When done right, pay per click (PPC) marketing can be incredibly beneficial for your business. A poorly run campaign, however, can consume your marketing budget and offer next to nothing in return. Here we look at a few common PPC mistakes and give some advice on how to avoid them.

1. Not doing your homework when it comes to keywords

Many marketers try to guess what keywords they should bid on, or predict search behaviour based on their own search patterns. There is no reason to work in the dark like this. Marketers aren’t trying to reach other marketers, they’re trying to reach consumers. Customers might approach their purchases with a different mindset, without the niche knowledge that marketers have. It’s advisable to make use of the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to find out what people are really searching for on Google.

2. Assuming all ad systems are the same

Once you’ve set up your Google AdWords account and tested it for a few days, you can be reasonably confident that the campaigns will run well, with continued testing and experimentation. Don’t make the mistake of transferring your settings over to Bing Ads and assuming that you’ll see similar results.

Bing Ads is not the same as Google AdWords. Where Google is reasonably accurate at guessing the context of searches, Bing will match anything that contains a given keyword. A search for “PES Trainer” is just as likely to bring up advertisements for training shoes and sports stores as it is to show sponsored results relating to the Pro Evolution Soccer video game. If you don’t plan for this when setting up your Bing account, you’ll end up with a high bounce rate and a wasted PPC marketing budget.

3. Failing to test your landing page

Getting people to click on your Google or Bing Ads is just part of the battle. Once they’re on your site, you need to close the sale. Proofread your sales pages before you start the campaign. Test the purchase process and make sure everything works so you don’t lose customers. Run short campaigns to begin with and track your conversions in Google Analytics.

4. Thinking your campaign is perfect

The final mistake is the biggest one of all. Never rest on your laurels when it comes to online marketing. Even if you have a campaign that works well, you should not stop looking for other opportunities. Tastes change, competitors open up and new products launch. Never stop learning and testing.

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ClickThrough is a digital marketing agency, providing search engine optimisation, pay per click management, conversion optimisation, web development and content marketing services.