Did you know that 48.9% of the global population used the internet in 2018? It is expected that this figure will rise to 53.7% by 2021. Therefore, it has become crucial for brands to build a powerful online presence. This will help them raise awareness about their products or services and attract new customers.

An effective way to strengthen your online presence is to grab the top positions in search results. And one of the fastest ways to get it is through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Many digital marketers and business owners invest a significant amount of time and resources into executing successful PPC campaigns.

Despite the prevalence of such campaigns, marketers are prone to making common PPC mistakes that affect their results. This is mostly because the landscape of PPC advertising is constantly changing, with new tools and trends emerging often.

Before we discuss the most common PPC mistakes you should avoid, let’s take a closer look at PPC advertising.

Decoding PPC Campaigns

PPC advertising is a form of search marketing in which you pay search engines to get a prominent position in relevant search results. You pay for every click you get on your ad.

The first step of PPC advertising is to identify the most relevant keywords your target audience is searching for. You can use keyword research tools for this purpose.

A majority of search engines have their own advertising platforms that allow you to create and execute PPC ads. For instance, you can use Google Ads to run PPC campaigns on Google.

The most significant advantage of leveraging these platforms is that they are not restricted to keyword-based targeting. They allow you to use laser-focused targeting based on different user demographics such as location, online behavior, device, age, profession, etc. You can also remarket your ads to previous website visitors to increase the recall value of your brand.

It is crucial to note that PPC ads are often placed above organic listings in search engine results. In fact, these ads often occupy the same screen space as three or four organic results. Take a look at the screenshot below:

Image via Google

With precise targeting and the use of relevant keywords, PPC campaigns can help you boost brand awareness and drive conversions. Unlike SEO, it doesn’t take much time to deliver results.

If you set an adequate budget and execute your campaign the right way, you can expect immediate results. PPC ads are also immune to changes in search engine algorithms, minimizing your risk.

It is not surprising that 7 million marketers invested a total of $10.1 billion in PPC campaigns in 2017 alone. While the growing popularity of PPC ads is a positive sign, it also indicates stiff competition. This means you might incur a high CPC (cost-per-click) for ads that target high competition keywords.

PPC campaigns also require that you shell out money regularly to keep your ads running. And, even minor PPC mistakes can adversely affect the ROI of your campaigns. Therefore, it is extremely crucial to avoid errors while executing your PPC campaigns.

The Most Common PPC Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Now that you know PPC mistakes can cost your brand a lot of money, let’s take a look at a few common mistakes marketers make and learn how to avoid them.

1. Lack of a Proper Strategy

Many novice marketers and business owners try their hands at PPC advertising without putting an actionable plan in place. They end up wasting a lot of money without getting the desired results. This is one of the most common PPC mistakes.

PPC ads, just like any other form of marketing, require a solid strategy. Start by identifying your marketing objectives. Your goals will have a significant impact on your target keywords, ad copy, campaign budget, and landing pages.

Likewise, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of your target audience. Unless you know who your campaign is meant for, you won’t be able to reach and engage potential customers.

In addition to parameters such as age group, location, and profession, you should also have a clear idea of their needs and pain points.

It is also recommended that you create customer personas for different stages of the sales funnel. This enables you to plan and execute separate campaigns that are tailored to attract potential customers in certain stages.

Not leveraging customer segmentation is also one of the common PPC mistakes. If you avoid this mistake, it can help you increase the CTR (click-through rate) of your campaign.

2. Boring Ad Copy

One of the most apparent PPC mistakes is the use of a dull and monotonous ad copy. Yet, many marketers ignore the importance of an impressive ad copy.

Once they select the target keywords, marketers tend to look at ads by competitor brands and try to mimic them. What is working for a competitor should also work for your brand, right?

The biggest problem with this approach is that it doesn’t help your ads stand out. The lack of uniqueness can cause your ads to get lost in the crowd of numerous other PPC ads.

Then they can fail to attract your target audience and deliver any significant results. Therefore, neglecting the need of a unique and impressive ad copy is one of the most crucial PPC mistakes all marketers should avoid.

The key to writing an impressive ad copy that converts is to use your distinctive voice and appeal to the emotions of your target audience. For this, you need to have thorough knowledge of the problems your audience faces.

You should use a tone that will resonate well with your target audience. For instance, if you want to target college students, using a casual and conversational tone would be better than a formal one.

At the same time, the language and tone of your ad copy should also align with your brand values and reputation.

Your ad copy should be crisp, straightforward, and error-free. No one wants to purchase from a brand that displays ads with grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. Your ad copy should also communicate your brand’s message loud and clear and motivate users to click.

