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Weekly Wisdom with Joel Bondorowsky: How To Choose the Right PPC Channel

Weekly Wisdom with Joel Bondorowsky: How To Choose the Right PPC Channel

Joel Bondorowsky

Modified Transcript

For this week's Weekly Wisdom video, I will explain how to choose the right PPC channel to reach internet users who are of the right state of mind for what you are selling. A common mistake that people make when distinguishing between the different forms of pay per click advertising is to distinguish by platform. Another common mistake is to assume that one platform is better than another. I am often asked, what is better for driving sales, Google or Facebook ads? And really, the answer is that it depends. It depends on what it is, and the state of mind of the people who want to buy it.

Before I begin, let me introduce myself. My name is Joel Bondorowsky, I am SEMrush's PPC academy professor and also founder of PPC Designs, a boutique ad agency that specializes in large mass market performance based paper click advertising campaigns.

The Four Steps of the Decision Making Funnel

So let me begin by explaining what I mean by the state of mind of your users. There are several steps that a person takes in their mind before they make a purchase. These steps can be illustrated by the decision making funnel. Most of us are familiar with the concept of a sales funnel, an example of a sales funnel could be one where users enter a landing page, view a shopping cart, proceed to checkout, and finally make a purchase. Funnels are shaped like a cone because as users progress down it, their numbers decrease, just as how the volume in a funnel decreases towards the bottom. Sales funnels illustrate the steps that one must take in order to complete a purchase. The decision making funnel, on the other hand, illustrates the steps and one's mind that one must take before they decide that they want to take action and buy something. The decision making funnel is comprised of four steps. These are awareness, interest, desire, and action.

Each of these steps represents a different state of mind that a user is in. The clicks that you drive to your website are made by people. These people must first be aware of your product before they can have interested in it. They also must desire it before they can take action and purchase. The decision making funnel is also shaped like a cone because there are way few users at the bottom of it ready to take action than those at the top who are not yet even aware of what it is that you offer.

So now let me get into where the different PPC channels fit in with all of this; I will start with search advertising. Now when I say search, I am not only speaking of Google search. I am speaking of any type of search advertising where you can display an ad in response to a search query that a person makes; this search query expresses very well the state of mind that the user is in.

A person searching for information about a problem that they are having is at the top of the decision making funnel; they are not yet aware that there is a solution. If a person is searching for a solution, they have already been made aware but do not yet desire the product that you are selling. If a person is searching for a particular product or service, they are expressing desire but not in a way that shows they are ready to take action and buy. Finally, if a user searches for a product by its brand name or with the word best or cheapest near, they are expressing intent to buy. 

When Search Advertising Works

Now, search advertising works when you can show the most relevant ad for what the user is looking for. If you are bidding on keywords that are towards the top of the decision making funnel, it will be very difficult for you to produce ads that are relevant enough to have a high enough quality score to run effectively.

For example, let's say you are selling vacation packages to the Caribbean and you are bidding on a keyword like "ways to relax". A person looking for ways to relax is going to be unlikely to want to engage in your ad. It is because of this lack of relevance that you will have trouble getting served at all.

Search advertising works best when you are targeting users that are towards the bottom of the decision making funnel. These are people searching for words like Caribbean travel or even Caribbean vacation packages; this traffic can be the most expensive, but it is also the most actionable. These people are looking for you; they are looking for what you sell, they are looking for your product. However, they are also way fewer of these people, which is why running successful campaigns to people who are actively looking for your products is a great way to increase your market share, but you will be limited only to those people who know to look for it.

On the other hand, showing ads to people who aren't yet aware, or interested in a particular product doesn't just increase your market share, but it can potentially increase the size of your market; this is huge. Advertising platforms that have tools to reach the right type of person are capable of doing this. The Google Display Network, Facebook Ads, Tubular and Outbrain to name a few, give you the ability to reach audiences based on who they are, not what they want.

The role of these ads isn't to sell; instead, it has more to entice a person to click. It is then up to the landing page, and it's sales copy to get them to buy. These users are towards the top of the decision making funnel, and they are much, much more plentiful, and their traffic is cheaper. Their conversion rates will always be lower than if someone is searching for an exact product, which is why it is then up to you to produce sales copy that takes them from the awareness stage and brings them all the way down to the action stage and purchase.

Because the Google Display Network also lets you target people not just by who they are, but the content that they are consuming, it can also be a tool to reach people that are lower on the decision making funnel. For example, people reading an article about things to do on a Caribbean vacation are of the state of mind to take a Caribbean vacation. Therefore, if a related website is on the Google Display Network, placing an ad there would be a way to reach people who are more actionable. Advertising with Google Shopping or PLA ads as well as Amazon, or pretty much any other marketplace that lets you show ads after a search is a good way to reach users on the very, very bottom of the decision making funnel.


