Five Common Paid Search Mistakes

June 13th, 2016 by Nikki Kuhlman

BLOG-Five-Common-Paid-Search-MistakesWe’ve had prospective clients come to us and say something like, ‘I’ve tried PPC before and it didn’t work at all. I spent a lot of money, really fast and got nothing out of it, but all my competitors use it, so it must work for them.’ It’s not that your campaigns didn’t work, but that you might be making some common paid search mistakes. Here are five, but by no means, all of them.

1. Not taking Time to Organizing your Campaigns:

Before you set up your PPC campaigns, take time and map out how you want your campaigns organized.  The more planning you do before you set up your campaigns, the more time and money you will save down the road.  You should organize your campaigns into specific themes and have your Ad Groups organized by specific keywords.  Organizing your campaigns from the beginning will allow you to have a clearer picture of your account as it starts to receive data.  You will be better able to manage budgets and bids.  You will also be able to cut down on wasted spending much easier.  A little planning before, can save you a lot of time and money down the road.

 

2. Wrong Landing Page: 

Your goal of a landing page is to take your visitor to the most relevant page.  A lot of people tend to take their visitors to their home page.  Now that’s OK if your home page is the most relevant for the search a user looked up.  However you don’t want your visitor to have to search through your website to find what they are looking for.  If a visitor is searching for “red shoes”, you don’t want to take them to your generic shoe page that shows all colors.  You want to take your visitor to the most appropriate landing page, a page that shows all your red shoes.  If a visitor has to search through pages for what they are looking for, then chances are they will just leave and go somewhere else.  A relevant landing page will keep your visitor more engaged on your site and lead to more conversions.

 

3. Not Using Negative Keywords: 

One goal of PPC is to get targeted traffic to your site and perform some sort of action, such as buying a product or service or filling out a lead form.  When an account is built, you need to take advantage of negative keywords.  Negative keywords can cut down on unnecessary spending.  As an example, say you sell hockey equipment.  Do you really want to pay for people to visit your site who type in the word “free”? Or what if you sell new hockey equipment, but the search is “used hockey equipment” or “hockey equipment craigs list”. It’s highly unlikely they are looking to pay for your good or services and I am pretty sure you’re not in the business of giving away free products, so why pay for that visitor? Here’s another example: you are a medical billing company, and you advertise on “medical billing” – negative the terms job, jobs, career, careers, employment, training, courses, at home to prevent people who are not looking for the service you offer. Save a lot of time, frustration and money by making use of negative keywords.

 

4. Not Giving Your Campaign Enough Time: 

Sometimes people can be quick to set up a campaign, only to shut it down after a week or two if they don’t see the results they were expecting.  Of course there are times when it’s appropriate to shut down a campaign after a week or two, but only if you have enough data to justify this decision.  However there are a lot of times that it takes a longer period of time to gather data and analyze your results.  When you gather data, you learn more about your visitors and how they are finding you and what actions they are taking on your site.  By knowing this information about your visitor, you can refine your campaign to build off the successful items and eliminate the money wasting items. You can also get an idea of what you might need to change on your website. By gathering more data, you can make more informed decisions.

 

5. Not Being Active in Your Account: 

This can be one of the most devastating actions you can do in your account.  While it might not always be on your top of your list and can be rather boring, it is necessary to be active in your account.  The way people search is changing every day.  What might be working today, may not be working tomorrow.  In return maybe you have a slow campaign that isn’t generating much traffic.  Maybe some outside factor is now causing people to search keywords in this campaign.  If your bids are too low, you can miss out on some very targeted traffic.  On the other hand if your bids are too high, your spending can jump through the roof.  Staying active in your account allows you to create a more efficient marketing approach.  You can easily cut down poor performing keywords, while increasing high performing keywords.  Staying active in your account can mean the difference between success and failure. (One caveat with that is being TOO active in your account. Making changes every day, without giving those changes a chance to perform can be just as bad, if not worse, than not optimizing your account.)

Paid search is surprisingly complex. And these mistakes above just scratch the surface of what to do. There are a lot of moving parts. It takes time to master and time to learn what to optimize, what to leave alone, which settings to take advantage of. If you don’t have the time to invest in paid search, then a PPC management company is money well spent.

Protect Your Brand Name with PPC Advertising

April 1st, 2015 by Mike Tatge

BLOG-ProtectYourBrandNameHave you ever wondered (or possibly experienced), what it would be like to have your brand name lost to your competition and never return? Maybe it was even lost to some cheap copy of your brand, just because you were not able to capture the attention of the searcher by not securing the top position within the search engine results page (SERP)? Advertisers are constantly looking for creative ways to attract and bring searchers to their websites to gain new customers and increase overall sales. So you need to ask yourself: are you doing enough to protect your brand in relation to Pay Per Click Advertising?

