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Are You Making These Three Fatal PPC Marketing Mistakes?

Whether you’re running an eCommerce store, a SaaS business, or a service company, PPC marketing can be a complicated process. Even though Google AdWords is the platform most people use, there are a multitude of additional options to keep track of like LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo, and Bing.


Even without those other choices, AdWords campaigns alone can be a challenge to maintain. You sign up for an account, set up a campaign, and then monitor the results. Over time Google suggests more and more keywords until eventually it takes everything you have to manage the account and keep it in shape.

If these describe your experience at all, then you know any advice you can get to help optimize your campaign is welcome. In this post we’re going to discuss three fatal mistakes businesses make with their PPC campaigns and explain what you should do differently to avoid these mistakes.

Mistake #1: Running split tests and declaring a winner too soon

In order to optimize your campaign, it’s recommended that you run split tests for your ads to see which copy performs the best. Quite often, small changes can have a big impact on click-throughs and conversion rates.

It’s best to test two ads at a time to see which one converts better. After testing for a period of time, you choose the one that performs the best, and then create a new variation to test against the winner.

In the beginning, you can test big differences to see what makes a difference. You can test two completely different headlines and ad copy to see which one searchers like the most.

Over time, you’ll whittle this down until you find a variation that consistently performs at a high level. Once you do, you can continue tweaking the copy until it performs even better.

For example, you can test a different but similar version of the winning headline to see if it can be tweaked to perform better. You can also try different display urls to see if a different ending to the url can help the ad to perform better. In the example below you could try to see if that improves click-throughs and conversions. Even little changes like this can have an impact on both of those PPC metrics.
It’s recommended that you continue this kind of split testing until you find ad copy that converts best for your business. However, you want to make sure you get statistically relevant results. If not, you may make changes that aren’t statistically relevant, and thus aren’t helping you to make the best decisions for your business.

One way to do this is with a PPC ad split testing tool. You can use the tool to calculate whether the results are statistically relevant in order to make more informed decisions. All you have to do is enter the clicks, impressions, and conversion rate and then enter the confidence level you’d like to achieve. The tool will then calculate the results and let you know whether or not they’re statistically relevant. It’s highly recommended that you use one of these tools to verify your results.

This is an example of a PPC ad split testing tool.
This is an example of a PPC ad split testing tool.

Mistake #2: Not optimizing your landing page conversion rates

Once you do get visitors to your site, you need to make sure and use conversion rate optimization (CRO) to optimize your landing pages. CRO enables you to test different versions of your landing to see what converts at a higher rate.

Sometimes a different headline can improve conversion rates and convince more customers to buy your product. Other times, new product copy or landing page copy will do the same. In still other instances, changing your call-to-action (CTA) copy can make a big difference.

One excellent example of this is the conversion rate optimization that was done for the 2008 Barack Obama Presidential campaign. The team responsible for optimizing his campaign landing page tested 24 different versions to see which one would increase the number of people who signed up for the campaign newsletter. The winning variation increased conversion rates by 41% which led to an extra 2.8 million newsletter subscribers, an additional 288,000 volunteers, and $60 million more in donations over the course of the campaign.

If you want to see results like this, you not only need to optimize your PPC ads but also your landing pages to increase conversion rates and generate more sales.

This is the winning variation from the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.
This is the winning variation from the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.

Mistake #3: Not tracking conversions

The third and most crucial mistake people make people mistake with AdWords is not tracking conversions. So why is this such a big idea?

It’s a big deal because conversions are the only way you know which variation is the most effective, and it’s the only way you know how effective your campaign is as a whole.

For example, if you’re not tracking conversions, then you won’t know which ad copy variation leads to the highest number of order and the lowest cost per acquisition (CPA). Just because an ad has a higher click through rate (CTR) and the most clicks doesn’t mean it’s the best ad. A better ad would lead to more conversions once people land on your site, and if you aren’t tracking conversions, you’ll never know which ad leads to the most sales.

Another problem with not tracking conversions is that you won’t know how effective your campaign is. You won’t know if your getting a good return on your ads or not, but if you track conversions you will.

For example, if you track conversions for your entire campaign, you’ll know exactly how much you’re paying per acquisition. Once you compare these numbers with your profit margin, you’ll know whether or not the investment in AdWords has paid off and whether you need to lower your cost per click bid or have room to raise it even higher.

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to track conversions for your PPC campaigns. You can read this article from KISSmetrics to learn more about how to set up conversion goals for your site: Conversion Funnel Survival Guide.

Wrapping It Up

Did you learn anything new from this post, or do you have anything to add to this list? If yes, leave a comment to share what you’ve learned or what you’d like to add.


Guest-Author-Joseph-PutnamJoseph Wesley Putnam is the proud owner of 5 North Marketing. He helps startups with copywriting, content marketing, and conversion rate optimization. You can follow him on Twitter and , schedule a call on Clarity, and read more of his posts on the 5 North Marketing Blog.