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Common PPC Mistakes - The Things to Avoid

Claire Richardson's picture

Wrong keyword match types, poor geographic targeting and lack of conversion tracking are just a few of the common mistakes people make when managing their PPC campaigns. Mistakes such as these can increase costs and lower your return making your PPC advertising time consuming and inefficient.  Below is a list of common PPC mistakes you should avoid when managing your PPC campaigns.

1. Not tracking conversions – Why take the time adding numerous keywords and writing effective ad copy if you are not tracking exactly which keywords and ads are leading to conversions?

2. Using poor landing pages – Avoid sending visitors to your homepage, instead send them to relevant landing pages deeper in your site. Also, make sure any promotions or prices advertised in your ads are clearly displayed on your landing page. 

3. Not using negative keywords – Displaying ads for irrelevant searches can create big problems – lower CTR’s and not to mention the cost of low quality clicks on your ads. Use negative keywords to prevent ads from being triggered for irrelevant searches, but remember to add them with caution because you don’t want to accidently block valuable traffic too. 

4. Not testing ads – Many people make the mistake of only having one ad per ad group, but ideally you should have two or three different ads. Consider testing multiple ad messages to see which one generates the best results, think “features” versus “benefits”. Once you have found the ads which are working best for you, set your ad delivery to “optimise for conversions” to trigger your highest converting ads more frequently. 

5. Poor geographic targeting – If your business only operates in a concentrated area, such as a hairdressers or childcare centre, then make sure you only target the region your business operates in. You will waste money if you target the entire country, or worse still, the entire world! 

Location Targeting

6. Using the wrong keyword match types – Getting your keyword match types right is crucial. Exact match can limit your reach, yet broad and phrase match could mean you end up targeting irrelevant keywords leading to low CTR’s, high CPCs and poor conversion rates. Ideally, you should use a combination of match types and one which is suitable to your audience size. For example, if you have a small audience you should not limit yourself further using only exact match. Modified broad match is often a good match type to use to begin with.

7. Poor campaign structure – Don’t group all your keywords and ads into one campaign because you won’t be able to target users with relevant ads. Instead, you should use ad groups to group related keywords together and write effective ads which are very relevant to the user’s search query.  Don’t add the same keywords to multiple campaigns – this won’t give your ads a higher chance of being displayed, it will just make your ads compete against each other and may stop them appearing in the results at all! 

8. Incorrect use of location extensions – If you run a purely online business then be careful when using location extensions. You don’t want people turning up at your business address unannounced, especially if you run your business from home. Consider using call extensions instead, which would be a better alternative.

9. Trying to be number one – A lot of marketers strive for the number one position in the hope of receiving more clicks. Whilst you may see a more clicks, there is little point paying £4.50 for your ad to appear in the top spot if your product itself only costs £4.50. Consider setting some cost-per-order targets before bidding too aggressively to make sure your PPC performs efficiently. 

10. Not using sitelink extensions – A lot of advertisers still aren’t making use of Google’s sitelink extensions. Use sitelinks to take searchers to specific parts of your site or even use them to advertise promotions or USP’s that didn’t fit in your ad! Examples include “our services”, “free trial” and “only 5.9% APR”. Sitelinks must take users to the same domain as your main ad, so remember to update your sitelink URLs if your main domain changes to stop your sitelinks being disapproved.

11. Having no call-to-action – Are you wondering why people aren’t clicking your ads? It could be because you’re not telling them to! Use strong call-to-action phrases like “buy today” “save online” and “get a quote”. Try to avoid weaker call-to-actions like “find out more” and “search today” as these phrases keep users in the research stage of the buying cycle rather than taking them to the purchase stage. If you’re targeting mobile devices then remember to alter your call-to-action accordingly as you may find phrases like “call now” work better in your mobile ads. 

12. Combining search and display campaigns – Google automatically opts all search campaigns into the Google Display Network. However, performance is typically worse on the display network compared to the search network as display campaigns often see much lower CTR’s. You should separate your search and display campaigns so you can better control your results with bid and budget adjustments. 

 Display Network

13. Not doing keyword research – Don’t just guess which keywords will generate the highest volumes of traffic, do keyword research to find the right keywords for your business. Remember to use search query reports too, these will often flag up new keywords that people are searching on which you can add to your adgroups.

If you have been a victim to some of these PPC mistakes and want some expert advice then our experienced team are here to help. Get in touch with us today!