The idea of ethical PPC (and ethics, in general) in online advertising and in digital marketing services is not a new concept. But as things evolve and as the industry grows, we can see new unethical tactics emerging.
But first things first. Is ethical PPC a real thing?
Yes. Yes, it is. And we’ll be looking at it today.
Trust in advertising is low — both in print and online. It’s just that society is generally more skeptical as a whole. We live in a day and age where we’re all hypersensitive to change.
Perhaps businesses are making money from people clicking on their published ads. Conversions happen. And they don’t see a problem unless Google swoops in and tells them what they’re doing wrong.
Nevertheless, we as human beings, have a moral duty to be honest and transparent even in advertising. For this reason, it’s important to clear up what ethical PPC is and what it involves.
Search Engine Journal defines ethical PPC as:
“Ethical PPC is the practice of online advertising that promote services or products with expertise, authenticity, and transparency.”
The last three accompanying elements are where ethics eventually come in. And with that in mind, let’s move on to the 5 key points to remember about ethical PPC.
These 5 key points embody what ethical PPC is, and how it improves the way your business does things. Without further ado, let’s delve into this.
Search engines have the responsibility of providing information the users need without causing harm in any way. And for ad publishers, you need to be responsible about showing ethical values and not mislead.
However, in spite of these noble intentions, trust in Google and online advertising isn’t as high as either group would like. Not one day goes by where we don’t come across stories about some influential people misusing online advertising.
Users trust in search engines to give them the right answers. Of course, it’s not always immediate. That’s why they don’t need any more questionable responses that could throw them off.
Pay-per-click advertising should not lead users down shady back alleys for the sake of getting that coveted click. That’s a waste of ad spend anyway — chasing for clicks.
The majority of internet users nowadays are well-informed, and they investigate before they bite down. Lead them with false promises, and you may find you and your business down a destructive route.
Click fraud is defined by the fraudulent click of PPC adverts to generate fraudulent charges for advertisers. Approximately 20% of every online ad click is classed as “fraudulent.” That entails a lot of wasted budgets.
For every $3 spend on online ads, click fraud takes $1 and approximately $18.5 billion gets lost in click fraud. But if you’re wondering why anyone would even do this?
Easy answer: To kill competitors.
If they don’t have the budget, then they won’t be able to bid on the ads you want. It’s a little like funneling your competitor’s money into a furnace while they aren’t looking, while taking their customers with the burning.
Business owners have their own level of expertise in a field. However, you need to remember that expertise is a spectrum, and it’s not a binary system.
For this reason, you need to convey your level of expertise when you’re writing paid ad copies. It helps when you specify, but depending on your type of ad, there could be character limits, and everyone knows that you shouldn’t waste character space with meticulous detail of your experience and expertise.
Let the users know how good you are in your field, but be completely honest.
Think of SERPs as shop windows. Your Google AdWords campaigns are windows to view your wares. Your ads are like the classified ads stuck to the glass. In terms of a department store, your Google Ads are well-dressed mannequins or physical products that customers can engage with.
Think of a physical store window…
These windows are transparent, and you can see what’s being offered to you before you decide to buy. Your online ads need to give customers that same level of transparency. A good pay-per-click advertising campaign doesn’t just focus on the promotion of services.
It’s all about showcasing brand consistency.
PPC efforts should be an extension of your SEO strategies, direct marketing campaigns, and your email marketing. Remember that users can spot a fake ad from a mile away. And inconsistency can turn them away.
Honesty ties in authenticity. Everything you promote must be real and needs to be backed by relevant governing bodies. Just as you need to be open about your expertise, you also need to be honest about your products and services and what they can be capable of.
It’s general knowledge for business owners at this point, that you shouldn’t offer something that you can’t deliver.
Putting the wrong keyword in the wrong place can lead to unintentionally violating trademark laws. Of course, it’s also possible to accidentally advertise a service or product you don’t actually have.
So be aware. There’s an advanced Google Ads feature known as dynamic keyword insertion and it lets you insert a keyword into your ad copy based on a user’s search query. It allows for more specific ad targeting.
The bottom line is to be conscious of how your ads read. And again, be honest about yourself and the services and products you offer.