5 PPC Mistakes That Are Costing You Money

Mistakes Were Made

Hindenburg exploding

original on historyinanhour.com

We have been doing PPC for the past seven years, and after hundreds of account audits we have encountered all kinds of mistakes. By looking at five of the most common, we hope to educate businesses on some easy ways to avoid PPC tragedies.

Everyone wants the best PPC. Mistakes don’t help.

Driving Blind Without Conversion Tracking

Road with orange fall trees

Conversion tracking is essential to PPC success. A conversion is a desirable action made by a visitor. By tracking desirable actions such as sign-ups, sales and subscriptions, the effectiveness of a PPC campaign can be determined. With this clarity, a good PPC manager can optimize an account to produce even more desirable, affordable actions. Without conversion tracking, a business will have no idea how effectively money is spent on PPC.

Check Your Conversion Tracking

We’ve found that conversion tracking is often set up wrong. Sometimes it’s even tracking extra, non-existent conversions, inflating data and misleading business owners.

Tag Assistant is a nifty little add-on that you can easily install on your Chrome browser. Use this tool to check where your conversion tracking codes are and what they are actually tracking. You can learn more about Tag Assistant here:


Tips for Conversion Tracking

If your PPC focuses on lead generation then you will want to make sure to integrate your PPC into your CRM, e.g., Salesforce. By doing this, you’ll be able to assess the quality of the leads gained via PPC, and with this information you’ll be able to determine an accurate ROI. Having an accurate ROI helps you determine what your PPC budget should be.

If you have an ecommerce business focused on selling products, then you will want to make sure you have Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking set up and importing into Adwords. As with the CRM integration for lead generation, Ecommerce Tracking will allow you to determine the ROI from PPC and establish a suitable budget.

Lifetime Value

Lifetime value, or LTV, is another concept a business should keep in mind when conducting PPC. The LTV is a calculation in which a consumer’s continued and ongoing purchases are accounted for. A lot of the time, a customer will experiment with smaller orders or less serious commitments, if their experience is good, they will most likely do business again. Knowing what a customer’s business is worth in the long run is another important factor when determining ROI.

But Wait, There’s More! Remarketing!

If returning customers are so important, then a business will want to have a strategy that helps to encourage their return. This is what we call remarketing, and the second mistake we would like to highlight is the fact that most of the time an account’s remarketing strategy is set up poorly, or there is none to begin with.

Remarketing focuses on creating ads that will bring back both non-converting and converting individuals. These ads are all about bringing people back to your website. The surprising thing, like in conversions, is that websites often do not have efficient tracking set up. Moreover, without proper tracking, remarketing becomes a guessing game when it should be a focused and data oriented strategy.

Two office workers discussing remarketing

I think we should go back to their website

Audience Lists

Remarketing relies on audience lists. These lists are used to track unique visitors on a webpage, determine where they went on the webpage, and retain this information so that ads can be targeted or not targeted at them.

If there are any concerns with remarketing or lack thereof, a good first step is checking your audience lists. Go into AdWords, select the account you want to view, look at the shared library on the left and then go into audiences in the same left panel.

  • Check if there are lists for excluding converting visitors from seeing your ads
  • Check if the lists are targeting different sections of your site
  • Check if the lists are targeting visitors who have converted for up selling and cross selling your products or services

The Pretty Remarketing Ads

Just a technical side note for remarketing ads here: make sure that image ads are optimized for the ten desktop and five mobile sizes supported in AdWords! Make sure there are text ads as well. If there are fancy lists and no ads can be shown to a particular visitor, the lists become useless . We advise that along with checking audience lists, check the ads within the remarketing campaign for image sizing and text counterparts as well.

Optimize, Optimize, Optimize! Every Month!

Many businesses seem to think that PPC is a set-it-and-forget-it kind of deal. Although there is usually an account setup, monthly management is what really keeps your PPC account thriving.

