Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing can be one of the quickest ways to generate customers for your business. Unfortunately running a pay-per-click campaign the right way isn’t easy if you don’t have a lot of experience.

Most people end up wasting money when running PPC ads, often leaving them to believe that PPC marketing isn’t for them – or their business. Yet, in most cases, people are just making a few simple errors that can be easily fixed and will help their online advertising efforts. 

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the common mistakes people make when running PPC campaigns and how you can avoid them.

Adwords Express

Adwords Express was created as a simple version of Adwords (now known as Google Ads). The idea here was that Google Ads was too complicated for small business owners, so this gave them an opportunity to set up and manage their own campaigns. When setting up a new Adwords Express account, you simply tell Google what type of business you have, the maximum amount you want to spend per day and provide the wording for your ad.

Once your campaign is set up and running, the only bits you can change is your daily click budget and your ad text. This leaves you with no control over which keywords your campaign is targeting and how much you are paying for each click.

My advice here would be to avoid Adwords Express and hire a professional PPC consultant to set up a proper Google ads account for you. 

Keyword Research

The big problem I often find in PPC accounts is irrelevant keywords. Every time someone has searched something irrelevant but still clicks your ad, it is costing you money. And I have managed some PPC accounts that have a cost per click of £20! 

It’s best to select keywords that are relevant to your business. For example, if you sell black trainers, you may want to bid higher for “buy black trainers,” rather than simply “black trainers” since someone who uses the word “buy” would have a higher intent to make a purchase. The more specific the search term, the more likely they are to purchase.


One of the main mistakes a business makes while creating ad copy is being too generic or unattractive. Have a think about what searchers are looking for and tie it to your unique selling proposition. What makes you different from the competition? Going back to the black trainer’s example, if you’re creating an ad for “black trainers,” you may want to create an ad that highlights your low prices or the free delivery that you offer. If you find yourself getting stuck, look at what the competitors are offering and try to offer something better. 

When creating ads, try and make 2 or 3 variations. Try out different headlines and descriptions to discover which one yields the best results. Sometimes just swapping them around in a different order can make a slight difference.

Landing page

Once you have your keywords and ads perfected, it all comes down to your landing page. Each part is crucial. You could have the best keywords and best ads in the whole world, but if your website sucks, it’s all a waste of time and money.

First of all, think about where you want to send them. If you have organised your ad groups correctly, you should have one for each service or product group. This means you can direct each group to a specific landing page. Going back to my black trainer’s example. If someone clicks the ad, they will expect to land on a page full of black trainers. If they end up on a page full of red trainers, they will most likely bounce away and go to the next listing in the search results.

You also need to make sure your website is responsive. More and more people are using mobile phones and tablets, with some B2C industries seeing mobile overtake desktop for the main source of traffic.

Ongoing Optimisation

PPC campaigns are always a work in progress. In the last 12 months, Google has rolled out so many updates to Google ads, so It’s important to stay up to date otherwise you risk falling behind. The truth is, if you have a Google Ads account and have not touched in within 12 months, you will be missing out on loads of opportunities. Make sure you stay on top of the latest marketing news and make the most of any new changes that become available. 

One of the most useful ways to optimise campaigns and improve performance is to keep on top of your negative keywords. Negative keywords work like filters for your campaigns so your ads won’t be able to show for such keywords. This practice can save you a lot of money on irrelevant clicks that cause bad-quality traffic. 


So that’s my 5 top tips of things to avoid when thinking of starting a Google ads campaign. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email and I’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Ryan Scollon is a freelance PPC Consultant at https://www.ryanscollon.co.uk. Twitter: @ryanscollon

PPC stock photo by Mathias Rosenthal/Shutterstock