You’ve probably read all about different best practices when it comes to PPC advertising. It’s a thoroughly discussed topic, but can be overwhelming for most business owners.
It’s perfectly understandable that a small business owner who also runs their own PPC campaigns may let some things slip through the cracks.
There are thousands of blogs, guides and other resources available that cover the basics, but these 5 mistakes are so important that I had to add this article to the list! The sad truth is, many businesses out there still move forward with a digital strategy that’s missing the core components for success, and I won’t stand for it.
So in this article, I’ll share my experience from auditing hundreds of landing pages and Google / Facebook Ad Accounts over the years.
Don’t worry - I won’t get too technical either, I just want to make sure you set your company up for success before you spend a dime on PPC!
Without further ado, here is my list of the top 5 mistakes advertisers still make in 2019:
Conversion tracking is the foundation for optimizing any PPC campaign, period.
I’ll say that again. (Only this time more… boldly)
Conversion tracking is the foundation for optimizing any PPC campaign, period.
It is astonishing the amount of money I’ve seen companies spend without a shred of valuable data to show for it. When a company spends money on a PPC campaign with no conversion tracking, they have no direction, data or reasoning behind anything they’re doing. They’re also seriously burning cash.
Powerful data attribution and tracking are two of the key components that differentiate PPC Advertising from old-school marketing. Why not take advantage?
When it comes to proper conversion tracking with Google and Facebook Ads, you have a few options to get the job done. You can set up conversion tracking using Google Analytics, Google Ads and Google Tag Manager. (Confusing, right?)
The truth is, it doesn’t matter whether you want to integrate your codes directly onsite or use Google Tag Manager. Both methods will get the job done, but at the end of the day we recommend using Google Tag Manager for setting your web analytics and conversion tracking.
It may be a new platform to learn, but it consolidates all of your tracking implementation needs down to one area which is a huge plus. Plus you can revert to old versions of your tracking scripts in case one of them breaks or is implemented incorrectly.
If you need help with your conversion tracking, reach out to us and we’ll show you how it’s done!
P.S. - UTM Tracking is a must for correctly feeding data into Google Analytics or CRM Systems. We’ll cover this on a future blog as well.
Now that you’ve read this - If you even think about running a PPC campaign without having proper conversion tracking set up, stop what you’re doing and get an adult.
The next problem I most commonly run into (often in tandem with the lack of conversion tracking) is the lack of Google Analytics.
If you truly want to unlock the full potential of your PPC campaigns, having Google Analytics both on your website and linked to your Google Ads campaign is a requirement.
Google Analytics provides valuable data on your website and web traffic. It also allows you to create audiences for remarketing, pull in depth reports and boost your SEO by connecting to Google Search Console.
Even if your company isn’t advertising with PPC yet, you should still have Google Analytics implemented on your website. The valuable data it will gather will put you a step ahead when/if you decide to take the plunge into PPC.
This is a similar tracking nightmare to the one I just told above, but the same thing goes for Facebook! Even advertisers that get it right with Google Analytics and Conversion Tracking still get it wrong when it comes to setting up their Facebook Pixel.
Facebook’s Advertising Pixel is insanely powerful, and it needs to be on your site / landing pages if you want an ounce of success out of paid ads on Facebook or Instagram.
The way Facebook’s Pixel aligns with its campaign goals is a beautiful thing. But if you don’t have the Pixel properly set up, you’re missing out on big time ROI.
On top of that, Facebook has other awesome insights into your web traffic and social engagers that you can’t get from Google Analytics. Having this pair of pixels on your website creates a beautiful harmony for digital marketing success. Not to mention you’ll start building some robust audience segments for remarketing before you even run your first ad!
Next up on the list is Paid Search specific. After auditing hundreds of Google Ads accounts, I can tell you I see this almost every week. Hint: It’s really easy to tell when your Google Ads account is set up improperly, and this is a dead give away.
Broad keywords are costly and bring in especially poor traffic quality. Pair that with a lack of proper negative keywords and you have an account gone wild. When we’re talking about hundreds or thousands of dollars a day in ad spend, running wild does not sound appealing.
To break down the match types for you, there are:
+Broad +Modified +Match
But for now we’ll just talk about Broad Match and Broad Modified Match. Rule of thumb, if you want to target broadly with Paid Search, use Broad Modified Match Keywords!
Broad Keywords are just that -- seriously broad. They will bring in any amount of search traffic around a given term and much of it will be irrelevant.
Pair broad keywords with a lack of negative keywords, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for an over budget disaster. Negative keywords are an essential part to running paid search ads.
You can save yourself a TON of money by getting creative with negative keywords before launching a campaign.
For instance, if you sell cookies online - some obvious negatives will be:
I could go on for days thinking of irrelevant terms to add as negative keywords. But when you’ve run out of ideas, make a weekly habit of checking your campaigns search terms to add new negative keywords, weeding out the bad traffic.
I wish I could say that I rarely see paid ads sending to 404’s, but it’s sadly a very common occurrence. When you’re paying for traffic and sending to an irrelevant landing page, or even worse -- a broken link, you are literally throwing money away.
The next thing we often see, is a lot of effort put towards a paid ad campaign that sends traffic to a confusing home page. This will quickly spread ad budgets thin.
Think of a successful PPC campaign as 50% quality traffic and 50% quality landing page experience. The best traffic can’t be converted by a crappy landing page and the best landing page can’t convert irrelevant traffic.
It’s a perfect harmony that requires careful planning, seamless user experience and relevant messaging.
Take for instance, if I were to Google for a plumber…
In the image above, we are looking at the first two ads that come up in the search result. After clicking on both ads, it is clear that ad #1 is the clear winner. Let me explain...
On the search result page ad #1 has clear pricing in their ad and they are position number 1, so naturally I’d click them first and this is what I see.
In ad #1, notice the clear pricing, trust building reviews and simple appointment booking process.
Now look at ad #2 on the search result page. We know what they do, but this ad is giving me a lot less information. Let’s take a look at their landing page to see if we can quickly find answers.
Sigh, surely they’re paying top dollar for ad position #2 here, but wasting the traffic on their homepage.
A few things immediately stand out to me here compared to the last page we saw.
One of the main differences between the ads is that you don’t have a clear idea of how much the service will cost without reaching out to them. Paid traffic wants answers and they want to receive them conveniently / quickly. Additionally you have to scroll all the way to the bottom of their page to find an appointment form.
If they were to create a clear call to action which detailed an idea of pricing, added some trust building reviews and created an appointment button above the page fold - I’m 100% sure they’d get more leads. All of those things could quickly be implemented with a landing page builder (our go-to landing page builder is Unbounce). If you want to read about the tools we use to run a digital marketing agency, you can read it here.
Hopefully you learned a little something about the types of common mistakes that come up in PPC campaigns, as well as some ideas about how to avoid them. These are all pretty substantial mistakes to make when setting up a campaign or a website, so if your efforts are not giving you the ROI you’re looking for, make sure you’re not doing anything on the list above! If you can’t find anything wrong with your campaign, but still aren’t getting the ROI that you expected, we provide free account audits. Click here to schedule a free audit.