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8 Most Common PPC Management Mistakes

Pay-per-click (PPC) management is crucial to a successful marketing strategy. How crucial? It is estimated that businesses earn $2 for every $1 they spend on PPC campaigns – when they’re done correctly.

Handling your PPC management correctly can mean seeing a lot of revenue and new clients coming your way. PPC is a powerful lead generation tool, however, if it is done incorrectly you can cost your business time and worse, money.

If you’re new to PPC or not sure of what you’re doing than there are a lot of landmines you need to avoid. Here are some of the most common mistakes you need to avoid making.

Failing to Align with your Goals

No CEO wants to pay an agency or marketing department for PPC management if it’s not generating leads and sales for the company. This can happen when departments fail to align the success of the campaign with the success of the company itself.

Vanity metrics – metrics that look good, but aren’t actually generating sales like impressions, open rates, click-through rates, page views and delivery rates – are easy to distract from your PPC management. However, it’s legitimate KPIs that will drive lead generation as well as the success of your company. Legitimate KPIs can be:

  • ROI
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Conversion rate
  • Lead quality
  • Opportunities/revenue

The quickest way to grow frustration in your team is to fall down a rabbit hole of chasing vanity metrics that can burn a budget quickly.

If you’re prioritizing the amount of traffic your pay-per-click advertising are generating then you could be chasing broad keywords that aren’t relevant to your offer and aren’t generating quality or relevant leads. By doing this you could be hitting your traffic goals, but won’t be anywhere near to hitting your lead generation goals.

Targeting the Wrong Metrics

Falling into the trap of tracking the wrong analytics is easy if you don’t set up the right goals at the start of the campaign. Worse still, is not setting up any goals at all.

If you’ve hired an agency to run your PPC campaigns, seeing that they have no goals set up is a big red flag that they’re likely chasing the wrong metrics. Click-through rate and cost per click are important to measure, however, if they are your sole measure of success than you’ll find you, or your agency, are burning budget by chasing more traffic and clicks without considering the quality of the clicks, or the leads they are generating. If CTC and CPC are your goals then you’ll likely see your bounce rate increase and your conversion rate plummet.

Skipping Google Analytics

One way to ensure that goals are an integrated and driving force behind your PPC campaigns is making sure that Google analytics and your Google Ads account are connected. From there you can set up goals in Google analytics.

These goals should help prioritize the actions of your marketing team and will help to create revenue-generating improvements for your company. Some of the most popular goals are:

  • Lead form submissions
  • Online sales
  • Email signups
  • ROI generating conversion


Account Setup Mistakes

How you set up your accounts and how you target your audience is, of course, the key but can include some easy mistakes if you’re not careful.

Most marketing professionals know that account setups for PPC should always include the segments that work best for your client, but what can be easy to forget or even seem enticing is targeting your ads globally.

Now, if you offer the right digitally communicable service, then this might be a good idea, but for the most part, when it comes to PPC, less is more. By narrowing your target window – say to Canada and the USA, you’ll save money and target an audience that you know will work best.

Additionally, you should never let Google handle your bidding. While the defaults for your brand MIGHT be what you’re looking for, it’s important to remember that Google gets paid regardless if the person that clicks on your ad is a quality lead or not. Adjust your targets to suit the campaign and client needs.

Keyword Mistakes

With your account setup and goals established it’s time to tackle keywords. Keywords are perhaps the most important aspect of the whole campaign and are the place where you will spend the most time. It’s important that your keywords are set up correctly and are mistake free.

First, it’s incredibly important that you are bidding on your brand name. This keyword represents the highest of purchase intent of potential traffic. After all, if someone is searching specifically for YOU then you need to make sure that you’re visible. In the end, if you’re not bidding on your brand name, your competitors are.

Second, you cannot make the mistake of confusing keywords with search terms. It’s an easy mistake to make – after all keywords are what you bid on within the Google Ads platform – but the difference between the two is that search terms are what users are actually typing into the search bar.

Bidding strictly on keywords can be a costly mistake as it can create the Iceberg Effect. The Iceberg Effect is keywords with a high keyword to search term ratio. Meaning, they have many search terms triggering the same keyword with the same ad in your account. When this happens, your ads need to fight to stay relevant to a much larger audience than you can keep track of or account for.

Lastly, a common PPC management mistake is not having a strong negative keyword list.

Negative keyword lists help you avoid wasting your money on irrelevant keywords and by continuing to update your list you’re able to guarantee that your ads won’t trigger for keywords that you don’t want to pay for.

Negative keywords are key to ensuring that you don’t waste money on variations of the same keywords. Keeping the list up to date creates a control around which keywords trigger your ads and keeps your ad budget on target.

Account Maintenance Mistakes

While correct account setup and avoiding keyword mistakes will help ensure a successful campaign, it’s not the end of the process. Maintaining your account is similar to maintaining your body. You can’t just eat once and assume you’re good to go forever, you need to be continually fueling your body, and the same goes for your PPC account.

If you’re continually looking to optimize and grow your campaigns then the Search Terms Report is a gold mine of new keywords that you have access to. This report shows you what actual people are typing into Google to trigger your ads.

Overall the power of the search terms report is its ability to give you up to date information about your ads. Search engine behaviors are always evolving so it’s essential to set up and continually monitor your campaigns.

As we mentioned earlier, your negative keyword list is key, however setting up a negative keyword list is different than maintaining one. Make sure to keep adding to your list and monitoring keywords to ensure that there is no overlap and you’re not encroaching on existing keywords; this can cost you major ad spend in the long run.

Budget maintenance

To truly maximize your PPC campaigns you need to have a keen grasp on the budget you’re working with and move around dollars to campaigns that are succeeding. By allocating paused campaign dollars to winning ads, you can ensure not only success but growth for your business. Obviously, these ads are winners for a reason, and it is important to build upon that success.

Optimize your landing pages

You want to optimize our PPC campaigns to the best of your ability, however, you simply can’t ignore your landing pages as this is where users will spend the bulk of their time.

In the world of PPC, it’s as much about the destination as it is about how they got there. If you are getting high traffic rates, but your ads direct users to your homepage with no call to action, or to a broad page with no specific intent, then all you will be doing is frustrating users, increasing your bounce rate and losing potential quality leads.

It’s essential to be updating your landing pages with new and relevant content that utilizes strategic keywords.

Final Thoughts

Not correctly optimizing your PPC campaigns can mean a death by a thousand cuts for your ads and consequently your ad budgets. Whether it’s your marketing team or an agency running your campaigns you need to make sure that goals have been established, campaigns are being optimized and continually updated to ensure that your business is getting quality leads and ultimately increasing your sales.


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About the Author: Gregg Anderson

Gregg Anderson

Gregg is a Veteran of the Armed Forces and a graduate of San Diego State University, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Management & Entrepreneurship. Gregg’s experience in the marketing industry ranges from auditing and planning marketing strategies for the small business next door, to crafting strategies for multimillion-dollar ventures. He also has experience in the startup, angel, and venture capital environment.