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If you are reading this blog, the chances are you a pay per click enthusiast or someone who does it for a living. Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing can be one of the most effective or sometimes most frustrating ways to grow your business if not done correctly. In my experience, I have seen most companies have a hard time unlocking the full potential of their PPC campaigns because they make “silly” mistakes along the line. The sad thing is, these silly mistakes are both preventable and can be easily avoided.

Have you thought about why PPC campaigns normally fail? In this blog, I will discuss 6 of the most common PPC mistakes that cost businesses thousands of pounds each month and the share the best ways to address these going forward.

We all know for sure there are PPC pro’s out there that have had at least their campaigns fail because of one reason or the other. It simply didn’t meet the objectives of the client or the boss I guess….

So what are the reasons why PPC campaigns fail? Is it just sheer incompetence on the part of the PPC executive or Campaign manager? You guess is as good as mine…

Mistake #1 – No Conversion Tracking

Google Conversion TrackingOne of the immense advantages of PPC compared to other marketing channels is that you can attribute direct value to your campaigns, and then make a decision if they are cost effective or not. However, this may not always be possible for whatever reason and if this is the case you need to know what to do to ensure that your account is still in the best shape possible.

With PPC, if there is no proper tracking then you are going nowhere! A conversion on a website could consist of one or more of the following below:

  • An online purchase/sale transaction
  • An enquiry or lead submission via your contact form on your website
  • A newsletter sign-up online
  • A whitepaper or brochure downloads
  • Smart Goal (Google Analytics) – an optimised AdWords performance using your best website session as conversions based on the level of engagement by a user on a website.

Conversion Tracking gives clarity about whether your PPC spend is generating leads and driving sales, which in turn allow you to work towards that all-important cost per acquisition (CPA) and return on investment (ROI) targets. Most PPC account managers rely on conversion data to optimise their accounts; however, there are situations where you might not be able to track conversions as some businesses or clients may be using their PPC channel for just brand awareness reasons and therefore not expecting any direct response. But it always good practise to try to measure performance using conversion tracking for your PPC campaigns.

Mistake #2 – Lack Of Goals


Setting up goals is a basic principle of any digital marketing plan, and yet it’s common to see marketers whose goals are just to get their ads running on Google. It’s always good to set a goal on the numbers of leads/enquiry/sign ups, sale or downloads per week and on a monthly basis and continue to manage the expectation making continuous improvements on your campaign for good performance. This is the one way you could address a failing campaign by first tackling the root cause. As the old adage goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail and that is it.

Mistake #3 – Poor Ad Copy (Ad Relevance)

Poor Ad Copy

Having a good campaign structure and unique landing pages are critical to success – but not to forgot a good relevant ad copy which would give you a higher quality score.  Your PPC Ad copy must convey what you are offering to your customers, what you want users to do upon seeing your ad’s (call to action – such as call now, enquire now, download, contact us etc) and why they should do that. It’s quiet a challenging technique as you are not likely to get all this on your ad copy most of the time, but not having any of these in mind when creating your ad copy just contributes to your campaigns failing woefully. At least, keeping you ad’s simple, straight to the point with your unique selling point would entice customers to take an action at most time.

There’s nothing wrong with learning from the competition, but most PPC executives end up creating the same ppc ads just as their competitor’s which doesn’t make them stand out from the crowd. The problem is, even if you’re sitting pretty at the top of the SERP page, you won’t get much attention if you don’t stand out in some way.

Mistake #4 – Poor Landing PagesPoor Landing Pages.PNG

One of the best ways to irritate people searching on google (or search engines) is not delivering on your promise. I can guarantee most customers will have had an experience online where they clicked a link in the search results and were left thinking “how have I got here?”…..Hell knows!

When a web visitor clicks on a PPC ad, they’re taken to a landing page — a web page whose sole purpose of existence is to entice people to take an action (buy now, call us, sign up, download etc). If your PPC landing pages are awesome, it could be the most effective marketing weapon in your arsenal.

Always keep your PPC landing page relevant to the keywords you are bidding on and that the page matches the promise within the ad copy as well as consistent with the intent of the searcher. Sending searchers to homepages all the time is not a good practice but relevant web pages on the searchers need.

Mistake #5 – Keywords Overload

Keywords Overload

Overloading your ad group with over 30-80 plus keywords is not really cool as well as crowding broad, exact and phrase matches. Most advertisers take this short cut approach in their keywords strategy and this negatively impacts their campaigns by burning their budget quickly and not knowing exactly what keywords are bringing your much conversion. This implies that your ads show up for less relevant searches and produce less relevant clicks that aren’t likely to convert costing your dearly all the time.

According to most PPC experts, on average— all conversions in an adwords account comes from just 9% of the account’s keywords and that your adwords account has a useless 91% of your keywords which eats up 61% of your ad budget spend. Interesting huh?

To fix this problem – turn off or pause keywords that have high click, costly and low conversion and focus on the most relevant converting types of keywords.

Mistake #5 – Campaigns On Auto Pilot – (Not Managed Actively, Or Aren’t Managed Well)

PPC campaigns should not be left on auto pilot mode. It involves continuous tweaking and modifications based on your conversion data you analyse on a daily or weekly basis. Setting up good PPC campaigns is just the beginning but successful campaigns have dedicated PPC account managers constantly optimising keywords, ad copy, bids and ad extension.

You’ve exhausted all this and yet still your PPC campaigns are still not performing? What next? Sometimes, despite all the best efforts, PPC campaigns continue to underperform and that is the reality. It is rare but sometimes PPC isn’t the right channel for certain businesses but make sure you have exhausted all the best optimisation options before conceding defeat. A word to the wise is enough!  Thanks for reading this blog.

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