Pay-per-click platforms such as Adwords and Adcenter can be extremely profitable. Unlike search engine optimization, paid search can deliver targeted traffic overnight, yet plenty of businesses fail miserably with their PPC campaigns. Once a business fails they tend to write off PPC and deem it as an unprofitable activity which is a shame because more often than not the failure is avoidable.
In this article I will discuss the biggest reasons businesses fail with PPC.
I see this all the time. I get asked to see whats wrong with an account only to discover that the account has 1 campaign, 1 ad group, the ad group has 500 poorly selected keywords, and the geographical targeting is too wide.
Don’t get me wrong, if I was tasked with a PPC campaign and I had limited experience then this is exactly how my account might look like. The problem with rushing a setup or simply not having enough experience with PPC is that it almost always leads to failure. This problem is compounded in Adwords because a poor setup will result in what’s known as a lower quality score. This leads to increased costs for every visitor who clicks on your ads.
This seems like a no brainer but I’ve seen people running campaigns for months while spending thousands of dollars all without tracking conversions. Having a conversion goal and tracking it will not only show how effective (or ineffective) your efforts are but it will also allow you to make data driven decisions that will help you get better results. Not utilizing the built in conversion tracking that most PPC platforms provide is one of the biggest reasons why businesses fail with PPC.
Look, PPC is competitive; you have to make every single visitor count and without proper landing pages your conversion rate can take a significant dip. The main purpose of a PPC landing page is to remove any distractions that lead away from the main conversion goal, whether that’s grabbing information, getting them to buy or whatever else. The best way to do this is to create specific landing pages that are used for PPC only. There are some exceptions where the existing website can be used as is (like some ecommerce sites) but in many cases landing pages are a must and not having them is a big reason why many businesses fail with PPC.
Having someone who knows what they’re doing manage your campaigns is important but make sure the fees make sense. For example, if you’re spending $800 a month on your campaign then you shouldn’t be paying $800 a month in management fees. Some agencies can charge quite a bit for their services which can turn an otherwise profitable PPC account into one that is barely sustainable or worse yet completely unprofitable.
Stopping too early
Paid search relies heavily on data. It is very unlikely that a new account will be profitable right away even if all the other things I mentioned are done right. In fact, it should be expected that in the first few months the account is likely to lose money. As data comes in, changes can be made that get rid of poor performing keywords and ads. This, along with bid management, is when the account should start becoming profitable. Now, I am not suggesting anyone waste thousands of dollars for 1 conversion but simply that time must be allowed for an account to develop through optimization.
A good PPC manager will let you know what to expect during the initial months. If an account is not sustainable and profit is unlikely then a good account manager should have enough data by the 3rd month to make that conclusion. Far too often I see companies stop after their first month simply because they didn’t turn a profit right away.
PPC can fail for plenty of reasons but in many cases failure is avoidable. If you’re someone who tried PPC but didn’t get the result they wanted then ask yourself if any of the above reasons could be why things didn’t work out. In any case, it’s important not to discard PPC at the first sign of failure otherwise you might very well be throwing away a great source of revenue and profit.