3 Painstaking Mistakes Not to Make in Paid Search Marketing

Pay per click (PPC), often referred to as paid search marketing, can be the single most effective way for a brand to generate targeted traffic, increase sales and attract lifetime customers without months of waiting and waiting, which is common for organic search traffic.

It is very possible, for instance, to turn a customer base of 30 into 300 using sound paid search principles. But for every successful PPC story, there’s bound to be ten more stories of PPC failure. Most paid search skeptics tend to share the same mantra:

Of yeah, we’ve tried PPC but it didn’t work.

The reality is this: Many, if not most companies, have a hard time tapping into their brand’s PPC potential all because of a few minor mistakes. Luckily, nearly all of these painstaking paid search marketing mistakes are both preventable and fixable.

Let’s quickly go over three painstaking things you may be doing wrong in paid search marketing, and what you should do to fix it.

#1 Focusing on Cost-Per-Lead

Analyzing a campaign’s cost-per-lead (CPL) was once used as a metric to help gauge campaign results. Even though some campaign managers might lead you to believe otherwise, the reality is that over analyzing CPL is incredibly misleading, and can lead to disastrous results.

Focusing purely on the CPL metric is a thing of the past. Effective PPC campaigns are no longer about optimizing for clicks, but optimizing for conversions. It’s important to remember that CPL is only a small indicator of a campaign’s success or failure, and it doesn’t necessarily tell you if your campaign is profitable or not.

How to Fix It

Rather than focus on small-time indicators like CPL, emphasize the bottom line: profitability. Focus on looking at the keywords which generate the lowest cost-per-sale, which terms are bringing in the most revenue, and which ad copy is creating the greatest ROI.

This can take time, but there are plenty of CRM software out there that can help streamline the data-gathering process. Shifting your focus from vanity metrics to indicators that directly interact with the bottom line can change an entire approach to paid search marketing. 

#2 Too Many Keywords

A study conducted by Kiss Metrics was done after conducting over 2,000 Adwords account audits. It revealed a major find. Out of all 2,000 accounts that were audited, the average account generated all of its sales from a mere 12% of the keywords targeted.

This tells us that if a brand’s Adwords account is anything similar to the accounts of those 2,000 others, then around 12% of your targeted keywords just might be making up the entirety of all your campaigns revenue. Even bigger, this means you might be wasting around 61% of your ad budget on underperforming keywords! Most of the keywords you’re targeting are probably pretty good, but it’s easy to run into problems fast when you start bidding on all these extra keywords that do little for you in the long run.

How to Fix It

This paid search marketing mistake is fairly easy to fix. First off, stop using broad match. Next, uncover which keywords and search terms are wasting your ad dollars and get rid of them. You can do this by going to your Adwords dashboard, clicking on the keywords tab and then search terms. Apply a filter to find the search terms that are not generating any conversions.

Now eliminate the poorest performing keywords and place emphasis on search terms that are bringing real bottom-line value to your business. And sure, by doing this campaign traffic will inevitably drop, but since that traffic is from non-buying keywords, your conversion rate will rise and you’ll have a free-er budget to place more emphasis on the keywords that work!

#3 Zero Call Tracking

Paid search campaigns tend to almost always be for the purpose of lead generation. For many businesses, phone calls are integral to refining leads and increasing sales. Even though businesses understand the importance of leads and phone calls, many brands new to paid search marketing fail to make use of one of the many freely available call tracking platforms out there, such as Google’s call forwarding feature for advanced call tracking.

The reason tracking phone calls is so important to lead generation is because attacking paid search without it will skew your ability to tell exactly how well each channel is performing, so you have no idea which campaigns are actually profitable and which ones are wasting ad dollars.

How to Fix It

Along with the second problem above, this paid search mistake requires a simple fix. There’s also more than one way to implement call tracking. One way is to insert a forwarding number in the call extension part of the ad’s copy, which allows to record calls for each ad group type.  Another way to start using call tracking is to place a small strip of dynamic code onto your website which replaces the standard number on your site with a forwarding number. This also gives insight into which calls came from each specific PPC campaign that eventually resulted in a phone call or lead. But in order to match the calls, ads and keywords that translated into actual sales, you need to find a platform that is able to match your CRM. Five 9 is one good platform example. Implementing call tracking into your paid search campaigns does require a little bit of work, but adding that extra refining layer to your campaigns can really mean the difference between having vague and exact performance results.

These are only three of the many paid search marketing mistakes that businesses make when using PPC. Even though making these mistakes can hinder your ability to see clear results, they aren’t detrimental to a brand’s full PPC potential.

Making some paid search marketing mistakes of your own? Contact us at McAllister Marketing today for more information on how we can improve your paid search performance.

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