Even in our automation-obsessed day & age, we’re all still human and we all still make mistakes. Even the most seasoned PPC professional makes mistakes. What you need to do is take the mistake, learn, improve and never make it again. I’m going to go through some of the most common mistakes made in PPC so they can be avoided.

1. Inconsistency

You have to keep everything consistent. Don’t try and trick the user into clicking on your ad if you’re going to show them something they aren’t interested in. Make sure your keywords are in line with the search terms from your users, and that your ads are in line with your keywords, and that your landing page content is following through into your ads. This then translates through even to the tone of voice you use in your ads and on your landing pages.

2. Lack of testing

In literally everything but ad copy especially. Ad copy should always be being tested, tweaked and tested again. Ad copy easily becomes generic, make it fresh, keep the top performers and redo the lower performers to be fresh. You should test 3 or 4 ad variations at a time. Tip: Don’t change too many variables in each variation as you won’t be able to determine which variable was leading success in that test. Try testing the use of extensions too!

Ad copy testing in PPC advertising

3. Wrong use of keywords

Too many keywords, irrelevant keywords, random keywords. Endless keyword issues! Tip: Make sure you’re using your keywords in your ad copy. So it’s instantly recognised as relevant. Your keywords should match the patterns in the way that your users search. Students often search differently to 40-year-old men, learn their languages and write for them.

4. Not being on top of your negative keywords

If you don’t make terms that you don’t want to appear for negative, you’re going to appear for them & suffer the consequences. A big red flag will be search terms including “free”, “jobs”, “postcode” etc. You don’t really want to pay for those clicks.

Christmas, Summer, Easter, Fathers Day? Include it in your ad copy - if it’s relevant. If your ads are seasonally relevant it’s likely to drive up your CTR.

using seasonal keywords in ad copy
using seasonal keywords in ad copy

6. Boring ads

People aren’t searching for bedtime reading, they’re looking for your product or service - take it as an opportunity to excite them!

Tip: Don’t be afraid to be quirky with your ad text, if you find they don’t perform well you can always test something new.

Here is an example of an ad I created, three variations are more generic however I decided to throw in the 4th variation with a hint of sarcasm, and it is currently the top performer, so here's a real-life example!

example of a fun quirky ad in the google serp

7. Wrong bidding

Bid management is important, Google Ads is a live auction so bids need to be monitored. Think about your CPC bids, and the profit of any conversion and then think about the ROAS that activity on your PPC account should be returning. Once you’ve got the hang of what you’re doing & have gathered all your data jazz it’s worth experimenting with automated bidding strategies to reduce the amount of time you spend making manual changes.

8. Irrelevant landing pages

If the landing page of your ad isn’t relevant to the search term, then ultimately the user will get best case scenario confused about what they’re seeing and worst case scenario annoyed. Don’t send people to irrelevant places, it won’t work in your honour.

Imagine looking for a dog walking service and coming through to a cat sitter. It may well be that you offer both services, but this person has a dog, and it needs a walk.

Tip: Whatever it says on your landing page, repeat it in your ad.

Tip 2: Regularly check your ads are going to the best landing page.

9. Not monitoring new campaigns, ad groups, ads or any changes

You can’t create a campaign, ad groups, ads, or literally anything with your PPC marketing and let it fly free and do its own thing. That’d be like setting a toddler free in a sweet store, something is either going to break, or get very expensive.

10. Wrong targeting

Unfortunately, this is a big trap. There are so many parts of targeting you can get wrong. Firstly you could be targeting the wrong keywords, which I covered already. But wait! There’s more. There’s Geo-Targeting and Audiences that you still need to consider. If your business doesn’t operate in Scotland, make sure Scotland is not being targeted. Similarly, if you’re selling menopause supplements, I doubt you’ll be targeting young males.

On a switch side to this targeting specific areas, for example, Southampton, and then popping the location name in your ad copy is likely to increase your CTR & it tells the user that you recognise their location.


11. Not doing your SQR reports

Your search query report (SQR) is where you’ll find what searches your ads have appeared on, use this to identify new keywords & negative keywords. This all ties back to being on top of your negative keywords and not wasting your money.

For a matter of context, I’ve written ads for a brand called ‘Nice’.

On their search query report terms like ‘nice things to do for my boyfriend’ & ‘nice things to call my girlfriend’ have appeared. Didn’t really align with their product which is electric gates. This was quickly round and resolved, but only because of an SQR report. Not keeping up to date with it can have negative (and costly) impacts on the account over time.

12. Not setting up conversion tracking

If a conversion falls in the woods & no one was around to hear it, does it make an impact? Set up your conversion tracking so you can accurately monitor success. Without it, you can’t tell what area of your account needs to improve.

So there are a dozen common mistakes made, although there are tonnes of common PPC mistakes so watch out for part two!

Thanks for reading feel free to send your opinion via social media or by getting in contact with our team.

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Meet the author ...

Maddie Crawford

PPC Manager

Maddie has worked in digital marketing since her apprenticeship in 2017 but quickly realised her true passion was in the PPC side of things! Since then she has worked across ...