Reach PPC Paradise: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid

man clicking ppcPPC management is a delicate balance of strategy that is easy to get wrong.

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is a common tactic for online business these days, but common doesn’t mean simple. Slapping ads together, tossing them online, and calling it a day won’t be enough to make it worth the expense.

Businesses hoping to generate an ROI on their PPC campaigns have plenty of work to do and many steps to take. The first of these steps is avoiding common PPC mistakes that trip up people time and time again.

1. Going too Broad

Unless you’re an eccentric millionaire with a crazy dream of succeeding as an online marketer, you probably don’t have unlimited spending to devote to your PPC campaign. As such, you must ensure your keyword bids are targeted and specific if you want them to perform efficiently.

After all, the point of PPC ad campaigns isn’t just to increase brand visibility (although past businesses that have utilized proper PPC campaigns have increased their brand awareness by 80 percent). Its true purpose is to discover the user’s intent behind each click.

Research your market and craft long tail keywords relevant to your product or service. You’ll end up paying less for long tail keywords (as there will be less competition for them) and each click they receive will provide better marketing data than clicks on broad, vague keywords.

2. Competing for the Top

This one happens all the time, possibly because the mistake plays into common sense logic: The highest ranked keywords will receive the most clicks, right?

Yes, but high-ranking keywords generally skew towards the broad and unspecific. Plus, the highest ranked keywords will usually end up costing you more for each click you receive. The actual Cost Per Click (CPC) of each of your ads is a surprisingly complex determination made by Adwords and other PPC providers, so concrete numbers will depend on your individual campaign.

Regardless, the trends are clear: Aiming for the top will eat into your ROI and likely won’t generate the results you’re expecting.

3. Poor Word Choice

Rookie mistake. Marketers treat PPC ad text as an afterthought to endless keyword optimization and market research, but the text contained therein is critical to whether or not users click. Marketers must make sure the ad copy is optimized to deliver a power-packed message to viewers.

Your goal here is to examine Click-Through Rate (CTR) metrics for each ad and identify your top performers. What do they have in common? Each ad should have a concise explanation of your product’s features and benefits with a call to action thrown in for good measure. Test your ads over time, as ads that perform well in your December PPC campaign might be different than what your market is looking for in July.

Ad text can contribute heavily to ad ranking. And with 41 percent of clicks going to ads in the top three spots, you’d better make it count.

4. Automating Incorrectly

Automating your Adwords PPC management can be a great time saver, provided it’s done correctly.

Rules can be created to automate many different facets of your PPC campaign: You can control when ads are posted, when ads are removed, and whether you receive email updates on ad performance, to name a few. Google is throwing its weight behind bid management software tools like these to simplify the process for marketers, but be careful before turning your PPC campaign completely passive.

For example, consider the practice of establishing rules to automatically decrease bids based on keyword performance. It makes sense from an automation standpoint: You can passively refine your bids over time to weed out low performers. But consider what will happen if a competitor unleashes a temporary campaign that temporarily drives down the value of your keywords. Your automated software won’t know to restore the bid value after the competition dies down.

The bottom line? Automation is great, but you have to know what you’re doing.

5. Failing to Retarget

PPC retargeting is an essential part of keeping your campaign profitable.

Retargeting involves using tracking cookies in each user’s browser to determine whether or not they’ve visited your site before. This marketing strategy can be used across a variety of on-site buying stages but can also be put to work in your PPC ads. Create a series of “stages” with your PPC ads based on whether users have clicked before. Show new users different content than ones who have visited and clicked away.

The idea here is to improve the relevance of each ad for each specific user. Across all marketing channels, ad relevance and ad personalization are key.

Build Powerful PPC Outreach

The intricacies of PPC marketing can be tough to manage. It’s understandable that business owners and marketers alike make many of these mistakes. But really, if you want to generate a strong ROI through a powerful PPC campaign, avoiding these pitfalls is only the first step. There’s plenty more that goes into the process.

If you’re struggling, consider enlisting the help of a marketing service provider who can provide you with the best marketing strategies and help you get the most bang for your PPC buck.

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