The 8 most common mistakes businesses make when using PPC

If you’ve been using PPC as a marketing tool but not generating the returns you expected, it could be down to making small but costly mistakes. The basics of PPC are simple but getting to grips with the finer details is important to maximise the results that each campaign delivers. However, for a non-PPC professional those details are easily overlooked.

If your campaign isn’t delivering the ROI you want, your cost per conversion is too high or your traffic simply isn’t of the right quality, you could be making one of these eight common PPC mistakes.

  1. Not using geographical targeting
    Do you target your PPC campaigns based on geographical location? You could be missing a trick if not. Whether you’re a UK only business or operating internationally, geo targeting gives you an opportunity to make copy more relevant and tap into traffic using location specific keywords. If you sell hats for example, you could use geographic targeting to showcase baseball caps and beach hats to users who are enjoying summer, while at the same time serve ads promoting winter hats such as knit beanies and snow gear to search users on the other side of the world.
    Geographical targeting is incredibly easy to set up, making it an easy problem to remedy if you know where you want to focus your PPC efforts. The data you can derive from this type of targeting is valuable too, allowing you to recognise growing markets and potential customers and adjust your budget accordingly.
  2. Missing out a call to action
    All your marketing efforts should include a clear call to action, whether you want potential leads to download a brochure or retuning customers to take advantage of an offer. It’s a step that applies to PPC too.
    Even with character restrictions, you’ve got plenty of options for including a CTA in your PPC content and adapting to suit your current goals. When you want to show how trustworthy your business is, instruct readers to check out your reviews. Or if you’re currently offering a sale, make it clear and give it a sense of urgency (you can use promotion ad extensions to help here – more on this below).
  3. Failing to utilise relevant extensions
    Google AdWords and other PPC platforms have come a long way in the last few years. PPC strategies that were effective just twelve months ago need to be assessed to reflect these changes, including the adoption of extensions.
    Did you know that AdWords now lets you create promotional extensions, so your offers stands out against the competition? Or that a call extension will allow your leads to call you with just a tap – perfect for businesses targeting the mobile market? Understanding and knowing when to use extensions has become essential. If you haven’t fully investigated these and other new functions rolled out with the new look AdWords, there could well be other features which you are also overlooking.
  4. Ignoring seasonal copy
    Your PPC copy shouldn’t remain the same for months on end. It should continuously evolve to reflect both the responses you are getting and the season itself to improve traffic. For example, a premium jewellery business should be updating their content to reflect key holidays, from Christmas to Mother’s Day, while a travel agency can adjust copy to link to booking summer holidays to avoid the winter blues, bagging last minute deals, or planning a Christmas markets break.
  5. Not testing landing pages
    If you’re getting the clicks but your campaign is failing to deliver when it comes to converting leads into customers, it could be time to look at where your clicks are landing on your website. Relevant landing page copy is crucial and should be updated to reflect the PPC content – after all, it is the landing page which will funnel your shopper through to purchase,
    Testing landing page design and copy is a crucial part of running a successful PPC campaign. If you haven’t recently conducted A/B testing, now is the time to start. Focus on individual changes, such as a different headline, call to action or main image, monitor impact and refine.
  6. Not properly managing your budget
    There’s a metric that should always be considered in your PPC planning – cost per click (CPC). With a competitive bidding process, it’s easy for marketers to overspend on a PPC campaign that isn’t delivering the returns it should by upping their budget to attract more clicks without looking at where funds are being wasted and could be better used elsewhere.
    Identifying which areas, times, keywords and ads produce the best results means you can pause ads or keywords which are underperforming and free up budget to use on better converting campaigns rather than simply throwing more money at your account. Adding site exclusions and negative keywords are vital functions for reducing irrelevant clicks that are costing you money.
  7. Operating without any goals
    Any business activity needs clear, target driven goals in order to optimise results. If your PPC campaign has been running without a clear indication of what you want to achieve, you’re unlikely to be getting the most out of the money you’re spending. With a clearer mindset about your goals, you’ll be in a better position to look at historical and current data to see where changes need to be made. Using an A/B test for copy is one way of seeing which terms best leads to returns that match your expectations. Having an acceptable cost per conversion threshold in mind can also help keep you on track.
  8. Ignoring the rise of mobile
    Mobile searches have overtaken those coming from desktops, and it’s influenced the way people search. If you’ve not factored this into your PPC strategy it could be having a negative effect. Advertisers need to ensure that their campaigns at least consider mobile users, from the keywords selected to responsive landing pages.

PPC campaigns are going to be further influenced by the rise of voice searches being conducted on smartphones and devices connected to the internet of things (IoT), once again changing the way people search.