The Monster Called PPC

I’m a graphic designer. It’s my job to make Oneupweb look good. From monthly online banner ads to giant dancing Obama animations, I take advantage of nearly every program in the Adobe suites.

I’m a web developer. I write code, both frontend and backend. From html to css to php to actionscript, it’s my job to make sure that stuff functions as intuitively as possible.

Having two specialties on opposite sides of the spectrum, I’m fairly diverse with computer related topics; especially when it comes to the internet. So I should have no problem running a PPC campaign for a site that I both designed and developed, right?

PPC (Pay Per Click) is the semi-automated bidding system built into most search engines, designed to drive traffic to a website. Many engines even have tools to analyze your site and suggest keywords and phrases to bid on. They can help manage funds, set limits, and compare campaign effectiveness. A blind monkey could setup and manage a PPC campaign, so what’s all the fuss about? Well, the bit about a blind monkey is not exactly true, and I unfortunately found out the hard way.

A few years ago, I designed and developed a website for a friend’s flooring business. We spent weeks researching search phrases, writing ads, and weighing click prices. We triple-checked our work to make sure we had all our ducks in a row. Everything looked good, so we launched the campaigns with high expectations.

Everything was going as planned. Within a few short days we had hundreds of clicks. We even increased the campaign budget to ensure that we got as many people to the site as possible. However, as the days went on we began to realize; we were getting thousands of visits and had zero purchases. We cancelled the campaigns and walked away with our tails tucked between our legs.

So what happened? His merchandise was very competitively priced. The site was state of the art, easy to navigate and professional. The checkout system was intuitive and secure. Why did we spend thousands on a campaign and end up with nothing to show for it? The truth is—I don’t know what went wrong. I’m a designer. I’m a developer. While there are many things that I can achieve naturally through my skills with technology, I learned the hard way that PPC is a different kind of beast; and the only way to master it is through experience and dedication.