PPC Mistakes to Avoid

An article in the New York Times details common mistakes to avoid in PPC management. We list them here with some additional comments from Laura, our PPC strategist.

Mistake #1. Giving up before you pull in enough clicks to allow for  analysis and improvements

— Make sure you have Google Analytics properly installed on your site. That will allow a thorough examination of the keywords, ad copy and landing pages that are actually returning sales and meeting your goals. If you start with a high budget, you may get scared off initially, but it is important to rate the results first, then fine tune the budget, keywords, and ad copy.

Mistake #2: Focusing on click-through rates.

–A campaign isn’t effective if it gets high click through rates, but produces little revenue. Once again, conversion data is essential. The question to ask from  CTR results  is ” if all these people are landing on my site, why is no one buying? ” It will help you craft better landing pages, examine the navigability of your site, prices of competitors, etc. You can create several versions of an ad and rotate them evenly. If you allow the Google machine to determine the most popular ad, it will be the one that is visible more of the time. At the beginning of any campaign, it is best to let ads run equally. The one with the highest CTR may not be the one bringing in the most sales.

Mistake # 3: Not mastering conversion metrics.

–The article details the use of conversion data. Conversion metrics are available for all CPC campaigns from the Ad Words dashboard. It is not the same as Google Analytics. For an immediate snapshot of the campaign ROI conversion metrics are helpful. It requires another few steps to set up your Google Analytics account, but we advise that everyone do so. Analytics provides even more comprehensive data, asllowing you to compare the ROI of organic search, site referrals, and CPC.

Mistake #4   Not setting the right budget.

— The author of the article says it all:  If you can figure out roughly whether you’re getting a positive return on investment, you should base your budget on that and nothing else. If you’re not making money on the campaign, keep your spending low until you fix it — you won’t make it up on volume. If you’re making money, spend more and keep spending more and more as long as you stay in the black — until you can’t handle or just don’t want the extra business or until the monthly cash outlay becomes so large that it threatens to cause cash flow problems.

Mistake #5: Not tweaking everything relentlessly.

It is important to continually learn about and utilize all the campaign options available in CPC ads. Geo targets, product ads, ad copy, keywords, image and managed placements can all be changed and improved. The mistake is to ignore the many opportunities for change, and just stick with the “tried and true”. You should always be on the hunt for better keywords, better ads, and better ways to convert ad clickers into site visitors.

Mistake #6: Shooting too high.

— Employing the most popular (generic) keywords and aiming for top placement will quickly deplete your budget and may not return any revenue. For example, a client of ours has a pond supply business, ThePondOutlet.com. When he first launched the site, we were reliant on PPC to generate sales. Rather than focus on the keyword “pond supplies”  we chose to focus the ads on the Aquascape brand and individual products. He has now  the largest online retailer of Aquascape pond supplies. With good organic placement, we can show the ads in lower positions on the page and still garner clicks and sales.

Mistake #7: Not reassessing your strategy.

Nothing works well forever. It makes sense to look at changing factors such as seasonal cycles, the rising costs of keywords that may have once served you well but are now astronomic. Perhaps you have noticed sales from overseas and it might be worth considering a foreign language ad. Maybe you will discover niche markets and be inspired to  launch a new business!

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