most part, they break down into two categories, manual or automatic. Automatic bidding is known as Smart Bidding and is managed by Google. Google’s selling point is that because they have access to all the “hidden” data, such as their algorithms, they are able to grant your campaign the best chance to see good results. Google’s Smart Bidding offers four key benefits:
- Advanced machine learning
- Wide range of contextual signals
- Flexible performance controls
- Transparent performance reporting
As you can imagine, most businesses new to PPC will gravitate towards Smart Bidding, as it is “sanctioned” by Google. With Smart Bidding’s offer to “set it and forget it”, it is certainly appealing to most businesses. While Google uses its algorithms to determine how much to bid and which keywords are most likely to convert, it also limits your input in the process. This lack of fine-tuning can be problematic for industries that require a more hands-on approach, such as MSPs.
Some Issues With Smart Bidding
While there are controls you can place on the account to rein in Google, most businesses new to PPC won’t be aware of them and will rely solely on Google’s recommendations. While it can be rewarding to have 100% in your Google-provided campaign optimization score, the reality is that what makes Google happy, can potentially cause you to spend more money than needed.
One issue with Smart Bidding is reduced control over your budget. Google will attempt to spend the total amount of your budget, regardless of the cost of the keyword. While this doesn’t seem a big deal—you should expect your budget to be spent—what makes this an area of concern is how Google will spend your budget.
For example, say your Google ad budget is $100 per day. Google will say, “we have one hundred dollars to spend, and ‘Managed IT Support’ has a great chance to convert, but it’s highly competitive. Let’s spend $100 to capture that keyword,” poof, there goes your daily budget. Of course, the $100 would be well spent if you were guaranteed conversions. However, there are no guarantees, and unfortunately, there is a chance that your one click for the day will be wasted. This is why it is important to try and have as much control over your campaigns as possible.
Can My MSP Benefit From Smart Bidding?
Yes, but you will have to be committed to investing resources into managing your campaigns alongside Google, instead of giving them free rein. For example, Google recommends broad matches as their main recommendation, which makes sense as it is designed to get your ads in front of as many people as possible and remember, advertising is always a numbers game.
The downside is also that it attracts a broad audience, most of whom aren’t interested in your services, but may be clicking on your ads anyway—clicks that cost you money. The only way to reduce wasted spending when using broad matches is by proactively setting up negative keywords.
Negative keywords prevent your ads from being shown to searches with low conversion possibilities. While this can be time-consuming, it can allow you to take advantage of Google’s algorithms while maintaining control over who they show your ads to and how much you spend.
This is just a sample of how PPC can be a useful tool to generate leads. Here is some additional information about PPC for MSPs.
MSPs, Pay-Per-Click Doesn’t Have to be a Mystery
Finally, if you’re trying PPC because you’re desperate for leads, it could come too late to make a real difference by the time you see a result. We recommend that if you’re at this point, your advertising dollars could be spent on other initiatives which can give you more bang for your buck.
One service to consider is our curated lead list. The lead list service is an excellent way to optimize your marketing efforts and save valuable time! Let us generate a list of vetted candidates for your service for you to contact via direct mail (at least initially).
As MSPs ourselves, we know how to market your business. If you’re considering investing in PPC as part of your marketing strategy, you don’t have to go it alone or rely on Google. We have the experience to help you make the most of your PPC campaigns, and more importantly, we will tell you when you can’t afford it.
Call us today at 888-546-4384 to discuss how our marketing plan can identify the strategies right for your business.