Paid Search: Debunking Common Myths

Written by Lauren Austin

Paid search gives marketers the opportunity to pay for placement on major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). Running paid ads above organic search engine listings makes it possible for marketers to show ads to prospective customers the moment they search for something relevant to their products or services.

As a result, paid search campaigns have the potential to produce significant ROI. Unfortunately, though, many companies refrain from investing in paid search because of common myths and misconceptions about its cost and efficacy.

In this post, we'll debunk four common myths that could be holding your company back from driving serious results through paid search.

Common Paid Search Myths (Debunked)

1. Ads in search results are ignored

ignoring paid search ads

There’s an assumption that consumers disregard ads on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) — that's completely untrue.

According to this article on, 85% of retailers surveyed said Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - including both paid search and organic SEO - was the most effective customer acquisition tactic. In addition, 19% said they plan to increase their paid search budget for the following year.

If you've succumbed to the myth that paid ads in search results are ineffective because they're overlooked by consumers, you're missing opportunities.

2. Paid search ads drive less traffic than organic search

organic vs paid traffic

If you have a large, robust website that's loaded with amazing content and has excellent Search Engine Optimization, it's entirely possible that organic search will drive more traffic than even the most aggressively funded paid search campaign.

However, many businesses don't have the luxury of a large, well optimized website with a blog that's been meticulously maintained since 2013.

  • What about startups?
  • What about companies with newly launched or redesigned websites?
  • What about companies that have never marketed themselves online? 

A paid search campaign would be an ideal choice for a company in any of the situations listed above. After all, SEO takes a long time to produce results.

Paid search can help bridge that gap by driving targeted traffic to your website while you focus on improving its organic rankings and filling it with awesome content. 

Plus, the combination of SEO and paid search has been shown to produce incredible results for companies that are willing and able to invest in both.

3. Running ads on search engines is too expensive

high cost of paid search campaigns

Paid search can be intimidating. After all, you’re getting charged for every click your ad receives — that can add up fast. And while there's no denying that paid search campaigns can blow through cash if not managed properly, there are plenty of ways to ensure that your campaign operates within your budget.

First and foremost, setting a daily budget limit will help ensure that you never spend more than you're comfortable with / can afford. You also have the ability to set campaign start and end dates, or to turn your campaign on and off on demand (although typically we recommend running campaigns without interruption, unless doing so makes sense for your needs). Plus, there are a variety of automated bidding strategies you can utilize to get the most bang for your paid search buck.

Don't let the cost keep you from exploring paid search as a viable marketing option for your business  a professional paid search agency can help you drive the greatest results within your budget.

4. You can "set and forget" your paid search campaign

set it and forget it

"Set it and forget it" may work for Ron Popeil's Showtime Rotisserie, but this lax management strategy will result in disaster if you apply it to paid search!

Why? Simple — paid search is constantly evolving.

You simply can't afford to allow your campaign to run on autopilot. Your campaign needs daily management / monitoring if it's going to produce the best results, although in some cases you may be okay checking in on things 2-3 times per week.

Here are just a few things that could go wrong with an "autopilot" campaign:

  • Your credit card could expire, leaving no funding source associated with your account. No funds = no ads, and no ads = no results.
  • Your daily budget may be too low, causing you to miss valuable opportunities.
  • Your daily budget may be too high, causing you to deplete your budget early in the day, or well before your campaign's end date. It could also cause your campaign to significantly exceed your allotted budget.
  • Changes in the average Cost Per Click (CPC) you pay for your target keywords may negatively impact when your ads show, what position they show in and / or if they show at all.
    • You may be over-bidding or under-bidding, but you'll never know if you don't actively monitor your campaign.
  • A change in the URL of one of your landing pages may result in you paying for clicks that drive visitors to the wrong page or, even worse, to a 404 / Not Found error page. That's about as wasteful as it gets!

Again, these are just a few of the countless reasons why you should always have at least one person checking your paid search campaign(s) on a daily basis.

If you can't maintain your paid search campaign(s) on a daily basis, and / or you can't afford to pay a professional paid search agency to manage them for you, our suggestion is to hold off until you have the proper resources in place.

Download our FREE paid search strategies eBook!

Want to learn more about paid search, including best practices you can implement to maximize the performance and ROI of your paid search campaign(s)?

If so, click the link below to download our paid search strategies eBook! 

Although the content focuses primarily on eCommerce businesses, the strategies outlined in the eBook are applicable to virtually any organization.

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