Common PPC Campaign Mistakes That Can Be Easily Avoided

in Business, Tech

We all know how effective PPC advertising is in getting quick and quality traffic for a website and how running a poorly planned PPC campaign can blow out the complete marketing budget in a single day.  While learning PPC takes time, the purpose of this article is to cover the common mistakes that one can easily avoid to keep his campaign profitable.

1. Not separating the search and display network campaigns

We often see advertisers who run their PPC ads on search network and display network under same campaign.  What advertisers need to understand is that both networks work differently. In search network, the ad is shown to a searcher who is actually searching for the information/products you have to offer. Whereas in display network, the ad is shown to site visitors who are not actually searching for information you have to offer but might show any interest to it after looking at the ad.

Since both networks work completely in a different way, it is normal that the keywords or ads which perform better in search network may not perform well in display network.

The best solution is to create separate campaigns for each network and modify your strategy for each network based on their individual results.

2. Keeping all keywords in one campaign

Divide your keywords in terms of relevance from highly relevant to least relevant.  Let’s say, you are doing PPC for luxurious resort chain and the keywords “luxurious resort in <city-name> “ are more relevant than keywords “resort in <city-name> “.  Creating separate campaigns for each keyword category will give you following advantages –

1. You can allocate a high daily budget for campaign having more relevant keywords.

2. Geo-targeting is available at only campaign level. For highly relevant keywords campaign you can keep the geo-targeting international and for campaign with less relevant keywords you can geo-target them for specific areas to reduce costs.

3. You do not need to worry about poor performing keywords (less relevant) impacting the quality score of high performing keywords or performance history.

Note – Never move a high performing PPC ad group from an old campaign to a new campaign ( in case you want to allocate high daily budget to it) as you may lose the performance history of that ad group and have to pay high CPC in the new campaign. It is always better to keep your high performing ad groups in your old campaigns as it is and then move the poor performing ad groups to new campaign if required.

3. Using default PPC ad rotation settings

Google uses “optimize” PPC ad rotation settings by default, in which Google will show the ad with high CTR even if those ads are not converting at your end. You can change this setting to “Rotate” mode so that all ads get delivered more evenly. In this way you will have more control on what ads to show and can test your campaign in a better way.

4. Using default device platform targeting settings

Google shows the PPC ads on all platforms including computers, iphones and other mobile devices in default settings. So, either, make sure that your landing page, ads and overall conversion process is compatible with mobile browsers or change the default platform settings to target only compatible platforms. You can also launch separate campaign for each platform to find out which ad works better on which platform.

5. Using the same ad copy for all locations

Do not use the same PPC ad copy or landing page for all locations in case you are running a campaign covering several locations. A high performing ad in one area doesn’t means that it will perform similarly in other areas too.  Take care of language, regional and cultural differences while write ad copies for other locations.

6. Focusing on budget instead of ROI

Time and again, we see marketers who focus only on what they spend instead of focusing on how they can improve their ROI. Take help of your PPC campaign analysis and performance reports and find out the way to maximize your ROI. For e.g. – If you know that you can earn one dollar on every single dollar spent then do not limit yourself to a fixed budget. Similarly, if you think that there is not enough quality traffic for your keywords, then do not burn your money by advertising on not relevant keywords just for the sake of advertising.

7. Not testing at all levels

Do not limit the testing of your PPC campaigns only to CTR rate of your ads or the quality score of keyword. Test your campaign at all levels. It is possible not to get any conversions even after having a prefect ad copy, relevant ad groups and landing pages (due to pricing issues, outdated payment options etc) .Test your campaigns at all levels (micro and macro). Micro levels include testing at small levels like changing image, headlines etc. Whereas macro level testing include testing of major elements like website navigation, overall pricing structure etc.

Would you like to add some more mistakes one can easily avoid while managing PPC campaigns? Then, share them with us in comments below.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

ryan December 12, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I think it is a great point that you bring up to separate keywords amongst campaigns! Great post.

TJ McDowell@Photography Education December 12, 2010 at 9:09 pm

One other thing that I have seen companies doing is to have both organic and PPC for the same terms. In my mind, getting a click for the PPC campaign then is a waste of money. What are your thoughts on that? Should a website try to be listed for both organic and paid results?

David @ Conversion rate December 13, 2010 at 12:27 am

Hi TJ , yes , many companies do them and it all depends on how much profit you are making from each sale. Honestly speaking , Google is pushing organic results further below the fold by making changes like – Google instant, recommendation for brands/stores etc. So it makes complete sense to invest money in showing ads above the fold, because that’s what google is dong , giving more exposure to ppc ads

Alease Michelle December 12, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Hey David,
Great Post! You made PCC very clear and easy to understand. I haven’t tried PCC but plan to in the future. Your post has made me do more research on how to include this in my marketing plan for 2011.

Sarah Arrow December 12, 2010 at 8:48 am

Hi David
My hubby keeps pestering me to do something with PPC. Is there a way to see you only advertise in the search results and not on the ‘content’ networks?

David @ Conversion rate December 13, 2010 at 12:30 am

Hi Sarah , yes you can simple turn off the content network from your campaign settings.

Inside your Campaign setting please click on “Networks, devices, and extensions “, once done deselect the
Content > Content network

Daniel Sharkov@Blogging Tips December 12, 2010 at 4:27 am

Hey David,

You have covered some interesting points. Although I have never worked with PPC campaigns, this is not totally out of my future plans. The approach definitely seems like a good way to increase your visitor base. The point about ROI is definitely valid. If you see that the investment pays off, there’s nothing bad in increasing your budget. About the mobile devices – in my opinion including them in a PPC campaign isn’t much worth it.

David @ Conversion rate December 13, 2010 at 12:34 am

Hi Daniel ,

By default Google will show your ads on all device types including mobiles. To run or not to run depends on the business type and your budget. for eg- if you are a restaurant , then you may want to consider it , as many of your potential clients would be searching for nearby restaurants through their smartphones. If you are a b2b business , then you can opt out because no one is going to select a supplier/dropshipper for their business on mobiles.

Alex@Jocuri December 11, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Hi David, great article!

Focusing on your ROI and tracking how well it returns the investment you made is something essential for ppc. Because you can easily go over your budget and get nothing in return. Also you can see if you are target the right keywords, audience and maybe even if you have the right banners.

Sherryl Perry December 11, 2010 at 9:28 am

Nice post David and one that bloggers who are new to PPC can really benefit from. My personal beef with Google Adwords is that new campaigns default to “display network” being on. The only one that really benefits from that is Google when a lot of your advertising dollars gets quickly chewed up with people who are clicking on your ads with no intention of buying. There’s a place for contextual advertising but the average entrepreneur and small business owner is best off not using it. (IMHO)

David @ Conversion rate December 13, 2010 at 12:38 am

Hi Sheryl, I agree with you. Display network is not as effective in selling as ads on search network. But it is also less expensive. I think it work better for campaigns whose main intention is to create brand awareness in long term and reach to as many people as possible. That’s why I recommended to create separate campaign for each network. It will provide you with more accurate information

Madav @ Tips Online December 11, 2010 at 5:08 am

Thanks for the article David,

I think me too made some mistakes will definitely look in to it.

Devesh @ Technshare December 11, 2010 at 2:51 am

Great Post David. Many people make this mistakes. Using same ad copy can be a big mistake.

Thanks for sharing!

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