Top 7 Pay-Per-Click Marketing (PPC) Mistakes

Bad Idea road signWhen done correctly, running pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns is a cost-effective way to increase conversions. Just as the name suggests, you only pay when a visitor click your ad; therefore, if you earn more per click than what you pay the PPC network, you can continue to grow and scale your campaigns. Unfortunately, far too many beginners make some pretty costly mistakes with their PPC campaigns. To help you get started on the right track, we’ve compiled a list of the top 7 PPC marketing mistakes.

Mistake #1) Using a Single Ad

One of the most common mistakes PPC advertisers make is displaying a single ad. Even if it’s generative a positive return on your investment, you should always perform A/B slit testing to improve your click-through rate (CTR) and conversions.

Even subtle changes like the use of a different word or sentence structure may yield a significant improve in your ad. So, make sure you are split testing at least two different ads simultaneously. After allowing your ads to run for a given amount of time, keep the weaker of the two with a new ad and repeat the process.

Mistake #2) Display and Search In the Same Campaign

Another ‘rookie’ mistake is targeting both display and search in the same campaign. There’s certainly nothing wrong with advertising on Google’s Display Network, but you need to place it into a separate campaign to closely monitor its performance. Most advertisers will experience higher impressions with a lower CTR and conversion rate. Targeting the display network in a separate campaign will allow you to adjust the bids accordingly.

According to, Google’s Display Network serves about 180 billion impressions per month. Now, that’s some serious exposure!

Mistake #3) Using Broad Match

Are you still running your PPC campaigns with broad match keywords and phrases? If so, you might as well be throwing your money out the window. Broad match will score you more impressions, but it’s almost certain to reduce your CTR while negatively affecting your conversions.

Instead, build your PPC campaigns around ‘phrase’ and ‘exact’ match keywords and phrases. This is a more refined form of targeting which improves ad performance and conversions. You can expect fewer impressions, but the upside is that you’ll get a better return on your advertising expenses.

Mistake #4) Not Using Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are critical to the success of PPC marketing, so make sure you are using them in each and every campaign. They’ll essentially ‘omit’ your ads from displaying when a user searches for phrase containing one of the specified negative keywords.

Let’s say, for instance, you run an online business selling free anti-virus software. Targeting the obvious keywords like “antivirus software,” “antivirus program,” etc. is an excellent start, but you have to remember that some people are likely searching for free antivirus software. So, how do you prevent your ads from displaying from displaying to users searching for free software? Simple – add the negative keyword “free” to your campaigns. Doing so will prevent your ad from displaying to any users searching for a phrase containing the word “free.”

Mistake #5) No Call To Action (CTA)

A call to action (CTA) is a word or phrase which encourages the user to take action (hence the name). A CTA can be something as simple as “visit us now” or “browse our selection today.” The idea behind a CTA is that it psychologically tells the user to perform a desired action.

Running your PPC ads without a clear, concise CTA will only hurt their performance in the long run. By telling the user to take action, however, you’ll increase your click-through and conversion rate. Play around and split-test different CTAs in your ads to determine which ones work and which ones don’t.

Mistake #6) Poor Metrics

Of course, you can’t expect to run a successful PPC marketing campaign unless you’re gathering data on the performance of keywords. Jumping into a large-scale PPC campaign without first setting up the right tracking system is a costly mistake. If there’s no tracking system in place, how will you know which keywords are converting?

There are several different tracking solution available for PPC advertisers, both free and paid. However, Google Analytics remains one of the most effective forms of tracking conversions in AdWords and other PPC networks. You simply upload a 1×1 pixel to your conversion page, and each time a visitor takes action on your site (makes a purchase, submits their email, signs up for a program, etc.), the pixel is fired.

Mistake #7) Fighting For The Coveted ‘First’ Position

The seventh and final PPC mistake we’re going to talk about is fighting for first position. Yes, you’ll get more clicks with your ad sitting comfortably in the first position, but at what cost? It’s not uncommon for advertisers to get into bidding wars with each other, raising the cost significantly for that coveted first position. Don’t worry so much about the actual position of your ads, but instead focus on ROI and scalability.