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Utility Trade

Jul 16, 2019

10 Most Common Mistakes in a Paid Search Campaign

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising was at one time every marketer’s dream. Affordable for even small businesses, PPC offered disproportionately wide exposure and was relatively uncrowded.
 
But the game has changed. In businesses with more than 50 employees, 74% are investing in PPC. Bid costs on popular keywords are soaring. Search engine result pages (SERPs) contain nearly as many PPC results as organic ones.
 
These days, knowing what NOT to do is as critical as knowing what to do when managing campaigns. And there’s a ton you can learn from these ten common PPC mistakes.
 
1.   Using Stale Ad Copy
All the PPC planning in the world won’t save your campaign if the ads are weak. Try using emotional triggers in your ads to hook customers. Study ad tactics used by competitors then improve the copy to stand out in your industry.
 
2.   Not Catering to Buyer Personas
Do your campaign’s keywords attract a specific type of customer? If so, are you extending personalisation by speaking directly to the buyer persona in your ads? 
 
The language that resonates with a city, living yoga-going millennia isn’t the same as what connects with a veteran ranch hand.
 
3.   Bidding on Too Many Keywords
It’s easy to get carried away when brainstorming all the relevant keywords searchers may enter to find your business. Bidding on too many leaves you with sorry crowd of non-converters.
 
In fact, there’s a possibility the 80/20 rule is at work inside your PPC campaigns, meaning about 80% of your results come from 20% of your keywords. Find out which keywords are paying their own way and ditch the losers.
 
4.   Not Using Negative Keywords
Negative keywords prevent your ad from displaying for keywords you don’t want to pay for. This is useful when you need to exclude ads from searches where clicks are unlikely to convert into purchases.
 
Of course, the opposite is also true. Click-happy offer abandoners are quite expensive without a negative keyword strategy.
 
5.   Failure to Geo-Target
With geo-targeting, your ad is only displayed to an audience within a defined geographic location. This is quite useful for businesses serving communities around them. 
 
Depending on your business, failing to geo-target could mean your campaign isn’t getting the proper exposure where your customers are.
 
6.   Using Broad Match Keywords
You probably want to avoid using broad match keywords if your campaign is on a tight budget. These are PPC keywords matching with a wide range of searched keywords. 
 
Broad match keywords can trigger your ads to display on irrelevant SERPs, which risks PPC spend being flushed down the drain.
 
7.   Ignoring Quality Score
Google has turned evaluating the quality of ads into a science. Are you taking advantage?
 
If you’re running PPC through Google Ads, monitor the quality scores assigned to your ads. This data helps improve ad efficiency while driving down PPC costs.  
 
8.   Sending PPC Traffic to the Wrong Place
A customer falls in love with your ad in the search results and can’t wait to click-through—a PPC victory, right?
 
Maybe not if traffic from your ad fails to arrive at a landing page supporting the offer. Rethink the approach if current PPC traffic is sent to your home page or another out-of-context area of your site.
 
9.   Misusing Ad Types
PPC offers different ad types suited for different objectives. For example, search ads, displayed on SERPs, perform well at the bottom of the sales funnel; these ads match the intent of specific keyword searches, i.e., customers who know well what they want to buy.
 
Display ads—ads that appear on websites—are targeted by interest and work well in top-of-funnel contexts. Using the right ad type for your desired outcome optimizes your campaign. 
 
10. Not Using Split Tests
If you’re not split testing ads, you’re relying on guesswork as your conversion engine.
 
Tweaking ads and monitoring results should be an active component of your campaign. It also optimises PPC costs when your winning ads account for the bulk of spend.   

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