Online marketers have taken to pay-per-click (PPC), and many use it, but apparently not everyone understands it very well.

Although online marketers have been investing in PPC search marketing for a number of years, a new survey of marketers — all of whom have been using PPC for at least two years — conducted by the e-tailing group found that managing PPC programs poses a challenge.

The fact that marketers use PPC was clear from the survey. In fact, with 44% of e-commerce executives surveyed saying they allocate 20% of their entire advertising budgets to PPC search ads, it constitutes a significant portion of online marketing budgets.

They agree on where to spend PPC ad dollars, too. Of the marketers who invest in PPC campaigns:

  • 100% use Google
  • 90% use Yahoo!
  • 76% use MSN
  • 27% use
The problem is that 40% of the respondents reported that they manage more than 5,000 keywords. To accomplish the task, 59% manage internally, 18% outsource and 24% use a combination of internal and outsourced solutions.

Somewhat amazingly, 99% of those that manage PPC campaigns in house have three or fewer people working on the job.

A third of the executives spend 21 or more hours a week managing PPC campaigns, and a third spend five or less hours a week.

"It is clear that merchants see value in this marketing method," Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group, told Internet Retailer. "However, resource constraints plus limited time availability and skilled personnel to dedicate to PPC were frustrations."

Even though ROI is the primary measure of success for PPC campaigns, 27% of the marketing executives said they did not know how their cost of conversion compared with the total dollar value of each sale.

More here.