If you’re looking for a way to grow your business, you need to put your products and services in front of more people. And while there are certainly plenty of free traffic sources for small businesses and marketers who want to get creative, there’s really only one predictable way to acquire customers. That’s through paid traffic. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, most businesses mess up. In this article, we’ll explain why this is (and how you can avoid a similar fate).

The Truth About Most PPC Ad Campaigns

If you want to know the truth, less than 25 percent of PPC ads produce any conversions. That means 75 percent of PPC ads are a waste of time.

The reason most PPC ad campaigns fail is that there’s no underlying strategy. Most marketers take a lazy shotgun approach where they “spray and pray” that they reach a few buyers. But in reality, effective PPC advertising requires a much more focused approach. You need a plan – and that starts with no longer making the following mistakes:

  • Not Enough Keyword Research

There’s nothing more important for a PPC ad campaign’s success than keywords. If your campaigns are consistently flopping, it has something to do with the keywords. In all likelihood, it’s a keyword research issue.

Keyword research isn’t something you do once and forget about. It’s an ongoing activity that you need to participate in regularly. Every time you do keyword research, you’ll find new opportunities and potential phrases. There are plenty of tools that can help you accomplish this, including Google Adwords Keyword Tool. You can also hire a PPC ad manager to run your campaign for you. In this case, keyword research is part of the package you pay for.  

  • Poor Keyword Integration

Researching and identifying the right keywords is only half the battle. Once you have your keywords identified, you have to use them correctly. If you’re confident that your keyword research is good, this means your mistake is probably one of implementation. 

Ad platforms have something they call a “quality score.” This is a score that’s assigned to each ad. The better the score, the better your cost-per-click, ad positioning, etc. The lower your score, the less motivated the advertising platform is to display your ad. 

If you want a high quality score, you need to use your keywords well. This means serving ads that have keywords that are consistent with the larger ad group. You also want to avoid spammy keyword usage (e.g. Click here for a free car!).

  • Poor Landing Page

It’s not always the ad that’s underperforming. In a lot of cases, there’s a lack of consistency between the ad and the landing page/website. If a user thinks the ad is selling or insinuating one thing and then the page they land on doesn’t properly align with that promise, conversion rates will be low. The landing page needs to be a consistent match with the ad. It should also have a user-friendly interface.

“PPC simply cannot make a website better. PPC is the marketing that gets someone in the door,” one ad expert explains. “The job of the website is like the job of the salesperson; they need to close the deal. The best traffic quality going to a horrible site will not convert well.”

If you’re getting plenty of clicks but not a lot of conversions, it’s possible that the landing page is your issue. Spend some time studying the page you’re sending traffic to and look for ways to improve the consistency and user experience.

  • Poor Tracking

It’s impossible to run a high-converting PPC campaign if you aren’t religiously tracking the numbers and studying the metrics. Thankfully, this is easier than ever. Every PPC ad platform, from Google to Facebook, offers rich analytics and the ability to analyze and compare key performance indicators (KPIs) for each ad set and campaign. Keep your finger on the pulse by studying these numbers. 

Flip the Script

Just because you haven’t had success with PPC advertising doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Stop blaming the channel and start considering how you can adapt your own strategy to ensure optimal results. 

By avoiding the aforementioned mistakes that plague most marketers, you can instantly give your next ad campaign a stronger foundation.