Pay-per-click (PPC) has been considered one of the most sought after marketing services in today’s modern society and it’s no surprise. Everyday we face the wash of the selfies, hashtags, acronyms, stalkaholicwork-2005640_640 (1).jpg tendencies and everyone is in it for themselves. The ability to target people who are likely to be interested in what you or your client is selling isn’t just a science, it’s an art.

Bloggers, influencers and experienced marketers could talk for hours about how to make PPC work well, but what makes a bad PPC campaign? Well here is my list of the cardinal sins that should be avoided at all costs:

  1. Not doing your homework. Irrelevant content is annoying and pointless. What is being promoted might seem obvious, but when paying for advertising you need to know for sure that you’re clued up on what it is you’re promoting. Why would people click on your ad? Who are they? Where are they? Will they convert into a sale/enquiry? Set aside time to research your industry and demographic.
  2. Not testing. For example, your ad might be the best ad you’ve ever written but how do you know it works? Even if it works well, could it be more successful? Be a pioneer in the world of technological evolution and never stop experimenting. I recommend having two versions of ad copy, AB testing if you will. Track your conversions carefully and monitor performance. Test everything you can, landing pages, keyword match types, different imagery on display campaigns and so on.
  3. Using broad keywords. Did you know that using the term ‘online casino’ in 2014 would have cost you and average of £52.72 per click? Aside from the obvious cost problem, broad keywords seldom attract your ideal audience. Try making the keywords more specific. Build specific landing pages that will retain their interest and translate into a sale (or whatever your goal may be). Also try avoiding broad match keywords. Opt for exact match, phrase match and broad match modifiers.
  4. Neglecting exclusion settings. I grit my teeth whilst looking at the costs attributed to a campaign with no exclusion settings. Sadly it’s not uncommon to look at an account for a UK-based campaign and see the ads have shown in countries all over the world. Adding exclusions takes seconds, but forgetting to do it costs unsuspecting companies gruesome amounts; hundreds, thousands even.
  5. Not tracking conversions. From small businesses to agencies, there are many shameful culprits of this sin. A lot of the time, performance is measured like this: Impressions, clicks and CTR (click through rate). Excellent. But how do you know if any of those clicks converted into a sale or valid enquiry? How much money did your PPC campaign make for you? You should probably know these answers. If this is your guilty habit, hop onto Google Analytics (pronto!). Need help? Check out this post by PPC Hero.
  6. Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI). Okay, this one isn’t bad and the idea is actually quite clever, but the lack of control over the content of your ad can be risky. If you want to run DKI, you must be squeaky clean in your best practices, avoid competitor bidding for trademark purposes, remember to input keywords with capitalisation, ensure these ads aren’t linked to a misspellings ad group, avoid nonsensical sentences with mismatched ad copy and keywords, etc.
  7. Not monitoring placements. This mainly applies to running display adverts, whether it be display or remarketing you should set up exclusions. You’ll find you have more control over behavioural and contextual targeting (BT & CT) but remarketing/retargeting targeting is a bit more open. It will show your ads to someone who has a cookie dropped since visiting your site but be careful where they see it. Do you want your ads showing on sites with adult content? Do you want your ads showing on sites with controversial content?
    Oh, and just because you’ve set up exclusions, doesn’t mean you don’t have to check where the ads have shown. There could be sites you didn’t think of or new sites you couldn’t have thought of… it is the internet after all.

There are more than 7 things that could go wrong, but for the most part, paid ads are incredibly useful for both companies wanting to promote and for internet users looking for something you can provide. A careful and considered approach will always be beneficial, do your research, analyse your data and have fun testing!