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PPC Management

17 Common PPC Management Mistakes

PPC Management


There are PPC management mistakes that are common amongst advertisers. Especially those new to the world of pay per click advertising.


As a PPC Expert that has managed thousands of campaigns over the past 12 years, I see the same mistakes time and again. And surprisingly many of these mistakes are made by people that have been managing AdWords and Bing accounts for years.


So, here are 17 common PPC management mistakes you should avoid:


Setting a low budget

Setting a low AdWords budget is one of the reasons why many PPC campaigns are not successful. The reason is they miss out on the key searches that have the best conversions. For every group of keyword searches, there’ll be a small percentage driving most of the conversions and you want to be appearing for them too. Competitors will be appearing for these searches and it’s important that your ads are visible and are appearing in top positions. That means you should assign the right AdWords budget to achieve a good conversion rate



Using the wrong bid strategy

There are 8 bid strategies in AdWords and these are divided into Automated and manual bidding strategies. They each serve a different purpose. So you should be clear what your goal is and pick the right bidding strategy. If you’re looking to bid primarily for conversions, then Maximise Conversions and Target CPA are ideal. If you’re just launching new AdWords campaigns, then Maximise Clicks is likely the best. Overall automated bidding is best in most cases especially at the beginning.


Not setting up conversion tracking

Not having tracking is one of the main reasons AdWords campaigns fail. It’s impossible to manage campaigns effectively if you don’t know which ads, keywords, ad groups or campaigns are bringing in sales or leads. You won’t have the insights to increase or reduce bids. Neither will you be able to increase budgets for the best features or reduce them for the worst. So, you should setup conversion tracking from day one and ensure that it’s working. Also, look at setting up goal tracking in Google Analytics and import it into AdWords as conversion tracking.



Not linking AdWords and Analytics

Linking AdWords and analytics has the following benefits:


  • setup goal tracking to assess performance
  • Setup audiences for Remarketing purposes
  • Import engagement metrics such as bounce rate
  • Get detailed PPC reports in analytics


Not linking the two means you’re missing out on many opportunities and preventing your account from reaching its full potential.


Not looking at geographic reports

Geographic and User Location reports reveal which locations are driving clicks to your website. So you can see the countries, cities, towns and postcodes that are important for your business. You’ll be able to see conversion metrics for each location too and you can easily block any that are underperforming. Also, depending on your Location Options Settings, you could be getting some traffic from wrong locations and you’ll need to change these settings to prevent them.


Not using the right keyword match types

There are 4 keyword match types in AdWords: Broad, Modified Broad, Phrase and Exact Match. How you use these will determine the success of your campaigns. Match types control the type of searches your ads get. So all of these keyword match types will match to plurals/singulars, misspellings, abbreviations, stemmings, and close variants. However, broad match types are the only ones that match to synonyms. So, it’s often not a good idea to start with broad match keywords because these can drive many searches which are not relevant if you haven’t built a comprehensive negative keyword list.


Lack of ad extensions

Ad extensions appear with your main ad and highlight other features about your business, products or services. Not adding them is a mistake because you lose the opportunity to advertise effectively. Ad extensions make your ads more prominent in the search results which leads to higher positions, higher Click Through Rates (CTRs) and more clicks and conversions. There are a number of extension types but the most popular are sitelinks, callouts, call, locations and structured snippets. You should look to add as many as possible.


Ad extensions


Not including the keyword in the Ad Copy

One effective way to increase CTR is by adding the keyword in the Ad. Searchers are more likely to click your ad if they see their keyword in the ad because they perceive it as being relevant. By not including it, your ad will not stand out and will be at a disadvantage compared to the competition. And the best place to add the keyword is in ‘Headline 1’ because that is one of the few clickable parts of your ad and is the first thing that visitors see.



Not adding negative keywords

Negative keywords are absolutely critical and should be added in all campaigns. They help to block searches that aren’t relevant especially if you have broad match type keywords. But you need them too if you have phrase and modified broad match types. You can add them at the account, campaign or ad group level. Adding them at the account level means you create negative keyword lists in Shared Library and assign it to as many campaigns as you like. You should add them before launching your ads. And as you monitor and manage your ads, you should regularly check your search terms report and add any from there.



Sending traffic to the homepage

This is an AdWords mistake that’s common with advertisers that have no services or product pages. So the homepage usually serves as the landing page. However, many other advertisers that have good services and product landing pages make this mistake too and the resulting poor performance shows in their conversion metrics. The homepage usually doesn’t have in-depth content that converts visitors and that’s why it often has a high exit rate. Always send visitors to the correct landing page that is related to the offer in your Ad.


Not testing anything

Without testing ad creatives and keywords you won’t know which are the best and worst performers. By running tests you can quickly see what works and what doesn’t and solve any hypothesis you have. Running tests in AdWords is easy and you can use Campaign drafts and experiments.


Not carrying out thorough keyword research

Keyword research is at the heart of AdWords campaign setup. If you launch campaigns without carrying out thorough research, you’ll lose some opportunities. You’ll bid on the wrong keywords and will miss out on the most profitable keywords for your products or service. So you should use a free tool like the Keyword Planner Tool in your AdWords Account


Too many keywords in an ad group

If you add too many keywords in your ad groups, you’ll have low quality scores and poor CTRs. Ideally you should have between 5 – 15 keywords in each ad group and these should be closely related to each other. To help you achieve that, you should follow the ‘rule of two’. That is, each keyword should have at least two of the primary words in them. So any keyword that doesn’t meet that criteria should be placed in its own ad group.


Not using Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is a syntax that you use to make your ads look relevant to a searcher. It updates your ad text to include the keyword that matches a visitors search. The snippet of code you’ll add will look something like this {KeyWord: Men’s clothing}. Doing this means that when a keyword can’t be inserted in your ad, AdWords will insert ‘Men’s Clothing’ instead. The best place to use DKI is in Headline 1 because this is the most visible part of your ad and where keywords should be added.


Incorrect use of bid modifiers

Bid modifiers are perfect for making quick bid increases and decreases. And you can apply them to your locations, times and devices in your campaigns. However, it’s important that you isolate the features that need bid modifiers applied to and should avoid using a blanket approach to applying them. Because doing so could affect other ads and keywords in a negative way. For example if you apply bid modifiers to mobile devices in your campaigns, that will affect all ads and keywords despite their differences in performance.


Optimising for CTR only

AdWords Click Through Rate (CTR) is a key metric and one of the easiest to understand. Many advertisers track it and they are quick to analyse it when looking at their AdWords reports. However, there are more important metrics which are based on conversions and conversion value. It’s possible to over-focus on CTR to the detriment of your conversion metrics. Focusing more on Conversion metrics like cost per conversion, conversion rate and conversions will ensure that you are reaching your businesses sales goals.


Not bidding on your brand name

There are times when it’s important to bid on your own brand name such as:


  • when your organic rankings are low for your own names
  • When you have a generic name
  • When competitors are bidding on your brand name
  • When you want to control the messages relating to your business
  • When you want to send visitors to specific pages
  • When you have sufficient budget and want to get more clicks


So, bidding on your brand names is important. And if you’ve answered yes to any of the above, then you should launch some ads for this.


However, there are times when you should not bid on your own name, especially if you’re ranked at the top organically and there are no competitors appearing for your name.

I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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