Paid search advertising typically includes Google AdWords (text ads), Google Remarketing ads, Bing Ads & in some cases, Facebook Ads & boosted posts. If all three are consistently turned on, it can drive up to 40% of your overall web traffic. When paid search advertising gets turned off, usually for cash flow reasons, it can have an immediate impact on daily traffic and thus, ecommerce sales or leads.
One of my long-time retail friends was in the floral delivery business. Not fresh flowers, but artificial flowers. Weddings are a huge portion of his business. He achieved top three organic visibility for some of his most important keywords, so he figured he could turn off his paid search advertising in Google (AdWords). I was not his vendor at the time. In late August, he called me to tell me that his online business was down 40%. I pulled his data and looked at organic vs paid search. I noticed a large percentage of his keyword traffic dropped around May of that year. It had not yet regained. He told me that he had decided to pause his Google Ad keyword campaigns since he now had top 3 visibility in Google for his most desired keyword. He immediately turned his AdWords campaign back on. We talked about his monthly budget vs resulting online sales. Because he chose to turn off his campaign in his most crucial months, we estimated he had lost over $120k in online sales. His monthly budget was around $5k in AdWords. So, while he had saved $15k in spend, he cost his online business over $100k. Within a year of getting his business back on track, he sold his floral delivery business. Good for him!
The great thing about paid search advertising / SEM efforts is that you can turn on, turn off with a few button clicks. But when you turn off paid search, or significantly lower your spend, you can see long-term affects on your Paid Search acquisition channel in Google Analytics, as well as direct traffic. Fewer people learning about your products, brand name, and services through paid search means eventually consumers will forget about you. They will see your competition and eventually, might switch their affinity from your business to theirs.
I’ve seen companies turn off paid search, then immediately turn it back on because their phone stopped ringing or sales dropped off so dramatically they couldn’t afford to keep it off. Many companies don’t believe in paid search and want to focus their efforts on SEO. Keep in mind the best way to test a keyword strategy is to launch an ad campaign in Google, Bing and Amazon. Three different channels but all paid search medium (cpc). Review the keyword searches for your products, and decide if you no longer want to be visible for those keyword phrases. If there are over 100k searches in a month for that keyword phrase, and your competition is there, are you willing to take that great of a risk in eliminating your visibility?
If you have proper conversion tracking in place, consistently, you will begin to determine your overall cost of acquisition. You will then analyze how to increase conversion rates and lower cost of acquisition/conversion. This process takes time, often 90 days or more, and it’s ongoing.