PPC campaigns are the bread and butter for most businesses.

While generating organic traffic and plumping up your social media are all great strategies, sometimes paid PPC campaigns are enough to send your business into overdrive.

So many brands however, have no idea what they are doing when it comes to running effective and efficient PPC campaigns.

In fact, out of the biggest mistakes we see businesses make, PPC campaigns are often number one.

This is somewhat understandable however, as running an efficient PPC campaign is both an art and a science.

It takes a lot of time, research and practice and most businesses just don’t have this kind of time to spare.

Most business just get by on running mediocre campaigns hoping that they will continue to send in a steady stream of customers.

In truth, most businesses have no idea that they could be receiving double or even triple the number of customers or sales just by making a few simple tweaks and avoiding some common pitfalls.

PPC campaigns can also be costly and many businesses are afraid to experiment and would rather stick to the tried and true path. While this can have its benefits, often it can leave your business struggling for air.

While it is best to leave PPC campaigns to the experts, here are some common mistakes that we see brands making time and time again.

This pitfalls are often the number one reason that your PPC campaigns are not operating at full capacity. They are also the reason why your brand may not be seeing the same results as your competitors.

In this article, we are going to take you through the top 5 pitfalls that businesses make when it comes to running an effective PPC campaign and what you can do to fix it.

So, let’s get started…

1. Keywords

Keywords are the most important component of any PPC campaign, which means that choosing the right keywords is paramount.

Keywords trigger your ad to be seen and it is so important that your ad is being seen by the right audience at the right time.

Across the board, we have found that generally only 20 percent of keywords are responsible for generating sales. The other 80 percent of keywords are sucking up valuable funds and eating into your marketing budget.

This theory has even been supported by a study that looked at over 2000 Adwords accounts and found that only 12 percent of keywords accounted for all of the sales.

They also found that 88 percent of the other non-performing keywords were eating away an average of 61 percent of the budget.

This means that the average brand is wasting over 60 percent of their budget on keywords that just don’t matter and are not yielding any results.

Perhaps take a minute to look at your own keywords, do the same statistics hold true for you?

If you are like most businesses, you may find that only 20 percent of your keywords are actually effective and the rest may just be chewing into your all-important budget.

The reason why such a large percentage of businesses let this happen is because they believe that bidding beyond their best keywords is going to give them more opportunities.

While this may be true in certain cases, it may also harm your campaign in the long run. This is not just because of budgetary reasons but also because your ads will start showing up for irrelevant keywords, which will earn you unqualified clicks.

To revamp your approach to your keywords, it is much more effective to remove keywords that are underperforming and stick to what is doing well.


How to Remove Under Performing Keywords

To remove under performing keywords, start by download your keyword data and take a look at the last 3-6 months. If any keywords register as producing zero conversions, consider deleting or pausing them.

Even though you are likely to see a dip in traffic, the results are definitely going to pay off as your traffic is going to be far more qualified.

Just take a look at this case study-

One client was spending $352k on a PPC ad campaign over the course of three months. For every 500 impressions they were able to get 1 lead. They were getting 8.4 million impressions during this time, so they were getting a healthy amount of leads.

When we looked further into their metrics however, we discovered that only 1 percent of these leads were converting into actual paying customers.

This meant that one sale was costing them $2000, which was much higher than they should have been spending.

After reviewing their keywords, it was discovered that the client had been spending nearly $147k on keywords that were not bringing in a single lead.

By eliminating these keywords, they were able to bring down their costs by a whopping 42 percent, saving them a stack load of cash.

While removing low-converting or non-converting keywords is definitely a smart move, there is one exception exception to this rule–

Keep bidding on your brand keywords. Even if your brand keywords have yielded zero conversions, it is still in your best interest to keep bidding on them.


They help to lift your quality score and earn you more visibility in search results that use your brand name.

This is helpful if you are trying to grow your brand or if people are already familiar with the name of your brand.

Deleting low yielding keywords will help to cut costs and maximise your campaign, but if you want to take things to the next level you also need to stop bidding on broad match keywords.

Don’t Bid on Broad Match Keywords

Broad match keywords do not bring qualified traffic to your site. In fact, if you really want to take your PPC campaign to the next level, we recommend avoiding bidding on keywords that don’t match altogether.

