Are You Making These Common AdWords Mistakes?

3rd April 2017

The world of PPC can be difficult to master in the early stages of your career in online advertising.  DOM Marketing has thoughtfully put together a list of common mistakes to help newcomers to the industry and to create a refresher for more established professionals.

1.) Broad Keywords

If you are bidding on broad match keywords only, then you can fall victim to having too much, poorly focused traffic. You should only be using broad match in the early stages of your account, to check for exact match traffic sources that you have missed when setting up the account.

Here at DOM we often make a broad match copy of our exact match campaigns for exactly that reason.

Broad match often fails to convert, as brings in traffic which is not right for your product. As a result, it achieves a poor cost of sale.

2.) Mismatched Keywords

There are many keywords that are totally mismatched to the aims of your site. This is often due to the vagaries of the English language and its use of the same words for many different concepts. For instance, the word “trainer” can bring used for a fitness coach and for a type of shoe.

If your customer is not typing in additional wording such as personal or a brand name, then Google has the potential to serve your ad. Whilst it’s unlikely that these ads will add greatly to the cost of your campaign, they will contribute to lowering your click-through rate.

3.) Keywords Without Traffic

One frequent problem encountered during account reviews has been the setting of keywords that attract absolutely no search volume. An ad with no search volume is not overly damaging. However, it is very unlikely to get an ad served against it.

One of the key reasons for this problem to occur is misspellings of the keyword. It’s always worth checking to make sure that your spellings are correct. Conversely, and perhaps a little counter-intuitively, if a misspelling is common enough to produce a significant search volume, then it may be worth placing an ad. This is particularly true of American spellings, which can often have high search volumes, despite being incorrect in British English.

4.) Using the Google Display Network

The Google Display Network has its uses, but it usually far less cost effective as a lead generator than the PPC ads served from the same system. The simple tip, if you don’t know what you are using it for and what you hope to achieve, it is better left switched off.

5.) Failing to Set Up Conversion Tracking

This is an easy item to set up, but it is often neglected. Without it, you are depriving yourself of a key tool that tells you the conversion performance of your ads.

Whilst most marketing people will argue about attribution, there is little denying that an ad click that leads to a sale is valuable. Armed with this information, you are able to see the performance of each ad and optimise the campaign to show the best performing ads more often, or alternatively, to develop replacements that will hopefully improve your conversion rate even more.

6.) Not Carrying out Ad Optimisation

This tip is in a similar vein to the tip above. What could be worse than not having the data to optimise your ad campaigns? Having the data and not using it.

By rotating your ads you can find out which ones are getting a higher CTR. A higher CTR usually translates to a higher Quality Score, which, in turn, means higher AdRank and a lower CPC.

7.) Not Using Ad Extensions

The use of ad extensions has direct positive effects on Quality Score, thus on your cost per click. But that isn’t all. An advert that makes liberal use of extensions, literally, takes up more space on the page. As well as making your ad look more impressive to potential customers, it also allows you to push your competitors off the page and make them look small in comparison.

8.) Incorrect Bidding

Google loves to take your money, so try to ensure that you are not bidding too much (or conversely too little and obtaining a poor slot) Always check that your product margin is not lower than the cost of your marketing campaign.

Bids that are set up to over bid are a sure way to burn your budget, whilst underbidding will result in invisibility. It’s a tightrope, but make sure that you stay balanced and on the wire.

9.) Incorrect Budget

If you have balanced the budget so that your marketing results in profitable sales, then you should, at least theoretically be able to increase your budget until you are buying and converting 100% of the market at the same cost. One problem that is often seen is with brands under funding their campaign and missing out on sales that should convert.

This is frequently caused by companies acting on old print based marketing strategies where a fixed budget makes sense, rather than reacting to the market opportunities that a known cost of sale can provide.

10.) Check your Negative Keywords

Our last tip is also one of the most commonly ignored pieces of advice. All businesses need to check their keyword list to see what their ads are triggering for. Make sure that your do waste valuable revenue chasing down people who are looking for products you do not sell. It’s worth noting as well, but without a joined up process for marketing and stock management, many companies will continue to run adverts for out of stock products.

The easiest way around this is to get your PPC specialist to create a script that checks stocks and URL’s, but failing that, asking a team member to download and check that the URL’s of the ads are valid occasionally (maybe by loading in to Screaming Frog, is a practical step.