Monday, 24 August 2015

The 6 Mistakes That Are Ruining Your AdWords Campaigns


Whether you are a seasoned paid search (PPC) master or you’re just starting out, you probably already have a list of optimization items that you go through regularly to make sure that you are staying on top of your campaigns and getting the best results you can (if you don’t, here’s a PPC optimization checklist to get you started). However, as anyone who has ever worked with PPC will tell you: the learning never stops. Below you will find a list of common mistakes that PPC managers often make and that could be not only be preventing your campaigns from reaching their full potential, but also costing you money.

Applying all of Google’s recommendations and “Opportunities”

Take anything that Google tells you with a grain of salt. I have no doubt that they are legitimately trying to be helpful when they offer recommendations, but they are also a business trying to make a profit. Never make any changes to your account just because Google says so, first think of whether those changes are going to further your PPC goals.

Not using Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions aren’t a luxury, they are a necessity. If you are not using ad extensions, you’re missing out on benefits like: increased CTR, improved Ad Rank, potential conversion increase, and increased perceived trust for your brand. You might not be able to use all of the Ad Extensions, but you should at least create Sitelinks and Callouts. 

Here’s a good source to learn about the uses and benefits of Ad Extensions.

Setting campaign budgets based on the monthly desired spend

It’s easy to make this mistake. A client gives you a set monthly budget for PPC and you simply divide this budget by 30.4 (the average number of days per month) to get your total daily budget. Then, you divide this number even more so that all of your campaigns’ budgets add up to your total daily
  • Total monthly budget: $100
  • Total daily budget: $3.29
  • Campaign #1 daily budget: $1.1
  • Campaign #2 daily budget: $1.1
  • Campaign #3 daily budget: $1.1
Except, if you plan your budgets this way, you will end up severely limiting your campaigns’ potential. Instead, my advice is to start thinking of your budgets as a different number than your spend. The spend is the amount of money you actually pay Google, the budget is the amount you are theoretically willing to pay.

Keeping that in mind, what you need to do is set each campaign’s budget to what you think is a reasonable amount for them to acquire a decent impression share/click volume. I usually set a starting daily budget of $30 - $45 for the campaigns with most potential search volume and/or exact match keywords, and a lower daily budget of $15-$25 for the campaigns with lower potential search volume and/or phrase match keywords. I set these daily budgets regardless of the desired monthly spend.

If your accounts are like mine and you have dozens of campaigns running, then you know that a daily spend of $15 per campaign would end up either spending your monthly budget in a matter of days or massively overspending by the end of the month. So to avoid either of those things happening, you have to keep a close eye on your account and make sure that you are never spending more than your desired weekly spend. But, how do I calculate my desired weekly spend? Well, that’s easy: divide your desired monthly spend by 30.4, and multiply that number by 7. So in the example above, your desired weekly spend would be: $23. If you are spending those $23 within the first days of the week, then you know you have to lower your daily budgets (I would recommend lowering the budgets of campaigns with low conversion or click rate). If you are not spending those $23 by the end of the week, then you know you have some room to increase budgets here and there. The main key is to keep a close eye on the spend so you don’t end up having an embarrassing conversation with your clients at the end of the month.

Not using negative keywords

Negative keywords can help you weed out irrelevant searches and clicks that are wasting your money. I recommend checking your search terms report at least once a week and adding all irrelevant search terms as negative keywords.

Not using bid modifiers

Like negative keywords, bid modifiers help you zone in on the audience that is most likely to click and convert. For example: If your accounts have a large amount of historical data, you can determine whether most of your conversions came in from mobile or desktop, on a certain day of the week, or at a certain time of the day. Then, you can use bid modifiers to increase your bids for those particular devices, days, or times.

Landing every keyword to the homepage

Unless you have a very niche set of keywords and a very small website, you need to be landing each group of related keywords to a relevant page within your site. For example: if you have a bakery, you want to land your cake-related keywords on the cake page within your website, and you want to make sure you land your cookie-related keywords on the cookie page. To that point, if you don’t have specific pages within your website for each of your products/services, you might want to consider creating them. The more relevant your landing page is to your keywords, the better your Quality Score; the higher the Quality Score, the higher the Ad Rank and lower Cost per Click.

The beauty of PPC, is that it is constantly changing and evolving, which means that you - as a PPC manager - are never done learning or improving. While it might seem daunting at times, it also makes the whole experience kind of freeing; to know that there is no limit to what you can achieve, learn, and innovate with your PPC campaigns is a great motivation to continue working hard every day.

So, what are some PPC mistakes you have learned from? Do you have some absolute do’s and don't's you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below or tweet to us @SwaggerMedia!

If you're ready to hire a marketing team to build and manage your AdWords campaign, or any other marketing campaign, give us a call at 832.831.7592 or email us at info@swagger-media.com.


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