Keeping these points in mind can help you improve the CTR of your PPC ad and ultimately, improve its quality score too.

Engaging ad copy can also mean that your ad will reach more people as search engines strive to deliver the best search results to users. However, bad ad copy can turn out to be your biggest PPC mistake.

Avoid these ad copy mistakes and focus on writing emotionally-charged ad copy that can attract your potential customers and pique their curiosity.

3. Ignoring Visual Ads

Traditionally, text-based PPC ads have been the norm for most search engines. However, Google now allows marketers to use images in their ads.

The use of visual elements in your ad makes them more eye-catching. Marketers who fail to recognize the importance of visual ads are likely to be left behind.

Visual PPC ads can be particularly helpful when you are advertising a product-based business. For instance, ecommerce businesses can use such ads to showcase their products and immediately grab the attention of potential customers.

Image via Google

If you want to make the most out of your ad space, you should definitely avoid this PPC mistake. Leverage high-quality, impressive visuals to attract potential buyers.

4. Absence of a Landing Page

One of the biggest PPC mistakes is linking your ad to the homepage or “about us” section of your website. Users who click on your PPC ads want to understand how your product or service can resolve their problems. Therefore, they are looking for precise details and may not be interested in generic information about your brand.

A suitable alternative is to use dedicated landing pages that deliver all relevant information to the user. This makes them less likely to get distracted by other elements on the website.

It also enables you to retain their attention and ensures that they understand what you are trying to communicate. You should also use suitable calls-to-action (CTAs) that guide users to the next step.

Let’s say you are looking for plumbing services in New Jersey and run a Google search for the same. The top three positions in the search results are occupied by PPC ads as shown in the screenshot below:

Image via Google

When you click on the first ad, it takes you to the “Our Services” page of the company’s website. Although this web page gives you a clear idea of their offering, it doesn’t prompt you to take any action.

On the other hand, the second ad links to a landing page that has been customized for users who click on the ad. It contains precise information about their services and allows you to submit your details for further assistance.

Image via Drain Visions

Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to engage and convert users. Not directing your ads to highly-curated landing pages can be one of the biggest PPC mistakes for your campaign.

5. Inconsistent Ad Copy and Landing Page

Not using landing pages is one of the gravest PPC mistakes.

However, it can be equally catastrophic to use a landing page that doesn’t align with your ad copy. Your landing page should deliver exactly what your ad copy indicates. It is also equally crucial to maintain the same tone and language in your landing page content.

Let’s say you promise a free demo in your PPC ad to lure your audience. However, upon clicking on your ad, a user realizes that there is no mention of any free product demo. They will feel disappointed and are less likely to return to your website in the future.

Even though your ad might be able to achieve a high CTR, it will fail to drive any actual conversions.

Therefore, never make the common PPC mistake of not delivering what you promise in your ad copy.

6. Lack of Monitoring

A PPC ad is not a one-off campaign that will take care of itself once it has been created. One of the deadliest PPC mistakes is to ignore the importance of monitoring the performance of your ads.

It is crucial to keep a close eye on CTR, CPC, and other metrics to analyze how your campaign is performing. An easy and effective way to do so is to use SpyFu’s Rank Tracking tool.

7. Ineffective Remarketing

One of the major benefits of PPC ads is that they allow you to target those users who have visited your website previously. However, creating a generic ad to all previous website visitors may not be very fruitful.

This can be one of the most expensive PPC mistakes and should be avoided at all costs.

It is recommended that you segment your website visitors based on different parameters. Let’s say a particular segment of website visitors recently checked out a new product.

It is likely that they are interested in the product and might consider purchasing it. You can show them an ad that offers a limited period discount on the product.

Another crucial aspect that requires your attention is the targeting settings of your remarketing campaign. For instance, using “target and bid” setting in Google Ads gives Google the freedom to target your website visitors alongside anyone else it deems fit.

Instead, you should use the “bid only” targeting setting to make your remarketing campaigns more effective.


PPC campaigns have the power to boost the exposure and visibility of your brand online significantly. When linked to the right landing pages, PPC ads are instrumental in generating leads and driving conversions.

However, it is crucial to develop a solid strategy before you launch your PPC campaign. Otherwise, even minor PPC mistakes can end up costing you a lot of time, money, and effort.

A deep understanding of your target audience and marketing objectives forms the foundation of your PPC campaign. You should write emotionally-charged copy and use visual elements whenever possible to create impressive ads. It is equally important to monitor your ads and rectify any deviations.

What are the most serious PPC mistakes that marketers should avoid? Share your views with us on Twitter or Facebook.