Choosing a platform to run pay per click ads? It’s a great way to get your message out there, from Google Ads to Facebook and Instagram, or perhaps specialist platforms such as Linkedin and Taboola.
The average business in the USA spends between $9,000-$10,000 a month on pay per click ads. And, if you’re spending even a fraction of that much money, you expect to see a return, right?
Although PPC ads are a great way to spread the word and increase your website traffic, there are some common problems with pay per click that it helps to be aware of.
Many of these can come down to ‘user error’, that is, the marketer rushes into things without first researching or building a solid campaign. However, there are also common PPC ad problems that are caused by external influences.
We’ll look at the 7 most common PPC problems, and their fixes, in the list below.
1. Not doing your research
Yes, this is a broad category, but if you don’t research your ad before you publish, you might as well flush that money down the toilet. What does ‘research’ cover?
Perhaps most crucially, you need to understand what your customers are searching for as you’ll be using the language and search terms to show up in the SERPs.
So first up, audience research is crucial. And, surprisingly, over 60% of businesses actually do very little (if any) audience research. Don’t be one of them.
Make sure you understand, properly, your target audience including:
- Age range
- Income bracket
- Their online habits (such as what social media they use, etc)
- Their real life interests (are they active, geeky, socially conscious etc?)
You don’t have to build a 3D image of every customer ever, but a general overview of your average customer will make your PPC ad targeting much more efficient.
2. Long tail vs short tail keywords
Long tail keywords are search terms of over 4 or 5 words, for example “How can I fix a broken A/C unit”. A short tail keyword will be between 1 and 3 words, for example “Air conditioning repairs”.
Short tail keywords tend to be broad, too general and often very competitive for PPC keyword bidding. Long tail keywords tend to focus on a specific intent or problem that the searcher has.
Aim to focus your marketing budget more on long tail keywords than short. You’ll get less hits, but those hits should be more geared up to buy.
3. Your landing page sucks
If your landing page takes too long to load, is confusing, doesn’t have a clear call to action or is unresponsive then, sorry, it sucks.
This is a common problem with PPC ads. The user clicks your ad, arrives at the page and is so horrified they click back almost instantly. You get a super high bounce rate, a low quality score but you pay out for a click anyways. A costly mistake.
Make sure your landing page is easy to use, clear in its intention and actually works on both mobile and desktop.
4. PPC fraud is an issue
You might have heard of the phrase ‘click fraud’ or ‘ad fraud’. Most of the PPC ad platforms refer to these as ‘invalid clicks’. What does it all mean?
Put simply, your pay per click ad can receive clicks from parties who are out to intentionally defraud you. Does this really happen?
Well, yes, a lot more than you might think. Data from ClickCease suggests that 90% of all pay per click campaigns on Google Ads are hit by fraudulent clicks. These can be in the form of:
- Competitors or vindictive parties clicking on your paid ads to deplete your marketing budget
- Automated bots scraping the internet for data
- Organised criminals using malware and botnets to make money from spoofed websites
- Accidental clicks
In fact, it’s estimated that click fraud costs pay per click marketers around $25 billion each year, and rising! The best way to protect against ‘invalid clicks’ on your PPC ads is to use click fraud protection software.
5. Putting all your eggs in one basket
There are a lot of different PPC ad networks, and Google Ads is just one of them. Yes, it is the biggest and you might think the best (by a lot of metrics it is). But is Google Ads best for you?
When you start looking into the available options, using other networks for your PPC can be very wise. Some good options to get you started:
- Microsoft Ads (aka Bing Ads)
- Facebook Ads
- Yahoo Gemini (aka Verizon Media)
Why use these other pay per click networks? Well, they’re normally cheaper and less competitive than Google. You’ll also be able to target different demographics and use different ad formats.
6. It’s all in the timing
Do you run your ads 24/7? Surely you don’t… But not timing your ads, or timing them poorly, can be a huge waste of money.
Whatever your business, there is likely an optimum time to run your PPC ad. Play around and try and understand when is the most effective time to display your ad.
Of course you can also add different campaigns in all of the PPC networks so you can target certain areas at specific times. Play around, see what works, drop what doesn’t work and keep on analysing that data.
7. Money money money
What’s the main gripe that most people have with PPC ads? We’ve mentioned it already… It’s the price.
The biggest problem with PPC ads is, by far, the price. Even if you set limits or you adjust your bidding strategies, it can easily become a very expensive endeavour.
Of course, it’s expensive because it has the potential to be very effective. But, when you’re starting out as a business, it can seem like a lot to shell out.
Make sure you monitor your ad spend daily, tweak your keyword bidding, and remove keywords or campaigns that aren’t effective.
Keep an eye on things like your return on ad spend (ROAS) and your cost per acquisition (CPA) and make sure that they are meeting your expectations. And, if you follow all the steps on this list of common problems with PPC ads, you should be able to manage your budget much more effectively.