PPC, Search & Analytics

Avoiding AdWords (PPC) Mistakes


For anyone new setting up an AdWords search campaign can be a daunting task. There are so many options available within the settings compared to a couple of years ago that it can be very easy to set up something wrong and waste budget that could be more effectively used.

Below is a list of items to check before you set any campaign live to ensure you are getting more bang for your buck. Most of these of course have been spotted from other agencies!

1) Structure of PPC Campaigns

A good campaign and ad group structure can be half the battle when it comes to good results from your PPC campaign. Having tightly themed ad groups will ensure you are showing the correct ad copy and landing page for the selected keywords in that ad group.

Properly planning your campaign and ad group structure can save you time optimising in the future so it is highly beneficial to ensure your foundations are solid on any build.

2) Budgets

Ensure that there is budget available for your PPC campaigns to run. If you are using MCC ensure that as soon as you setup a campaign a budget is applied in the background with correct dates. If you are using credit cards keep note of the expiry date on the card. Lost clicks can be detrimental to campaign performance.

Not having enough budget is another blog post on its own but add the impression share and impression share lost to budget columns to your campaigns to give yourself an idea of how much you would need to show for your keywords 100% of the time.

If your daily budgets are low it may not be a good idea to split your account into so many campaigns. Campaigns with a daily budget of €2 can be pointless as 1 or 2 clicks and your ad will not run. If this is the case figure out which keywords are most important and concentrate on these.

3) Running campaigns across the Google Display Network

Always ensure that any search campaign you set up is set to the search network only. If the settings are across the Google Display Network (GDN) also then this is where most of your budget will disappear with a much click through rate (CTR) and conversion rate.

The way to get around this is to select the Search Type (Search Network Only), then select All features, then enter your new campaign name.

If you do want your text ads to run across the GDN my advice would be to copy the original campaign using AdWords Editor and setting that to show on the Display Network. With separate campaigns you will have more control of the amount you spend on the Display and Search campaigns.

4) Keywords – Using Broad Match Modifier as keyword Type

Without even speaking about proper keyword research my tip would be to ensure that from the beginning of the campaign you are minimizing wastage on the account. Using match types of keywords will help.

Using all broad match keywords will mean that you will appear in a lot of searches that might not always be relevant to your site.

If you are a retailer who only sells tennis shoes and not equipment and we take the keyword “tennis shoes” as an example, if we were to bid broadly on this term we may show for searches such as “tennis balls” or “ladies shoes”. However by adjusting our keywords we bid on the Broad Match Modifier we can control how many times our ads are served. So if we add a + before each broad word we get “+tennis +shoes”. We will then only appear when the term tennis or shoes is entered into Google. So if someone was to search “ladies tennis shoes” our ad would appear.

By starting with Broad Match Modifier we will still be starting broad enough but more controlled. From learning’s over the next few weeks we can then begin to build out an exact match ad group of the most highly used phrases from the search query report.

5) Negative Keywords

Even using broad match modifier as the keyword type can throw up some searches we don’t want to appear on. Using the example above we would still appear for “worst tennis shoes” or “free tennis shoes”. It is always advised to think of some negatives that can be added from the beginning of campaigns and to keep a close eye on the search query report over the first couple of weeks to ensure you are adding to your negative keyword list.

Always include negative keywords jobs and all employment terms in any campaign unless it is a recruitment campaign. For any ecommerce campaign add in the word “free” or even “cheap” as a negative unless of course that is your product! Much budget can be wasted on unnecessary keywords so always plan ahead.

6) Ad Copy

Always set the settings at the beginning of a campaign to rotate evenly to give all your ads in each ad group a chance to run. We would advise to use 3-4 ads per ad group with slight variations in the copy that could be offer or emotive led. By only adding one ad copy in an ad group you run the risk for it to be disapproved and then you have no eligible ads.

After a few weeks of data you should have enough information to make a judgement on which ad copy to pause or tweak based on conversion rate or CTR.

Use your keywords within your ad copy, whether it is in the headline, descriptions or display URL. Any keywords matched from the search term will be in bold within the ads. This ties in with a clear and detailed campaign structure as raised in point 1.

7) Sitelinks

Add in as many different sitelinks as you can, whether they be normal sitelinks, location or mobile. The more sitlelinks you have the more space you can take up on the search engine results page which will in turn lead to a more professional look and increased CTR.

8) Mobile

With enhanced campaigns by default your ads will run on every mobile device so use this to your advantage. If you don’t want to appear on mobile searches as your site is not mobile optimised then you can set your bids to be -100% for mobile which should minimize and help control the amount you spend on mobile.

If you are setup for mobile and your client or company has an app always use the app extension to drive downloads. Android apps can easily be tracked as downloads once you set this up within the conversion section of your site. iOS apps need an extra bit of coding within the app but this is still possible.

Make sure you check how your ads appear on mobile. Only the other day I did this and to my surprise the client had an m. Version of their site. The landing page I had was redirected to the mobile home page so I was able to change the settings so all mobile ads went to the correct m. landing page.

9) TV & Search

Whenever your company or client has TV ads running ensure there is PPC ads running alongside this. Many times I have googled ads that appear on TV to see no PPC running and if your SEO is not strong this can mean your site is not even appearing in the organic results. With this an eagle eye competitor would easily be able to bid on terms within the TV ad and have their PPC ad show.

I could add in plenty of more common PPC mistakes but unfortunately have real work to do!

Let us know in the comment box below if there is anything you wish to add to the list?


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