You might’ve heard that some companies are able to make a 2:1 profit ratio for every dollar they spend on ad campaigns, and it’s true. Maybe even more. But that sort of success depends on how optimized your ad campaigns are, and there are a lot of little mistakes that businesses make.

Setting up ad campaigns isn’t the most user-friendly experience, but getting lost in the details doesn’t need to be common. In fact, most of the mistakes business owners make with PPC ad campaigns are rather easy to avoid, as long as you know what to avoid.

In this article we’re going to cover 4 common mistakes businesses should avoid in their PPC advertising campaigns, which will help to increase your ROI.

Poor Campaign Management

Even if you follow all of our advice and set up a killer ad campaign, it does you no good in the long-term if you simply set it and forget it. This is like a fisherman who brings the perfect bait and high-quality fishing rod, and then falls asleep in the boat.

Maximizing your ad campaign efficiency is a matter of watching and studying the trends in real-time, and being able to make adjustments on the fly. This is a skill that comes with a bit of experience, but it’s absolutely worth knowing why a campaign is succeeding (or isn’t), and that’s information you glean from the data.

Staring at analysis charts and extrapolating data can seem overwhelming, so fortunately there are some great PPC tracking software like Shape that can simplify the process, and present the data you need in a much easier-to-digest way.

Targeting too broadly

With PPC ad campaigns, you want to make sure that your keywords are targeting consumers who would actually be interested in buying your product. If it was all about maximizing traffic, then there’s all kinds of other methods for getting traffic to your website.

PPC ad campaigns are for when you want a specific target audience to find your website, because you’re selling what they’re looking for. A common mistake small business owners make is ignoring the different types of keyword phrases.

• Market segment keywords: Broad terms like “coffee mugs”.

• Customer-defining keywords: Identifies a consumer type like “coffee mugs for women”.

• Branded keywords: Specifies a branded product like “Google coffee mugs”.

• Descriptive product keywords: Describes a specific product like “Self-heating travel coffee mugs”.

• Geo-targeted keywords: Keywords that include a location like “coffee mug outlet Brooklyn New York”.

For PPC ad campaigns, unless you serve an extremely niche industry without much competition, you want to avoid simple market segment keywords. Ideally you want to use a combination of customer-defining keywords and descriptive product keywords. Geo-targeted keywords are also useful for businesses with physical storefronts.

So putting this all together, you could put together a keyword like “Self-heating coffee mugs for women”, and this would specifically target that consumer audience looking for that particular product type.

Just like you don’t want to be too broad, you also don’t want to be too narrow. But in a nutshell, you want your keywords to mimic what you imagine your consumer audience to actually be searching for, so in a way your keywords should emulate your audience’s Google search queries.

Having only a few ad variants

Many small business owners make the mistake of putting all their eggs into one basket when it comes to ad campaigns. This doesn’t allow you to do any A/B testing on your ad campaigns, and monitor how specific ad campaigns perform compared to each other.

I like to use fishing similes, because marketing is basically a lot like fishing. You throw the bait and wait to see if it attracts the fish. But you can fish in multiple spots at the same time, rather than concentrating all your bait into one area.

Tossing your bait into the middle of the ocean is too broad, that’s why we went over targeted keywords. But throwing all your bait at a single school of fish is also doing yourself a disservice. By running several smaller ad campaigns simultaneously, you can A/B test different forms of bait, and which fish tend to strike, at what times, etc.

Not optimizing your landing pages

Getting people through the door is only half the battle – converting them into customers has a lot to do with your landing pages. I see a lot of first-time ad campaigners setting up their ads to direct to their front page, which is a terrible practice.

It’s estimated that you have around 15 seconds to convert a visitor, but I think it’s even less than that. I can scroll down a page and decide in 3 seconds if I’m going to click around more.

Your landing page need to be:

• Eye-catching and compelling.

• Relevant to the ad campaign.

• Have strong CTAs (call to action).

For the first part, your copywriting needs to be compelling. Good usage of headers, pitching the problem / solution to the visitor, making your copy flow naturally with the average reading pattern. This is why I like to use very short paragraphs, or what I call “Twitter paragraphs”.

Secondly, your landing pages need to actually be relevant to the ad the user clicked on. If they clicked on an ad for “self-heating travel mugs for women”, why are you sending them to your frontpage where they have to navigate to your store? You should bring them directly to the products.

Lastly, your landing pages should have bold, visible CTAs. Of course there are good and bad calls to action, so you might want to check out some helpful examples of CTAs.