THE BLOG
07/30/2014 11:35 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Ways New Google Advertisers Lose the Pay Per Click Game

Pay per click (PPC) marketing and Google Adwords is firmly entrenched as a viable online marketing method for a wide range of businesses. New advertisers are coming on board fast, but quickly learn that it's not as easy as first thought. There are a number of gotcha's to look out for. Let me explain:

#1 - The easy setup "rigged" to fool you

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Adwords makes it particularly easy for new advertisers to get started.

A few simple steps:

• Login to your Google Account and visit http://www.adwords.google.com
• Follow the Account setup process and provide billing information
• Create a basic campaign with some common keywords for your market, create some ads, set keyword bids and budgets

In fact the setup process is too easy and is akin to walking into a casino and giving the game operator your wallet and asking for advice.

They will tell you the basic rules of the game, but to learn how to play it's going to cost you.

"Talk to our in house specialist, it's free. And, here is a coupon for $100 in credits to see if your luck changes, or the worst of all: We will play the game for you!"

The subtle but powerful difference is that going to a casino for most of us is not the same as running a business. The entire system is rigged against you. But, you're thinking - maybe, with a stroke of luck you can beat the system.

Adwords is serious business. The ease in which a new advertiser can get set up with minimal understanding of the system and clouded perspective is the number one reason most new advertisers fail to succeed with Adwords.

Helpful resources to get started:
1. http://www.google.com/adwords/get-started.html
2. http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2013/05/30/google-adwords-starter-guide/
3. http://www.relevantresponse.com/paid-search-management.html

#2 - Fire and Forget

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A professional pay per click management company would normally set up a new campaign and over the coming 7 - 14 days monitor, and look at early data:

  • Impressions (number of times ad is shown), Clicks, CTR (click-through-rate), Ad position and more.
  • Adjusting as necessary to meet the campaign goals.
  • Monitor and begin modifications at least on a biweekly schedule.

Reviewing and analyzing the data that comes in can be a time consuming and intimidating task that puts off many advertisers. Understanding the data, let alone know what adjustments to make is a learned skill that takes time and experience to grow. And, when new advertisers check and adjust, there are poor results. They walk away thinking that Adwords doesn't work, and they become even more jaded.

That would be like going to the casino, giving the dealer or machine your credit card to charge what they like and then coming back in 30 days to see that how much you lost.

If an ad campaign is setup and then "forgotten" you can drop positive results also.

Helpful resources:
1. https://support.google.com/adwords/topic/3374694?hl=en&ref_topic=3119071
2. http://moz.com/community/q/what-is-a-good-daily-weekly-routine-for-ppc-management

#3 - Not Understanding the Nuances

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Any adult can walk into a casino and try any game of their choosing.

They don't need to understand the finer distinctions, and because of this the odds are in the favor of the casino. Some players learn as much as they can about their favorite game and increase the opportunities.

A more experienced advertiser who has done much work on their own to understand the subtle elements of Adwords is going to be in a far better position to work the system to their advantage.

My plea to new PPC advertisers who plan on managing their own campaign is to read as much as you can about how to set up and manage a campaign before you start, or tap the knowledge and experience of a seasoned professional. In the long run it pays for itself many times over.

Helpful resources:
1. https://support.google.com/adwords/topic/3119143?hl=en&ref_topic=3119141
2. http://www.searchenginejournal.com/manage-low-budget-adwords-campaign-lessons-learnt-spending-40000/67105/

#4 - No Tracking

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I can't count the times I see this with new advertisers where there is no tracking outside of what Adwords reports. No web analytics integration and no conversion tracking of any kind.

This would be like going to the casino and giving the dealer your credit card, not understanding how to play the game, leaving the casino and then coming back to get the bill and they don't know why you lost!

Without tracking in place new advertisers lose valuable information and no campaign should be running without accurate conversion tracking in place.

Helpful resources:
1. http://www.google.com/analytics/
2. https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1722054?hl=en
3. http://jonrognerud.com/why-ppc-marketing-is-the-profit-magnet-for-your-business/

#5 - Incorrect Campaign Settings

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Google is happy to set campaigns at a default configuration. They offer a number of recommendations. Unfortunately most of the default settings and recommendations are to Google's advantage and not the advertisers, designed to use an advertiser's budget as quickly as possible.

Much like learning to play a game at a casino, the house will have all sorts of recommendations. All of which are designed to the casino's advantage, Adwords recommendations in the interface or from an in-house specialist is always designed to keep the advantage towards Adwords and away from the advertiser.

Campaign settings are the foundation of growing a well performing campaign and is often overlooked by new advertisers all together or incorrectly applied.

Helpful resources:
1. http://searchengineland.com/default-campaign-settings-in-adwords-the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-179311
2. http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2011/12/05/adwords-settings-ultimate-guide
3. http://www.cardinalpath.com/adwords-default-settings-that-are-wasting-your-money/

In Conclusion

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What most new advertisers do not realize is that the entire Adwords system is designed to part them with their money as quickly as possible. The difference is that people are running their businesses when they use Adwords rather than entertainment (as in a casino).

The positive is that unlike a casino, understanding how the system works, adjusting based on the detailed information that is available and keeping as much control as possible in their hands allows new advertisers to leverage Adwords to maximum advantage.

While I believe that everyone involved in PPC marketing should have at least a basic understanding of pay per click, to really get the most out of PPC it takes skilled, dedicated professionals.

Photo credits:
ramson
Celestine Chua
jurvetson
Giulia van Pelt
.sarahwynne.
HJ Media Studios


Do you agree with me? What you have found? Please comment below: