Is PPC really worth tearing your hair out for?

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Next to me a colleague is swearing like a sailor.  Someone searched for the term “Email Marketing Slippers”, and then proceeded to click onto our website.  And yes, we get charged for that one.  As he looked through some of the ridiculous searches that had landed people on our page, I had to ask him is “PPC really worth tearing your hair out for?”

He raised his eyebrows and grunted at me.  For want of a concise answer I suppose.

It seems that a lot of back-breaking effort goes into monitoring and adjusting PPC platforms that I wonder if there really any benefit to having such a system in place?  When you have various other channels to help you find leads, are the PPC routes little more than a black hole, sucking through time and money.

The problem is Google AdWords and other PPC platforms are not plug-and-play.  They take some work.  They take some working out.  It is no wonder that busy marketers question how effective PPC is.

It turns out, however, that there are some very common basic mistakes that are being made.

Net PPC ReachPPC Keywords need working on

Choosing what keywords to rank for sounds easy.  If you have done any form of SEO before, you may think you have this sussed.  But in fact, AdWords can be complicated.  It is all too tempting to try and rank for the most generic terms possible to net the largest reach.  This can be problematic.

Imagine you are selling shoes online.

And, your keyword is “Shoes”.

This might capture a lot of people.  A lot of clicks, all going to your site.  But there is more than one type of shoe.  The people looking for Spiderman slippers will end up on the same landing page as those looking for Doc Martens desert boots.  The problem is your landing page shoes a nice set of high heels on it.  The visitor will bounce off again, and you still have to pay for the clicks.

Use longtail keywords and exact match keywords.  If your visitor come onto the site after typing “Women’s suede stilettos”, they are more likely to convert because you have presented them with exactly what they were looking for.

Words PPC WastedPoorly crafted PPC ads


Writing PPC ads might be the reason you’re tearing your hair out.  It is an exercise in trying to fit a novel’s worth of descriptive content onto a postage stamp.  You have to sell your company, in a detailed enough way so as to avoid too many landing page bounces.  Yet, you have to be succinct.

Too many people waste this limited space on words that just don’t mean anything.

Words like “optimise”.

When you see words like optimise, the assumption is that you are going to improve your product or software.  If your ad is about optimising something, it could literally mean about a thousand things for every product.  How are you optimising?  What will the result of this optimisation be?  Moreover, why does anything need optimising?

If your ad is vague or doesn’t use the big header text to plainly describe what benefit your product will have to the user, then you are unlikely to get the click.  People want specificity.  People want to be told straight away.  They don’t want to have to ask a series of questions to get the simple answer you could have given them in the first place.

Grandma Suck EggsMulti-variate testing

At the risk of teaching all you grandmas out there to suck these PPC eggs, testing is a key component.  It is surprising how few people spend time split testing their ads.  In fact, if you aren’t performing some form of multi-variate test with your PPC, then this might be the reason you are tearing your hair out.

You may have logicalised the parameters in your head. The perfect content is written, and you are absolutely sure it is content that will have customers flocking to you.  Not only that, you decided upon the times that these ads will go out based upon your knowledge of the industry.


But things might have changed.

It would be foolish to assume you know everything about your industry.  And, it would be foolish to make assumptions on the use of other people’s time.  It might turn out, however. that you are absolutely correct.  Tuesday afternoon is the time to capture leads.  It might also be the case that the monochrome ad attracts more people than the colourful one.  But, why take the risk when you can test and get it right early.


Not continually optimised

Unfortunately, you don’t just set up a PPC account, put in a few keywords and then sit back and watch the money roll in.  PPC needs continuous attention, otherwise you really will be tearing your hair out.

The hardest month is always the first.  When you are setting up the account you have no idea whatsoever what is going to work.  You can put in all of these keywords, make educated guesses and hypothesise as to which campaigns will do best.  However, you can’t expect those results to turn out just like your best guesses.

Whilst you are rolling out your first campaigns, you need to keep an eye on what is working and what isn’t.  Are there some keywords that you need to add to the negative list?  Is one particular campaign not pulling them in as you would expect them to?

Keep an eye on your quality score with AdWords, and look at what campaigns are converting.  If you are getting a lot of clicks but no conversions, it might be that your landing page needs optimising.  This is a never-ending task.  Just like any form of CRO, the work is never done.

 Tracking ConversionsNot tracking conversions

This to me is a no-brainer.  Tracking what has converted.  Look at what keywords have been successful.  And, at the CPC of your keywords and campaigns.  Sounds good right?

So why are so many people not doing it?

Now I am tearing my hair out.

You would be surprised to learn that a lot of beginners don’t see the importance of tracking their conversions.  However, by tracking your conversions you are able to adjust budgets with an educated perspective.  Moreover, by using any form of analytics, you are using previous data to learn how to improve and strengthen your ongoing tasks.  However you dress it up, that is a good thing.

Stop tearing your hair out over PPC

Is PPC really worth the effort?  Yes, it is.  However, is it worth losing your mind over?  No, it isn’t.

Anyone who relies so heavily on PPC that they have time for nothing else is certainly going to find themselves spending a lot of money, and there will be periods of complete silence and no conversions.  It is an expensive way to go and shouldn’t completely replace any of your other marketing efforts.

Organic might be the slow burner, but at least it isn’t costing you much beyond the time it takes to create the content that you are using.  PPC, is probably best used to supplement your marketing efforts as opposed to completely taking it over.

Please let me know how you are finding the PPC journey? Are you getting the most out of AdWords?  Is there anything you feel that these readers should know?  Please let us know in the comments below.

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *