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7 Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Sins You Have To Avoid

The secret has been out for many years now, pay-per-click (PPC) ads are one of the best ways to accelerate growth. Many small businesses and startups have doubled or tripled their business with Facebook, Google, and Instagram ads. So if PPC ads are so great, why are so many businesses failing to see any benefits?

PPC ads are no different from other forms of advertising; if you are making fundamental mistakes, then you are not giving your PPC ad a chance to succeed. With that in mind, let’s look at the most common mistake (sins) businesses make, and more importantly, how to avoid them.

1. Not Using A Landing Page

All successful PPC campaigns are laser-focused. More specifically, each PPC campaign must have a unique goal, audience, message, and call-to-action(s). And this type of laser-focus is impossible to achieve without a landing page.

Directing your PPC ad traffic to a Home Page, Services Page, or a Product Page will inevitably result in poor conversion rate and poor ROI. Your existing website pages are too generic to be effective.

Related: How To Increase Sales And Conversion Rate With Landing Pages

2. Misrepresenting Your Product or Offering

The goal of a PPC ad is to bring you leads and customers, not to increase your website traffic. Misrepresenting your business, product, or service always leads to a poor conversion rate (how many people take the next step – signup, buy, etc.). 

Consumers are not stupid. If your ad doesn’t align with your real offering, they will quickly move on. And since you are paying per-click and not per-conversion, it’s in your best interest to represent your product/service accurately.

3. Poor CTAs

Call-to-actions (CTAs) have a significant impact on your ad. More specifically, how effective the ad will be. The location, messaging, colors, length, and prominence of your CTAs are extremely important.  

CTA examples:

  • Discount
  • Promotional Offer
  • Value proposition
  • Contact Us Form
  • Registration Form
  • Email Signup
  • Download Button
  • Schedule an appointment
  • Sign up
  • Add-to-cart
  • Buy

The quality of CTAs is often the difference between a profitable and a doomed PPC campaign.

Related: 7 Call-To-Action (CTA) Tips

4. Putting Too Much Emphasis On The Keyword Cost

The cost per click will range widely from industry to industry – it’s an auction-based system, so you are paying a market price. 

For example, low-cost goods will likely cost between $1 and $5 per click, because the cost of the actual product is low. However, some businesses are happy to pay between $50 and $500 per click. Who is willing to pay that much? Lawyers, because settlement amounts can be enormous. 

This is why focusing on the cost of a click is a mistake. Instead, focus on the result. How many customers does the PPC ad bring to your business? And if you know your customer lifetime value (CLV), then calculating the profitability of the ad is relatively simple. 

Related: Customer Lifetime Value 101: How Much Is Your Customer Worth?

5. Only Relying On Standard Reports

All advertising platforms (Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) offer robust reports – providing comprehensive insights into ad performance. However, this is not enough. You have to do some additional work to make sure your ads are profitable.

If you are offering services or products that are not available to purchase online, then you have to track some offline numbers. For example, how many leads from your PPC campaign turn into paying customers? Attracting leads is one thing, converting them into paying customers is another. 

Finally, not all customers are created equal, so compare how profitable your customers are according to the lead generation source. You may be surprised by what you find.

6. Not Utilizing Available Targeting Options

Targeting the right audience is the most important aspect of your PPC campaign. Even ifyou do everything else right, poor targeting (e.g., wrong audience) will kill your PPC campaign.

Targeting by locations such as country, region, or city is a no brainer, but you need to go deeper. For example, when creating Facebook ads, you should use other targeting options such as age, interests, behaviors, etc. 

Word of caution, keep an eye on the audience reach (how many people will see your ad). Setting too many targeting parameters can lead to an audience that is too small.

7. Failing To Optimize Your Ad

A great PPC ad is rarely created right out of the gate; it is always the result of many weeks and months of optimization. For example, it may take you weeks to find the perfect combination of messaging, CTAs, images, and colors.

Related: Improve conversion by continuously experimenting with A/B Testing


PPC ads will continue to play a fundamental role in online advertising because they are very effective. However, to maximize their potential, you have to avoid the seven mistakes (sins) we discussed above.

By avoiding these mistakes you will save money, attract better leads, and convert more leads into customers.

Related: How to Launch a Successful PPC Campaign with Google AdWords

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