It is an interesting but unfortunate fact that AdWords management is a constantly evolving creature. Just when we think we’ve mastered it, some newfangled technique rears its head. While this keeps us on our toes, it also makes room for a lot of misconceptions regarding best practices. In fact, I’m willing to bet you’re making at least a few of these most common AdWords management mistakes…
1. Your Ad Groups Are Stuffed to the Gills With Keywords
If you’ve got ad groups filled to the brim with as many as 50 keywords, we need to have an intervention right now. More keywords = More views/clicks/money, right? Wrong. But don’t feel bad—it’s a common misunderstanding. The problem with using too many keywords in one ad group is that it makes it impossible to make your ad and landing pages relevant.
Let’s say I own an Italian restaurant in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, and I want to run an ad that gets local foodies to come by and try my famous gnocchi. It’s best that I choose a select number of keywords that are very specific, for example, “Italian cuisine in North Beach.” If I go hog wild trying to attract every hungry citizen of San Francisco, throwing in keywords like “food in SF,” I’m going to waste a big chunk of money on people who aren’t looking for something other than Italian food.
The basic rule is that you don’t want to appeal to all people—you want to appeal to the right people. At most, you should use 10-15 keywords per ad group. But don’t forget that Single-Keyword-Ad-Groups (SKAGs) can be highly beneficial:
2. You’re Running Too Many Ads at Once
While you should certainly run more than one ad at once, running too many ads within one ad group can be cumbersome and inefficient. You should run no more than three to four variants of the same ad within one group. More than that, and it’ll be too difficult to tell which ones are working and which ones aren’t. And once you’ve determined the winner out of the two to three that you’re A/B testing, replace the losing ads with new variants so that you can make sure your campaigns are always improving.
3. You’re Measuring Success by CPC and CTR
Don’t get me wrong. Cost-per-click and click-through-rate are definitely important metrics to keep track of. But what do they really tell you about results in terms of actual sales? You should always keep track of the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) for your PPC campaigns, or else you won’t know how many of those clicks led to a sale.
4. You’re Beating the Dead “DKI” Horse
Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) can be a great tool—when used properly. It can make your ads personalized for each user, which can inspire them to click on your ad. But sometimes, DKI doesn’t go as planned and your ad can be displayed for some pretty bizarrely unrelated keywords. It can also leave you with some awkwardly phrased headlines:
So, instead of beating the dead horse that is DKI, consider this: stop using it altogether.
I know—crazy, right? Maybe not…
If you use SKAGs, which I highly recommend you try, then you don’t even need DKI in the first place. This eliminates the risk of irrelevant ads and allows you to customize your messaging better. It also means that you won’t have misspelled words just because they’re commonly searched, and you won’t have to worry about the hullabaloo that could happen if DKI inserts a copyrighted or trademarked term.
And the best reason of all to stop using DKI? You can write copy that actually means something. Instead of just relying on automated, robotic sounding headlines, you can create an ad that inspires users to interact.
5. You’re Not Taking Advantage of Ad Extensions
Ad extensions give that little extra “something” to your ads. And not only do they inspire more clicks and look more professional, but they can actually affect your ad rank too. Even better, AdWords now supports automated extensions. Just don’t expect AdWords to magically take care of your extensions for you. You need to check your settings and ensure that all your extensions and snippets align with your business and that they’re functioning correctly. For instance, double check that your business hours are listed correctly so that you don’t miss important leads.
6. You Haven’t Added Any Negative Keywords
Selecting the right keywords for your ads is ultra important. But there’s another aspect you may be neglecting: negative keywords. Negative keywords are an AdWords management gem because they allow you to rule out specific terms that are unrelated to your business or services. You can start by adding negative keywords that seem like no-brainers. But you should also check which search terms are triggering your ads in order to find opportunities for new negative keywords.
For instance, let’s go back to our Italian restaurant example. Say we notice that our ad was triggered for searches like “24-hour Italian restaurants in San Francisco,” we could add “24-hour” to our list of negative keywords. This way, we eliminate wasted ad spend on irrelevant clicks from the insomniac foodies in the city.
And last but not least, be sure to check your match type settings. Selecting “exact match” defeats the purpose.
7. You Don’t Have Landing Pages for Your Ads
This, my friend, is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Many people think that it’s enough to simply link an ad to a homepage. However, when you do that, the destination won’t match the offer from the ad and you may lose people in the process. Instead, create customized landing pages for your ads that have the same offer and feel. Now, don’t panic—you don’t have to go off and create a thousand landing pages. In fact, depending on the ads, you could create just one landing page and use dynamic text to change headlines and certain areas of text to make it relevant to each ad.
If you’re making any of these AdWords management mistakes, don’t feel discouraged. Just go through and remedy the necessary items. And if you need any help along the way, the SevenAtoms team is standing by. Contact us today to find out how we can help you take your PPC campaigns to the next level with our excellent AdWords management skills.