12 Common PPC Mistakes

7th June 2018

If you’re running the PPC account for your business, it is likely you have invested a lot of time and money into setting up and managing your campaigns. So what happens when you aren’t getting the desired results from your efforts? The chances are you’re making some simple mistakes, mistakes that are even made by very experienced Paid Search Managers. It only takes a few incorrect settings and strategies for your ROI to plummet whilst you spend goes through the roof. Here, we’ve listed the more common mistakes people are making to help you avoid these in the future.

1. Bidding too broadly

Using broad match bidding, your ads will show when people search for your given keywords. They will be displayed regardless of the order of the words in the search query. For example, if you run ads for “best golf shoes” your ads will show a broad match for “best golf shoes, golf shoes best, best golf shoes to buy, best shoes golf” and so on. This may seem a good idea to get your ads to show to as many different searches as possible, but remember the ads will still show regardless of a user’s intent.

2. Set & Forget

If you take a hands off approach to your PPC campaigns where you just set it live, and worry about it next month it is highly likely that there is going to be a large amount of wastage. You need to monitor your account regularly and optimise according to which adverts perform the best, which keywords trigger the most ads, which locations perform better and so on.

3. Obsessing with number 1

Being number 1 in the paid search results is not always the best strategy, especially if your CPCs are high and the keyword is Broad. Generally, people tend to do their research before committing online so by being number 1, you can often attract visitors who have not used the right keywords, or are just at the first stage of their research. Obviously, being number 1 is good but it isn’t the be all and end all

4. Not bidding on brand terms

If you aren’t bidding on your brand names, your competitors will be. People will think “I don’t need to pay for someone who is already searching for me” and theoretically that is correct. But what you’re actually doing is paying to KEEP that user coming to you. Search “Everest Windows” in Google, and straight away there are four other Window companies bidding on that term. If I’m not up there, my competitor is taking a customer that initially wanted to come to my store.

5. Boring Ad Copy

It would be really easy for us to search our keyword, see what everyone else is saying, and go for that as well. People will often do this because they think “it’s working for them, it’ll work for us” and those people are often wrong. You need to be writing inventive and exciting copy to make you stand out from the crowd, not just be another number doing the same as everybody else.

6. Losing relevance at landing page

Whatever you may say in your advert, you need to reflect this on the landing page. If you advertise a 50% sale in the ad, you can be sure that the user is looking for that 50% sale on the landing page. If you say 50% sale, and only offer 25% on the landing page, that user is going to be leaving your site straight away. Keep the journey relevant, and consistent

7. Not using keywords in Ad Copy

This seems simple, but many people forget to do this. In Google’s eyes you’re going to make your ad more relevant to the search by having the keywords and as a little extra, those keywords will appear in bold text to attract the attention of the user

8. Not bidding on competitors

Just as we discussed when you don’t bid on your own terms, someone else will be. So now it’s time to turn the tables and bid on our competitors. The same principle applies, if someone is looking for our competitor but we show up first, we can swoop in on that customer. In a nutshell this is completely legal and Google allows it. The only thing to watch out for is using any trademarked text in an advert copy as this could be an infringement against the competitor. It’s also important that the advertising copy does not confuse the user as to the origin of the goods. So to summarise, you can bid on competitor names, but don’t try to pass yourself off as them.

9. Not using negative keywords

If you sell things online, you don’t want people coming to your site expecting something for nothing. This is an issue with Broad matching keywords and if you haven’t excluded “free” as a negative keyword, then you will appear on “free golf shoes” when really you aren’t giving anything away.

10. Using too many keywords

Using too many keywords is more of a problem for smaller budget campaigns. If you have one advert, with 100 keywords and only a £10 budget, you can’t possibly cover them all. Another issue with having too many keywords is that your ad becomes less and less relevant to the more obscure keywords. As a guideline, you want to keep around 20-30 keywords per advert.

11. Ignoring seasonal copy

The importance of this tactic is to keep the advert relevant for today. If we leave our ads running timelessly they will become less and less impactful. Having a time pressure such as “ends Friday” is a great way to increase your conversions and click through rate. It lets the user know that there is a great sale, but it won’t last forever. This is always useful for Christmas specials or other widely celebrated holidays

12. Ignoring the rise of mobile

We know that mobile searches have overtaken desktop and will continue to increase the gap. If we aren’t thinking about mobile when we create our ads, we could be missing out on a lot. An important aspect of this is to make sure the landing pages are responsive to mobile screens. Remember, keywords tend to be shorter for mobile because of the way we type on a mobile or tablet compared with a desktop.

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