Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing consistently ranks as one of the most cost-effective forms of online advertising. Whether you’re promoting a product, service or business, you can use PPC to drive conversions. However, you’ll want to avoid making the following mistakes.
What is PPC Marketing?
PPC marketing is a form of online advertising in which the advertiser is charged for each click on his or her ad. Advertisers “bid” on keywords, with the highest bidder receiving the top ad rank. When someone searches for one of the advertiser’s keywords, they’ll see the advertiser’s ad. And if they click the ad, the advertiser is charged (hence the name: pay per click).
Google AdWords and Bing Ads are two of the most popular PPC platforms. Using these platforms, you can display your ads to Google and Bing users respectively. However, Facebook also offers a PPC advertising service, known as Facebook Ads.
#1) Not Split Testing
A/B split testing is critical to optimizing your PPC campaigns for a higher return on investment (ROI). Even if your current ad is generating a profit, there’s probably room for improvement. By split testing two or more alternate versions of your ad, you can weed out the underperforming ads, replacing them with more effective ads.
According to Google, using multiple ads can yield 5 to 15 percent more impressions for your ad groups. The real benefit of split testing, however, is that it allows you fine tune your ads for higher ROI. When running two or more ads simultaneously, you can delete the under-performing ads and replace them with new ads.
Some of the different elements of your PPC ads that you can split test include:
• Ad copy
• Landing page
#2) Engaging in Bidding Wars
Another common PPC mistake advertisers make is getting into bidding wars. As with most auction platforms, a bidding war occurs when two or more individuals increase their bids in hopes of muscling out the competition. When this occurs, both advertisers continue to raise their bids, inflating keyword prices and lowering their ROI.
Don’t let your emotions control your actions. Raising your bids for the sole purpose of surpassing your competitors is a lose-lose situation for everyone. You may end up spending more in PPC costs than the revenue it generates. Instead, decide whether to raise or lower your bids by analyzing your campaign’s data.
#3) Not Tracking Conversions by Keyword
If you aren’t tracking PPC conversions by keyword, how will you know which keywords are driving sales?
By tracking conversions on the keyword level, you can optimize your PPC campaigns by raising bids on keywords that drive sales and lowering bids on keywords that don’t drive sales.
You can set up conversion tracking in AdWords by logging into your account and accessing the “Measurement” category under the options menu. However, this is just one method for tracking conversions by keyword. You can also use third-party tracking software.
#4) Bidding on Broad Match Keywords
Why shouldn’t you bid on broad match keywords? While there are a few exceptions, broad match keywords in PPC typically generate too much search volume. PPC marketing isn’t about getting the most clicks; it’s about getting the highest ROI.
Broad match keywords in AdWords, for instance, display ads for keyword misspellings, synonyms, related keywords and other variations. This means your ads will likely receive a lot of generic traffic, most of which probably won’t convert.
By choosing phrase or exact match keywords, your PPC ads will receive fewer impressions but more targeted traffic.
#5) Not Using Negative Keywords
Most PPC networks, including AdWords and Bing Ads, support negative keywords. When you include a negative keyword, your ad will not show for any searches containing that keyword.
If you’re advertising children’s clothes, for instance, you may want to include the negative keyword “adult.” Whenever someone searches for “adult shirt,” it will omit your ad from being displayed.
Including the negative keyword “free” may also prove useful. If your business sells commercial-grade anti-malware software, you don’t want your PPC ads to display when users search for “free anti-malware.”
#6) Overlooking Keyword Quality Score
Google gives each keyword in an AdWords campaign a quality score based on its relevance to the linked landing page. If a keyword is highly relevant to the content on the landing page, it will receive a high-quality score. If the keyword is not relevant to the landing page, it will receive a low-quality score. Quality scores can range from one to 10, with 10 being the highest
Low-quality scores can affect your PPC campaigns in several ways. It increases your bid prices and lowers your Ad Rank, which can also affect your CTR and total conversions.
#7) Too Many Keywords in Ad Groups
There’s no faster way to kill your ROI than by stuffing an excessive amount of keywords into your ad groups. Remember, every user who searches for one of these keywords will see your ad. If you include dozens or hundreds of keywords in the same ad group, you won’t be able to create relevant ad copy that drives traffic and conversions.
According to the search marketing experts at Search Engine Land, using just a single keyword for each ad group can maximize the performance of your PPC campaigns. Doing so allows you to customize your ads based on the keywords you are targeting.
#8) Not Using Extensions
AdWords allows advertisers to enhance their ads using extensions. The call extension, for instance, displays your business’s phone number in your ads, while the sitelink extension displays links to specific pages of your site. Using extensions, you can improve your PPC ads by making them stand out from the competition.
Google recommends using “every extension relevant to your business.” If you run a local brick-and-mortar business, you can use the location extension to include your business’s address along with a clickable map. The callout extension can also be used to highlight features of your business, such as “free delivery.”
These are just a few ROI-killing mistakes to avoid when advertising your business on PPC networks.