Vigilance, micromanaging and attention to detail can help you avoid some common and costly mistakes of PPC advertising. What are those mistakes?
Here are the terrible 10 that are typical to most pay per click campaigns.
Too Many Keywords Per Ad Group
It's important to target your ad to be as relevant as possible. Don't group all your keywords into one or two ad groups. Break them out. Keep them tight. This gives you more control over ad variables so that you can be as relevant as possible.
Not Using Negative Keywords
Negative keywords reduce unwanted impressions, and more importantly, unwanted click throughs. However, with increasing priority given to "quality scores" and click through rates in the PPC engines, it's key to trim the fat from your keyword campaigns. If your company sells "widget management software" then be sure that you have keywords like "-serial" or "-free" assigned as negative keywords (unless, of course, you offer it for free in some manner). You can find good negative keywords in your log files or when you build your lists.
Split-testing your ads is critical. Even the smallest of changes can boost results. In addition to testing your ad copy's "call to action" or value statements, every ad has multiple variables to test. The titles, the two lines of copy, and display url all can be optimized. If you don't have time for hands-on testing, a good professional pay per click management company can run daily split testing for you. You'd be surprised how well this can pay off.
Poor or Non-Existent Tracking
Of course, testing your ads and fine tuning your keyword lists only works well if you are tracking results. The search engines will tell you what your click-through rates are ... but you need bottom-line results. You need to know your return on investment or what your cost per action is. It's not enough to know that you spend $5,000 and get back $10,000. You might be able to spend only $3,000 and get that same $10,000.
Not Getting Keyword-Level Tracking
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.
Not Specific Enough 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.
Not Going After Long-Tail Keywords
This follows the above item on generic keywords. Building a list and individual ads for the long-tail keywords can be a major time-sucker. It can also be profitable if the task is performed correctly. Those earnings per click will likely vary widely from a generic keyword like "mp3 player", "sony mp3 player" and "sony 2GB S610 walkman video mp3 player". One consumer is doing research, the other knows what they want and is most likely looking to purchase.
Not Separating Content and Search Networks
An easy way to get scorched on poor performing traffic or even click fraud is to not separate your search network ads from your content network ads. Chances are that if you don't know what the difference is, then they are likely not separated in your account -- and bad keywords are leaking your funds daily. You are better off to build different campaigns for your keywords on the content and search networks.
Not Attracting Local Clients Through Geo Targeting
If you draw most of your business from a local area, the big three PPC engines allow you to geo-target your keywords to that area. This will bring the local market to your doorstep on non-local keyword phrases. This can be hugely profitable.
Not Frequently Monitoring Your Accounts
Not everyone has time to run split testing on a daily basis or frequently checking your EPCs (even though you should...because it's costing you). That said, there are still a high amount of advertisers who seem to ignore their accounts for days ... or even weeks ... or (don't tell me you're doing this!) months. The big PPC search engines are increasingly cracking down on poor performing keywords, smacking advertisers with that "Inactive for Search" status for individual keywords. When this happens, you lose traffic, you lose profits. If you are investing heavily in PPC, you can't just turn your back on your account for days at a time.
The Terrible 10 of Pay Per Click Advertising is a lot to consider, but it's vital for healthy pay per click campaigns. Whether you can actively manage your PPC accounts at this level or you need to hire a pay per click management company to do it, vigilance and precision can make a huge impact on your bottom line.