In the hands of an amateur, pay-per-click advertising can be a disaster. Many a business has lost significant dollars to Google Adwords because they (or the “expert” PPC firm they hired) were learning as they were going along. Make no mistake, there is a steep learning curve. To make matters even more complicated, Google constantly adds new PPC tools, updates tools, adds new services, changes the bidding and budget options and often just changes the rules without much fanfare. It’s quite a wild ride sometimes.
But if you decide to jump in and take your chances as a PPC do-it-yourselfer, steer clear of these four newbie mistakes:
1. PRESS PAUSE
When you’ve gotten to the point of setting up your PPC campaign and creating your ad groups, keyword list and ads, set your campaign to “pause” until you’re sure you have everything in place. Everything. Google may start running your campaign within minutes of set-up. Don’t risk having your campaign start up before you’re ready. Once you’re confident that your keywords, ads, budget, geotargeting and every minor detail are exactly how you want them, let it fly. Do keep a close eye on it after that!
2. GET TO KNOW YOUR PPC KEYWORD SETTINGS
Be super-careful with your keyword settings. A very common amateur mistake is setting keywords to “broad match” and placing the ad at risk for showing on irrelevant search queries. You might think that no one would click on an ad that has no relevance to what he or she is looking for, but people do click on random ads. It happens all the time and every click costs money. If your campaign has high dollar keywords with a high cost per click, one bad click can really damage your budget. Read up on those keyword match types so you understand exactly how they work.
3. YOU PROBABLY DON’T WANT TO TARGET THE ENTIRE WORLD
Geotargeting is a very important setting that is often overlooked by inexperienced PPC managers. In the “locations” setting, you select the geographic areas where your ads will be seen. The default is generally the US and Canada. Put careful thought into your locations targeting so you don’t have to pay for clicks from people that won’t be buying your products and services.
4. THAT PESKY DISPLAY NETWORK
The default “networks” setting is “all available sites.” That includes Google search (and search partners) and the Google Display Network. Until you understand what the Display Network is, turn it off. It can be very dangerous to your budget if you don’t manage the placements properly.
There are plenty more opportunities to make mistakes in Google Adwords. So do your homework before you begin. Or better yet, hire a reputable PPC firm.
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