Wasting budget on PPC campaigns?

PPC or pay-per-click campaigns are an effective way of targeting relevant users and showing them an advert that promotes your business. Unlike more traditional forms of media, such as TV and radio advertising, PPC allows you to select your targets, choose a budget and set how much you’d like to pay for a click to your website. It also offers effective tracking, so you can easily see how your campaigns are performing and identify exactly where your budget is being spent.


So, why are some advertisers convinced that PPC is a waste of money? In all honesty, it’s probably because these advertisers have limited knowledge of advertising on such channels and they haven’t utilised all the features correctly. In order to get the most out of PPC advertising, a professional approach is highly recommended. 


However, if you are running PPC campaigns yourself, here’s some quick wins you can check and implement on your account to make sure you are set up for success.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of identifying how users search for products and services on search engines. It is typically used for SEO purposes, to guide optimisations and the creation of on-site content, however, it is a very valuable process to do when starting a paid search campaign.


Researching how users search for your products and services will ensure that you add the correct keywords to your campaign. This means that more budget will be spent on high-intent terms that are more likely to result in action. Keyword research will also give you an idea of estimated search volume and expected cost per click (CPC), which can be used to work out how much budget you will need.     


Once you have completed your keyword research, you will have a list of keywords that you intend to target, along with the expected volume you will be able to achieve as well as the potential budget needed to satisfy these queries.


Keyword Match Types

When uploading to Google Ads, the default match type of keywords is ‘broad’. As the name suggests, Google will match your keyword to a wide range of search queries. For instance, on the keyword ‘mens trainers’, Google may show your ad for queries such as ‘new shoes’ or ‘which trainers are most comfortable for men’. This can be problematic as you may find some searches that you have paid for that are completely unrelated to your business. This is something you need to be aware of. 


There are two other match types available though – ‘phrase’ and ‘exact’. The definition of phrase match is that ‘ads may show on searches that include the meaning of your keyword’. For example, if your keyword is ‘mens trainers’, you may serve ads for searches such as ‘mens shoes’ or ‘red trainers for men’. A lot of phrase match queries will be relevant, but some may be irrelevant to you and your business. 

Exact match searches are matched much more closely to the keyword and can be defined as ‘ads may show on searches that have the same meaning or same intent as the keyword’. This means that Google deems all of the search queries have the same meaning/intent as your keyword. Using the same keyword ‘mens trainers’, exact match searches may include ‘trainers for men’, ‘mens sports trainers’. Most of these queries will be completely relevant to your business.


You’ll have much more control over the searches your ads are showing for if you use exact and phrase match keywords. Just be aware that broad is the default match type as this may be a reason why you are not seeing good performance.


Search Query Reports

Regardless of which match types you are using, you’ll want to regularly check the search queries that are causing your ads to show. This can be done by conducting a search query report (SQR). Without looking at SQRs regularly, you run the risk of irrelevant searches generating lots of clicks and spending lots of your precious budget. 


When you have identified irrelevant terms or phrases, you can add them as negative keywords so that your ads will not show when these words are searched again. 


Campaign Settings

Your campaign settings determine how your campaign will run. Things like budget, location targeting, bid strategy and network are all set at the campaign level. There’s a lot of different settings that need to be applied, so we have written a separate blog post to tell you what each setting means and what we recommend setting it to. 


The settings of a campaign can be quite overwhelming, but it’s important that you get it right as it can help your budget be spent in the right way. Take a look at our blog every time you set up a new campaign to check you have got these settings right! 


Ad Copy

So we’re confident with the keywords we have selected and we’ve applied the correct campaign settings. We now need to make sure the ads communicate the correct messages to our audience. When writing ad copy, we need to put ourselves in the user’s shoes and think about what would entice them to click. Using prices and promotions can help to differentiate our ads from the competition. 


It’s also important to include multiple headlines and descriptions in the ad, so that Google can optimise towards showing the best variation more regularly. We also recommend updating ads every so often to keep things fresh.


When writing ad copy, we also need to approach it from a relevance perspective. Is the ad relevant to the keyword that has been searched? If so, great! If not, how can we improve it to be more relevant to what the user is looking for. 


Landing Pages

Landing pages are the pages on your website that you send traffic to. It’s really important that you send traffic to the most relevant page as it can help bring costs down (if Google rewards you with a good landing page relevance score) and improve conversion rate. 


However, your PPC campaigns will only work as well as your landing pages. Completing the steps above will ensure you are reaching the right people with the right message. However, if your website isn’t set up for success, you won’t drive the action that you want the user to complete. You’ll be like a racehorse falling at the last hurdle of the Grand National. 


There’s a lot of great agencies and freelancers who specialise in conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and user experience (UX) whose job it is to make recommendations on where landing pages can be improved. But one of the main things to make sure of is that your call to action (CTA) is visible and tells users exactly what you want them to do whilst on your website. That could be to make a sale, or to get in contact with your team. Whatever this CTA is, make sure users find it easy to do.   



Anybody can do PPC advertising and Google has made it easier than ever for business owners to set up an account and advertise. But knowing how to do it properly is another thing. If you have tested PPC for your business and didn’t get the results you were hoping for, try implementing some of the tips above and see if your results improve. If not, contact 505 Digital who can have a look under the bonnet of your account and provide some further recommendations.     

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