Global brands need to manage closely the basic best practices of their accounts worldwide. In a recent, large-scale audit of the regional PPC accounts of a global B2B brand, we found common mistakes that spanned borders. And we see these types of mistakes time and time again.
So in this post, we’ll focus on the three most common mistakes we see when auditing PPC accounts of this nature, and some quick fixes for global PPC managers to implement now.
1. Common Keyword Mistakes
Keywords are the pinnacle of any PPC program, but a few missteps can turn these assets into a big burden on PPC accounts.
A common mistake we often see is that most accounts are not using the “close variants” setting correctly. This setting relates to keyword matching options, and includes your ads even when users search misspellings and variations (such as plurals).
Although the option has been available from Google for two years, it has only acted as the default setting for about half of that time. This past September, Google decided to get rid of the option altogether, and just apply “close variants” to all accounts.
Despite this, too many accounts continue to feature close variants in their keyword lists. This is essentially the same as bidding on duplicates, which costs money and clutters your content. Learn more about the close variant campaign setting from a previous post, here.
Second, and somewhat related, is actually bidding on duplicate keywords. If you’re bidding on and targeting a keyword or phrase in more than one campaign, Google will still only choose the better or more relevant version. This means that you’re ultimately bidding against yourself, and risking lowering your Quality Score and upping your cost per click.
Finally in our list of common keyword mistakes is when advertisers bid on broad groups of keywords and totally miss the mark. Remember, ad campaigns should focus on terms specific to what the company does.
It’s easy to tell if a keyword is too broad – simply do an online search of the term, and if the organic results aren’t relevant to what you do, scrap the keyword. Check out this Google AdWords help file for more on matching options and variations.
2. Poor Account Structure
It’s a fact: most PPC accounts exhibit poor structure. Just like the navigation of a website, with its carefully constructed sections, your ad campaigns and ad groups each have a job to do, and work better when the overall account is structured well.
At Group Twenty Seven we promote isolation and segmentation of campaigns, organizing keywords and ads by specific themes and products.
One of the reasons you want to structure your account well is so you can look at the dashboard and quickly see how well ad campaigns are performing. Reporting and management becomes far easier when campaigns are divided by product or service, as opposed to throwing everything into one campaign.
Out of all the things Google changes in AdWords over time, it has continually pushed for good account structure. We’ve seen the benefits of good account structure in our own research, too.
We recently worked with a global PPC account that built one campaign per country with 30 different ad groups targeting every part of their business.
In July, we segmented each country campaign into three campaigns, targeting three different areas of the business. What we found after that was the client doubled their impression share – and this was the only change we had made to the account.
3. Lack of Ad Extensions
It’s common for PPC programs to not include ad extensions or to only use them on occasion. However, ad extensions factor into ad rank, so it’s important to pay attention.
Ad extensions provide more information on your business than the ad can on its own. You’ll often see extensions offering contact information, reviews or even social annotations. These extensions make your ad more helpful to the user, and can direct visitors to the most relevant parts of your website.
For a B2B company, we recommend at the very least to make use of call extensions, sitelinks and callout extensions.
Callout extensions are a relatively new feature from Google, and may be added at the account, campaign or ad group level. These give advertisers a chance to showcase the differentiators that may enhance click-throughs. Some examples of callouts might be “15% off entire site” or “Free shipping.”
Using All Available PPC Resources
Every PPC account is different, and what works for you might not be the magic formula for your business division in the U.K., for example. However, there are certain best practices that must serve as the foundation for all successful accounts. And, PPC advertisers should take advantage of certain resources to enhance the consumer experience.
So, take a little time to perform a quick audit on your PPC accounts – especially if you’re running international PPC – so you can avoid common mistakes that are hindering your PPC success worldwide.