Common PPC campaign mistakes and how to fix them

September 10th, 2015 by Jaroslava Jutkova
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PPC campaigns are a great tool for driving relevant traffic to your website and achieving the desired goals.
But.
You can waste so much time and lose a lot of money when not doing it the right way.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that can be seen across many accounts. Read the tips from our team on what to avoid and how to have a profitable PPC campaign from day 1.

Mistake #1: Your PPC ads are leading to a homepage

Your ad mentions specific products or 50% off, but when users click, they land on a homepage. The user doesn’t see what he had expected and leaves.

Always aim to lead your visitors to the most relevant page on your website. It can be your homepage, but in most cases you’d have a specialised sub-page that is more closely related to the search term.

Leading users to the more relevant page will increase the relevancy, which has an impact on the quality score (and therefore influences your cost per click) and it will have a positive effect on the bounce rate as well.

Mistake #2: Creating extensive campaigns full of (relevant, but) generic keywords

Not only does it take time to create such enormous campaigns, it’s also very costly so we recommend focusing on the most relevant keywords first. You need to find a balance between too generic and too niche keywords that will have no search volume. Aim for highly related two to three word long keywords. If it’s all working well or you’re not getting enough traffic, you can always add a couple of broader keywords afterwards.

To play it safe, use the broad match modifier to prevent your keywords from being a magnet for irrelevant search terms.

Mistake #3: Not getting rid of poorly performing keywords on a regular basis

Select longer time period, sort the keywords by spend and analyse top spending keywords. Look at their conversion rate and cost per conversion. Check all the keywords with CPA higher than the account average. Get rid of the poorly performing keywords and spend your budget more effectively on keywords that are bringing the desired goal for less.

If you feel some of your keywords are highly relevant but sadly poorly performing, you can always separate them from the rest a create a separate Adgroup so you can have a better overview of their performance before pausing this keyword for good.

Mistake #4: Not using site exclusions for display campaigns

Exclude selected site categories such as: parked domains, error pages and pages with sensitive content (crime, death and tragedy or sexually suggestive content). Within your display campaign, navigate to ‘display network’ tab, click ‘targeting’ and ‘site category options’.

You can also exclude a specific domain. On the same tab, have a look at the ‘placements’ and exclude any website that does not perform well.

Mistake #5: Not bidding on branded keywords

We recommend bidding on branded keywords. Bids are low, conversion rates high and it is the way of how to protect your brand against competitors. You can use customised messages, add extra information via extensions and cover any misspelled terms.

We have a separate article on this topic: How to protect your brand with PPC campaigns.

Mistake #6: Not separating search and display campaigns

Although there is such an option as having search and display campaigns combined in AdWords, we don’t recommend it. Always create separate campaigns for search and display. You’ll have better understanding of their performance and control over their budget.

Mistake #7: Not tracking any conversions

If you have an e-commerce project you are most probably already tracking and evaluating your sales via advertising platforms and analytical tools. However, even as a non-e-commerce business or charity you can set up goals and measure success of you campaigns based on sign-ups, downloads or sent contact forms.

Set-up the goal tracking via Google Analytics and simply import the goals as conversions to your Google AdWords account.

Mistake #8: Sending users to not mobile friendly websites

First of all, make your website mobile friendly. Now. Mobile traffic already surpasses traffic from desktops.

If your website is not mobile friendly for some reason, check the stats for traffic from mobile devices first. If conversion rates are much lower, the bounce rate much higher, consider not displaying your ads on mobile devices and re-allocate the budget. On the ‘settings’ tab, click on ‘devices’ and adjust the bids for mobile devices to -100%. If you want to maintain some visibility, decrease the bids and keep monitoring the campaigns.

Mistake #9: Not being clear on what you want users to do and how to do it

When your PPC campaigns are not profitable enough, the issue might be outside the advertising platform.

A low conversion rate might be heavily influenced by the conversion process, long contact forms or a missing desired payment system. Invest into user experience testing, ask as many (potential) clients to test the website as you can. Focus on A/B testing, use heat maps. Make the whole website experience smooth and get rid of all obstacles. It will have a positive impact on your PPC campaigns and all the other channels too.

Mistake #10: Missing out on linking your tools together

Link your tools and make the most of their integration.

  • Link AdWords and Analytics accounts
    Import the goals, share metrics such as bounce rate, average time on site and see these metrics directly in your AdWords account
  • Link AdWords with Youtube channel
    Create remarketing audiences from your Youtube channel and use them for your display strategy
  • Link Search Console with Analytics account
    This integration will import the organic search terms into your Analytics account and it’s a good source of the new keywords for your PPC campaigns.

Do you need help with your PPC campaigns? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.


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