Pay-per-click advertising can be a quick, effective, and measurable way to get more visitors to your website, but it can also be the fastest way to drain your marketing budget dry. If you’re spending a lot of money on Google AdWords or other PPC platforms and not seeing results, here are 5 reasons why your pay per click efforts may not be working.

Your AdWords display isn’t set up correctly

Before you start using AdWords, it’s a REALLY good idea to get some basic training on how it works. Not having your settings dialed in correctly can negatively impact how your campaigns are performing. Are your ads showing up everywhere? You may be tossing out too wide of a net to capture people and bring them to your site. You have three choices:

  • Search Network with Display Select–reach people as they use Google search or visit sites from across the web.
  • Search Network Only–appear near Google search results and other Google sites when people search for terms that are relevant to your ad’s keywords
  • Display Network Only–show ads on websites and apps when your keywords are related to that site’s content.

Choosing the right one will slow down your spend and get you in front of a relevant audience. Start with search network only until you’re more familiar with how your campaigns are functioning.

You’re not using negative keywords

You should have a pretty good idea what keyword phrases you want to target as you set up your campaigns. After that, it’s a very good idea to watch and see what terms caused a click. If those terms aren’t relevant to your service or product, you can mark it as a negative search term, so your ad won’t show up for that phrase in the future. To do this, go to the “keywords” tab and select “search terms” to see what terms your ads showed up for. Keeping an eye on this can help the money drain.

You’re not using ad extensions

Ad extensions are a type of ad format that shows additional information about your business. Ads improved visibility and often increases the number of clicks by improving the click through rate. The most common ones are:

  • Sitelink
  • Callout
  • Call extension

There are others, and if you use them correctly, they can make a big difference!

You’re not targeting the right people

targeting the right peopleNo company should use PPC should target everyone. Who is your audience?  If you have a good idea what your demographic is, including locations, make sure to add those parameters into your Google AdWords so that your ads are only showing for people who may be within your target audience. You can narrow your reach by a specific age range, gender, parental status, or household income, among other parameters. Be sure to use this to focus your efforts!

You’re in a bidding war

Google AdWords has this handy tool that tells you what you need to spend to be on page one. As they say, page 2 of Google is a good place to hide a body, meaning people rarely go to page two of Google; they simply redefine their search parameters, so you want your ads to show on page one, but they don’t have to be THE #1 spot! That can be a very expensive proposition if you’re in a competitive industry. Remember, paid search is just one of several tactics you should be using. One place you SHOULD bid for is your own brand name. A lot of people make the mistake of not bidding on their own brand. They assume that since they already rank for their own brand, they don’t need to advertise for it. But here’s the rub:  if you aren’t advertising for your brand, other companies will. They’ll use your brand name for an ad group and target your visitors. Yes, you’ll rank first for the organic term, but your competitor may be advertising directly above that result.

There is a LOT to know when it comes to effectively managing your PPC campaign. There are several great articles on why your PPC isn’t working. If you’re wondering why your pay per click efforts aren’t working, take the time to learn Google AdWords or hire a small business marketing professional to manage your PPC for you. Should small businesses invest in paid search?  Yes, but only if they know what they’re doing and don’t make these common mistakes that will give you little return for a lot of money.

Patty Hughes
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