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The Ten Terrible Mistakes Of Pay Per Click Advertising

Jan 9, 2008
Mistakes in pay per click advertising are common and often very costly. Doing it right requires some vigilance and micromanaging. Here are 10 of the top mistakes people make in their PPC campaigns.

Too Few Ad Groups For Your Keywords

Creating relevant, targeted ads are important. Avoid placing all your keywords into a couple massive ad groups. Build them tighter. With tight ad groups you can control more of your ad customization to increase relevancy.

Not Taking Advantage of Negative Keywords

Pay per click advertising has placed more importance than ever on click through rates and quality scores. It is vital to fine tune your impressions by getting rid of the non-relevant phrases that are lowering those CTRs. If you are selling an item such as "software for widgets" then be certain you also have those negative keywords like "-free" if you don't have a free trial version. One way to find irrelevant keywords that are costing you is to check your log files of your site.

Weak Testing

Running split tests on your ads is essential. And, no item is too small to test. Of course, you will want to work on your various call to action statements, as well as your unique value statement, but keep in mind that there are other variables. There are small, but effective tweaks that can boost results by just testing titles, each line of copy and your display url. If running continual tests is time consuming, hook up with an experience pay per click management company. A good firm can offer you daily split testing and optimize your results very effectively.

Not Tracking Results

If you do get into testing ads and fine-tuning your keyword lists, it's only as effective as your tracking. Any PPC search engine will give you your ad spends and click through rates, but what about the bottom-line success? Knowing that you made $14,000 off of a $7,000 ad spend is fine, but if you dig deeper with your tracking you might be able to make that same $14,000 with only $6,000 a month in spend. That savings ads up.

Not Tracking Down to the Keyword-Level

Proper and exact analytics or using an experienced pay per click management company is essential to get the data you need. If you have keywords that are not performing and leaking your account on a daily basis, you are throwing money away. Getting results to the keyword level allows you to adjust bids for maximum effect. If you have one keyword with a $1.34 earnings per click and another at 37 cents, this is key information that allows you to maximize profits. Lower one bid if you are above your "EPC" and raise another to eek out more profits from that sweet-spot keyword. Don't waste money on a daily basis.

Too Generic of Keywords

Some broad and generic keywords can certainly push a ton of traffic to your site. They may even be very successful. Often, however, they can also do just the opposite -- drain your funds with poor results. A user searching on one of these generic phrases is often doing research in an early part of the buying process. Knowing your keyword-level results and filtering out bad variations with negative keywords can help you get a true read on these generic keywords.

Ignoring the Many Long-Tail Keywords

To follow up on the generic keyword topic, creating your long-tail keyword lists and the relevant accompanying ads may be a major time-consuming process. Do it right and you can also find it to be very profitable. The nature of keywords is that they vary from phrase to phrase. A keyword like "cell phone" can differ in results from a keyword such as "motorola cell phone", which in turn can vastly differ from a more long-tail keyword like "motorola w375 unlocked cell phone." One user is likely still doing research, while the user in the last example knows what they want ... and may be ready to make that purchase.

Not Separating Content and Search Networks

You can get stung by poor quality traffic or click fraud if you do not separate your content network advertising from your search network advertising. If you don't understand those above items, there is a good probability that you are not separating the two in your accounts right now ... and you are very likely losing money. A better solution is to build separate campaigns for each and ... track with precise analytics the results from each network. Again, not knowing is probably costing you now.

Not Geo-Targeting a Local Business

Each of the major pay per click engines offer a way to tightly set up your campaigns. If you are working from a local pool of potential clients in your area, you need to take advantage of some of the area-specific targeting that the PPC engines offer. Fine tuning your campaigns to get the right people in your region to respond can be well worth the effort to your bottom line.

Not Continually Monitoring Your Campaigns

Alright, so maybe you do not frequently monitor your EPCs at the keyword level (you should). And, you don't conduct split tests every day your ads are up (you should). It is still surprising that there are a high number of pay per click advertisers who don't continually monitor their accounts. The big three PPC engines are cracking down on poor performing ads more than ever. Many advertisers are getting stung with the "Inactive for Search" label on their keywords. If you don't monitor your accounts, Google, Yahoo and MSN may have plucked some of your keywords off their networks. And, with that, some of your profits.

Healthy, efficient and vibrant PPC campaigns require work. The Terrible 10 of PPC Advertising that we listed above form a strong foundation for you consider when revamping or starting up your PPC advertising. Whether you hire out to a pay per click management company or can actively manage your PPC accounts at this level of detail...precision, effort and attention to detail can greatly impact your results.
About the Author
About the Author: Josh Prizer is a Senior Account Executive and PPC expert for Zero Company Performance Marketing, a pay per click management company. Visit us now to discover more on how to improve your PPC advertising accounts and performance.
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