Common Mistakes in Search Ad Campaigns

Common Mistakes in Search Ad Campaigns

Learn about common mistakes companies make with paid search advertising.

Mistakes with paid search advertising cost companies time and money—and quickly.

Search engines have made it so easy to start advertising campaigns that companies rush in and often get burned.

If you want to make money with your paid search ads, not lose it, avoid these most common mistakes.

No Defined Audiences

You don't want to waste precious marketing budget serving an ad to someone who isn't in your target audience. Defining audiences limits the people who see your ad to a more targeted group, helping you maximize your budget.

For example, you can narrow the target audience for your ad based on ages, interests, and demographics. (Privacy restrictions make this more imprecise than you might think, yet setting parameters still helps.) Also, you can tell search engines to show your ad only to people who have visited certain pages on your website. This will help ensure you don’t pay to have an ad for a specific product show up for people who look at your company career page.

No Product or Landing Page

You want your ads to take people to a specific, relevant landing page that matches the ad they see in its featured product or service, messaging, and overall design and branding.

People will get frustrated and turned off when they click an ad and end up on a general company home page—which requires them to dig for the information desired—or on a page that doesn’t seem to match the ad they just clicked.

The only exception to this rule is if you have bought search advertising tied to your overall brand or company name; in this case, sending people who click the ad to your website’s home page may make sense.

Not Using Negative Keywords

Negative keywords help ensure that the people who see—and click—your ad have the same needs and wants as the people you target with your offering.

For example, take FrogDog. We’re a marketing agency. We might have search advertising for terms like “social media marketing,” but then we will use negative keywords like “how to” and “what is” to ensure that our ads don’t show up for people seeking information on how to implement social media marketing or on how to define social media marketing.

Of course, we don’t mind if the people who visit our site get information they need from our website—we hope they do, in fact—yet as they aren’t in the market to purchase our services, we don’t want to pay to show them ads.

Negative keywords help companies target their budget toward the people who are looking to buy their products and services.

Budget and Expectations Don’t Match

Paid search advertising can seem low-cost at the outset: You can set a daily budget—even $5 per day—for your campaign.

However, you must spend a certain minimum to see results. Otherwise, you can spend $5 a day for months, if not years, and never get a viable new-business opportunity or customer. When you find your search-ads budget threshold and invest it over time, you will see return on investment for search advertising.

The budget threshold differs based on the offering and types of search ads you want to run. However, a fair rule of thumb would be to assume you need to spend at least $2,000-$2,500 per month on this one tactic to see results. (And remember: No marketing should ever rely on just one tactic—so your overall marketing budget should be much higher than this amount each month.)

You Set It… and Forgot It

Paid search campaigns require a lot of planning and keyword research before they go live—and after they go live, they require continual monitoring and adjustment to maximize budget and deliver ongoing results.

Watching the data from your campaign after it begins to run will help you identify improvements to further target your audience, improve your campaign components (i.e., the ads you deliver, the landing pages to which they connect, and the information and forms on each landing page), adjust the date and time that your ads get shown to people, and deliver increasingly higher campaign return on investment.

If you set a campaign and forget it, you’ll miss opportunities and waste valuable budget.

You Set up the Ads Yourself

Paid search is complicated. There are seemingly endless options when you create a new campaign. If you don’t know what you’re doing when you set up a paid-search ad campaign, you can make extremely costly mistakes.

Yes, hiring a professional costs money. However, professionals know how to ensure you get the best return on your paid-search investment—a return that will more than cover the cost of their expertise and the overall campaign.

No Overall Marketing Integration

As mentioned above, no successful marketing effort relies on any one tactic. Marketing gets the best results when it runs as a coordinated campaign of tactics that work together in a coordinated fashion to deliver exponential results. Paid search is just one tactic in a suite of tactics you should have running if you want to market your company effectively.

Further, paid search campaigns will not succeed without other marketing efforts working in concert to amplify their effects and move people through the marketing funnel and into the sales funnel.

The dedicated landing pages that ads deliver to people when they click through need graphics, text, white papers, videos, and beyond. All this needs to match your branding. Further, when people fill out the form or forms on the landing pages, they need to get added to your e-mail marketing databases and to other marketing workflows you have in play. Otherwise, you’re missing opportunities.

Avoid the Search Ad Pitfalls

FrogDog can help you avoid these common mistakes in search advertising campaigns and ensure that your marketing gets results.

Our integrated marketing packages will help cover all your marketing bases. We’ll even give you a free consultation to help you think through what marketing efforts make the most sense for your specific situation. Contact us today.

Posted: Sep 24, 2018
Updated: Oct 15, 2020
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