10 Mistakes That Sabotage Austin Pay Per Click Campaigns

Posted on September 29, 2015 by SEO Austin

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising when done right is an excellent short-term solution to directing traffic to Austin business websites. The Ad Rank formula is influential in determining the success of a PPC campaign:

Ad Rank = CPC Bid x Quality Score

An ad rank is the specific place on a page where an ad appears, from top to bottom. The cost-per-click (CPC) bid is how much a business pays each time a searcher clicks on their ad. Finally, quality score is a measurement of how often searchers find what they’re looking for when they click on a business’s ad.

PPC beginners commonly lose money as they learn the implications of the basic PPC Ad Rank formula through trial and error. While every business will experience a learning curve as they begin using pay-per-click campaigns, the following common mistakes can easily be avoided.

1. Lack of Coherence From Keyword to Landing Page

A successful ad must target a specific keyword and search experience from the keyword itself, through the language of the ad, all the way to the landing page.

Often, PPC beginners create irrelevant ads by clumping dissimilar keywords together. Keyword clusters, however, should always relate to a specific product or service.

Further, the language of an ad should be clear, and targeted to a single service or product. Often, ad copy is generic. Specific language is important because it helps a user formulate an expectation of what they’ll find on the landing page. If, at any point in the users’ journey, they are confused or have an unfulfilled expectation, they will abandon your ad and return to the search engine to look for what they want. Specific ad language allows a marketer to attract (and pay for) only the searchers who are interested in a business’s service or product.

Unsuccessfully showing an ad to searchers drops a business’s quality score. A low quality score ultimately increases the cost of showing an ad to future searchers.

2. No Landing page

The most common mistake Austin businesses make on their pay-per-click campaigns is directing ads to a homepage rather than a landing page. Every ad should have a landing page tailored specifically to the products or services discussed in the ad. When searchers are directed to a home page, often they’re confused because the ad they clicked discussed a specific product, whereas the homepage they land on presents them with a menu of options.

Businesses can quickly improve their click-through-rate (CTR) and quality score by building landing pages dedicated to their ad campaigns.

3. Missing CTA

PPC beginners often assume that website users are as aptly aware of digital norms as a marketing professional. In so doing, they forget to include CTAs in their ad copy.

Effective calls-to-action (CTAs) can mean the difference between a sale and being overlooked.

An inappropriate CTA is just as harmful as none at all. For PPC ads, all CTAs should prompt visitors to take a specific action. For example, “Buy Now” is direct and “See More” is vague and confusing.

4. Not Understanding An Audience

All too often, businesses jump into pay-per-click advertising without researching what channels their target audience uses, and what that audience typically searches for. Obtaining this information helps businesses bid on keywords strategically.

Austin marketers should use a keyword planner to identify how competitive a keyword phrase is in their locale based on its search volume. Google, Yahoo and Bing all offer free keyword planners. Other useful keyword planners are SpyFu, Keyword Spy, and SEM Rush.

5. Competing with Corporations

Numerous small businesses in Austin attempt to rank for the broadest, and most popular keywords in their industry. In doing so, they put themselves into competition with large corporations that likely have five times the pay-per-click budget of a small business. Instead of competing for broad keywords, small businesses can attract searchers at a lower cost-per-click by attempting to rank for longtail keyword phrases.

6. Missing Location Targeting

Ad campaigns can now target locations. Austin businesses that overlook this feature make a costly mistake.

Keywords are easier to rank for and their bid prices drop when the audience is narrowed to a specific location. The location feature allows a marketer to show an ad to searchers within a specified distance of an address. For local Austin businesses, this is an opportunity to reach searchers that matters to them the most. Without using the location feature, Austin businesses compete globally with other small businesses that aim to rank for similar keywords.

7. Overlooking Mobile Traffic

According to Comscore, the worldwide use of mobile devices for online shopping exceeded the number of PCs used in 2014. Nevertheless, marketers often forget to create device-specific ad campaigns.

Mobile campaigns allow businesses to access a larger market. According to Wordstream, mobile searchers convert three times as fast and cost 149% less than desktop users. Overlooking mobile ads cuts Austin businesses out of huge traffic and sales opportunities.

8. Not Testing

Testing and tracking ads is a crucial element of any business’s advertising success, yet it’s something most beginners overlook. Once an ad is written, from the keyword through the landing page, it should be monitored and tweaked weekly. As ads evolve, business owners can note small changes in performance and adjust their strategy accordingly.

Testing helps businesses increase their CTR and gain a better overall understanding of how to write effective ad campaigns. Effective ads, as discussed above, decrease the overall cost per click by increasing the quality score.

9. Missing Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are links below an ad that lead to specific parts of a website. They help searchers quickly find what they’re looking for. Ad extensions increase CTR by as much as 30% according to Google, and should not be overlooked.

10. No-Negative-Keyword Strategy

Keywords that aren’t relevant to a business, but that trigger an ad, are negative keywords. They cost businesses money and do not provide an opportunity for a business to make a new customer or a sale.

A common negative keyword is a business’s desirable keyword with the word “employment” before it. Job searchers for specific industries often click on a business’s ad to look for a job. For almost every business, job searchers cost the business money when they click on an ad, but do not make a purchase or become a customer.

Negative keywords should be checked routinely and eliminated as soon as they’re identified.

Proceed with Caution

Pay-per-click campaigns can be lucrative, but they require high attention to detail. Austin businesses that proceed into the world of pay-per-click with caution, and with attention to the workings of the Ad Rank formula, will experience improved ads and increased sales.

Need a hand? Contact the professionals at PPC Austin today.


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