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6 PPC Budget Mistakes to Avoid

*This article was last updated on 19/10/2023

While the allure of instant visibility and traffic is tempting, mastering the art of Pay Per Click (PPC) budgeting is pivotal. It helps ensure that every penny spent yields a worthwhile return. PPC budget mistakes can be especially deadly to smaller companies.

An ill-planned budget can quickly drain resources. That leads to missed opportunities, possibly even tarnishing a brand’s online reputation. Today, we’ll cover nine common PPC budget mistakes advertisers frequently make. 

Mistake #1: Not Setting Clear Objectives

One of the cardinal mistakes many businesses make when allocating their PPC budget is a lack of clear, defined objectives. Having ambiguous or ill-defined goals for your campaign is like going on a journey without a destination. 

With clear objectives, you avoid spreading your budget too thin across various ad groups or keywords. The converse often leads to a dilution of your campaign’s effectiveness. 

For instance, if your primary objective is brand awareness, your strategy might differ considerably from a campaign geared toward direct sales or lead generation. 

How to Set Clear Objectives

  1. Quantifiable Goals: Instead of aiming for “more traffic,” set specific targets like “a 15% increase in website visitors in one month”.
  2. Relevance: Ensure your objectives align with broader business goals. If your company aims to increase app downloads, your PPC campaign should reflect that.
  3. Time-Bound: Set a specific time frame for achieving your goals. This helps allocate budgets based on time periods and assess campaign performance against set benchmarks.
  4. Flexibility: While having clear objectives is essential, it’s equally crucial to be flexible. The digital landscape is ever-evolving; your objectives should be adjustable based on real-time data and changing market dynamics.

Mistake #2: Ignoring Negative Keywords

The primary focus of PPC campaigns is often on the keywords you want to target. However, the list of words you want to avoid targeting is an equally essential yet frequently overlooked aspect. These are called negative keywords.

So, what exactly are negative keywords? Simply put, they are words or phrases that prevent your ad from being triggered by a specific word or phrase. 

For example, if you’re selling high-end luxury watches and don’t want to appear for searches related to “cheap watches,” “cheap” would be added to your negative keyword list.

How to Avoid Ignoring Negative Keywords

  • Regularly Review Search Terms: Monitor the queries that are triggering your ads. This will give you insights into any irrelevant terms you might be appearing for.
  • Update Negative Keyword Lists: As you identify irrelevant terms, add them to your negative keyword list. Remember, the digital landscape and user behavior change, so this is an ongoing task.
  • Use Broad, Phrase, and Exact Match: Negative keywords, like regular keywords, can be set to broad, phrase, or exact match. Understand the differences and use them to refine your targeting.

Mistake #3: Forgetting About Mobile Users

The world today is increasingly mobile-centric. With smartphones becoming integral to our daily lives, many online searches and interactions happen on mobile devices. Yet, many advertisers are often engrossed in optimizing their campaigns for desktops.

This oversight can lead to a neglect of the mobile audience and a glaring oversight in your PPC strategy. You’re missing out on a substantial chunk of potential customers by neglecting mobile users.

Mobile users often exhibit different search behaviors and intent compared to desktop users. They might use more conversational queries or look for local solutions. You need to optimize for mobile to tap into these unique behaviors.

How to Cater to Mobile Users in Your PPC Campaigns

  • Responsive Design: Ensure your landing pages are mobile-responsive, providing an optimal viewing experience across different devices.
  • Mobile-Optimized Ads: Tailor your ad copy, call-to-actions, and extensions for mobile users. Consider utilizing “click-to-call” extensions or providing directions to your physical location.
  • Segment by Device: Separate your PPC campaigns by device type. This allows for better budget allocation based on performance and enables more targeted ad creation and optimization.
  • Adjust Bids for Mobile: Use bid adjustments to increase or decrease your mobile bids based on performance relative to desktop. If mobile drives higher conversions, consider increasing your mobile bids to capture more traffic.

