3 Common Mistakes With Paid Search & How To Avoid Them
Common Mistakes With Paid Search & How To Avoid Them

Common Mistakes With Paid Search & How To Avoid Them          


Jennifer Flanagan

Mar 19 2024

Even the most seasoned marketers can make mistakes with paid search campaigns, including not getting their ads in front of the right audiences, setting up keyword match types incorrectly, and lack of conversion tracking. However, taking corrective action can turn a failing campaign into a successful one. 

Avoid potential missteps and succeed in paid search by learning more about how PPC campaigns work.

Common Mistakes in Paid Search Campaigns

The following missteps are among the top errors that can cause trouble in paid search campaigns.

Using the wrong match types
PPC advertising has three main match types: broad match, exact match, and phrase match. Many people make the mistake of selecting “broad match” to send out their advertisements to a larger audience; however, the number of people who see an ad is irrelevant if they’re not the target audience.

Think of it this way: a broad match setting for the term “blue hair” could lead to several results based on variations of the keyword, such as:

-Dogs with blue hair
-Blue hair dye
-Would I look good with blue hair?
-Pictures of people with blue hair

If your business sells blue hair extensions, then many of those searches aren’t necessarily looking for your specific offering. That’s why it’s important to choose the correct match type. Select the wrong term, and Google could display your ad for irrelevant terms.

Incorrect targeting
Incorrect targeting can lead to poor results and render your PPC campaign ineffective. It’s possible to target too specifically or make your targeting too wide — either one is problematic.

For example, you might plan to target women with an advertisement for a new sports skirt, but “women” is a wider audience than you’d want. Instead, you’d want women who are within a target age range based on your company’s market research. You’d also want to target those interested in playing sports.

Lack of conversion tracking 
One common misstep is the lack of conversion tracking. Essentially, this tool tells you where your sales or leads are coming from. Without this information, you’re guessing about your campaign’s ROI. Plus, it’s challenging to pinpoint which keywords and ads might bring in more business. For a clear picture of your campaign’s effectiveness and to make smart strategy choices, it’s vital to have proper conversion tracking in place.

Tips To Avoid Common Missteps in Paid Search Advertising

Now that you know where some paid search campaigns fall short, here’s how to ensure your next paid search effort operates as intended.

Choose the right match type
We mentioned that there are three keyword match types. Here’s a closer look at each type: 

Broad match
A broad match shows your ads when queries related to your keyword are input. They don’t necessarily match your terms exactly. For example, if your keyword is “tennis shoes,” a broad match could show your ad to those with inquiries for “gym shoes” or “sneakers.”

Exact match
As the name suggests, exact match settings show your ad when the user inputs the exact keyword or exact meaning of the keyword, such as singular or plural forms of the term.

Phrase match
Phrase matches allow words to be added before or after a keyword, but not between (this keeps the keyword intact). For instance, “iPad pen” in quotes will always stay together. That way, your ad can show up for queries such as “iPad pen holder” or “iPad pen tips.”

Choosing the correct option when you run your ads makes it more likely that the right people will see it.

Target geographically (or by other factors)
Incorrect targeting is a big problem because it can lead to your ads landing in front of the wrong audience members. For instance, you don’t want to run ads across an entire county if the ads are for teen clothing — you’d want to show the ads only to teenagers or those with children. You can target geographically, such as within two miles of a school, or opt to target by age (teens between 13 and 18, or women between 30 and 40) to try to reach parents and teens who may buy your products.

Streamline your conversion tracking
Before you start tracking, it’s essential to know exactly what customer actions you’re counting as successes — like sales or sign-ups. Knowing this upfront helps tailor your tracking approach. Choose a user-friendly tracking platform that resonates with your site or app and allows for the custom tracking of your business needs. Upon selecting a platform, install the provided tracking codes to monitor user activities. Craft specific conversion events tailored to key user actions. Critical to the process is testing the setup to ensure accurate tracking and data integrity, reinforcing your data-driven decision-making for enhanced marketing performance.

    Expert marketers know that a stellar paid search campaign requires precision targeting, meticulous keyword matching, and robust conversion tracking. Even so, slip-ups can happen. The good news is that these common mistakes are fixable with strategic adjustments. By honing in on your audience, fine-tuning your keywords for better matches, and polishing your tracking methods, you can swiftly pivot your campaigns toward greater ROI. Commit to these targeted improvements, and watch as the efficiency of your ads climbs, delivering the impactful results your business aims for.

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