PPC is a complex and ever-changing field, making it easy for businesses of all sizes to make common mistakes that cost them thousands of dollars.
Google Ads, formerly known as Adwords, is a sophisticated yet complicated tool, and many businesses don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to managing their account properly. There are too many hidden settings, changes that can be made, and features to keep track of. Many marketers often feel like swimming upstream just to keep their heads above water.
I’ve been there, and that’s why I decided to write this guide. I hope that by shining a light on some of the most common PPC mistakes, I can help businesses save time and money and avoid the headache of managing a Google Ads account.
1. Don’t Just Set and Forget
It’s a very common practice among marketers to set up a campaign, let it run, and then check in on it every so often to see how it’s doing. This is a huge mistake!
PPC is an ever-changing landscape, and if you’re not regularly monitoring and tweaking your campaigns, you’re likely missing out on valuable traffic and conversions.
If you’re setting up your ad account and then forgetting about it until you need to check in, you’re not doing PPC justice. The whole point of pay-per-click is that it’s a paid marketing channel, which means you need to be actively involved in managing your campaigns on an ongoing basis.
Numerous optimizations can be made to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns. However, you can only take advantage of them if you’re regularly checking in and making changes.
Here are my top 3 recommendations that you can implement after you launch your campaigns:
Monitor Your Campaigns Daily
At a minimum, you should check your campaigns daily to see how they’re performing. But if you can, aim for multiple times per day. The more data you have, the better informed you’ll be when making decisions about your campaigns.
Monitoring your campaigns daily will also allow you to quickly identify and fix any issues that may arise. If you wait too long to check in, the problem could compound and cost you a lot of money.
Here are some issues that you should look out for:
- Decrease in clicks/impressions
- Increased cost per click
- Low conversion rate
- High bounce rate
- Low-Quality Score
If you see any of these issues, don’t panic! Just take a deep breath and start troubleshooting. Oftentimes, the problem is fairly easy to fix and won’t take too much time or effort to correct.
Take a Multi-Stage Approach to Campaign Optimization
Once you’ve launched your campaigns, it’s time to optimize them for better performance. This can be a daunting task, but luckily there’s a process that you can follow to make things easier.
Here’s a high-level overview of the steps that you’ll need to take:
- Siphon off converting keywords into their own ad groups to increase CTR
- Create new ad copy to split test
- Apply negative keywords to ad groups to make sure your most relevant ad is showing
I’ll advise doing this weekly, but if you can only do it daily, that’s better than nothing.
Use Historical Data to Scale Your Campaigns
As your campaigns start to perform well and you’re generating conversions, it’s time to start scaling your efforts.
This is where things can get a bit tricky, as you don’t want to scale too quickly and end up wasting money on unqualified traffic. But if you scale too slowly, you’ll miss out on a lot of potential business.
The best way to approach this is to use historical data to inform your decisions. Take a look at your past performance and use that to guide your scaling efforts.
For example, let’s say that you typically see a 5% conversion rate on your campaigns. This means that for every 100 clicks you get, you can expect 5 sales.
Based on this data, you can predict how many conversions you’ll get at different traffic levels. If you know that you typically get 500 clicks daily, you can expect 25 sales per day. But if you can get 1,000 clicks per day, you can expect 50 sales per day.
This data can be extremely helpful in deciding how much to scale your campaigns. It will also help you set realistic expectations for your results.
Here are a few suggestions you can use to scale your campaigns:
- Expand your keyword list to include more relevant keywords
- Set up new campaigns based on the performance of your existing campaigns
- Try new campaign types and bidding strategies
2. Don’t Overlook the Negative Keywords
Before I go on and talk about the negative keywords, it’s essential to understand the difference between the “keywords” and “search terms”. Most people get confused about it and use these terms interchangeably.
Search terms are the actual phrases (consisting of one or more keywords) that people use when they search on Google, Bing, or any other search engine. On the other hand, keywords are the words or phrases you bid on to show your ad.
For example, if someone searches for “red shoes”, the search term would be “red shoes”. The keywords in this phrase could be “red”, “shoes”, or “red shoes”.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about the negative keywords. Negative keywords are the words or phrases you add to your campaigns to ensure your ad doesn’t appear when people search for those terms.
