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5 Common AdWords PPC Mistakes

Paid Search, Google AdWords | 25th Nov 2015

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Video Transcript

(This is the transcript from our new video so it may not read as well as a normal blog post would)

Hello. I often get asked about quick wins when it comes to PPC, and I really think that the quickest wins are fixing some of the most common mistakes.

So when I first get hold of a PPC project, these are the sorts of things I look for, and more often than not I find issues in at least one or more of these areas. Fixing them can actually have those quick wins that you’re looking for, and you can see a quick turnaround and improve ROI in a short the short term.

I’m going to talk you through the top five mistakes that I see all the time. The first one is brand and more specifically not bidding on your brand.

So many companies are using AdWords and they’re bidding on all the target keywords and the keywords in their niche and all the things they need to be bidding on, but they think that they don’t need to bid on their brand because they rank first organically for their brand name. If people are looking for them, they’re going to find them anyway. Why should they pay for that?

But really you’re missing a really big opportunity. There are a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, when it comes to relevancy, there can be no more relevant keyword. As such, you’re going to have a really great quality score. You’re likely to be always at the top of that paid listing unless someone is aggressively trying to outbid you.

The result of that high quality score is that you’re going to be paying less per click, a lot less per click. So typically, brand campaigns have really low cost per click. On the flip side, they have a really good CTR, a really good click-through rate as well, because it’s really relevant. People are looking for you.

So you’re not paying very much. You’re getting a really good CTR. What that does is it improves the quality of the campaign and therefore the account. It brings your average click-through rate across the campaign right up, and it gives you a really good advantage there.

Of course, there’s the added value that you’re taking up more real estate in the search engine results pages. If competitors are bidding on your brand, you want to make sure you are as well, or you could be losing out to them in that area anyway. So it’s really important that you do bid on your brand. It’s cheap, it’s effective, and it improves the quality of your campaign.

Negatives, this is a big one especially with old accounts. Sometimes they can’t work out where they’re going wrong, why they’re wasting so much budget. They’re doing a lot of other things right, but they’re completely forgetting about negative keywords.

It’s really important that you’re using lots and lots of negative keywords. You should be scouring through your search term report to find things that aren’t relevant and making sure that you don’t show up again and waste budget. Or even if people aren’t clicking, because the ads aren’t relevant for certain keywords, you’re still wasting impressions, which means your CTR, your click-through rate is going down.

So effectively using negative keywords is really, really important, and you should be adding them in regularly. There’s always going to be more coming up, and even when you think you’ve completely saturated it, you’d be surprised what you see in the Search Query Report. So be really vigilant when it comes to negative keywords and make sure you’re not wasting any budget or impressions.

Split-testing. A lot of time people put one ad in each ad group and they run that for a long period of time and then periodically they might change it. But they’re not constantly running two or more ads at the same time to see which performs better at that time. If you’re not doing that, then you’re missing an opportunity to improve your ads.

So you should be running at least two ads in each ad group all the time. Once you’ve got enough impressions, at least over 100, ideally over 100 clicks if you’re running a bigger campaign, then you can really see which is performing better.

If there’s obvious discrepancies in the CTR, then you can pause the underperforming one, make a duplicate of the one that’s performing better, and then tweak something else to see if you can find further ways to improve. So this is a really good opportunity to improve click-through rate and then obviously all the other metrics that go along with it.

Ad extensions have been around for quite a while, and they’re increasingly important. A lot of brands still aren’t using them or aren’t using them effectively or aren’t using all the ones that are available to them.

You definitely want to be using ad extensions. There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t use at least two or three of the available ad extensions. There’s quite a few out there now — location extensions, call extensions, call-out extensions, site link extensions to name a few.

There’s going to be some that are relevant for you for all businesses. Using them gives you more real estate in the ads so you take up more space. It makes your ads stand out more. It gives your users more information. They all do different things.

But the important factor to remember with ad extensions is that they now also contribute to your quality score. So using them is going to essentially help you bring your costs down as well. Failing to use them and your competitors are using them, they’ve got an advantage.

There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be using them. Make sure that you’ve gone through and you’ve checked all the ones that are available and you’re using all the ones that are appropriate, which is going to be a good few of them, probably three or four at least.

Lastly, mobile. We go on and on about mobile at the moment in the whole digital marketing industry, specifically on the SEO side. But we cannot forget mobile on the PPC side either. It’s increasingly important. The search engines are making lots and lots of noise about it all the time. It’s not dying down. People are using more mobile searches. It’s only going to grow, and it’s going to continue to grow on the paid side as well.

So there’s no reason that you should be thinking about mobile on the SEO side but neglecting it on the PPC side. What that means is having mobile specific ads, mobile specific ad extensions, all of which are available, making sure you’ve set your bid adjustments accordingly so you’re bidding where you want to be bidding for mobile searches, and most importantly that you’ve got mobile friendly landing pages that are optimised and are showing properly for your mobile audience.

It might be that you have different landing pages for your mobile ads, or it might be you have a responsive design and it’s the same landing page, but as long as it renders properly on any device. So it’s really important to consider this so that you’re not either wasting budget or neglecting a growing audience when it comes to your ads.

So if you go through these five things in your AdWords campaign, I expect you’ll find something that you can tweak to improve performance. A lot of these have got some quite quick wins associated with them. So I recommend going away and having a look at your campaign.

If there is any more help you would like with that, then please feel free to get in touch, leave a comment at the end of the video, send me a tweet, or give us a call.

About the author

Emma North

Emma has more than 5 years’ digital marketing experience and has worked on dozens of websites in a wide range of industries. She has a passion for both SEO and PPC and is driven by the need to develop her digital skills and knowledge. She is always exploring innovative solutions for new problems encountered in the ever-changing digital world.


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