As Fathom has grown significantly over the past 3 years, we have inherited several paid search campaigns that were failing miserably. These “fails” really grind my gears because they all go completely against paid search management best practices, waste a lot of money, and give a bad rep to pay-per-click profitability & return on investment.
Many of the accounts we’ve received are guilty of at least one of the top 10 failures outlined below:
1. No Conversion Tracking: Yes, you read this correctly. We have received several accounts over the past couple years in which the accounts were not tracking conversions! This is by far the biggest mistake someone can make in PPC management.
2. Only One Ad Variation: One of the top benefits of PPC is being able to a/b test and identify winners quickly. By not taking advantage of testing, you are missing out on increased conversions, click-through rates, and lower cost per conversions.
3. Bidding on ALL Broad-Match Keywords Only: Many accounts we’ve inherited have been exclusively bidding on broad match keywords and these accounts are typically paired with small daily budgets.
4. Avoiding Negative Keywords: It’s amazing to see how much money is wasted on totally irrelevant keywords. Several accounts we’ve inherited have had zero negative keywords and all broad match keywords…SMH.
5. Sending ALL Ads to a Homepage: Don’t get me wrong, there are a few occasions when sending users to your homepage may be OK, but most of the time it is not optimal. It becomes a major problem when all ads for an account are sent to the homepage, no matter the keyword.
6. ALL Keywords in One Ad Group: Personally, I’ve inherited three accounts that had one campaign and one ad group with all keywords (50+) in the same ad group! Obviously, the quality score of the majority of these keywords were a three or below and many of the keywords weren’t even showing since the quality score was so low!
7. No Ad Scheduling/Day-Parting: It is pretty common for the accounts we inherit to have absolutely no ad scheduling and so they are consequently spending a lot of their budget in early morning hours (12am-4am). This causes them to miss out on potentially more reputable clicks during normal business hours.
8. Not Using Ad Extensions: Certain ad extensions, such as Sitelinks can improve click-through rate by 20% (according to Google), which could lead to a lower CPC and higher quality score. In addition, Google Sitelinks allows you to get users closer to the conversion funnel for general keywords or allows you to promote specials/discounts, which would lead to more conversions and a lower cost per conversion.
9. Targeting Search & Display Networks in Same Campaign: This is a more common mistake than the others listed above. By targeting these campaigns separately, you can manage your budget more easily, better analyze your campaigns performance (in each network), and ensure the best performing network is receiving the majority of the budget.
10. Targeting Laptops/Computers, Mobile, and Tablets in Same Campaign: It’s much more difficult to determine how each device is performing when grouped together. Also, by targeting the devices separately, you can ensure the best performing device is receiving the majority of the budget.
Make sure you are properly managing your campaigns and avoiding the top 10 PPC fails that really grind my gears. By avoiding the mistakes outlined above, you will be able to more easily improve your results and save money!