In a previous post, I wrote about  SEO (Search Engine Optomisation) vs PPC (Pay Per Click). Last week, by way of one of our Marketing for Engineers clients, the perfect illustration of SEO vs PPC presented itself.

The client asked if he should renew a particular advertising level on a paid listing service. The listing service provided statistics for the previous year and supporting marketing material to encourage the client to renew. Here are the numbers:

The listing site said they delivered 26 click-throughs from 19 views of the paid listing.

Google Analytics reported that only 8 sessions were referred by the listing site, 6 of which were new sessions, suggesting at least one of the users referred returned.

In the same period, Google referred over 1,800 sessions – all organic search results as the client is not currently using Google Adwords.

There is a clear and obvious disparity between the two sets of data. In my experience, this is always the case. From large volume sites to small targeted businesses, I have never seen these figures match. The listing sites are always over-reported. The reporting on the activity on a website is what actually happened on the site, no matter how much traffic someone else says they sent.

At the annual cost of the paid “premium” listing, each of the user sessions cost $125. I showed the client some results of targeted work done by Netbyte // Digital Agency on his account and advised him to reduce or eliminate the expense and just go with the free listing.

Above all, the message is “If you can’t measure the results, why are you doing it?” It’s also important to check. If you are presented with measurable results, be sure they are genuine.

With genuine figures, it’s simply a matter of doing the maths to ascertain the return on your investment, as in this example.

It’s also important not to be reactive. Advertising spend should be part of a strategic marketing plan. Use it alongside good organic SEO and watch a more holistic approach lead to better outcomes.