The success of a PPC campaign relies on being able to use the requisite platform properly. Errors that are easy to make can end up being very costly and effect the long term performance of your account. In this article I want to cover some common mistakes and offer some industry tips on how to avoid them.
Not having Specific Goals
If you don’t know your objective when setting up a PPC campaign, you will struggle to track your progress and measure success. You may have a vague goal of ‘more revenue’ but you need to drill down into how you are going to achieve this by setting more specific goals. Define clear and achievable objectives that will realise your ambition of increasing your revenue. Examples of these might be:
- Raising awareness of your business to a defined audience
- Selling a product or service to new customers
- Retaining existing customers
Once you have a clear idea of the specific objectives of your campaign, you can begin to build an efficient, targeted campaign that will be much more successful than a vague stab in the dark. More often than not, PPC campaigns will be centred around selling a product or a service or promoting a specific marketing drive, but they will often serve a secondary objective such as raising brand awareness and supporting organic SEO efforts.
If you fail to target your ads appropriately for your business they’re going to be shown to the wrong people and your campaign budget will be wasted. If you want to target your ads correctly, there are two things you need to do:
Find out who your customer is
If you don’t know who your customer is you’ll end up just throwing mud at a wall and hoping some of it sticks, which is not an effective use of your PPC budget. You need to spend some time building up a buyer persona, which is a research-based profile that depicts your target customer. Your buyer persona should embody the character of your best potential customer, and require a name, demographic details, behavioural traits and interests. You should also include their goals, buying patterns and pain points. Knowing your buyer persona inside out will enable you to hone your marketing strategy by being able to select the right ad groups and create campaigns that appeal directly to them.
Understand how the targeting options work for each specific platform
Different PPC platforms have different targeting options so you need to know how to use each one. For example, with Facebook Ads you target through demographics, whereas Google Ads is done via keywords, audiences and website use. This means that you can’t just transplant a campaign from one platform to another and expect the same success. Educating yourself on how the different platforms work or using a specialist PPC agency will go a long way to helping you properly target your ads.
Using Broad Match Keywords
When it comes to keywords, specification is everything. If you choose broad match keywords, Google has too much freedom when matching your ads to a search term, which means you’ll end up with a lot of irrelevant traffic coming to your site. This traffic will inevitably bounce quickly, costing you money and dragging down your conversion rates. For example, say you’re marketing a bakery. You might think that using the keyword ‘baking’ makes the most sense. However, consider all the different intentions someone could have if they type that in as a search term: they could be looking for baking recipes or baking equipment, basically anything that falls under the baking umbrella. This will dramatically reduce your chances for click-throughs and conversions. If you can use exact match, or for 2-3 word keyword phrases, use phrase match instead.
Neglecting your Ad Copy
Ad copy is absolutely crucial to raising your click through rate (CTR). Many people concentrate so hard on keywords and landing pages that they neglect to pay attention to the wording of their actual ads. It’s the ad copy that your potential customers will see in the search engine results pages (SERPs), which will spur them on to make that all important click through to your website.
Be meticulous in avoiding bad spelling and grammar, and don’t stuff with keywords; it’s very off putting to see lots of typos and will make searchers less likely to click your ads. Make sure you are using ad extensions that allow you to communicate things like location, phone numbers and site links, without wasting precious copy space in the ad itself.
Not Split Testing
Split testing (also known as A/B testing) involves running multiple versions of your ad. Each one is the same as the original ad, apart from one aspect that has been changed. You can then measure which version of the ad is the most successful, and figure out if you have a real winner on your hands that is producing the most traffic. It’s important that you don’t change more than one element as this will render you unable to tell what has made the difference to the conversion rate.
Another common mistake is to do split testing, but to think you can get away with only doing a single test. The reality is that you should be continuously testing so you’re always optimising your marketing and hitting your target audience. PPC is not a ‘set it and forget it’ exercise but a process of constant measurement, adjustment and optimisation. Your campaigns require ongoing management via testing to continue to deliver great results.
Not Understanding Quality Score
Quality Score is Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads, and you ignore it at your peril. It’s used to work out your cost per click (CPC) with higher quality ads leading to lower prices and better ad positions.
Your quality score depends on various factors, including CTR, relevance of keyword to ad group, landing page quality and relevance, relevance of ad text and the historical performance of your Google Ads account. The most important factor is CTR: when more people see your ad and click it, it’s a strong indication to Google that your ads are relevant and helpful to others. Google then rewards you with higher ad ranking and lower costs. Improving your quality score is one of the most important things you can do to boost your PPC campaigns, without a high score even the most well thought out campaign will end up being a dud.
When executed well, your PPC campaigns can give businesses a huge boost in terms of revenue. However, so many businesses are needlessly throwing their click budget down the drain by continuing to run poorly optimised PPC campaigns month in month out. Often, this is down to companies running their PPC marketing inhouse without any real inhouse experience. We see it every day at Superb Digital and the figure for money wasted on poorly optimised ads is truly astonishing (and even more gruelling when you consider that Google made $166.5 billion in revenue from its ads in 2018).
By learning how to set goals, properly target, use the correct keywords, write good copy, test efficiently and get to grips with the all important Quality Score, you’ll be on the right path to improving your ROI and creating high quality PPC campaigns that help make your business a huge success.