PPC Myth Busting! Myth 2: Display Is Really Expensive

By Amanda West-Bookwalter | @Amanda_WestBook | Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

Last time on PPC Myth Busting, I busted the myth that Google Analytics is complicated to use by showing you three easy ways to get information you can start using in managing your accounts right away. Today I’ll be tackling the myth that Display is really expensive.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people say Display is really expensive, or too expensive for an account manager to test in their accounts. I can understand this if your search campaigns are all limited by budget and they’re all totally killing your goals. Then, why bother since you’re already having to limit stellar performance in search? That’s fine, but more often I see lots of search campaigns that aren’t being limited or aren’t hitting goals and accounts with lots of budget that could be better spent. To give one example, I was running an account audit on an account that was having issues with super high cost per conversions. Their click costs were in the twenty dollar range. Their budget was unlimited as long as goals were being met, and they were being capped by bad performance in Search. When I asked, “well, what results have you seen with Display?” I got the myth I’m about to bust wide open: “It’s too expensive!”. I set up a test campaign in Display for this account, and we saw their click costs in Display were in the one dollar range. Saving $19 a click was HUGE for this account. Through advanced targeting, we were able to target a small, qualified audience in this account and see a much lower CPA compared to search. I’ll get more into how we did this targeting exactly in the next Myth, but besides this anecdote I just gave, here’s some data to bust this myth apart!

Here’s one of my accounts that advertises the same product on Display and Search. Here’s the product’s CPC and Avg. Position in the Display campaign:

That’s a $.53 CPC for position 1.4.

Here’s the same for the same product in the Search campaign:

That’s a $3.81 CPC for an average position of 3.4!

If the chance at cheaper clicks isn’t persuading you that this myth is busted, how about conversion metrics?

These are metrics for a different account for the whole month of July 2012.

This is the Display campaign:

This is the best performing Search campaign:

That’s 574 more conversions for the Display campaign at $6.40 less each than the Search campaign. And, while we’re here, can we just look at the difference in CPC and avg. position?

I’m calling this one busted, guys! Check back early next week for our third myth busted, which ties in to this myth: Display is terrible for direct response.