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Top PPC mistakes

Another topic, another top mistakes list. Remember: We all make mistakes and should learn from them. Learn from the mistakes others have made so you don't make them.

  • Having an unmanageable account structure.
    This cuts both ways: The All-In-One approach sure does not fit a PPC campaign. If you cram everything into one campaign or even worse — into one single AdGroup, efficient account management becomes impossible. And only if you can manage your whole account in an efficient manner are you able to measure and fine-tune it.
    Don't go overboard in the other direction either: If it gets too complicated, it will again become unmanageable.
    Make it overseeable and logical.
  • Having too many (unrelated) keywords in one AdGroup.
    More isn't always better, especially in this case. While you might be tempted to collect as many keywords as possible, it is highly unlikely that all 500 of them are relevant to one particular AdGroup. Having more AdGroups with fewer keywords is better.
  • Not using negative keywords.
    Negative keywords can make all the difference between traffic and qualified traffic.
  • Using keywords that are too general and not using long-tail keywords.
    Keywords that are too general will result in more impressions and probably a higher CTR and higher cost for you as a result, but most likely not in as many conversions as you would like. The more targeted and specific your keywords are, the better your chances for a high conversion rate become.
  • Not knowing the pitfalls of Dynamic Keyword Insertion.
    When applied correctly, DKI can be a major boost for your ad. Implemented poorly it will make your ad appear on Funny Google Ads pages or this blog post by us.
  • Using all default settings.
    Don't ever use Google's default settings.
    Like the Content Network. Unless you are an experienced PPC user and know what you're doing, turn it off (if you don't know what the Content Network is or why you should turn it off, you should definitely turn it off now).
    Like using all broad match keywords. It's the default setting for every new keyword you add unless you specify otherwise. It's Google's license to rape you.
    Like choosing Optimize instead of Rotate in the Ad Serving setting. You have to test your ads against each other.
  • Having only one Ad per AdGroup.
    This is the same as letting Google choose which ad performs better. How will you ever know which one is better if there is only one?
  • Not carefully crafting your ads.
    Boring ads will not attract potential customers. Be creative, catchy, precise, clear and include the keyword(s) and a call to action in every ad.
  • Take everybody to the same landing page (or your homepage).
    You can set a different landing page for every keyword, and there is a reason for it. If a user's query for "ABC printer ink" triggers you ad, he is not interested in your homepage.
  • Mistaking traffic or CTR for Conversion.
    Do it and it will cost you.
    The math:
    We have 2 ads, Ad A and Ad B, each click costs $1.00 and every conversion is worth $25.00 to us (the price of the product for example).
    According to the campaign statistics, they had 1000 impressions each; Ad A has a CTR of 10% (100 clicks) and Ad B has a CTR of 5% (50 clicks).
    So Ad A is automatically performing better? What happens after the click?
    Out of the 10% (100 users = 100%) who clicked on Ad A 2% (2 users) buy the product, the other 98% (98 users) abandon the process.
    Out of the 5% (50 users = 100%) who clicked on Ad B 8% (4 users) buy the product.
    The result?
    Ad A costs us $100 ($1.00 per click * 100 clicks) and made us $50.00 (2 actual sales for $25.00 each).
    Ad B costs us $50 ($1.00 per click * 50 clicks) and made us $100.00 (4 actual sales for $25.00 each).
    Ad A results in a negative ROI (we lost 50% of our investment or $50) whereas Ad B resulted in a 100% ROI (an investment of $50 made us $50).
  • Bidding to high.
    Although it is mostly the most expensive one, the #1 spot isn't always the best one, but of course it all depends. Some of our clients' ads perform way better in positions 2 and 3. By occupying these lower positions you might also escape the "click-happy" #1 clickers. Test and experiment.
  • Setting your budget too low.
    Advertising does cost money. Optimize your strategy to fit your budget. You have to spend money to make money. Even with a small budget you can achieve a great ROI, given you allocate it wisely.
  • Not using Geo-Targeting.
    Define your market and your audience before you start your campaign. If you own a flower shop in San Diego, do you really want a customer in Hongkong to see your ad? Consider all factors involved, like international shipping, etc.
  • Not using Day Parting.
    It's fair to say most business related searches are conducted during business hours. Take advantage of it by scheduling your ads to run only during certain time periods or days of the week.
  • Not proofreading your ads.
    While it might slip by Google's quality control, using incorrect grammar or spelling (unless it's a common misspelling of a certain word) should be avoided by all means (and yes, it has happened to us). The same applies to your landing page. People do care.
  • Not testing, not monitoring, not tracking your campaigns and the results.
    Test, monitor, track, measure, test, monitor, track, measure. Rinse, repeat. Only if you monitor, test, and track the results will you know what's going on and can act accordingly.
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