The reason for this is that exact match keywords yield the highest conversion rates every single time. This makes your PPC campaign far more effective and helps you to get highly qualified leads and customers to your site.

The only downside with exact match keywords is they generally they have low search volume. This can be a benefit however, as it will help you to keep costs down and ensure that you are only receiving the highest quality in traffic.

Increase spending on high value keywords

Now that you have removed budget-draining keywords and keywords that don’t match, it is time to think about allocating those extra funds into performance.

To do this, you need to double the amount you are spending on keywords that are performing very well. This is going to help you take your campaigns to the next level and is going to see you potentially double the amount of customers and leads.

In fact, by doubling the budget on high performing keywords, you can triple and quadruple your sales in months!

Just take a look at this case study-

One client was spending $50k per month on Adwords but about 98 percent of their keywords had a conversion rate less than 1 percent.

After removing the low converting keywords, we doubled the budget on the keywords that were doing the best. This cut their budget but it also drastically helped to increase sales.

In fact by the end of the month, the client saw a 52 percent increase in sales and in just 6 months, the client tripled their overall sales. To boot, they were also spending 25 percent less.

2. Your Ad Copy

The next most important component to running an efficient PPC campaign is your ad copy.

You may have the best keywords in the world, but if your ad copy is not up to scratch, you are not going to see the results you were hoping for.

Your ad copy has to demonstrate clear value and has to offer something to your audience that is going to entice them to click and go to your landing page.

The most important feature of creating an compelling ad is definitely the headline.

The Headline

Most PPC platforms will only allow 25 characters for the headline. This means that you need to come up with something engaging in 25 characters or less. In fact, the ideal headline should be 3 to 4 words max.

To pick the best headline, you first have to know what your audience is searching for and their intention behind what they are searching for.

Generally people are going to use search terms that help to address their problem or solve a problem.

If you can think of the main problem that your customers are facing and how your product is the solution, it may give you an idea of what words you should include in your headline.

Call to action 

The next most important component of your ad is your call to action. Your call to action has to be, you guessed it, actionable. It has to engage your audience enough to click through and go to your landing page.

The best call to actions are the ones that directly promise to solve the problem that your customer is facing. The best call to actions also offer something of value, such as a free trial or a some sort of guarantee of results.

You may have to experiment with different ad copy to see what resonates best with your audience, but pay most attention to your headline and call to action.

It is also important to keep in mind that if you promise something on your ad, it should be clearly communicated on your landing page as well.

Another big problem we see is enticing ads that fall short once the user clicks over to the landing page.

If you make a promise or a claim in your ad, your landing page should back up that promise or claim immediately.

The Landing Page

Statistics show us that over 55 percent of your visitors won’t stay on your landing page for more than 15 seconds.

This number is significantly decreased if your landing page doesn’t immediately address what you have promised, offered or wrote about on your ad.

The best way to avoid your audience leaving your landing page before their time, is to repeat the same language on your ad copy and on your landing page.

This is going to help visitors stick around longer and will make your ad more relevant and appealing.

It is also important to keep your landing page simple and to the point. You can read more about effective landing page design here, but the bottom line is to design your landing page with one intention in mind.

3. Think Profits and Return Of Investment (ROI)

Another big mistake that we see when it comes to PPC ad campaigns is using them for all the wrong reasons.

PPC campaigns should be about profits, not about how many leads you get or how much traffic you can get. If you are not turning those leads into something profitable, then what’s the point?

Sure, if driving a huge amount of traffic to  your site or landing page is your intention, then perhaps this doesn’t matter so much, but most businesses out there want traffic that is going to create a customer.

When you can keep this as your focus when it comes to creating your PPC campaigns, it can get you focusing on the right metrics, which in turn can help you to boost your campaigns to your next level.

Many brands make the mistake of just looking at the costs per conversion as the only metric, but this is not going to give you the full picture.

Once you have worked out your cost per conversion you have to go that extra step to determine your cost per sale. 

Most businesses forget this step and end up quitting on campaigns that are actually turning them over handsome profits.

Once you have determined your cost per sale, you will be able to see which campaign is yielding a high return of investment.

For example, let’s compare both of these campaigns-

Campaign A has a cost per conversion of $234 and Campaign B has a cost per conversion of $60.

On first glance you would think Campaign B is the winner, but now lets determine the cost per sale for each of these campaigns.

