How to Make Your Pay-Per-Click not be a Mistake-Per-Click

Pay-Per-Click (also known as Cost-Per-Click) Advertising can be a great way to direct targeted customers to your website. The concept is fairly simple: Websites use tools (such as Google AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing) to display ads in a sponsored ad section of a page. The company gets charged for the ad when the potential customer clicks on said ad.

eric-siuIt may sound simple, but if not used correctly, it can add a lot of cost for a small return on investment. Eric Siu, CEO of digital marketing agency Single Grain, in an article entitled “5 Pay-Per-Click Mistakes That Can Cost You Money” gives 5 tips to avoid such a costly mistake.


  • Sending visitors to your home page
  • I think we’ve all been there: We’re reading up on the latest Facebook status updates from our friends when we spy an ad sandwiched between George’s self-congratulatory promotion and Susan’s announcement of the stomach flu. The ad grabbed a key word from a previous Google search on “Rogue One movie”. Guess what? The ad tells you that the movie is playing in your local theater and that you can click here to purchase tickets for today’s showing. Excited, you click on the ad only to be brought to the movie theater’s main (international) homepage.


    Now, you have to work to get down to the right country, state, city, and then the right day and time…if you get that far.

    Don’t be that company. Your ad worked and now you’re undoing all that hard work by making your customer weed through your site to get the information they are (or were) interested in. More than likely, they’ll get frustrated and give up. Make sure your ad links to a product-specific landing page.

  • Sending visitors to your contact page
  • no_noThis is a big no-no. You may think that sending potential customers to your contact page is a win for you, but it’s not. Not only does it serve to frustrate customers, but it can also run afoul of your chosen tool’s guidelines. You’re requiring your customer to fill out a contact form in exchange for something free. Don’t do it.

  • Failing to split-test your ad
  • What is split-testing? Visual Web Optimizer defines split-testing as “a way of comparing multiple versions of a web page (homepage or landing page) to find out which one converts visitors best. When the test is run, traffic to the page is split among the different versions and their performance is tracked. Whichever version converts the most at the end of the test, wins“.


    Siu recommends testing your pay-per-click ad. This allows you to determine which specific wording leads to the most click throughs (the process of a visitor clicking on a Web advertisement and going to the advertiser’s website).

  • Relying entirely on ‘broad match’ keyword ads
  • Let’s go back to our Rogue One example. You’ve set your ad to target the phrase “Rogue One movie” with a broad match ad. This means that if someone searches for “Rogue One reviews” or “Hidden Figures movie” then your ad would pop up for them, too. In these cases, you’re wasting your money. Using specific targeted match ads might take away from your traffic potential, but it ensure that you’re actually targeting those who you want on your website.

  • Not taking advantage of negative keywords
  • First of all, what is a negative keyword? Again, using our Rogue One example, if we set “free” as our negative keyword then anyone who types in “free Rogue One movie” would be less likely to see your ad. Siu recommends that you take advantage of the negative negativekeyword feature. This really goes back to the step above about reaching your target audience. In this way you could use a broader ad search while still narrowing the scope a bit. The only downside to this would be the work it would take to come up with all the possible negative keywords that would influence your ad campaign. Depending on your campaign, this may be a huge pain-in-the-you-know-where.

Website Example: Verizon

My daughter has been looking to purchase new technology. In doing so, I allowed her to use my laptop to search for new headphones, phones, and cases. Today, I recorded this screen-captured ad in my Facbook page:


This interested me because it picks up on the fact that I have children. Specifically, it targets me as a parent of young children who are into technology. Not only does the ad give specific recommendations, but it also shows me friends who have “liked” their page and also gives me an option to like Verizon’s Facebook page. So many options and so little time! Verizon does a great job at reaching its specific target audience and making its advertising dollar stretch to find the right customers for its product(s).

Though, in the end, I didn’t click on the ad, so I’ll leave it up to you to determine how successful this ad was in the end.

As usual, I welcome any questions and comments below!

(original header image link can be found here. Images are not my own and are used for educational purposes only)

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