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5 Ways To Lose Money On Your AdWords Campaign

Get the most out of your PPC budget by addressing these Google AdWords money wasters:

1. Letting Bad Ads Live in Your Space

A primary key performance indicator for a PPC campaign is the Click Through Rate percentage (CTR%). This figure is a huge deal because it tells you if your ads are worth clicking on. No clicks = no traffic = no chance to make money from your campaign.

Aim for 3 to 5 different ads per category to allow for a constant testing scenario. Monitor your ads at least every 60 days and tweak ad copy with a CTR% under 2.5% This helps get qualified users to your site because your ads are so amazing they just had to click! And for the love of all that is holy, if the CTR is outstanding (say, anything over 3%), leave it alone!

Lastly, try to avoid using rhetorical questions in your ads. An example of this would be a roof repair company with an ad that says: “Leaky Roof?” Given that the person just searched ‘roof repair’ or other similar terms, it’s obvious their roofing situation isn’t ideal. Let the year 2005 keep their ad copy and instead opt for ads that naturally incorporate relevant keywords while letting searchers know how your products and services benefit them. Above all, be compelling! A good alternative headline could be: “A Leaky Roof Leads to Home Damage. Prevent This. Call Us Today For A Free Estimate!” This way, you’re incorporating relevant keywords, creating a sense of urgency and at the same time guiding the user through what to do next.

2. Playing the Name Game

Don’t buy your business’s name. Despite the differing opinions in the industry on this topic, it boils down to this: if you bid on your own name, you’re paying for business you would get anyway, as this user clearly already wants to or has already done business with you. Of course you want to be found when your customers are searching for you but leave this heavy lifting to your SEO.

Buying competitor names may seem like a strategy, but just don’t do it! Put yourself in the average searcher’s shoes. You search online, click on the first result that appears, and……what the….that’s not what you typed in! GAH! (You hit the back arrow or open a new window, muttering under your breath the entire time about that damn Google, re-typing your search as the minutes tick by…..).

Now consider a non-savvy user. Poor soul just wants to make a hair appointment with her usual stylist, Evelyn, at Roller Sets to Go and the first site that pops up is Rick’s Slick Styles. Oh, the confusion! That’s just mean. Don’t be that business.

Another take – say you own a business called Al’s Auto Sales and you decide to make your competitor’s business name a keyword to be “strategic.” There’s a likelihood that the person who’s searching for your competitor already bought a car there and needs repairs or service. Yikes! Do you want to pay for those clicks?

3. The Long Game – Paying to Be a Resource

If you have a decent budget to throw toward your PPC campaign (kudos- you’re killin’ it), you can afford to show up when a user is in the research phase of the buying cycle. This could help you be perceived as an authority in your field, with the ideal end result being this person will remember how amazing you are and search for you by name when it’s time to buy.

This method can certainly bring gains eventually, but the execution requires ample budget and robust site content to back it up. If you’re knowledgeable and willing, you could utilize a flexible bid strategy to allocate a specific amount to research keywords, just be prepared to invest time in monitoring the allocation.

If you’re running a tight ship budget-wise, your best bet is to use keywords that will trigger for someone who is in the ZMOT (zero moment of truth) phase of the buying cycle, wallet in hand. If this is you, don’t feel bad — there are tons of small businesses watching this same movie. Without popcorn. And sneaking in candy.

4. Overlooking Cost per Click for E-commerce

When navigating optimization for an e-commerce business, think about your products and the likelihood that the person buying the $1 item will eventually buy the big-ticket stuff. The important part is making sure you’re not paying $4 per click for the $1 part if there aren’t enough people buying the high-profit items. Check into your CPC (cost per click) compared to your profit on your products to shore up your campaign.

5. I Paid for WHAT? Not Analyzing Your Search Queries

Best for last – always perform search query reports! This report is housed within your AdWords dashboard and reflects exactly what the user has typed in before clicking on your ad. It is astonishing how much money is thrown away each day, month, and year by not going through these reports at least once every 30 days.

At Federated Digital Solutions, we have seen some seriously crazy things after taking over campaigns! We had a client that sold metal signs. In one month, over half of their budget was spent on people looking for their Facebook sign in. This absolutely could have been the same person, as the search queries were super-close-together and went something like this: “facebook sign in” (nope) — “facebook sign up login” (nope) — “sign in to facebook” (nope) — “log in sign up facebook” (nope) — “facebook sign up” (nope), and many more nopes.

Imagine the confusion on the user end of this, when every single time, they clicked they got that same sign company website. (This also makes the case for not using broad search terms when possible. In this case, ‘sign’ was the keyword that triggered all this heinous buggery).

We also had a bank that was bidding on competitors’ names and had paid hundreds of dollars every month on searches from people who wanted to log in to their existing accounts with those competitors.

Even the most seemingly cut- and- dry business can be paying for clicks that don’t relate to what they do. A company that sells and installs home windows, for instance, can pay big bucks to show up when users are typing things like “install windows 10,” “windows 8 install error,” or “windows installation code,” etc. This isn’t something that you would automatically think about when setting up your taxonomy, but if left undiscovered, it could cost a ton-load of your hard-earned cheddar.

Our big takeaway here is that people are unpredictable, and if you’re not looking at what they are typing in before they click on your ad, your campaign could be hemorrhaging money on wildly irrelevant searches.

As you can see, running a Google AdWords campaign can mean a lot of maintenance. These tips should help keep your campaigns in tip-top shape. If you need help with your Google AdWords campaign or simply want to delegate your campaigns to a local team of AdWords-certified professionals, Federated Digital Solutions is happy to help! Contact us for an appointment when you’re ready.

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Heather Riley

Written by Heather Riley

Heather Riley is Director of the Campaign Team for Federated Digital Solutions. She has been in the advertising industry for over 15 years and is fortunate enough to be able to leverage that experience into helping maximize the ROI for clients by implementing processes for campaign optimization and monitoring, as well as helping develop customized advertising strategies to help clients move forward in a way that aligns with their business goals.

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