5 AdWords marketing mistakes to avoid

Thomas Coppen of Keel Over Marketing offers best practice advice for running successful pay-per-click campaigns

The world of pay-per-click (PPC) marketing continued its fantastic growth in 2015, with Google celebrating AdWords’ 15th birthday by revealing that over one million clients are now using its paid search platform.

The stats are impressive, and few forms of digital marketing can compete with PPC when it comes to securing a healthy and quantifiable return on investment. However, it’s easy to make costly errors that could cripple your campaign, dissolve your budget and leave you wondering why you ever jumped aboard the AdWords bandwagon.

Listed below are five of the most common mistakes to watch out for, along with tips for getting your campaign back on track.

1. Wrong Matches

In the setup menu, there is a drop-down box that allows you to select a keyword category: broad match, phrase match or exact match.

Choosing 'broad' means that your ad will appear whenever people search for your chosen keywords, regardless of the order that you stipulate. For example, if you sell blue wine glasses and choose these as your broadly matched keywords, your ad will appear whenever people type ‘blue wine glasses’, ‘blue coloured wine glasses’, or ‘where can I hire wine glasses that are blue?’

While a broad match will result in your ad being more visible to the masses, you risk attracting attention from people that are unlikely to actually purchase your product, resulting in you paying for clicks that won’t convert into sales.

Selecting 'phrase' means that that your ad will only display when specific wording - in the correct order - has been searched, allowing for additional wording either side of your chosen keywords. 'Exact', naturally, means that your ad will only display in searches where the exact keywords are searched, and nothing else, making for a much more focused target reach.

Broadly speaking, 'broad' matches should be avoided, unless you have a product that has mass appeal and your campaign can afford to soak up several non-conversions.

2. Overstuffing Keywords

Putting too many keywords in an ad group reduces the relevance of your campaign. Successful PPC marketing campaigns are highly targeted and the way to do this is by reducing the number of keywords used.

Ideally, you would create a landing page for each target keyword, but as this is not very practical, it's best to start off with 5-10 keywords per ad group. This will allow for a precisely targeted user experience thatl will increase your overall conversion rates.

3. Ignoring the Negatives

If you don’t specify the keywords that you DON’T want your advert to appear for, you are making a big mistake. Every click costs money and you don’t want to eat up your budget with superfluous searches that can be avoided.

For example, if you sell specialist telecoms packages to small businesses, but you don’t offer video conferencing, select ‘video’ as a negative keyword. And if you want to attract actual buyers rather than people who are just browsing, eliminate words like ‘advice’, ‘free’ and ‘review’.

Building a successful PPC campaign is made all the more difficult if you fail to use all of the functionality at your fingertips, so don't ignore the negatives.

4. Awkward Landings

If you’re not using a landing page, your campaign will suffer.

When people click on your ad, they’ll expect to be taken to a specific page that directly relates to their search, but if they drop directly onto your homepage and are forced to navigate your site to find what they’re looking for, it’s far more likely that they’ll go back and look elsewhere.

Making the effort to create an engaging landing page that correlates with your ad content will significantly increase your chances of conversion.

5. Not Measuring ROI

If you have no means of tracking conversions, you'll have no way of determining which clicks convert into customers. And without this knowledge, you’ll have no idea of where to focus your future spend, or which keywords work well and which need to be ditched.

To track conversions on your site, you need to define your sales funnel and then either set up Google Analytics goals or install an AdWords tracking pixel. Taking these steps is the only way to measure whether your campaign is delivering the goods.

As more marketers adopt paid search, you need to make sure that your PPC manager is fully focused on delivering the best results. For more information, please take a look at our 5 Questions to ask your AdWords Agency.