I’ve spent quite some time auditing PPC accounts during my time in search engine marketing and have seen a recurring pattern across multiple incoming accounts. Here’s a list of the top five mistakes I’ve come to see implemented incorrectly across paid search accounts.

#1: Conversion Tracking

First, let me clarify something very important: a conversion for the sake of PPC does not necessarily mean the point at which a lead converts into a customer. It can mean anything from an inquiry form fill, phone call, website registration or sale. In order to optimize any PPC account efficiently, it is crucial for conversion tracking to be set up across the account. Without it, marketers are forced to optimize based on clicks and other metrics that do not fully represent the customer’s end behavior.

Optimizing to clicks, CTR and other front end metrics can distort the health of an account and speaks little to the quality of the traffic that is driven to a website. Conversion tracking is relatively simple to set up especially if done from the start of a campaign launch. For an in-depth, step-by-step look into setting up various types of conversions, check out Google’s conversion setup guide.

#2: Ad Extensions

Did you know that you can amp up your ads with nearly twice as much real estate, for free? That’s right. Free. Both Google, and to a limited extent Bing, offer ad extensions at no additional charge. The majority of these extensions will appear only when your ad reaches the top three positions, and you still may need to be receiving a certain number of clicks in order to have the ads appear. Nonetheless, it’s important to implement these extensions in order to acquire the highest amount of ad space on the SERP and improve your CTRs.

Sitelink Extensions

Using sitelinks allows you to apply a number of page-specific links under your general ad copy. What’s more, you can utilize the Enhanced Sitelinks component by adding two description lines (35-character max) to take up even more space and send your visitors to the most relevant landing page.

Call Extensions

On desktop ads, you can apply campaign-specific numbers to appear on your ad. On mobile ads, a click-to-call button will appear as seen below.

Location Extensions

Attach the address of your company to your ad at the campaign level (if needed for multiple geo-targeted campaigns).

Social Extensions

Is your brand on Google+? If the answer to that question is no, open a new tab right now and get on it. You won’t believe the difference this can make on rankings and search traffic. In any case, once you’re set up on Google+, you can link your account and your number of followers will display underneath your ad. Talk about peer validation.

#3: KPIs

One of the most important pieces to your PPC account is understanding which KPIs correlate with each specific client. Every industry is unique and within these verticals companies value certain KPIs differently. For instance, some companies may have websites that consider form fills as PPC conversion metrics. Conversely, many companies value phone calls as the main conversion metric. Last but not least, many PPC accounts are linked to actual sales and consider revenue or ROAS as a top KPI.

Understanding what your main KPIs are is crucial to successful optimization and reporting. Whether you are using a third-party call-tracking software or are simply tracking form fills, make sure that you go through the proper steps of implementing conversion tracking in order to monitor and collect all data for your most important success metrics.

#4: RLSA/Content Remarketing

Even if you aren’t yet familiar with the term “remarketing,” chances are you have experienced it while browsing the Internet. Remarketing refers to the ability to re-target users who have previously visited pages on your site and deliver specific messaging to them. This stems from the theory that users who have already explored a website are further down the sales funnel and more likely to convert than new users. This means that you can bid more aggressively on these users by utilizing remarketing tactics.

There are two types of remarketing as far as PPC is concerned: Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) and Content Remarketing. The former refers to serving specific ads to previous visitors on the SERP through different bidding tactics and more targeted ad copy. The latter term, content remarketing, refers to image ads that show up on the Google Display Network and are delivered to previous site visitors.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads:

Content Remarketing:

#5: Branded campaigns

Are you bidding on your own brand name? If not, someone else might be. Brand terms are generally inexpensive and are usually a necessary component of a successful PPC campaign.

Even if you have a strong organic presence, bidding on your own brand terms allows the brand to possess more real estate on the SERP. The more space you can take up, the better. Even if you are in the #1 organic position, if a competitor is bidding on your name, you have now been pushed to #2 – on your own brand name!

Example of a brand PPC campaign topping an organic listing:

If you’ve missed any of these five components in your paid search account, don’t despair! We’re here to help you make sure you’re running a top-notch search campaign. Contact us today if you have any questions!