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Search engine advertising for the wrong reasons

Reading My CEO does not believe in paid search on Search Engine Guide was interesting, as it presents the arguments to give to irrational skeptics who don’t believe that search engine advertising is a sensible thing to do. But I often come across the opposite: people who want to invest too much money in search engine advertising because they want to be positioned higher up the page than makes sense, in terms of return on investment. “I can’t have our ad appearing below such and such a competitor”, says the sales director, “…it doesn’t make us look good”. I gently point out that the competitor at the top of the advertisement pile is paying over the odds for the privilege, and that positioning an ad above that will be even poorer value, but pride comes before rational thinking. Sure, there is a degree of ‘branding’ in AdWords advertising, but let’s maximise our return on investment first.

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