5 Common Mistakes in Paid Search and Tips to Avoid Them
In a world where new marketing strategies and platforms are emerging faster than ever before, it’s hard not to make mistakes. The reality is that most businesses make mistakes every single day. The key is to learn from them. The trick is to continually assess the mistakes your company is making when it comes to paid search advertising. The good news is that online advertising campaigns are not permanent, they allow for trial and error.
We’ve pulled together a short list of 5 of the worst mistakes that we’ve seen businesses make. Fortunately, there is also room to learn from these common mistakes and doing so could whip your campaign into tip-top shape in no time.
1. Making your homepage the ONLY destination
If your ad features a specific product, then your users should be taken to that specific product page when they click on your ad. If you send them to your homepage, it’s almost certain you will lose them. The less clicks it takes for consumers to go from product to purchase, the better it is for your business. For example, if you are a company that offers a variety of home décor products: wallpaper, accents, lighting, etc., your homepage is likely full of a lot of different links and options. If someone saw an ad for “lighting”, send them straight to the page where you show your lighting options or take them to a specific type of light, if that is what was featured. This will help avoid forcing readers to navigate around your webpage (and then usually clicking off).
2. Misusing or not using images
It is no secret that consumers are drawn to things that are visually pleasing. If you opt for paid search programs that only allow for text, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to lure consumers in. Opt for platforms that allow you to incorporate an image. But don’t just slap one up there. If you are a small business and/or a lesser known brand, think twice before using your logo. Instead, opt for images that hit on consumer passion points. For example, if you sell chicken, use images of BBQ wings that are cooked to perfection and will appeal to consumers thinking about summer BBQ’s as opposed to an image of raw chicken wings. Put your thinking cap on and get creative!
3. Not making use of the text you have available in your ad
Sometimes saying things twice isn’t so nice! Don’t repeat your headline in the description copy. It might sound obvious, but many companies do this without even realizing. The headline is meant to pop off the page and lure consumers in (i.e. One Day Sale, $100 off), while the description gives them more details on what it is that you want them to know about your products and/or services. They should work together, not separately.
4. Disregarding the value of testing
Believe it or not, many companies flip the switch and set their campaigns on cruise control – don’t do that. Testing is extremely important when it comes to every aspect of paid search marketing. Very few platforms give marketers the ability to test and optimize on an ongoing basis and this is the beauty of paid search. You want to make sure you have a plan: What are the objectives of the test? What are you testing for? Do use A/B testing and don’t run too many tests at the same time. It’s never a good idea to start any new campaign before knowing how you’re going to test its success so that you maximize response. Not sure how to set up a test? Call us: 212.952.9607.
5. Ignoring your competition
Ignoring what your competition is up to online is a no-no. Online advertising space is competitive. It’s more than just placement, it’s about promotions, deals and copy that appeal to consumers. You will want to make sure that your promotional offerings are a step ahead of your competition. But you can’t do that if you have blinders on. Take some time every month to check in and see what your competition is up to!
All of this can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but know that everyone makes mistakes – even the seasoned professional. It takes time to develop a well thought-out paid search campaign and its success is heavily dependent on testing, optimizing and the expertise of a dedicated campaign manager.
Client Q & A___________________________________
Q: How can I use A/B testing to get the best results from my campaign?
A: A/B testing is a great way to optimize your campaign. By testing with different variations of your ad, you will gain valuable insights into what appeals to your customers.
You should be prepared to test: different pictures, calls to action, main body copy and landing pages. Your total test duration should be two to four weeks. Once you have a good grip on what ads are driving traffic and sales you should narrow your scope and focus on two or three iterations of your ad (this depends on what audiences you’re trying to reach). Last, but not least, you should conduct A/B testing multiple times throughout the year to ensure that your messaging is keeping up with seasonal changes and shifting consumer interests.
You could be pleasantly surprised at what you will find with this type of testing.
VSW account managers are always available and can help you with A/B testing and other optimization strategies. Do not hesitate to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.967.9502.
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