The Biggest PPC Mistake You’re Making And How To Fix It
There’s no getting around it: unless you’re an industry veteran, understanding digital marketing strategy, like PPC campaigns, can be a pretty overwhelming process.
Is digital marketing one of the most powerful marketing tools at your law firm’s disposal? Of course, there’s no question.
But the tricky part is actually figuring out what kind of campaign your law firm should be running.
When you’re deciding how to market your law firm, there are a few key points to keep in mind.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s just focus on ROI and engagement.
Now, this is where plenty of law firms get carried away. After all, it’s easy to think that the new, trendy marketing tactic is your best bet.
And while there’s nothing wrong with embracing some cutting edge strategies, you owe it to yourself to prioritize results above all else.
So, in this search for the right digital marketing strategy, let’s say that you’ve chosen to run a PPC (Pay-per-click) campaign.
Which is a solid choice, frankly. With nearly 65% of consumers clicking on Google Ads when they’re browsing online, you’re certainly getting strong engagement over time.
As far as ROI goes, you can expect to make $2 for every $1 you spend on your PPC campaign.
So far, so good.
But let’s say that your campaign isn’t giving you the results you want.
Maybe your ROI is low, maybe the campaign isn’t driving the kind of engagement you expected. Or maybe you’re just struggling to understand how to properly execute this strategy.
That’s why today, we’re going to take a deep dive into the world of PPC. We’re going to tackle one of the biggest mistakes people make and how you can maximize your marketing efforts.
So with that out of the way, let’s jump right into the number one issue that’s compromising your PPC campaign: how you monitor them.
Why You Shouldn’t Search Your Own Ads
At this point, you’re probably a bit confused.
After all, with all the potential issues with PPC campaigns, monitoring them is the biggest issue?
Well, yes and no.
The reality of PPC is that your inability to properly monitor a campaign is a symptom of a much larger illness.
More specifically, that you’re not running an efficient PPC campaign in the first place.
And while we’ll certainly be covering how to properly manage a PPC campaign here, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
For now, let’s focus on just understanding what’s harming your campaign and what mistakes you should avoid when monitoring your ads.
Let’s get one thing clear. Searching your own ads on Google is a terrible idea, plain and simple.
Why? Well, there are actually some pretty nasty side effects to improperly monitoring your ads.
1. You’ll Send Google The Wrong Message
Right off the bat, you’re going to mess with the way that Google views your own campaign.
The moment you start searching for your own ad, you’ll instantly start impacting the ‘Quality Score’ of your ad.
Why does this matter? Well, as you probably already guessed by the name, your Quality Score is going to be a pretty crucial component to the success of your marketing efforts.
Let’s imagine a scenario where someone just launched their PPC campaign.
If this is their first time, it’s understandable that they’d be nervous about its effectiveness.
The worry that people aren’t seeing it might lead them to search for their own ad online.
But that’s the thing about micromanaging marketing efforts: if you can obsess, then you will obsess.
So, like many other digital marketing novices, this person searches for their ad regularly.
Here’s where things get problematic.
When you search for your ad repeatedly and never click on it, you’re essentially telling Google that this ad wasn’t actually relevant to your search.
This then lowers the Quality Score of the ad and, not surprisingly, causes your cost-per-click to rise.
Will a single search utterly ruin your quality score? Of course not.
But it’s part of the problem, and there’s no need to make this process any harder than it needs to be.
2. You’ll Misunderstand The Metrics
Here’s something that most people don’t understand about PPC advertising: it’s less like day trading stock and more like investing in a mutual fund.
Or to put it simply, you need the patience to play the long game.
The moment you become a slave to the daily progress of your PPC campaign is the moment you start to lose sight of the bigger picture.
At its core, PPC functions as an auction system, with different advertisers bidding against one another on the same keywords.
The key here is that the bidding itself happens in real time, so a search that happens right now will end up with different ads than it will 15 minutes from now.
So, by its very nature, PPC campaigns don’t lend themselves to daily, hour-to-hour analysis.
You’re just getting an incomplete perspective, which means that any decision you make when it comes to adjustments is going to be based on flawed data.
All of which begs the question: how on earth should you be considering your metrics?
The idea here is to consider larger clusters of aggregate data to end up with a more accurate view of your campaign’s success.
7 days, 30 days, it’s up to you. What matters is that there’s enough data present to identify statistical trends over time.
3. You’ll Be Flying Blind Eventually
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.
Well, here’s the thing. Remember earlier when we talked about the downside of searching your ads and not clicking on them?
As it turns out, search for your own ad enough times without clicking on it and Google might just stop showing them to you.
Why? Because Google uses your computer’s IP address to identify you and, more importantly, to decide which ads to show you.
All of this puts you in a sticky situation. If you keep searching for your ads and you don’t click on them, you’ll mess with your Quality Score and eventually be unable to see them anyway.
