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5 Critical PPC Mistakes

SEO GazelleOur Thoughts5 Critical PPC Mistakes

At SEO Gazelle, we offer a ‘Free PPC ROI Check’. This service is popular with many of our prospective clients by highlighting where specific ppc campaigns are performing profitably while identifying areas for improvement. We’ve conducted many PPC account reviews over the years and believe that advertisers are making mostly five critical mistakes.

One of the key factors to keep in mind while laying the ground work for your campaign are how your client will read them. The PPC ads are your ‘First Door’ to enter your business and creating effective PPC ads can mean the difference between your company thriving online, and simply wasting your budget and creating no ROI (return on Investment).

Poor ads damage your click through rate (CTR)

PPC professionals know that Google uses an algorithm called ‘Ad Rank’ to determine the average position of your PPC ad on its results pages. A good Ad Rank means your advertisement will appear higher up the page (where you’re more likely to attract traffic to your site). Ads that appear lower down the page attract less Impressions, Click Throughs, and tend to cost less.

Ad Rank is also used to calculate how much you’re charged for each click your advert receives. A good Ad Rank means you’ll pay less for your campaigns over time increasing your ROI and effectiveness of the campaign.

Here’s how Ad Rank is calculated:

Ad Rank = CPC Bid x Quality Score
As you can see above, the two factors that determine your Ad Rank are your ad campaign’s Quality Score and your cost per click (your set bid price).

Your Quality Score is comprised by a number of elements, but from what we have found the most important are the relevance of your ad and its click through rate (CTR). Your CTR and ad relevance are crucial to your campaign’s success, which will ultimately increase your direct targeted traffic to your website via Paid Ads.

So it continues to surprise me when we review a prospective client’s PPC account and see these key factors being neglected.

What are advertisers getting wrong?

I’ve seen a huge array of mistakes when it comes to ads – from poorly converting landing pages to things as simple as spelling mistakes. For the purpose of this post I’ll focus on the five most common mistakes:

1. Ads that aren’t relevant

Ensuring that your ads are relevant to your landing page and its associated keywords should be a top priority.

Making your ad relevant will help improve both your Quality Score and the CTR your ads get. Getting a higher Quality Score means you pay less for each click you receive. That means you get a better return on investment (ROI).

Despite the importance of ad relevance I often see accounts in which very different keywords have been grouped together into a single Ad Group. This makes it impossible for your adverts to be relevant.

As a result, your Quality Score will be low and you’ll end up paying more for each click you receive.

It’s important that keywords are tightly grouped together and relate to just one theme. At Receptional, we aim for a Quality Score of 10 (the maximum), so that costs are kept as low as possible.

Advertisers should also consider using dynamic keyword insertion (keywords are automatically inserted into your ad, ensuring that it’s always relevant).

You might also include your target keyword within the ad’s description.

2. Missing call to action

Including a call to action in your ads is crucial: it will help increase your clickthrough rate. However, clear calls to action are often missing in the accounts I review.

Even when a call to action is included I see inappropriate language. For example I see ads with call to actions such as ‘View More’ or ‘Browse Now’, which is ideal if your aim is to drive user engagement. But, for clients wanting to generate sales, language such as ‘Buy Now’ is more likely to encourage a user to purchase.

Don’t underestimate the power of your call to action. Using an appropriate phrase could mean the difference between a user browsing through your products – and actually buying something.

3. Lack of testing

I always recommend having at least three variations of your advert running. Test new ads every month so that you’re continually trying to improve your CTR.

Many advertisers fail to update their ads regularly, which often means their messaging, promotions or prices are out of date. This can affect the user experience as well as CTR.

The elements you could be testing include your descriptions, display URLs, and calls to action. You should also test new messaging such as benefits, promotions, and prices, as well as trialing new sitelinks

By testing small variations you’ll be able to monitor the differences in CTR for each tweak you make.

4. Lack of ad extensions

There are a number of different types of ad extension available to advertisers. Using these extensions can help you quickly send visitors to the information they’re looking for.

Traditional extensions include call, location, product, and social extensions as well as site links. Recently, Google has introduced enhanced campaigns, which allow you to add app extensions, dynamic search ad extensions and offer extensions.

Google strongly promotes the use of these extensions. For example, Google claims that sitelinks can improve CTR by up to 30%.

Despite the potential benefits, I rarely see advertisers taking advantage of all the extensions that could be relevant to their business.

5. Ad creation best practice

Google (and Wordtracker) provide plenty of best practice PPC advice for free. Simply following Google’s best practice is a good place to start when creating ads and structuring an account.

Yet many advertisers fail to follow this advice. The result, as you would expect, is that their accounts’ CTR and overall success suffers.

For those trying to create a successful ad campaign, I’ve summarized a number of best practices that will provide a good foundation for your campaign:

  1.  – Make sure the relationship between ads, keywords and landing pages is relevant.
  2.  – Analyze competitors’ ads. Aim to make your ads stand out.
  3.  – Make Your Ad Text Stand Out – by capitalizing the first letter of each word.
  4.  – Mention your unique selling points and the benefits of choosing your benefits (over your competitors’).
  5.  – Highlight appealing promotions or special offer pricing.
  6.  – Ensure you have a call to action that is relevant to your advertising goals.
  7.  – If appropriate, use dynamic keyword insertion and ensure your target keywords are present in the title and ad text.
  8.  – Include keywords in the URL field. They will become bold if searched for.
  9.  – Decide on your advertising goals and use appropriate ad extensions.
  10.  – Don’t forget to test, test, and test again!

Good luck with your campaigns. And don’t forget, if you spend more than $5,000 a month on your PPC campaigns and would like a free health check, simply Contact Us via our online contact form.

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