For example, if you’re selling red shoes, you might add the keyword “free” as a negative keyword. This way, your ad won’t show up when people search for “free red shoes”.
Adding negative keywords to your campaigns is a great way to improve your CTR and conversion rate. It also helps you save money by ensuring your ad isn’t being shown to people who aren’t interested in what you’re selling.
You can use the Google Keyword Planner or the Bing Keyword Research Tool to find negative keywords. You can also use Google AdWords’ Search Terms Report to find negative keywords.
3. Make Use of the Search Term Report
People generally use long-tail keywords to search for things online. And as we’ve already discussed, these long-tail keywords are often more relevant than shorter, more general keywords. It is crucial to understand what actual search terms are costing you money and the best way to do that is by using the Search Term Report.
The Search Term Report shows you the actual search terms that people have used to trigger your ad. This report is extremely valuable as it allows you to see which keywords are actually converting and which ones are just costing you money.
It will also help you find new long-tail keywords that you can add to your campaigns and find keywords that you need to add as negative keywords. You can also leverage the search term report to understand your audience better and design your campaigns accordingly.
To access the Search Term Report, go to the “Keywords” tab in your Google AdWords account and click on “Search Terms”.
4. Use Manual Bidding
I’ve seen too many people making the mistake of using automatic bidding in their PPC campaigns. If you’re unfamiliar with automatic bidding, it’s a feature that allows Google to set your bids based on your goals.
For example, if you’re using automatic bidding and you’ve set a goal of getting as many clicks as possible, Google will set your bids to get you the most clicks. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll get the most conversions. In fact, you might end up paying more per conversion because Google is focused on getting you clicks, not conversions.
That’s why I always recommend using manual bidding. With manual bidding, you’re in control of your bids, and you can set them according to your goals. If you want to get the most conversions and clicks, you can set your bids accordingly.
To set manual bidding, go to the “Campaigns” tab in your Google AdWords account and click on the “Settings” button. On the “Bidding” tab, select “Manual CPC”.
5. Don’t Use Too Many Keywords In an Ad Group
You need to make your ads specific enough to get a good click-through rate. If you use too many keywords in an ad group, your ads won’t be specific enough, and they won’t get a good CTR.
For instance, let’s go back to the red shoes example.
If you were to pack a bunch of red shoes-related keywords into one ad group, all these searches would be targeted with the same set of ads:
- red shoes reviews
- high-quality red shoes
- durable red shoes
- red shoes athletics
I suggest breaking these into different groups and creating new ad copies for each. By doing this, you can make your ads specific to the searcher’s intent and get a better CTR.
6. Leverage High-Quality Sales Pages
Sales pages or landing pages are the pages on your website where you send your PPC traffic. And if you want to make the most out of your PPC campaigns, you need to make sure that your sales pages are high-quality.
Your sales page should be relevant to the keyword that people are searching for, and it should be designed to convert visitors into customers. If your sales page is not relevant or it’s not designed to convert, it will increase your bounce rate, and you’ll end up wasting a lot of money.
To ensure that your sales pages are high-quality, I suggest using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. This tool will analyze your page and give you a score from 1 to 100. The higher the score, the better.
Here are a few tips to improve your score:
- Use a fast hosting provider
- Optimize your images
- Minimize HTTP requests
- Leverage browser caching
- Use a content delivery network
7. Maintain Overall Consistency of Your Campaign
Many marketers treat keywords, ads, and sales pages as separate entities. But if you want to be successful with PPC, you need to make sure that there’s a consistent message throughout your campaign.
Your keywords, ads, and sales pages should all be relevant to each other. If they’re not, you’ll have a high bounce rate and waste a lot of money.
To make sure that your campaign is consistent, I suggest using Google’s Keyword Planner tool. This tool will help you find relevant keywords for your ads and sales pages.
PPC can be a great way to generate leads and sales for your business. But if you’re not careful, it can also be a great way to waste a lot of money.
To be successful with PPC, you need to avoid these common mistakes. If you can do that, you’ll be on your way to generating a lot of leads and sales for your business.
If you’re an agency facing client objections or a business owner who wants to start a PPC campaign but doesn’t know where to begin, we can help. We are a white label PPC management agency that specializes in helping businesses get the most out of their PPC campaigns. Contact us today to learn more.