Becky Webber

Seven Deadly PPC Sins

We’d all like to think our pay-per-click (PPC) accounts are perfect and we have all the right answers, but chances are there are likely mistakes being made that you might not even realize. Below we’ll go over the top 7 PPC mistakes you should be trying to avoid: the seven deadly sins of PPC.

PPC Sin #1: Lust

A lot of focus of paid search efforts goes towards Google Search Network, but we shouldn’t Lust over it. Yes, Google Search Network might be the most popular, but that also means it is often more expensive and competitive than some other advertising channels. Consider these for a moment:

  1. Google display network - A great (cheap) way to get in front of potential customers/clients. Also a good channel for remarketing to users who have already visited and shown interest in your site.
  2. If you’re an e-commerce site, Google Shopping is another great option for you. Cost Per Clicks (CPC) can be much lower and you can run them alongside your Google Search Text Ads.
  3. Paid Social ads continue to increase popularity for creating brand awareness. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn & Pinterest appear to be just the beginning. Best part about advertising on these platforms? The user information is endless!
  4. Lastly, don’t be afraid to take your marketing budget to other engines.  Although Google is the most popular search engine, there are still a lot of potential customers searching on other sites including Bing, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon, and believe it or not, even Yahoo.

PPC Sin #2: Gluttony

Have you ever worked in an account with a million keywords? Hopefully not. I can attest first hand that it is impossible to manually optimize that many keywords on a regular basis.  Lower volume keywords will get lost in the sea of words & bids, so please, don’t stuff your account with every keyword under the sun. There is no reason to have every variation of every keyword, especially with Google’s Close Variant Keyword Matching that will include plural/singular, misspellings and every permutation of your exact keywords.  If that isn’t reason enough, keep in mind that the keywords that are getting close to zero impressions are putting you at risk for low Quality Score, “low search volume”, and high CPCs. Just don’t do it.

PPC Sin #3: Greed

Greed: obsessing over #1, and bidding to rank every keyword in the number 1 spot all day, every day. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s better to let your competitors have position one for certain keywords, fall into a cheaper #2 position, and use the extra budget to bid on other keywords that might not be as expensive, or you have higher conversion rates on. If you bid to rank every keyword in position one all day, every day, you will find yourself overspending and underperforming. Under-performance often leads to budget cuts, and no one likes budget cuts. So don’t get greedy. Focus your bidding on keywords, devices, time of days and networks with the highest ROIs.

PPC Sin #4: Sloth

PPC Sloth looks the same as it does in any other aspect of life. It’s taking short cuts, being lazy, trying to take the easy way out.  And in PPC, whether you’re working in-house or for a handful of clients, taking the “easy way out” is never a good idea.  Although Slothfulness can be seen in many aspects of the PPC, I’m focusing on the overuse of dynamic keyword insertion, or DKI, in text ads. Don’t believe me? Check out these horrible examples of text ads:

I’m not saying all uses of DKI is bad. In fact, in the right adgroups and circumstances, they can be quite useful. So what is the right way to use dynamic keyword insertion? Sparingly.

PPC Sin #5: Wrath

The fifth PPC sin, is more something we don’t want to cause: Wrath. Sometimes wrath or anger is something that can’t be avoided, but we should do everything in our power to keep our customers or potential customers from experiencing it! One of the best way to do this is to avoid misleading ads or landing pages. Do you know what happens when you advertise for flowers, and you send the customer to a page filled with chocolate? Nothing. Well at least nothing good. The customer typically bounces without checking if your site actually sell flowers. Landing pages should be something that you are constantly checking, updating, and A/B testing. Having relevant landing pages will increase conversion rate (more money!) and lower bounce rate, which can help increase quality score and lower CPCs (again, more money!). At the end of the day, Google values quality and they don’t want to annoy their visitors with irrelevant, spammy ads.

PPC Sin #6: Envy

PPC Envy rears its ugly head when you find yourself constantly comparing your campaigns to your competitors“They show up all the time, they are positioned better than you, they target more keywords, etc”. The mistake you’re making is assuming that your competitor knows what he or she is doing!  First off, as we covered under PPC sin #3 (Greed), you do not need, or want, 100% coverage. Another important piece of information to remember is that it is not the quantity of keywords that matters, it’s the quality. Anybody can get traffic to the site, but what should be your focus is getting qualified traffic. Keep these things in mind next time you’re feeling envy toward one of your competitors, otherwise you might end up like these guys:

PPC Sin #7: Pride

Last, but certainly not any less painful than the rest is the PPC sin of pride. There are unfortunately many PPC advertisers that suffer from PPC pride. Often times, if begins with them managing a single account, progressing it over time and becoming increasingly proud of its growth. They might hit some ROI goals, and soon they become cocky and don’t recognize that it still has room for improvement and growth. Here are three ways you can help prevent yourself from getting too caught up in your own sense of pride.

  1. Track your performance. The key here is to not stop tracking performance once it starts performing well. Anyone who has worked in this industry for any period of time, knows that it’s an ever changing, and any one change could affect your performance in a way your didn’t expect.
  2. Compare yourself to your competition. Again, you might start out doing this, but once you get to the top, you stop paying attention to your competitors. But guess what? They won’t stop. And before you know it, they are back on top, and you’re on the bottom of the page.
  3. Don’t settle. Perhaps this should be number one, because I believe it’s the most important. As is with most things in life, you must never settle. If you’ve reached 3% conversion rate, reach for 5%. Once you reach 5%, instead of throwing in the towel and stop bothering to tweak your campaigns, aim for 10%.

Now, a little bragging is okay. Just don’t get too cocky. Pride (or any of the other 7 PPC sins), could be standing in the way of your next great success!