If you’re like most small business owners, you probably wear a variety of hats in your business. Chances are that while juggling multiple tasks, the role of pay-per-click specialist usually falls at the bottom of your priority list. When analyzing PPC accounts, we tend to find that most advertisers make the same common mistakes. If you’re not seeing positive ROI from your PPC advertising, you may be making one of the following five campaign-killing mistakes:
- Conversion tracking—What most advertisers don’t realize is that without conversion tracking, their campaigns have little chance of being profitable. One of the great things about online advertising (specifically, PPC), is that it’s actually measurable! Unlike TV or radio advertising, advertisers have the ability to measure the real return on every dollar spent. In most PPC accounts, the Pareto Principle applies, meaning that 20% of the keywords provide 80% of the conversions. Conversion tracking allows you to see exactly which of your keywords fall into that 20% category so you can focus your budget on the areas that will produce the greatest results.
Use of broad-match terms—While broad-match terms provide more exposure, they don’t always bring the “right” traffic to your site. Since broad-match terms are matched to all search queries that search engines such as Google™ deem to be relevant, advertisers often find that they receive traffic from unrelated searches. Bear in mind that this doesn’t mean that all broad-match terms are bad; it simply means that when using broad terms, special attention may be necessary. Advertisers should always consider using negative keywords in conjunction with the broader terms.
Google, for example, provides numerous tools to help advertisers filter out irrelevant clicks and fine-tune their campaigns. Among these tools is the search query report which allows advertisers to view the performance metrics of the search queries that resulted in clicks. Google has incorporated this report into their interface which makes it easy to add or exclude keywords.
Combined content and search campaigns—While having campaigns run on both the search and content network won’t necessarily kill your campaigns, it definitely won’t help them either. It should be a high priority to break the search and content network into two separate campaigns. The primary reasons for doing so are:
Better Targeting—The primary factor that distinguishes the search network from the content network is user intent. People are usually actively searching for a product or service. Conversely, searchers on the content network are web browsers who inadvertently stumble across an ad. Because of the difference in search intent, it’s important to use messaging that will best appeal to each audience. Creating separate campaigns for the networks allows the advertiser to customize their message to best fit the audience. This contributes to greater click-through rates, and ultimately, better campaign results.
- Reporting—Analyzing the performance of the search and content network becomes difficult when the two are running within one campaign. Separating the networks into different campaigns allows for streamlined reporting and easier performance analysis.
Nontargeted campaigns and ad groups—Last week I walked into a grocery store and asked the clerk for a specific product. The clerk pointed towards the side of the store the product could be found. It would have been of much more value to me had the clerk told me the exact isle and shelf the product was located on.
Similarly, if you’re an online searcher looking for a product, ads that are the most relevant to your query are going to be of most value to you in your search. As an advertiser, it’s important to provide searchers with this value by providing targeted, relevant ads that will make their search as quick and easy as possible.
It’s important to segment your campaigns into highly targeted ad groups for greater relevancy. Segmenting ad groups allows advertisers to create ad copy that is highly relevant to the search query and directs searchers to the most relevant page on a website.
- Bidding on positions—There’s a common misconception that being in positions 1 and 2 yields better campaign results. While advertising in these positions usually results in higher click-through rates and more exposure, it doesn’t necessarily result in higher profits. Simply reducing the keyword bids on keywords with poor ROI (remember the importance of conversion tracking), will often reduce costs substantially. It’s important to note that higher positioning and more clicks don’t always result in greater conversions.
If you’re currently managing your PPC account in-house, check your campaign for these critical mistakes. Correcting even one of these errors can result in a significant improvement in your PPC account performance.
What lessons have you learned from your PPC campaign? Please leave me a comment.