Campaign A generated 36 sales with a cost per sale of $339 each. This works out to be a 442 percent ROI.

Campaign B generated 12 sales with a cost per sale of $535 each. This works out to be a 280 percent ROI.

As you can see from this example, even though Campaign A had a higher cost per conversion, it had a much higher ROI than Campaign B.

This is a basic example that can show you how focusing just on cost per conversions can be misleading.

To get the whole picture, you have to look at the cost per sale, the revenue and the overall ROI.

4. Keep Testing

Another huge mistake we see businesses make is that they stop testing. They find a recipe that works and then stick to it.

While sticking to the tried and true is great, search algorithms and search terms are constantly changing, which means that your advertising campaign also needs to reflect this.

Statistics show that only 1 percent of businesses make changes to their advertising campaigns every 3 to 4 months. This may explain why many businesses fail when it comes to running effective PPC campaigns.

While running an effective campaign does take a lot of work and can be time consuming, it is well worth the hassle if you know what you are doing.

It is important to remember that PPC campaigns are not something that you can just set and forget about. They need constant tweaking and updating every week for the maximum results.

This doesn’t meant that you need to drastically change things, but it does mean that you need to spend just a little time monitoring, tweaking and making some new additions.

Inactivity has also been shown to decrease your quality score and impression share on certain ad platforms, so it is important to also keep this in mind if you want your campaigns to shift to the next level.

In fact, by not tweaking your ad copy the average small business stands to lose around $1000 per month. That is a lot of money, especially if you are just getting started.

Some of the best tweaks and updates to your campaigns that you can make include- adding negative keywords, refreshing ad copy, adding seasonal ad copy and tweaking your call to action.

You may also want to experiment with making your ad copy more inviting by adding a phone number or offering a free gift or incentive to see if that improves your ROI.

If you want to see how your business stacks up against the competition when it comes to your the quality of your PPC campaigns, here are some stats that can help —

In 2013, the average Adwords account of a small business had just 2 campaigns, 9 ad groups, 18 text ads, 212 keywords and 3 landing pages.

While there is nothing wrong with these stats per se, it is important to monitor them and keep tweaking things as you go along.


5. Don’t Be Afraid to Spend

When you are new to running a PPC campaign it can be very difficult to know where to start because you have no statistics to measure or work with.

We see this a lot with new businesses or small businesses who are afraid to spend big on PPC campaigns without seeing the proof of results. While this is understandable it can also turn into a huge stunt in growth.

PPC campaigns are expensive, however you have to eventually take the plunge and start spending in order to see results.

Most businesses, young or small, can cheaply and effectively work out what their customers want and what is going to appeal to them. This is your most important statistic yet, and as long as you can determine this, there is no reason to be nervous about spending on a PPC campaign.

For the maximum growth, you need to be willing to spend, test, make mistakes and try again.

It is also important to keep in mind that if you want to test the viability of an ad, you have to have a healthy budget in order to get accurate results.

Brands that start small and then increase their budget gradually often end up wasting thousands of dollars and a lot of time.

If you are going to make the investment into PPC campaigns, start at your maximum and then work down- not the other way around.

When you bid high, it also allows you to more quickly and more accurately determine the success of your keywords and your ad campaigns, saving you more money in the long run.

For those on a tight budget, here are a few helpful suggestions that can ease some of the spending pain –

  • Use ad scheduling: find the most active times that your audience is searching for your products or services and only show the ad during that time. You can also schedule your ad to show at cheaper times of the day.
  • Decrease your bid position: this will reduce the cost per click but wont necessarily decrease your visibility.
  • Add negative keywords: this helps to improve your quality score and decreases your cost per click.

These three simple tactics can help to keep costs down and ensure that your PPC campaigns are operating to their fullest capacity.


Running an effective PPC campaign is hard work, however the results are definitely worth it. For most businesses, PPC campaigns can turn over huge profits and can lead to both rapid and steady growth.

While PPC campaigns take a lot of trial and error, avoiding these five pitfalls is going to keep you head and shoulders above the rest.

So, take the time to assess the health of your PPC campaigns and see where you can make some tweaks and adjustments.

Chances are by rectifying these five issues, you are going to see a welcomed decrease in costs and a staggering increase in sales and profits.