PPC Part 2 - Report Central Blog

Tired of these 5 PPC Mistakes? We Were Too! – Part 2

Have you read our blog post on common PPC mistakes – Part 1?

We covered such PPC sins as boring and non-relevant copy, non-converting websites and most importantly, missing out on conversions by not bidding on your own brand term – mistakes we discovered ay our own costs, where we learning PPC from ground zero.

In the second part of this step by step article, we will take you through more common Adwords mistakes and how to avoid them, helping you make more money in the process from your PPC campaigns.

Keep reading if you want to perfect your next PPC campaign to a T!

  1. Don’t Focus on the Wrong Metrics


It’s true that you should optimise PPC campaigns to get the most conversions within your budget, but not all conversions are equal.

So, what should you do?

Apply these principles to your Adwords campaigns:

  1. Focus on quality conversions. This means looking beyond traffic-based metrics (impressions, clicks, click through rates and cost per click) and focusing on end sales, retentions, repeated purchases and referrals.
  2. Analyse your conversions. From this you can determine which converting keywords are bringing in the money and what words are not worth the chase.
  3. Use Google Value Track Parameters. Want even more insights? This is a great way of finding out keywords match type, ad position, device and network, so you can optimise your campaigns better for traffic that’s coming to the site.
  4. Make the most out of Google Analytics. Ensure your Google Analytics is set up properly to record the most useful data for your business.
  5. Calculate how much investment your PPC campaigns are returning. Doing this means you can see which campaigns are generating clicks, leads and the important thing – business! Calculating ROI can be complex, so start by simply calculating how much your campaign costs and how much business it generated.

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Remember, you don’t want to optimise your campaigns just for clicks or conversions. You want to optimise the campaigns that will pay. Apply these 5 principles to your campaigns and you’ll reap the rewards.

  1. Using Broad Match on Short Tail Terms


Unless you’ve got an obscenely large budget, using broad match on short tail terms is a big mistake.

Imagine if you’re selling shoes and want to get as much traffic to your site as possible. Broad match bidding on the term shoes will do just that. It will get you tons of traffic, but this comes at a big cost. You’ll have to fork out a lot of cash and will have very few sales to show for it. We’re guessing you’d rather spend your marketing budget on getting conversions, not just clicks?

So, what should you do? Well, as a minimum, stick to using an exact match for large traffic but low user intent terms. Use device, location and ad schedules bidding to optimise your spend, and build up a solid negative terms list.

But, as we mentioned before, whilst using an exact match term shoes will get you a lot of clicks, these will be very low quality and probably not convert- which is obviously not what you want.

Think about it, there are thousands of different shoe types that people search for every single day. The chances that they are looking specifically for what you sell is very slim.

The answer? Create a campaign with high user intent ad groups. If you sell red high heel leather shoes then create an ad group around this. Although this term will generate far less traffic, those searching will have a high user intent. They know exactly what they are looking for, and when they come across it they’re likely to make a purchase. You’re finally on the road to winning the PPC game!

  1. Not Understanding Keyword Match Types

As you’re reading this blog post you’re probably already aware of different keyword match types in Adwords. There’s no single handed ‘secret’ or ‘strategy’ to which match type works the best. It all depends on your product, competition, budget and other factors. What’s important is using the right ones.

You should start by using all match types. Monitor which one is bringing in your desired results. Now, you can pause what doesn’t work and shift your budget to what does.

Our experience shows that long tail (3 words or more) exact match terms have a high click through rate and the highest conversion rate at a low cost per conversion. This is because of high user intent. So, you’ll probably want to use these.

But, make sure you also tap into variations that your buyer might be typing into the search engine. This is where phrase and broad match modifiers come in. Although terms using these two match types are typically lower ‘quality’, they are invaluable in helping you expand your long tail keywords list. So, unless you’ve thought of every possible variation your buyer is searching for be sure to take advantage of phrase and broad match modifier keyword match types.

  1. Getting Your Landing Page Wrong


If you want to run an awesome PPC campaign you need to get your landing page right. It’s not difficult, but many marketers make simple mistakes that make a big difference.

Here’s what you should avoid:

  • Not testing your conversion funnel in Adwords and missing out on seeing any errors that might come up in coversion process
  • Focusing on the wrong metrics i.e. clicks not conversions
  • Not using remarketing and using ‘bid only’ in remarketing display campaigns
  • Combining search and display networks
  • A message mismatch i.e. your keyword is shoes, your advert says dog shoes and your landing page says shoes for cats
  1. Keep Your Negative List Updated

If you have been following these rules and ideas from Part 1 article, by now you’ve set up an amazing PPC campaign. You’ve written beautiful, engaging copy and some of your keywords are generating conversions. That’s great! But why are some of your chosen keywords costing you a fair amount of cash? Do you wonder if you could be squeezing more from your PPC budget?

The answer is that your adverts are showing in Google’s search for irrelevant search queries. No-one wants to waste their precious marketing budget. So, what can you do to avoid this?

You need to eliminate terms that aren’t bringing you any business.

There are a few simple steps you need to take:

  1. Think of every possible term you do not want your adverts to show for and make a list.
  2. If you’ve been running PPC for a while head to ‘Keywords’ > ‘Search Terms’ tab on Google Adwords and download the list of all search queries for the last 90 days and make a list of all the terms that aren’t relevant.
  3. Create a negative terms list in ‘Shared Library’ and enter terms from your list. You can choose negative keywords match type to be set to exact, broad or phrase.
  4. Finally, apply to your campaign. If you are running multiple Adwords campaigns you might want to create separate lists that are relevant to a particular campaign.

Once you’ve curated your ‘Negative Terms List’ you can keep on reviewing and adding to it. Aim to do this every week, or if your campaign generates a lot of impressions you can even do this daily.

This may be a tedious task but at the end of the day it will save you a lot of wasted budget, meaning you can spend the money saved on keywords that are bringing in business, i.e. conversions.

Ready to work with a Google Partner Agency or tackle PPC solo?

Mistakes are a funny thing. Everyone tells you to keep making them as this is the only thing to learn from but nobody is willingly taking the wrong steps just to expand their knowledge and expertise.

So, call them mistakes or opportunities, these snippets of PPC wisdom is what really makes a difference now in our everyday PPC work and boy, we are glad to be learning!


Now that you have taken time to look into PPC mistakes and ways to avoid them, you might be thinking about ways to improve your existing PPC campaign, how PPC marketing fits in your overall digital marketing strategy or even, f this is something you wish to oursource to allow you to focus on the clear direction and strategy for the business.

At Report Central we believe in getting you customers, not just leads and Adwords is one small part of how we do that. Very often this means not just creating highly-converting PPC ads, but also optimising landing pages, building clever CRMs, and building epic data analysis reports to show you very tangible, visible results.

After all, great results in PPC don’t mean just creating leads, but turning those leads into paying customers.

If you are ready to take your sales to the next level with PPC, reach out to us at Report Central, one of Island’s few Google Partner Agencies.

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