adwords campaignsPay-per-click (PPC) has revolutionized the way in which businesses promote their products and services. No longer are brands forced to buy bulk banner space on websites. Using PPC platforms like Google Adwords and Bing Ads, they can create custom ads while targeting specific keywords that are relevant to their target audience. But running a successful PPC campaign isn’t always an easy task, so today we’re going to look at some of the most common reasons why they fail.


1. Lack of Conversion Tracking

What is conversion tracking and why is it important for PPC marketing? Conversion tracking is essentially a means to determine the action taken by a customer to reach the order pager ins some case maybe a contact confirmation or download page. With PPC, you need to set up your campaigns to track the keyword(s) users search for before buying your product or service. Using this information, you can optimize your PPC campaigns to yield a higher return on your investment. Refer to this Google help article for more information on how conversion tracking works.


2. Not Using Negative Keywords

Negative keywords can make or break a PPC campaign. As the name suggests, these are keywords, which prevent your ad from showing, and this is one of the most neglected areas when I review new accounts. If a user performs a search that contains one or more negative keywords, your ad will cease to show. Negative keywords are highly useful in narrowing down your ads’ visibility to a core demographic and making sure that your ads only show to interested buyers. If you run an online fashion boutique that specialized in women’s clothing, you may want to include the negative keyword “men” so you ads won’t display when users search for keywords like “men’s shirts,” “men’s pants,” etc.


3. Sending Users to Your Homepage

Another common reason why PPC campaigns fail is because the advertiser sends users to his or her homepage. There are times when this tactic may work, but nine out of ten times it will fail to produce a positive return ROI. The problem with sending users to your homepage is that most standard websites are not optimized for PPC traffic, which in turn results in a low conversion rate. A better approach is to create a dedicated landing page to use specifically for PPC, optimizing it for maximum conversions.


4. Oversized Ad Groups

A good PPC campaign should consist of several small ad groups, each of which being customized according to its respective keywords. Stuffing dozens or even hundreds of keywords into the same ad group is a recipe for failure. Your ads will lack relevancy, causing a lower click-through rate (CTR) and lower Quality Score.


5. Limited by Budget

Lastly, 9 out of 10 campaigns that I review for small businesses are running “Limited by Budget”; which means that the ads stop showing sometime before midnight. ‘Limited by Budget’ can typically be dealt with in a few different ways:

  1. Take a look at the Geographic area. For example if you are a local bike shop, perhaps your ads don’t need to be showing nation wide.
  2. Take a look at your ad position. If your paying for top position consider decreasing your max CPC to bring your CPC down and show more continuously throughout the day.
  3. Take a look at your budget. If for example you’re running $20 a day and for $40 per day you can dominate the impression share and double your ad clicks it might be worth it.

Determining an adwords budget is one of the most difficult things for small businesses or businesses who are new to PPC to overcome. For websites with an established conversion rate and order history the effectiveness of a Google Adword campaign can be established relatively easily. For service-oriented businesses you must set up conversion tracking to track leads in order to make assessment on your ad’s effectiveness.


Lastly, for many Ecommerce businesses, that don’t see a positive ROI it is essential to evaluate your profit margin as well as the buying cycle for your specific products. For example; buying a $12,000 custom guitar may have a 3-6 month purchase cycle while the customer is carefully selecting options and evaluating their decision and a person buying a part for their Ford Powerstroke would need that part right away.

The key take away here is to continuously pay attention to your Adword campaigns and track conversions. This information will guide you in maximizing ad performance and ROI.