As you give your marketing campaign a good hard look at the start of the New Year, you notice the things that are working successfully for your brand – and the things that aren’t. Yet just because a marketing tactic hasn’t been successful doesn’t mean you should automatically denounce it.

Take pay-per-click for instance. If it’s not working for you like you had hoped, you’re far from alone. It’s actually quite common for advertisers to hate on PPC or claim that it has no merit. Truth be told, PPC is quite sensitive, and if you don’t have all your ducks in a row, you’re likely to see it flop. Yet pay-per-click remains an important marketing tool that should be part of any comprehensive marketing strategy.

You probably remember when Google switched all searches over to encrypted searches using https servers, making keyword data unavailable in Google Analytics for organic search results. There’s no way to tell what keyword phrases people are searching for when they land on your website, unless you are a paid advertiser.

Also, mobile is surging in popularity and will only continue to do so. It’s not just a mobile audience you must consider but also the many people who jump from one device to the next. With the buying funnel becoming so complicated, a strong pay-per-click campaign is an effective way to reach people.

If you haven’t been pleased with the results of your campaign, it’s time to figure out what is out of place so that you can make the necessary adjustments and enjoy more success. Changes are welcome, but do not erase PPC from your marketing life.

So what’s causing your PPC campaigns to crash and burn? We can’t be certain of the exact reasons, but we’re fairly confident it has something to do with one or several of these problems.

You’re Not Doing Your Homework

Homework isn’t just for high school students. Marketers, too, need to do their fair share of homework. Your assignment: understanding your target audience, their online behavior and what channels they’re active in. Use this information to create messages that your audience will understand and be interested in.

If you’re selling purses, you may find that your audience includes females in the 25-49 age group. Crafting a message to say something like, “Kick off spring with our lowest prices on purses” would be relevant to your audience.

To better understand what your audience is searching for, use keyword search tools such as the Google Keyword Planner tool. It’s free for advertisers and allows you to find search volume and competition level for various search terms. Start with keywords that best describe your products or services, or search for the keywords that your competitors are using. Look for your audience to be active on these channels.

Other tools you can try include Keyword Spy, SEMrush and SpyFu.

You’ve Forgotten What You’re Working Toward

You wouldn’t start a workout plan without having a goal in place. You would have a clear objective in mind with small tasks to complete along the way. The same is true with pay-per-click, yet so many marketers dive into the ocean with no plan in place. Or, they forget where they’re swimming and end up getting lost with all the other fish in the sea.

As you create your PPC campaign, clearly define what goals you hope to achieve and how you will get there whether it’s branding, leads or sales. The goals should be measurable so that you can see how well you are performing and what adjustments need to be made to keep you on track.

You’re Not Targeting Your Audience

Another common mistake of PPC campaigns is the lack of targeting. Targeting is so very important because if you don’t target a specific demographic, you’re going to be wasting money on putting your ads out to the wrong people. You wouldn’t want to show advertisements for purses to males, right?

Your ads can also be specific to location, devices and language. You can target people within a specific radius, which is helpful for local businesses that are looking to increase foot traffic or grow their local customer base. Mobile audiences tend to have different needs than those using a desktop, so you may also choose ads that are optimized for certain devices.

You’re Missing a Call to Action

CTAs are short, sweet and simple, but some marketers fail to recognize their importance. You may get tired of seeing the same CTAs – Click here! Call us today! Sign up now! – but you don’t have to go with the same verbiage. Google does have some restrictions on call to actions, but you are pretty safe with general terms like download now, view more and start today. CTAs are important because they guide the visitor through the funnel and help them complete the action such as starting a free trial or requesting a free consultation.

You Don’t Have a Unique Landing Page

When users click on your ad, where are they directed to? It’s tough enough to get a person to this point, so it’s always mind boggling that advertisers don’t go that extra step to hold the user’s interest. If you’re using your home page as a landing page, stop now. You should have a unique landing page that users land on when they click on your ad. You’ve been warned.

If the ad is for pink purses, the user should be brought to a specific page that lists all the pink purses you offer. This keeps the person on track with buying a pink purse and prevents them from bouncing off your site. Mobile users especially want fast information, and you can bet your bottom dollar that they they won’t take the time to navigate through your site to find pink purses.

You’re Letting Negative Keywords Hurt You

Negative keywords are words and phrases that you don’t want your ads to show for. Maybe you sell purses in every color but you don’t sell leather purses. Leather purses would then be included as a negative keyword so that if someone is searching for it, your ad won’t be shown. Take the time to include negative keywords in your list so that you can strengthen your PPC campaign and increase ROI.

You’re Not Measuring or Testing

Remember when we told you that marketers need to do homework? Well they need to be measuring and testing, too. When setting your goals, determine how you will measure their success. If you don’t have a way to measure progress, it will be a guessing game, something that you can’t afford at this stage. You need to know what is working and what is not. For example, if you want to generate quality leads from your PPC ads, how will you measure the number of leads you’re bringing in?

Testing is equally important. If you find that your PPC ads aren’t generating many leads, you need to test other factors – pronto. You may make changes in the target location, messages, keywords, landing page and so forth. By making the proper adjustments, you can fine tune your campaign and ensure its success.

Thankfully, you’re not alone. Tools to help you along the way include free measurement tools and Experiments in Google Analytics that allow you to test various elements simultaneously.


As we said before, pay-per-click campaigns should be included in any strong marketing plan so don’t think about removing it entirely. Even though SEO offers long-term value, PPC provides a steady flow of traffic and offers results immediately. With the ability to set your own budget, you can easily manage your PPC campaign for a predictable amount of money.