So before you doubt the effectiveness of PPC, take a good look through your account and make sure you don’t have any tired, poor, or huddled masses of AdWords ads. If you do spot any of these maleficent kinds of ads hanging around, fix them right away:
Having outdated promotions or offers in your ads is a waste of ad space and also your ad spend budget. Searchers that click on these ads will do so with the expectation that they will be able to use the advertised promotion and when they’re unable to do so, they are likely to leave without making a purchase. This experience may also turn them off from shopping on your site in the future. This is why professional PPC management should include a regular account check to ensure that outdated ads aren't being used.
Solution: Ensure that all of your active ads are using valid promotional codes and seasonally appropriate language.
Ads that aren’t compelling will miss out on clicks and calls. You have to get searchers’ attention and give them a reason to visit your website. Use your ad to answer the questions: “So what?” and “Why should I?” Entice and incentivize searchers to click on your ad instead of your competitors’ ads. Let them know what they can expect to find on your site and why it’s different than something they can get elsewhere.
Solution: Focus on your value proposition and use direct language to engage searchers. End each ad with a call-to-action to motivate people to take a desired action like buying, signing up, stopping buy, or calling.
Wherever possible, your ads should utilize keywords for your ad groups to improve their quality scores and make them more attractive to searchers. Ads that contain a searcher’s query will have the search term or phrase bolded to make them stand out. Ads that use dynamic keyword insertion can achieve the same effect without needing as many ad variations, which is why many digital marketers utilize this approach when it comes to creating ads.
Solution: Incorporate at least one, but no more than 3 keywords in your ad (with the headline, body, and/or display URL).
Targeting is important when selecting your PPC settings as well as keywords, but it doesn’t end there. Using the language in your ads to target specific segments of your audience is also important. Ads that take a general approach and try to be everything to everyone often miss the mark. Instead of creating universal ads and hoping that all of your various audiences will respond positively to them, create ads that resonate with specific segments of your overall audience. Figuring out what works well for different groups can give you a blueprint for how to break out large ad groups into more specialized ad groups.
Solution: Test ad variations that target different types of searchers – various demographic groups, people that are in different stages of the buying cycle, people looking to solve unique problems, etc.
Incorrect Destination URLs
Companies that have a large number of category and product pages, or that use customized landing pages for their ads can find themselves swimming in a vast sea of destination URLs (or “final URLs” as they are going to be called moving forward now). Keeping track of updating these as URLs change or new ones are tested can be a nightmare. Every once in a while it’s worth going through all of your PPC ads (or at least the lowest performers) to ensure that their final URLs are still valid.
Solution: Periodically check your ads to determine if any old URLs are still in use. If you find any outdated URLs, update them to land searchers as close as possible to what they’re looking for on your site.
Pro tip: Create a custom 404 page so that any old URLs that are still in use anywhere on the web bring searchers to a branded informational page that encourages them to stay on the site and continue looking for what they were trying to find instead of scaring them off.
(Photo credit goes to William Warby.)
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!