The first step to remedying a lack of monthly management is recognizing that it is an involved and time demanding process. Many businesses hand their PPC off to their web developer. Most of the time, the developer will not be able to effectively optimize a PPC account because they have their own job and all of its responsibilities to deal with. Additionally, they probably do not have the experience necessary to make good decisions.

The mistake of underestimating the time required for a strong PPC account can be costly. For example, an account spending $2,500 or more a month can easily take 10-15 hours per month to manage. Without proper optimization, your account might be spending too much of its budget on the wrong targeting.

Is Your Manager Managing?

An experienced account manager will know how to optimize an account, and will consistently do so. If there is not one already, we highly recommend considering a dedicated PPC professional.

Consider that your account might be active every day. Is there an experienced person checking the account for negative trends such as out of hand spending? Are they doing this daily?

Consider how much data your account accumulates in a month. Is there someone knowledgeable enough to both interpret this data and apply it to bettering your account? Monthly search query analysis, bidding optimization and general account reporting are staples of a well-managed PPC account.

Check if your account keeps up to date by looking at the change history of your account viewed in the main AdWords overview under “view Change History.” If the changes are a rare sight, you might have a problem.

Focused & Fruitful Ad Copy – Where Is It?

Fruit on a plate

The ads you show to people searching for your services or products should relate to their search. Maintaining highly targeted ad copy will improve the quality score of your ads and lower the cost you pay for each click on your ads.

Many accounts have ad groups with far too many keywords in them. If you want to have targeted ads, you will want to limit the keyword count within each ad group. This will allow you to produce much more targeted ad copy, as specific keywords can and will be included in your ad copy. This is much better than general ad copy that tries to relate to as many keywords as possible.

Highly Targeted Ad Copy

Try writing ad copy that keeps the specific keywords in mind. You should be able to tell what the user’s search term was from the ad shown to them.

For example, after searching “BC law firm,” this ad appears under the map:

Ad for BC law firm
The headline of the ad includes the exact words searched.

Check that your ad groups have no more than 10 keywords. We have found that any more than ten keywords per ad group can get crazy as you try to balance relevance and multiple searches.

As well as not being highly targeted, we have noticed that ad groups often have only one set of ads running. We highly recommend at least two variations of ads for each ad group. By having variations, you will be able to continually test ad copy for improvements in conversion rates and click through rates. Check that each ad group has at least two variations of ads.

Land Ho! But Where Are The Pages?

waves crashing on beach

Just like having targeted ad copy, you should have targeted web pages. These pages are called landing pages, and it is a big problem if you are not taking advantage of them.

When a searcher clicks on your highly targeted ad copy that they simply cannot resist, they do not want to be greeted by your business’s home page (unless of course they were searching for it). This interested searcher wants information about the specific thing he or she was searching for. A bold, beautiful landing page offers you the chance to wow, inform and possibly convince your potential customer. The big mistake we have encountered in regards to landing pages is that they do not exist or are not tailored to the searcher’s query.

Use These Handy Landing Pages!

The first thing for you to do is to check if you are indeed using landing pages. In AdWords, do this by going to the ads tab within an account and looking at the destination URLs. If they are going to your homepage, they are not going to landing pages.

Landing pages can be as simple as the product page for the product searched. They can also be pages dedicated entirely to informing the searcher about the benefits and accomplishments of the product or service. The latter is what we have found to be more effective. Dedicated landing pages might have their own headline, benefit statements, and call to action. Landing pages increase the likelihood that the visitor will convert.

Remember that increasing the conversion rates of your landing pages will reduce the CPA of your PPC and increase your ROI! Once you are convinced that landing pages are a good thing, or if you already have them, you should make more. We recommend that you run at least two variations of your landing pages. As for ad copy, this allows more chances to optimize for conversions.

You Can Fix Your Mistakes!

The aforementioned five mistakes can be lethal to your account’s health. We highly recommend checking that your account is taking advantage of everything suggested in this article. If you are still unsure about what is going wrong, contact the team at Vantage for a free PPC consultation