Whether you are managing your PPC campaign yourself in-house, or using an external PPC agency, you are likely to have invested a lot of time and money into setting up and managing your campaigns. Despite PPC campaigns becoming increasingly more popular amongst online businesses, there are many common and crucial PPC mistakes that we at In Front have seen many times. These mistakes have hindered clients’ campaigns due to lack of knowledge of the impact incorrect changes can have. It only takes a few incorrect setting changes for your ad spend to increase and your ROI to plummet.

Keep reading to find out the most common PPC mistakes and how to avoid them.

Unclear Business Goals

Before you even begin setting up a PPC campaign, you need to sit down with your team and align a clear business goal. What do you want from the campaign? What do you want users to do once they have clicked on your ads? Budget can be wasted very easily if you haven’t defined the purpose of your campaign; increased traffic, increased leads, more phone calls, brand awareness? The whole team must be on board and aware of the potential increase in enquiries so they can act appropriately.

Targeting All Ads to the Homepage 

Your PPC campaigns should be made up of ad groups that are relevant to a page on your website or a product/service that you want to get In Front of potential customers. Your ads within these ad groups should be specific to the product/service you are trying to sell, so why should clicking on your ad take the user to the homepage? The idea is that it takes the user as few clicks as possible to convert and take the desired action. Especially if you are an Ecommerce business, if you have an ad for a specific product and clicking on that ad takes the user to any page other than the specific product page you will likely see a high bounce rate and low conversion rate as the user will have to then have to navigate to that product on your site.

Not only is targeting ads to the homepage ineffective in most cases, it can also cause very low keyword quality scores. Quality Score is an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords and landing pages are to a person seeing your ad. Higher Quality Scores typically lead to lower costs and better ad positions. You would likely see a much higher keyword quality score if the final URLs of your ads were more specific to the search term and the search term is within the copy of the page.

Not Utilising Ad Extensions 

As you are limited as to what you can put in your search ads due to character limits, the more information you can get in front of potential customers the better. By using the full range of ad extensions available in AdWords, this allows you to take up more advertising space and get across your USP’s. Google has previously stated that site link extensions have been proven to increase the CTR of ads by 10-20%. This is a huge difference and it would be ineffective to not utilise these for your campaigns. Read our guide on the top 5 ad extensions for increased PPC performance.

Ineffective Conversion Tracking 

Without conversion tracking correctly set up, you will be unable to accurately monitor your campaigns performance and optimise it as per your data analysis. By linking your Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts, you will be able to track the number of clicks and impressions your ads receive as well as what the user does after they click through to your site. Without conversion tracking set up on your site you will not be able to confirm the business need for paid search advertising or justify the ad spend.

Incorrect Targeting 

No targeting or incorrect targeting can be catastrophic to PPC campaigns and is likely the reason that your ad spend is going up and your conversion rate is plummeting! As a business, you will have a demographic and it is important you are targeting the right people. When you create a Google AdWords PPC campaign, the default targeting options are that your ads will be shown worldwide 24/7; this will drain your budget very quickly and result in very few valuable clicks.

If you are an online business that only delivers to customers in the UK, ensure that within the location settings of your campaign it is only targeting the United Kingdom. If you know users in London have an especially high interest in your products, you can add an additional location target option for London specifically and increase the bid to heighten your chance of getting In Front of interested users. Whilst we recommend that for a trial period you leave the ad schedule to be running 24/7 (unless your business does not work weekends and no one will be available to answer calls/enquires), you should ensure that you monitor the data to find out when users are searching and converting more and make the necessary changes in order to conserve budget and target interested users when they are looking for a business or service like yours.

Ignoring Mobile Optimisation 

With Google announcing that mobile searches have now overtaken desktop searches, the business need for your website to be mobile responsive has never been more prominent. Within Google Ads and Analytics you are able to identify what percentage of users are visiting your site via desktop, mobile and tablets. If your website is not mobile responsive and doesn’t display correctly on mobile devices, this is likely to cause a very high bounce rate and low keyword quality scores. Mobile friendliness is an important factor for both SEO and PPC so it is essential that your landing pages are designed for usability and convertibility.

Disapproved Ads 

If your ads do not follow Google’s text ad guidelines then your ads will be disapproved and not show until you amend them to follow Google’s rules. This is to stop malicious, inappropriate or illegal ads showing in the search results. The most common disapproval reasons however are inappropriate use of symbols, capitalisation or punctuation as well as using trademarks in your ad copy. To see if any of your ads are disapproved, go to the Ads tab in Google AdWords and look in the Status column for any ads that are marked Disapproved or Approved (limited) and make changes to these.

Disapproved Keywords 

Similarly to your ads, Google reviews the keywords you are trying to target and will disapprove any ads they deem inappropriate. You will violate Google guidelines if you try to advertise illegal activity such as drugs, firearms, adult material and more. You can easily identify if any of your keywords have been disapproved by going to the Keywords tab in AdWords and checking the status column.

Ignoring Negative Keywords 

Adding negative keywords to your campaigns is essential for preventing unwanted traffic and stopping your ads appearing for irrelevant search queries however this must be done with caution, especially if using broad match. Review your negative keyword list to ensure that no keywords you are meant to be targeting have been added accidentally.

Keyword Bid vs Daily Budget 

The more competitive the keyword, it is likely that you will have to bid highly to get your ad on the first page. Make sure that none of your keyword bids exceed your daily budget as Google will not show your ads if your keyword bid is £15 but your daily budget is only £12. Depending on the importance of that keyword on your campaign you have three options: pause the keyword, lower the keyword bid or increase your daily budget.

Incorrect Ad Scheduling 

Ad scheduling is a great way to ensure that your ads only show when you want them to and do not show on days or times that you are not available for business. If your ads aren’t showing in Google you need to ensure that you have not set up ad scheduling incorrectly. To see your ad schedule, go to the Settings tab at campaign level for each campaign and go to Ad Schedule.

Need help managing your PPC campaign effectively? Read more about our PPC services and get in touch to discuss our services.