Avoid These 5 PPC Mistakes

Pay-per-click marketing, or PPC for short, is like a maze. When you’re looking at it from a distance, PPC seems easy to navigate. But once you get inside the maze, it can be confusing and at times disheartening.

How do you make sense of it all?

The secret is to learn from the mistakes of others. You can save yourself a lot of heartache by simply avoiding the slip-ups that you see others make. In this post, we’ll highlight the most common mistakes that well-meaning businesses make when setting up and running a PPC campaign. Let’s get started.

Mistake #1: Boring Writing

When writing copy for your PPC ad, you’re tasked with two things: Getting leads to first notice your ad, and then click on your ad.

In theory, it seems doable. But here’s the bad news: Writing good PPC ads is challenging because you’re working with limited space and limited attention spans. You’re also combating the mental phenomenon of banner blindness. Many search engine users have trained themselves to ignore all but the most attention-grabbing ads.

The good news is that writing compelling ad copy is possible. Start by incorporating the following three elements into your ad copy:

  1. Understand and Match Your Ideal Customer’s GoalThe best way to tackle your PPC ad copy is to focus on the immediate benefits that clicking on your ad will bring. Get into the mindset of your target audience. What are they searching for? What is the intent behind their search? What type of answer are they hoping to receive?Once you’re able to understand your target lead’s goal, you can create ad copy that matches, or mirrors, this goal.
  2. Choose the Right WordsWhen creating your ad copy, favor simple, one-syllable words over longer words, whenever possible. Remember that you’re working with limited space and attention spans, so you must choose the quickest way to get your message across. Your message should be simple and snackable.
  3. Include Facts and FiguresNumbers and statistics can persuade your target audience to take your ad seriously. In your ad copy, include numbers about how much the prospective customer will save by selecting your product or service (for example, “Save 50%” or “Up to $100 off”). You can also include how many customers you’ve helped or how many subscribers have joined your mailing list. This provides social proof.

Mistake #2: Not Using Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are technically optional, but if you want to get the most bang for your buck, you’ll incorporate them into your PPC campaign.

Not familiar with ad extensions? No doubt, you’ve seen them in action before and may have even used them, but you probably didn’t know what they were called.

Ad extensions are extra snippets of information that you include with your primary ad copy. This information helps Google and Bing understand what your ad is about so that they can present it to the right user.

Your ad extensions may or may not show up with your ad.

Sounds like no big deal, right? A lot of businesses make the mistake of overlooking or not including ad extensions into their PPC campaign. But here’s why you should always include ad extensions:

  • Ad extensions increase your ad’s visibility.
  • Ad extensions extend the reach of your ad.
  • Ad extensions offer more ways to contact you.
  • Ad extensions are proven to increase your click through rate.
  • Ad extensions increase the value of your ad for free.

That’s right– you won’t be charged extra for including extensions to your PPC ad.

Ad extensions include phone numbers, locations, callouts to encourage leads to call you, sitelinks to a specific page on your website, images that bring attention to and add context to your ad, an invitation to download your app, a price list, testimonials from your customers, and more. To see an exhaustive list of available ad extensions check here or here.

While not all ad extensions will be applicable for your individual needs, be sure to include as many as you can. That way, your ad will have a greater reach. Google and Bing choose which extensions to show their users, so by filling out as many extensions as possible, you’ll improve the visibility of your ad.

Although ad extensions aren’t guaranteed to boost your ad’s performance, it should almost always help.

Mistake #3: Not Linking to an Optimized Landing Page

Linking your ad to your homepage is a common, but huge, mistake.

Consider this mistake from the lead’s perspective. They come across your ad, and are enticed to click to get whatever you’ve promised. Once they click, they’re taken to your homepage and now they must navigate themselves to the right place. The only problem: You have dozens of links on your homepage, and it’s difficult for a new visitor to know how to get the information that they need. When faced with this conundrum, most leads will simply click on the back button and leave.

The page that you link to should mirror the message on your ad. It should act as the beginning of your customer funnel. Don’t overwhelm them with too much information, such as who you are, what else you sell and do– they’re not concerned with any of that. They only want the answer to their specific query and to collect on the benefit that your ad promised them. For this reason, you need to link to an optimized landing page.

In your landing page, include the following:

A message match to your ad. Leads who click onto your site from your ad should be met with what they’re expecting.

A call to action. Now that the lead is on your page, what should they do next? Make your call to action easy to find and understand.

Mistake #4: Targeting the Wrong Keywords

Let’s talk about keywords, because they serve as the heart of your ad campaign.

When writing a PPC ad, you’ll need to include and target specific keywords that match what your target audience is searching for. You already know that. What you may not know is that not all keywords are created equal, and so-called “long tail keywords” are more effective than short tail keywords.

Here’s a quick primer on long tail keywords. A long tail keyword contains two or more keywords that make up a keyword phrase. This keyword phrase mimics natural language. In other words, it should resemble actual queries.

Short tail keywords, on the other hand, are usually composed of one word. The problem with short tail keywords is they are too general and the user’s intent may not be known. Does someone searching for “sneakers” want to purchase, visit a store, or learn about new styles? that it’s almost impossible to rank for them. Let’s say you’re advertising a fair-trade shoe company. You’re probably not going to want to show up for “cheap sneakers” or you might only sell adult sizes so you don’t want to show up for “kids sneakers.” If you’re hoping to rank for a keyword such as “sneakers,” you’d be in direct competition with countless other companies like Nike or New Balance. These big companies have huge budgets that your company probably can’t compete with directly.

However, if you go for a long tail keyword, like “fair trade athletic shoes”, you’ll likely have a better chance of reaching your target customer. Long tail keywords have less competition and, you guessed it, fewer searches. But you also get a higher quality of leads from targeting long tail keywords. If you’re targeting everyone that’s searching for sneakers, you’ll inevitably reach people who want Nikes and not your shoes. If you target just those people who are searching for fair trade sneakers, you’ll be closer to your ideal customer.

Long tail keywords often perform better because you’re capturing customers who are further into their decision than people who are simply in discovery mode.

Mistake #5: Not Using Negative Keywords

Last but certainly not least is the power of negative keywords.

While keywords tell Google and/ or Bing what your ad is about, negative keywords tell them when to not show your ad.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you own an orchard and sell and ship hand-picked apples. In your PPC ad, you want to target people who like apples and are interested in buying organic apples. However, you wouldn’t want your ad displayed every time someone types “buy” and “apple” in their search query. What if they typed “buy apple iphone”? If your ad shows up and they click on it by mistake, not only will they be disappointed when they arrive on your orchard-centric website, you’ll have to pay for it.

Here’s how negative keywords save the day. You can make a list of the keywords that are related but that you don’t want to be associated with your product, service, or brand. In the above example, you may include “iphone, ipad, macbook, mini, desktops, and laptops”.

Negative keywords allow you to have more control over who will see your PPC ads.

Over to You

Setting up a PPC campaign? We can help. Click here for a free PPC consultation.

Zach Luse

Hi! I'm Zach the founder of Paragon Digital Marketing. I'm an adventure seeking entrepreneur with a passion for digital marketing and analytics. I've been knee deep in search marketing and web development for well over a decade, working with large corporations, small business and nonprofits. I'm certifiable... a certified sailing instructor, nitrox certified scuba diver, Google Adwords Certified, Google Analytics Certified, Inbound Marketing Certified and I aim to be a certified kite surfer soon.

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