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10 Reasons Your Pay Per Click Campaigns are Failing

Updated: Jun 14, 2018

Paid search marketing through Adwords, Bing Ads and other search engines can be a highly efficient way to drive traffic to your website. It is easy to set up. You add a few terms you think are relevant to your business, create some ad copy to tell everyone what you are offering, link it to your website and add your credit card.

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Are you winning with your pay per click campaigns?

Unfortunately, the deceptively simple set up process does not accurately represent the actual effort needed to run the campaign effectively. If one or more of these problems exist in your account, you are likely seeing very low results (if any) with a high price tag.

10. You did not organize your keywords into related ad groups

To the Adwords uninitiated, creating multiple ad groups to host variations for keywords doesn't make sense. The advertisements all go to the same website and refer to the same general service or product, so why go through the headache of separating out the terms if they words essentially mean the same thing? The problem here is search engines like Google rank the quality of your campaigns on how closely the ad triggered by the search term matches what people expect when they click on them. Low quality keywords cost more for you to bid on and have a reduced chance of appearing on the first page of search results.

9. You have too ads few per ad group

Not everyone who searches for a term will respond the same way to your creatives. Setting up at least 3 ad variations per ad group allows the search engine to rotate through the available creatives and help you identify what triggers a response in your audience.

8. You blast through your budget quickly but get no conversions

This happens for a few reasons. In some cases, your budget may be too low to accommodate the cost of the keywords. You may also have keywords that are too generic to appropriately target for your business or you have set to broad match, allowing any part of the keyword to trigger a bid. These runaway keywords receive a larger portion of the clicks and spend without contributing to the business with a conversion. Combined, these problems drain the available budget well before your peak search times, meaning that your ads will not show later in the day.

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Inbound Marketing Strategy

7. You've never changed your ad copy

Have you heard of ad fatigue? Even if you haven't heard the term, you likely can see the symptoms of it in your ad campaign if you still have the same advertisements now that you started with 12 months ago. Over time, people lose interest in seeing the exact same message on an ad, so rotating in fresh ad copy will help you identify what triggers your customers to click an ad.

I'll let you in on a secret, if you didn't already know it. The keywords you put into the account may not be the terms that ultimately trigger your advertisements. This can be highly advantageous to a campaign because a person can search a phrase or variation of your term. However, it can also be extremely expensive if you don't set up controls. In this case, the controls involve using [exact match], "phrase match", and +broad +match +modified to prevent completely unrelated search terms to trigger your advertisements.

5. You don't have any negative search terms

Negative search terms are another control needed to prevent your ads from showing for unrelated searches. They tell the search engine that you want to be seen for something like orange basket but not orange fruit basket, which helps focus your traffic toward more relevant users that are more likely to convert on your website.

4. You rarely (if ever) check your bids

Keyword bids can vary widely throughout the day. If you have your campaign set to manual cost per click but you never change your bid, you can lose out when your audience is most likely to be online.

search analytics, pay per click campaigns, onsite seo, mobile search, courtesy of Benjamin Dada @unsplash
Search Analytics

3. You neglect your onsite SEO

Onsite search engine optimization extends beyond the website back-end to include elements like UI/UX, navigation, appearance, content quality and keyword density. The same search engine that determines your placement on organic search uses the same criteria to rank your advertisements and keywords. If you haven't done anything to help your site rank organically, you are cutting your campaign off at the knees.

2. You send paid traffic to your home page

This is another common but costly mistake. When people visit your site from a search, they expect that the website they go to will be an exact match to what they were looking for. Further, they that they will not need to explore your site for long before they find what they came for and can move on easily into a purchase.

1. You're website is not mobile friendly

By far, this is the worst thing you can do to undermine your paid search efforts. More than half of all searches are performed on a mobile phone. Visitors have less patience for slow loading or poorly performing websites on a mobile device, which means that are likely losing more than half of your paid traffic on any given day.

pay per click, search engine marketing, serp, courtesy of Edho Pratama @unsplash
Google Search

Fortunately, you do not have to live with a poorly performing pay per click account. Even if your account has been running on autopilot for years, hiring an expert ppc account manager to optimize your account today can turn a money trap into a gold mine for your business.

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