Advertising has been around since the days when ancient Egyptians wrote on papyrus. But these days, PPC advertising and SEO are the names of the game.
Here’s the thing: 86% of consumers use the Internet to find a local business, and 72% of consumers prefer to find information about local merchants via search. PPC has a lot to offer your business–that is if you’re doing it right.
Truth is, a lot of businesses make messy, easy-to-avoid advertising mistakes that drain their PPC budgets in a fraction of their allotted time. That’s why we’re walking you through some of the biggest ones to watch out for.
Letting Others Bid for Your Company Name
It seems like a mistake that’s too dumb for anyone to make, doesn’t it?
You’d be surprised. Seriously, this happens all the time.
It’s more basic than you think–it starts with you not bidding on your brand name as a keyword. But, wait, why would you bid on your own brand name?
Because if you don’t, your competitors will.
And when that happens, don’t be shocked if you Google your own brand name and see your competitor’s ad pop up instead of yours.
Here’s the thing: if your brand is known to your audience, bidding on your own brand name will bring you a lot of traffic. And given what you’re already bidding on keywords, covering your bases shouldn’t cost you too much extra.
Your Biggest Competitor is Yourself
And not in the good, self-improvement way, either.
Let’s say you’re running two campaigns, one called “Women’s Shoes” and the other called “RLSA Women’s Shoes”. Your second campaign is spending nearly as much as the standard campaign–without any greater success.
In this case, you’re competing against yourself. Especially if you committed the great sin of people who don’t have time to craft each PPC campaign with tender love and care: cloning one campaign and setting it to a “bid only” audience instead of “target and bid”.
In other words, it’s still going after anyone who pops up for the given keyword, regardless of whether they’ve been on the site before or not.
This is bad because it means your two campaigns are essentially bidding against each other.
The key here is to understand the difference between an RLSA campaign and a standard campaign in order to make the best use of your time (and money).
Canada’s curse to the United States may come back to bite you in unexpected ways. In fact, Justin Bieber is secretly a textbook example of rookie mistakes you may be making on your PPC campaign.
Let’s say, for example, you sell fiber optic cables. Overnight, your impressions skyrocket while your click-through rates and conversions plummet.
Like about 99 other problems in life, it could be all Justin Bieber’s fault.
Here’s why: Google, in all its infinite wisdom, could mistake “Bieber” for a misspelling of “fiber” so that when Beliebers are rabidly searching for his new album, your site is getting a boost for a search that doesn’t actually apply to you.
Which means you’re paying for clicks that will never convert.
Moral of this story: it’s almost impossible to guess everything Google will incorrectly match you to, so monitor your query reports religiously and predict as many negative keywords as you can.
Using Underperforming Keywords in Endless Ads
It’s tempting to fall into the “what-if” trap.
As in, “What if I deactivate that keyword and it loses me business? What if that useless keyword got useful next week?”
This is a tough love situation. If keywords aren’t performing the way you need them to, then you’re wasting your budget if you hold onto them instead of replacing them with more profitable keywords.
Kill your darlings and cut the keywords that aren’t performing at top speed.
Paying for Negative Keywords
People love free stuff. It’s true in college and it’s true throughout adulthood.
Trouble is if a searcher types in the word “free” before their search and they find your product page only to find that your products aren’t free, guess what?
They’re not going to spend money on your site, but you have to pay for their non-converting click.
This is why you need to pay careful attention to your negative keywords. You have to take the time to make a negative keyword list to make sure your site isn’t displaying for searches where your scope of conversion is too low to be worth the hassle.
Failure to Use Google’s Targeting Settings
Long story short: just because you can sell to the whole world doesn’t mean you should.
It can be tempting for those who sell products with a significant global appeal to set their targeting setting to “world”.
Here’s the problem: if you’re selling to a primarily English-speaking audience with prices set in USD, Canadian dollars, and Euros, someone finding your site in, say, Indonesia, is going to face shipping prices worth more than the order itself, which means you’re paying for a non-converting customer.
Google’s targeting settings are a useful invention–use them as they were intended to target the regions most likely to become converting customers for your business.
Then, as your business grows, you can slowly expand your targeting to more regions.
Beyond the Top PPC Advertising Mistakes
Once you know how to avoid the major PPC advertising mistakes, you can focus on what you actually want to accomplish with your PPC campaign.