Sometimes, auditing a new client’s pay-per-click account is like looking through a set of financial records left behind by an employee who was embezzling. With each little move and transaction, there are small errors and thefts that can add up to thousands (or more) per month. The worst part is knowing that no one intentionally stole the money – the company just didn’t have campaigns that were efficient enough, so it cost them a little extra with every click.
The kinds of budget-busting mistakes we are talking about are more common than you might think. In fact, if you use Google AdWords to attract traffic to your website, there’s a good chance you are making one or more of them right now.
To help you put a stop to that, here are five pay-per-click blunders you should be on the lookout for…
#1 Using the Wrong Account Settings
In theory, setting up a pay-per-click account on Google (or any other advertising platform) is incredibly simple. You choose a set of keywords or demographics, type in your ad, set a budget, and you’re good to go. In reality, however, there are lots of small configurations that can have a big effect on what you’ll end up paying, and the results you’ll ultimately see.
For instance, it can be important to tweak the settings in your account for languages and devices. You may want to ensure that only English speakers see your ads, or that foreign-language ads only show in certain parts of the country or the world. Speaking of geography, you might want to restrict ad viewership by city, state, or ZIP Code. You may even want to set up your offers so they only display at certain times.
Any of these changes are simple to make at the account or campaign level. And yet, most marketers never take the time to look at them after setting up their first few ads. That can mean wasting clicks or spending more than they should have on their PPC campaigns.
#2 Prioritizing Traffic Over Conversions
All other things being equal, having more visitors to your website is a good thing. After all, each new click represents a fresh opportunity to make a sale.
The issue, of course, is that all things aren’t equal. Every paid visit to your site costs you money, and some of those visits are going to be more expensive than others. That’s a crucial detail to keep in mind when you are considering which search terms to target, and how much you should bid for them.
A lot of marketers like to have the top position for a high-traffic keyword. That leads to lots of visits, which generates a certain amount of activity. There’s nothing to say that expensive visits are going to be efficient, though, because they won’t necessarily convert at a high rate. Make leads or sales your big priority and you might be able to get better results while spending less.
#3 Ignoring Low-Quality Scores
Google hasn’t just set the trends for the way organic search engines operate over the past decade, but also for efficiency when it comes to pay-per-click advertising. The company was the first to realize that it could help searchers and advertisers by screening for relevance, which led to the introduction of Quality Scores for specific keywords.
If you don’t look all that closely into the details of your AdWords account, you might be shocked at just how important Quality Scores are. In essence, they serve as multipliers for your bid prices, meaning an advertiser with a 10/10 Quality Score for a given keyword can maintain a top ad ranking even if a competitor with a 5/10 score is willing to bid twice as much for each click.
Multiply those proportions over a number of different keywords and clicks, and it’s easy to see why you should never settle for having low quality scores in your campaigns. If Google doesn’t deem your offers to be relevant to what people are searching for, then it’s going to cost you extra for each and every click you generate. Those added expenses are going to add up very quickly.
#4 Not Aligning Ads and Landing Pages
It’s strange to think, but a lot of advertisers overlook the importance of landing pages when optimizing their campaigns. They tend to think that if they choose the right keywords and ads the rest of the math will take care of itself.
That’s simply not the case. For one thing, the layout and content of your landing pages will affect your Quality Scores. That means you’ll pay more for each click if Google doesn’t like what you are showing its users. Even more importantly, the purpose of your landing pages is to convert all those paid clicks into sales opportunities. If your messaging isn’t up to par, conversion rates will fall and a big part of your PPC budget will be wasted.
The answer to this challenge is to make sure your ads and landing pages are perfectly aligned. When someone clicks on your offer, they should have a good idea of what they are going to find in the corresponding page. Any disconnect between those two bits of messaging is going to cause either confusion or frustration. Either way, you’re going to miss out on a sale.
#5 Advertising on Google Only
To this point, we’ve devoted our attention to the mistakes that are made when advertising on Google’s search platform. However, it’s worth pointing out that being too focused on any one source of sales and leads can be dangerous all on its own.
For one thing, Google can always change its search advertising formulas in ways that make it more expensive or even unprofitable. And for another, there is a whole wide world of advertising opportunity out there. Many marketers find they can get more clicks, better audience targeting, or lowered costs by advertising through Bing, Facebook, and YouTube.
Even if you’ve had great success with Google in the past and are willing to do all you can to optimize your accounts, you should never be shy about experimenting with other sites. Your biggest advertising results might be waiting somewhere else, but you’ll have to be willing to look for them.
Are You Making expensive Internet Advertising Mistakes?
In this short article, we’ve laid out a handful of errors that cost American businesses millions each and every year. The easiest way to prevent these kinds of mistakes – beyond simply knowing about them – is to work with a creative paid marketing partner who can set up your accounts properly and audit your ads from time to time to make sure they are as efficient as they can be.
Why not reach out to the team at MicroD today to see what we can do to help you get more from every dollar you spend on Internet advertising? Your initial consultation is free, and the advice you get could save you thousands upon thousands of dollars every year.