Paid Search: The Least Effective Tactic for Tech Marketers

This may sound familiar… You’ve created a beautifully insightful piece of content and you can’t wait to share it with your prospects. Your marketing team unleashes the holy grail of material to the masses via segmented emails, social media posts, even PR channels.

And you think, “this piece is worthy of some extra oomph!” So you spend the extra time and money on Google Ads, LinkedIn Ad Campaigns and Facebook Ads. You check the analytics a week later and you notice you’ve got…next to nothing.

Is it you? Is it the paid ads? What gives?


Is PPC right for your tech company?

Well…it’s complicated.

In our 2019 State of the Industry Report, we asked over a hundred B2B tech marketing professionals about their PPC experiences. Surprisingly, despite the move toward organic SEO efforts, three-quarters of tech companies are still purchasing paid advertising. Thanks to them, we’ve come up with a few takeaways to keep in mind for the next time you click that paid campaign button.


The tech industry isn’t swearing by PPC.

While a majority of our respondents are utilizing PPC, an overwhelming 39% decided it was a waste of time and only 2% think it’s kind of amazing. A pathetic effectiveness score of 2.2 out of 10 is nothing to write home about!


PPC Effectiveness graph with 39% rating PPC as a waste of time

With this many marketing experts, we can’t believe everyone is creating crappy content or setting up their campaigns incorrectly. Maybe this is indicative of the industry itself. According to Wordstream, technology has the lowest click through rate in Google Ads at 2.09% and the lowest display rate at .39%.


You’ll be playing the game of percentages.

Doesn’t seem that paying for top billing is impressing anyone. Do you ever click on paid ads? I sure don’t! A study by Oak City Tech found that only 10% of prospects who see an ad, click on it. Coincidently, 94% of traffic comes from organic search results. It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that focusing time and effort (not money!) on algorithm-generated results is the better payout.


Interested to learn more about our 2019 State of the Industry Report and see more pretty graphs? Download it for free now.

CTA: Get My Free 2019 Marketing in Tech State of the Industry Report Download


Return on investment is a real thing.

While the majority of our respondents mentioned they are using PPC, 70% of tech marketers also admitted they are paying under $250 per month, regardless of platform. There is definitely some hesitation to put any real spend into ad campaigns with uncertain ROI.

Monthly PPC Spend graph showing 70% of marketing experts spend under $250 per month on PPC.


That said, there are obviously some marketers having success. 18% of tech marketers actually say it’s their best lead source. Reflecting on the monthly PPC spend, we believe there is a correlation between the amount of dollars devoted and the return on investment. A major component of paid ads is A/B testing and that means running multiple ads which increases your spend. To maximize your efforts, you’ll have to pay to find out what works.


Although tech industry marketers are not jumping into PPC with both feet, they are dipping their toes in with realistic expectations. It may not carry the weight of organic SEO efforts but it’s another tool in the marketing tactic arsenal. And if deemed worthy of marketing budget spend, it can grow into the best lead source for your company.


Not drinking the PPC kool-aid just yet? Check out our Free, Cheap and (Mostly) Easy Tactics to Promote Your Tech Business.


Pug puppy watching it rain money