Mistake #4: Neglecting to Review and Adjust the Budget Regularly

The dynamism of the digital landscape means that what works today might be less effective tomorrow. Yet, one of the prevalent mistakes in PPC campaigns is the “set it and forget it” approach.

That’s when advertisers allocate a budget, set their campaigns live, and then rarely revisit their budgeting decisions. By not reviewing your PPC budget regularly, you might miss out on new and lucrative opportunities or continue investing in areas that no longer yield results.

Best Practices for PPC Budget Reviews

  • Regular Monitoring: Make it a habit to review your PPC performance at least weekly. This will give you a clearer picture of where your budget is spent and which areas need adjustments.
  • Flexibility in Allocation: Don’t be rigid with your budget distribution. If specific keywords or ad groups perform exceptionally well, consider reallocating more budget to them.
  • Seasonal Adjustments: Recognize and anticipate seasonal trends in your industry. For instance, if you’re in the retail sector, you should increase your budget during the holiday shopping season.
  • Automated Rules and Alerts: Use the automation features of platforms like Google Ads to set rules or alerts. For instance, you could create an alert for when your CPC exceeds a certain threshold or your ad spend reaches a specific amount.

Mistake #5: Overlooking Ad Extensions

Ad extensions, often seen as the unsung heroes of PPC campaigns, are additional snippets of information that can be added to your Google Ads. They enhance the visibility of your ad by providing more details, direct links, or actionable information. 

More prominent ads capture more attention, potentially increasing your click-through rate (CTR).

Extensions also allow users to take actions directly from the ad, such as calling your business or navigating to a specific page on your site. 

Best Ad Extensions to Consider

  • Sitelink Extensions: Add links to specific pages of your website, guiding users directly to what they might be interested in, whether it’s a product category, a special promotion, or a contact page.
  • Call Extensions: Enable users to call your business directly from the ad, especially useful for businesses where phone inquiries or bookings are prevalent.
  • Location Extensions: If you have a physical store or office, this extension shows your location, helping drive foot traffic or letting users know how close they are to you.
  • Structured Snippet Extensions: Highlight specific aspects of your products or services, like brands you carry or services you offer.
  • Review Extensions: Showcase positive reviews or accolades, building trust with potential customers from the search results.

Mistake #6: Failing to Test and Optimize Ad Copy

A/B/ Testing can help you avoid PPC budget mistakes.
A/B/ Testing can help you avoid PPC budget mistakes. (Source: Nulivo Marketing)

Crafting the perfect ad copy is more of an art than a science. However, it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” scenario. Even the most compelling copy might only resonate with some segments of your audience. 

Yet, a common misstep many advertisers make is sticking to one version of ad copy without testing variations to see which performs best.

Without testing, you’ll never know if there’s a version of your ad that could drive more clicks or conversions than your current one. Different segments of your audience might respond better to various messages, tones, or calls to action.

How to Test and Optimize Ad Copy Effectively

  • A/B Testing: This involves running two variations of an ad simultaneously to see which one performs better in CTR, conversions, or other relevant metrics. Once you have a clear winner, you can use that as your primary ad and test another variation.
  • Focus on Key Elements: Test headlines, descriptions, display URLs, and calls to action. Sometimes, a minor change, like a different verb or a more compelling adjective, can make a significant difference.
  • Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion: This feature allows your ad copy to adjust dynamically based on the search query. It can increase relevancy and, consequently, CTR.
  • Analyze and Iterate: Regularly review the performance data of your ads. Understand why certain variations performed better and apply those insights to future copy.

Final Thoughts

Successfully managing a PPC budget is like steering a ship through constantly shifting waters. The digital seascape is ever-evolving, influenced by changing algorithms, competitive landscapes, and the diverse preferences of the online audience. 

Yet, amidst these challenges lies the promise of substantial rewards for those who can adeptly navigate these waters. You can significantly amplify the return on your advertising investment by sidestepping costly PPC budget mistakes.

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