7 Common Paid Search Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

January 15, 2020
By iQ Staff
Magnifying glass focusing on a pattern of dollar signs on a green background.

If you want to know the power of paid search, just look at how much companies are investing in it. Advertisers spent $48.4 billion on paid search in 2018 — that’s an increase of 19.2 percent from 2017, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Paid search can do wonders for your business, if used correctly. Here are some tips for avoiding the top seven paid search mistakes.


1. Set it and forget it

What makes digital marketing great is that you can continuously optimize your campaign. Yet, many marketers set up campaigns and let them run without ever fine tuning them.

Check in with your internal team monthly to make sure your campaign reflects what is happening in your company. If you have a lot of one type of stock, you could increase your ad spend that month in that specific ad group. If you’re short staffed in one department, perhaps you pause the ad group that you’ve been running to promote their services.

You could also update keywords by reviewing search queries, check the quality of your calls and tweak your landing page or ads to further optimize your campaign.


2. Automating with Smart Campaigns

Google has made paid search accessible with its launch of Smart campaigns. Designed for small businesses with little to no digital marketing experience, this express version allows resource-constrained owners to manage their own campaigns. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide a good experience for all customers.

A professional digital marketer will give you a better ROI and will put you in a stronger position to control and protect your brand image. If you’re thinking of building a paid search campaign, seek professional guidance.


3. Not creating a custom landing page

A custom landing page gives your visitors a seamless experience and a sense of direction. Your landing page should be logical and well designed to match the intentions of your searchers. And, with more than half of Google searches coming from mobile devices, it should be mobile friendly. Don’t forget to make your call to action clear and keep your key messages above the fold (visible without scrolling).


“What makes digital marketing great is that you can continuously optimize your campaign.”


4. Conquesting without a strategy

Most companies would love to steal business from their top competitors, but the controversial practice of conquesting, or bidding on a competitor’s brand name, may not be the best way to do so. Without a good strategy, it could actually cause potential customers to become frustrated with your business and leave you with a large bill.

Instead of bidding on your competitor’s brand name, bid on specific products or services. Your ad might say “Brand A vs Brand B | Product Name | Compare Now & Save.” You could design your landing page as a product comparison page and help your customers learn about their options, rather than tricking them into visiting your site. When you aim to help a potential customer, you both win. Think about how you can target customers at different phases of the buying cycle and build keyword groups and ads based on their intent.


5. Only advertising on Google

Advertisers who use Google Ads exclusively aren’t just missing out on 10 percent of searches, they’re missing out on a group of quality consumers with unique demographic and geographic features.

Niche search engines like DuckDuckGo may be stealing away a very critical population of users from Google. According to recent reports, DuckDuckGo now handles over 40 million searches a day. The search engine saw a 17.6 percent increase in searches in just six months’ time (Jan – July 2019) and that isn’t a fluke. Young, tech savvy searchers who value privacy are contributing to DuckDuckGo’s growth, which has tripled over the past two years.

With fewer advertisers, Microsoft Advertising usually offers businesses a larger share of voice and a lower cost per click compared to Google. Advertisers can upload their keyword lists to both Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising to compare bids based on geography and check available search inventory.


6. Not considering device delivery

Device delivery is an often overlooked variable when planning your paid search campaign. If your customers are doing business-related research or prefer to purchase through desktop, make sure to deliver as many of your ads via desktop as possible. If you’re a restaurant or theater, mobile may be a better option for you. Knowing your customer and their path to purchase is critical to optimizing your campaign so you can better reach them where they’re at.


7. Not measuring your results

Setting goals and measuring the results of your paid search campaign allows you to quantify your success and make adjustments when your ads don’t perform quite as well as you’d hoped. Whenever you launch a new campaign or build a new landing page, make sure you consider your objectives and how you will measure your success.

Take a look at your 2020 digital marketing strategy to see if any of these pitfalls sound familiar. Addressing weaknesses in your paid search campaign will improve your ROI and help you achieve your overall marketing goals.