Top 5 Most Common PPC Mistakes Beginners Make

Top 5 Most Common PPC Mistakes Beginners Make

Too Much Broad Match

Bidding heavily on broad match keywords is a common mistake we see when reviewing PPC accounts.

Too often, laziness takes over when new campaigns are built. It’s easy to throw a bunch of broad keywords in an ad campaign/group and call it a day.

Furthermore, a lack of understanding for how match types function can leave beginners just to stick with broad since it’s the default.

The truth is, broad match keywords will unavoidably lead to a low click-through rate and–ultimately–wasted money. Instead, try and shift toward a heavier use of phrase and exact-match keywords. Or at the bare minimum, modified broad match. More info about keyword match types here.

Another tactic is to search for long-tail keywords that relate directly to your landing page and ad copy. This is an effective way to raise your ad rank, which plays a large role in Quality Score. Being more specific will improve your targeting and save you money!

The Need To Be Number One

People are naturally competitive and being number one sounds fantastic. That’s not always true in the world of PPC. Getting into a bidding war for the number one spot in the SERP is an easy way to overspend for clicks.

With Google’s new ad layout (four ads at the top of the page), you should, in many cases, look to reduce your average ad position to save money for more click volume. This doesn’t mean there isn’t value in ranking highly. It just means that a lower bid for the number two or number three spot may save you money, which could mean more clicks overall.

Try starting with a high average position. When/if the campaign status becomes ‘limited by budget,’ lower your bids. If you drop too low, you may lose volume. Continue this and experiment until you find a happy medium between ad position and traffic volume. The result will be lower CPCs and more clicks while keeping your campaign budget the same.

Not Tracking Conversions

PPC is a unique marketing method for several reasons, but none bigger than this one. PPC allows you near complete transparency if you just take the time to set up conversion tracking. You can connect a single click to a sale or lead.

This transparency is a huge opportunity to improve your marketing. If you know which keywords, clicks, ads, etc. are driving business for you, you can make optimizations to drive more. On the other hand, if you can see where you’re spending money and getting little in return, you can save a lot of money.

Google AdWords conversion tracking and Google Analytics are both free ways to get this visibility. Setup is not time-consuming or difficult. Do yourself a favor and set up a way to track your PPC success.

Combining The Search And Display Networks

This might be the biggest and most common mistake for first timers. The first option and default when building new campaigns in AdWords is ‘Search Network with Display.’ It even says ‘Best opportunity to reach the most customers.’ Shame on you, Google.

This isn’t the best option for anyone trying to advertise on Google or any other platform. Not only does it not give an accurate representation of the data, but you also lose control of your campaigns.

Running a search campaign with display enabled will seriously skew your data because the display network often has lower CPCs (as well as much worse CTRs) compared to the search network. Often, advertisers end up overpaying for display clicks because their max CPC bid is set to compete on the search network.

Simply put, they are completely different advertising approaches and should be treated as such. Give them their own campaigns so you can optimize them correctly.

Setting It And Forgetting It

It is very important to check and make optimizations within your AdWords account minimum once a week. More often than not, clients who try PPC advertising on their own have a “set it and forget it” attitude. This leaves missed opportunities for significant optimizations.

You don’t have to spend 30 hours a week if you have a small account spending just a few thousand dollars a month, but spending around 20-30 minutes will drastically improve performance. During those 20-30 minutes, you should be checking your bids (raising on high performers, lowering on poor performers), adding new keywords, adding negative keywords, optimizing and testing ad copy, experimenting with match types,  and focusing on increasing Quality Score.

At a bare minimum, you should be checking the budget and adjusting keyword bids based on performance. Thirty minutes a week will make a world of difference.

This is not an intensive list. There is a variety of things that hurt PPC performance that aren’t easy to control without experience. It takes time to learn the ropes and more importantly, don’t give up!

Written by Paul Mosiychuk

Originally posted on