Why Protect Your Brand Name

A popular discussion usually arises when discussing PPC advertising strategies for brand names. Should companies bid on their own brand name? Some critics believe focusing on the brand name for PPC advertisement is a waste of advertising budget. But I ask you this, if you feel that relying on your organic results are enough to protect your name, are two ads better than one, or possibly none? What if your brand is not listed organically in the top position or even on the first page ?

Failing to bid on your branded name will leave the ad space wide open for your competition. Many crafty advertisers will create a competitor Ad Group, and will include keywords of every name of their direct competition in all match types to ensure their ads are displayed when someone searches those branded keywords. Failing to bid on your own brand name keyword phrases may allow competitors to place ads in a higher position than your organic or natural results.

Cover All Your Bases

If you have a strong organic presence for your own name and you add a PPC campaign as well, you should dominate the entire page. This will leave little room for your competitors to gain any real estate and exposure. Research has shown that searchers expect respectable organizations to come up in the top results of Google, Bing, or Yahoo SERPs.

If your company or website is new and your brand name does not have a strong organic presence yet – a well crafted PPC campaign can get your company’s brand name placed in the #1 position tomorrow.

From a bidding perspective, branded keywords within a PPC campaign are usually the least costly of all keywords. They will also increase your quality score by a higher click through rate (CTR), ad relevance, and better landing page experience. A well-designed PPC campaign provides your brand the right exposure and helps contribute to your SERP ranking, with paid and organic results. Moreover, it ensures your customers are not lost to copycat brands.

The Bottom Line is Sales

The easiest sales should be the ones you make when someone is actually searching for your brand name or company. To ensure they find you online, it’s important to make sure you are making it as easy as you possibly can for them to find you; that includes not allowing your competition to steal your customers.

While there are many factors to consider when developing these campaigns, there’s something more to consider if your company provides a service or a product. What is the total dollar value you place on that customer as a life-long client? Once that customer commits to purchasing from you, they will likely look for your brand name to find your company online again. If your brand name is not easily found, they might end up clicking on one of your competitor’s ads, therefore losing the lifetime value of that customer.

The bottom line is that bidding on your branded name keywords is your best defense against brand name advertising customer theft. So while advertising on your brand name might be an addition to your budget, it certainly is not a waste.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising is Still Advertising

November 12th, 2014 by Spencer Daniels

BLOG-ppcstilladvertisingPay-per-click (PPC) Advertising generates massive amounts of trackable data that can be analyzed to find areas of weakness, strength, loss and growth opportunities for online marketing campaigns. Being able to translate this data into strategic PPC management decisions that improve account performance is what fuels search engine marketing. The diversity of this data is one of the major luxuries of advertising in a digital world. It allows you to prove the value of your PPC with concrete numbers, but it can also cause you to lose focus on the big picture; pay-per-click advertising is still advertising.

Pay-per-click Advertising, like the majority of advertising avenues, cannot always be quantified to determine its effectiveness. It can appear that the reach of a PPC accounts is tracked, but the data doesn’t always portray true value. In one of my past blog posts I evaluated the validity of view-through conversions and the impact an un-clicked image ad has on end sales. It was interesting to find that although the image ad wasn’t clicked, it did positively influence end sales, meaning that the ads contribute to more than just the number of clicks it receives. Ads have an emotional impact on our customers, and that’s incredibly hard to quantify. TV commercials have been trying to find a trackable solution to this problem since the first commercial aired in 1941.

Cross-device tracking is another area that doesn’t accurately represent what PPC brings to the table. I myself have seven different devices in which I can access the internet. I also have an unknown number of different email addresses and logins I use (I think there’s still a MySpace page floating around from my awkward teen years.) It would be really hard to determine my path to purchase based on all the different routes I can take to get there. I know that there’s a large effort to help improve cross-device reporting, but for now, it doesn’t come close to representing what’s actually occurring.

Why is it that TV commercials, radio advertising and highway billboards are not dissected by hard-nosed reporting? Why are there not reports determining the cost effectiveness of these ads and the exact number of sales each platform is responsible for? It is universally understood that these forms of advertising provide additional value beyond the few customers who might mention the ad for a discount. PPC is viewed exactly the opposite. The worth of an account is often weighted too heavily on the numbers that a PPC campaign reports. It’s often denied the opulence of acknowledgement for the additional persuasion it delivers. We need to understand that PPC is more than the by-the-numbers stigma it is often granted. It’s a form of advertising, which by definition, is to “draw attention to (a product, service, or event).” PPC advertising is not a cold, unemotional math equation that always has a right or wrong answer; it’s still just advertising.