At Perfect Search, we perform audits all the time. This means taking a look under the hood of a company’s digital marketing strategy and identifying pain points and areas of improvement.
While audits are a crucial part of building relationships with new clients, they also reveal some interesting trends. In fact, we’ve found most companies tend to fall into the trap of the same digital marketing mistakes.
To help you avoid these common marketing mistakes, the experts at Perfect Search have compiled some of the most common marketing mistakes we’ve found over the years.
These can act as a “not-to-do list” for paid search strategies on both Google Ads and Facebook.
1. Not Embracing Automation and Machine Learning
Not using or not correctly using Automated Bidding tools that use algorithms & machine learning is a mistake we see often. These automated tools are shown to get your campaigns better results, but can falter if used incorrectly.
Machine learning works best when your ad campaigns aren’t super segmented, because it tends to spread the data out too much. So if you’re utilizing automated bidding campaigns, avoid over-segmentation in areas such as device and match type.
Another hurdle in utilizing machine learning is in the preparation itself. Often, we’ll find clients haven’t correctly set up their conversion tracking, so the machine learning can’t optimize effectively.
For more on how to integrate AI into your marketing strategy, click here.
2. Only Sending Users to Your Homepage
If your ad copy is personalized, your landing pages should be, too. This means every link back to your website should be sending users to a landing page best fit for conversion. Say your ad is promoting a sale--don’t send them to the homepage, send them to the sale section!
Plus, it’s important to make sure that wherever you choose to send your audience, the landing page is optimized for conversions. This means following best practices for UX and design, and ensuring that they’re reaching quality content.
1. Not Taking Advantage of Available Audience & Ad Types.
The beauty of Facebook is in its targeting--take advantage of it!
Facebook has so many different audiences and ad types available to marketers, including demographics, interests, and behaviors. They also offer custom audiences, like uploaded email lists, remarketing from website visitors, and lookalike audiences.
Ad types can and should vary as well. Ad type options include single images, dynamic shopping, carousel images and video, and others. If you are only showing image ads, you are missing out.
Diversifying your ad types and audiences also helps avoid ad fatigue. If you have less than 3 ads running in any ad set and keep the same ad running for more than a month, you will probably see diminishing returns.
2. Cramming Your Targeted Audiences into a Single Ad Set.
If you overcrowd your target audiences into a single set, you’ll never get to see how much spend and how much of your results come from any audience.
Are your purchases all coming from remarketing or interests? You'll never know if they are all in the same ad set.
3. Choosing the Wrong Goal for Your Campaigns.
We see many audits that choose campaign goals that don’t lend themselves to the best results.
For example, many companies will choose “reach,” “engagement,” or “clicks” as the goal of their Facebook ad campaigns because they think it will get them more customers.
However, the Facebook algorithm is very specific in optimizing for results. If you choose the goal of engagement, for instance, it will show your ads to people who often comment and like ads on Facebook, not necessarily the best customers. Same with clicks. And reach will just show your ads to as many eyes as possible.
Ideally, you want to have your chosen goal be "Conversions" or "Catalog Sales" and let the Facebook algorithm hone in on the people who are most likely to purchase.
4. Not Tracking Conversions from Your Site.
When building out ad campaigns on Facebook, you must indicate what the most important actions and metrics are for your website. This is determined through the Campaign Objective and the ad set level Conversion.
For example, some companies may want users to download content or make a purchase. Others may want users to watch a video or fill out a lead form.
If you don’t track these goal conversions, Facebook can't optimize your ads for those actions. Instead, it will just show your ads to people who are likely to click on them, not the people who are likely to take your desired action.
5. Duplicate Ad Sets
Occasionally, we see advertisers duplicate their ad sets so that they can control spend across different ads targeted at the same audience. This, however, is a big no-no.
Generally speaking, you want to avoid audience overlap as much as possible.
Additionally, keeping different ads in the same ad set allows Facebook’s algorithm to show the right ad to the right person. Splitting the ads out, on the other hand, completely negates this benefit.
1. Overspending on Underperforming Keywords
Something we see commonly in Google Ads is clients spending 40% or more of their yearly spend on search terms that haven’t converted.
This is an easy way to throw away money, and can be fixed by a simple round of search term optimizations.
2. Letting Leads Go Untracked
A great way to track lead quality and sources is through auto-tagging or the use of manual UTM parameters. This way, you can see where leads are coming from and where they are landing.
This is most important in B2B and lead generation-focused clients.
3. Adding Broad Keywords Without Negative Keywords.
Broad match keywords can trigger a wide range of search terms to show your ad for. These are great, but must be paired with a collection of negative keywords.
Negative keywords ensure your ads are only showing for relevant searches within that broad match.
PSM experts recommend using exact match, phrase match, and/or modified broad match keywords to narrow in on the best audience. Search terms should be checked and negative keywords added to the account at least weekly, as well.
4. Ignoring Ad Extensions
There’s no reason not to use every ad extension you can. Not only do additional ad extensions make your ad bigger on the SERP, they also improve the ad’s relevance.
Both of these can lead to higher click-through rates (CTR) and higher Quality Scores. On top of that, ad extensions give the user more information, which can improve conversion rate and potentially weed out lower quality traffic.
5. International Spend When Only U.S. / U.S. & Canada are Targeted.
Instead of having your location settings on "People in or interested in targeted location" (which is the Google default), try selecting "People in or regularly in targeted location" instead.
You can find this setting in your User Location Report (not Targeted Location report). Google will try to convince you that it is good to spend on people interested in your targeted location, although it rarely leads to any conversions.
6. Not Adding Audiences to Search Campaigns.
Google uses audiences to better qualify your ads to the best customers, not just keywords like it used to. If you don’t add audiences and measure audience performance, you are missing out on a major component of modern search targeting.
Some audience categories we like to measure include Remarketing, In-Market, Affinity, Similar, and Demographic audiences.
7. Combining Otherwise Unique Ad Types.
Clients will commonly group ad types instead of separating them. This grouping setting is actually a default within Google, and exists to make it easier for first-time users.
However, more sophisticated ad campaigns should opt-out of this grouping.
Any campaigns combining Search & Display placements should be separated for best targeting, budget control, and performance. While easier for first-time users, it results in worse performance over the long term.
Now that you’re familiar with some of the most common digital marketing mistakes we’ve seen in others, you can take steps to avoid them in your own strategy.
Looking to revamp your company’s paid search and digital marketing campaigns? Turn to the experts at Perfect Search. Request a free, comprehensive site audit today!