4. You’ll End Up Worrying Unnecessarily
You want to know a secret about PPC campaigns?
Even the most perfectly designed PPC campaigns, complete with max bids and all, don’t get their ads showing 100% of the time.
How’s that possible? Well, you need to acknowledge the dizzying amount of factors that contribute to PPC:
- Day of the week
- What device were they using?
- What kind of ad was it?
And those are just a few of the components that determine the visibility of your ad at any given second.
That’s why the moral of this story is to focus on the long game when you’re measuring the success of a PPC campaign.
Just because something didn’t pop up at this exact moment doesn’t mean it won’t appear when people are searching it.
But again, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Understanding these mistakes will help you in the short run, but if you don’t understand the fundamentals of this strategy, you’ll likely to end up making plenty of other mistakes down the line.
So, instead of constantly guessing at what the next move should be, we’re going to give you the tools and knowledge to successfully monitor your own PPC ads.
How To Properly Monitor PPC Ads
When you’re trying to monitor your PPC campaign properly, you need to start with a clear understanding of what ‘success’ actually looks like.
After all, you can’t expect your target if you’re not sure what you’re aiming at, right?
With that being said, you’ve likely already established some general goals for your PPC campaign at this point.
But what’s really going to make your marketing strategy unique is your ability to interpret the information you receive on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.
Why do we mention this? Well, once you’ve started monitoring the metrics of your PPC campaign, you’re going to end up with plenty of data.
The question isn’t how do you get your hands on that data (we’ll share some of our favorite tools below, don’t worry). The real question is what you should be doing with all that info.
Right off the bat, you need to focus on your Click-Through Rate (CTR).
Ask any PPC expert and you’ll hear the same thing: your CTR will make or break your PPC campaign.
Having a good CTR means that your campaign is working. Your target audience is feeling engaged by your ads and they’re looking to learn more.
But a poor CTR is a sign that you’re off the mark somehow. Either you’ve completely misinterpreted your target audience’s pain points or your implementation of the ad itself was flawed.
Beyond that, a low CTR will lead to a reduction in Quality Score, and a loss of potential conversions.
Speaking of which, that Quality Score of yours is going to be an important metric to track.
While it’s not as fundamentally critical as your CTR, having a high Quality Score can make your life significantly easier.
Having a high Quality Score means that Google recognizes the relevance of your ads, which makes your campaign that much more likely to succeed.
After all, assuming your Quality Score increases, your Cost-Per-Conversion (CPC) can end up dropping too. That means you can afford to be in front of more people, at a lower price.
In other words, when you create relevant ads that engage your target audience consistently, you’ll be able to increase both your exposure and your ROI at the same time.
Not a bad deal, is it?
Finally, you’ll want to pay attention to your conversion rate.
It’s easy to focus on your bounce rate, which is what most people end up doing in PPC campaigns.
And sure, it’s best to get as targeted as possible. You waste less money and you’re able to send a clearer message that’s more likely to appeal to your audience.
But Conversion rates are going to be the key indicator of how well your marketing funnel leads into your sales funnel.
Which leads us to the most important question: how on earth do you actually track all of this properly?
As far as CTR tracking goes, the general equation that’s being used is just the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions.
In other words, you’re trying to figure out how many people out of the 100 that see your ad are clicking on it.
Your best bet here is to rely on the Google AdWords tracking software. You’ll easily be able to see your click-through rate and see just how effective your ads really are.
Bonus tip: using A/B testing, you can compare click-through rates to see which ad people find more engaging.
Quality Score Tracking
When it comes to keeping tabs on your Quality Score, we recommend the Quality Score Tracker.
It’s actually a free AdWords script that you can set up with your Google AdWords account.
This script goes ahead and saves your keywords’ Quality Scores in a spreadsheet for you.
But beyond just being convenient, the script is highly customizable, once you’re ready to start experimenting with different metrics.
All you have to do is:
- Get the code and paste it into your account
- Schedule the script to run on a daily basis
- Manually run the script for the first time
Simple to set up, simple to use and massively helpful when it comes to tracking metrics properly, over time.
If you’re looking to track the conversion rates of your PPC campaign, there’s really only one tool you need: Google Analytics.
But while it’s a great tool, the key here is in how you interpret your results.
Our advice? Ignore the goal conversion rate of your entire site.
It’s going to paint an unclear picture that won’t help your marketing campaign very much.
Instead, make sure that you’re analyzing and reporting the conversion rates for each of the traffic sources for each goal within a particular target market.
This is especially important if you’re running a marketing campaign on an international level, where no two traffic sources are going to be identical.
Whether you’re a PPC veteran or absolute novice, there are plenty of tools that you can use to track specific key metrics as they relate to your PPC campaign.
And if you’re looking for a team to handle your PPC accounts, don’t hesitate to reach out.