5 PPC Settings That Can Sabotage Success

When managing your PPC, do you ever ask yourself “why isn’t this working?” Here are five common saboteurs of pay-per-click campaigns that apply to multiple platforms.

Search Partners

I had been trying to increase the click-through rate (CTR) on this Canadian campaign, until one day I solved the mystery — search partners. Search partners are other search engines like AOL, ask.com, or wow.com that serve Google ads. In the case of the search campaign in question, the overall CTR was 0.76 percent and held steady at less than 1 percent despite my best efforts. Digging deeper I uncovered that search partners CTR at 0.27 percent were dragging everything down. By opting out of search partners, the entire budget is allocated to Google search. Change this in campaign settings under “networks.”


Ads Rotate Evenly

In campaign settings under “Ad delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping,” you will find the setting that controls how the ads in a campaign are served. When “rotate evenly” is selected, two or more ads will be (more-or-less) served the same amount of times. The problem is sometimes a weak ad is served with better ads, and the results will be serving a poor ad half the time. This can negatively impact results. Use this setting for testing for a specific amount of time only. Also remember this is at the campaign level, so it will apply to every ad group.

Display Mobile App Serving

One day when you log in you may notice an influx of impressions in your display campaign, with a reduction in conversion rate. What is going on? The criminal master mind behind this crime is AdWords serving ads on mobile devices, specifically apps. Often the apps have little to do with your product or service. Typically users are busy actively engaging in the app, not in ads. I know I would not stop my Angry Birds game play to click on an ad. In addition, these ads tend to get accidental clicks as users navigate the app. Exclude them individually or send them all packing by entering in adsenseformobileapps.com in the Campaign placement exclusions” section.


Standard or Accelerated Serving

With standard ad serving, the PPC platforms try to use your budget gradually over the day so ads show all day. This is great, but sometimes it’s difficult to get enough traction because campaigns may serve too slowly. One way to overcome this obstacle is by using accelerating serving, which serves the ads as quickly as possible and gets the ad moving. The down side is the budget can be used up too early or at inappropriate times. Use analytics to determine best converting times, then ad scheduling to blast accelerated ads on search or display. Find this in “campaign settings” under “Delivery method (advanced).”

What are your PPC saboteurs? Share in the comments or tweet us at @sewatch or @LisaRocksSEM to discuss.

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