These people are expressing intent like search, except their intent is solely based on the product. If not, the product wouldn't be displayed. So if you are selling an actual product itself, running PPC on market places might be right for you. So I hope you found this information useful. It is very, very important to choose the PPC channel that you run based on the intent of your users as well as the product you sell. If anyone has any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to ask below; I will answer. Thank you very much for watching, and I look forward to doing this again

Joel Bondorowsky

Knows everything… well, almost.

Joel Bondorowsky can be described as a true PPC addict. The last thing he does before bed is check his stats, which is also the first thing he does after waking up. It is his love for the job that feeds this addiction. He dabbled with his first small campaigns back in 2000, when PPC was at its infancy. However, it wasn’t until 2010, when he started working at Wix.com, when he got into more extreme PPC. After leaving Wix, Joel started a boutique ad agency called Quality Score where he managed some of the largest PPC campaigns in history. Today, he serves as the SEMrush Academy PPC professor s well as founder of PPCDesigns, a new boutique agency providing tailor made marketing solutions for large, mass market activities.
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Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Hi Joel. Very useful info. I will start for the first time to create some FB campaigns for a Real Estate agency. I am very familiar with FB Ads and Google Ads but not with this niche. I want to build awareness for the local market and we will create another site for promoting Luxury Houses abroad. The budget is low for the start. The best way it will be to check Fb Ads and Google Ads, Interests and Keywords, but I don't think that I will be able to do it because of the low budget. So my question is:
Which do you think it will be the best platform to start?
Thank you
Pavel Naydenov

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Hi Joel,
I agree with everything you said.
One question here:
Which one works better Google Display or Facebook Ads?

I am asking because lately, I've noticed that GDN ads are relatively low performing because they literally appear here and there or you need to invest a lot of time to make them appear on the right place.
On the contrary, in Facebook ads are very well targeted to specific personas, but not to specific behavior.
So, what do you think?

Asks great questions and provides brilliant answers.

Thanks for the great info! I know there are a lot of questions surrounding PPC campaigns and small business owners get easily frustrated if they try it and it doesn't work, so this article is very helpful.
Ritesh Sharma

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Thanks Master Joel, for sharing wonderful post here. This is really much helpful post to select a right paid network.
Monu Rohila

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Thanks Joel, This article definitely help PPC Advertised in the selection of proper Channel to run campaigns to drive sales for their products/services among Google or Facebook ads and many more channels.
Esteban Martinez

Occasionally takes part in conversations.

Great topic Joel.
Too many people forget about the sales funnel or how long it takes to convert a customer and just look at the core sale action.
As you stated, increasing visibility at the top of the funnel is just as important to support and encourage consumers through the funnel.
Tristam Jarman

Provides valuable insights and adds depth to the conversation.

This is ace Joel, thanks for putting it together.
Very interesting take on which PPC channel to pick. I think a lot of people out there could learn a lot from this in helping them understand and decide on the direction of PPC for their business. Each business is different even some that are in the same space. So finding the right mix of PPC with user intent is key, thanks again for sharing this.
Daisy Lewis

Either just recently joined or is too shy to say something.

Thanks for sharing tips to To Choose the Right PPC Channel

Asks great questions and provides brilliant answers.

Every business is different from the other therefore it is plausible to state that a strategy which works for one particular business might not work for the other. You need to A/B test them to finally decide upon the appropriate strategy. And Joel you resolved the confusion about how to choose the right PPC channel in this impressive Weekly Wisdom.

Also, there's an error in the third line of the second paragraph. It's written 'paper click advertising campaigns' instead of 'pay per click advertising campaigns'.
Arianne Donoghue

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

I love the funnel! Always pleased to see it used and related specifically to paid media. It's been great to see how Google have improved the Display Network product in recent years (partially because I think Facebook have forced them into it!) and it can now be really powerful when combined with platforms like YouTube depending on where the users are at in their journey.

It's going to be really interesting to see how Intent becomes an even more important part of campaigns moving forward - I know Google and Bing are already starting to incorporate this into their propositions.
Paul Lovell

A veteran community member.

Thanks for sharing Joel
I think advertisers also need to understand assisted conversions and correct UTM tracking, both of these are going to help advertisers understand the true value of a specific PPC channel and also help assign it a much better budget, just because a channel may not look like it is providing many conversions if you dig deeper you might find they bring more users into the top of the funnel which you then go on to convert via another PPC channel

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