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PPC | PAID SEARCH | Better PPC account health in 2024: How to avoid modern pitfalls and wasted spend

Article by Nicola Agius


Discover the costliest PPC campaign mistakes from industry veteran Melissa Mackey and learn how to fix them for optimal results.


Regular audits of Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising campaigns are crucial for PPC marketers.


Failing to do so can result in significant costs for clients, and what’s more, it’s often an entirely avoidable expense.


To avoid common pitfalls and optimize spending in PPC campaigns, Melissa Mackey, paid search director at Compound Growth Marketing, provided a comprehensive walkthrough of the most costly mistakes she comes across during auditing and her top tips for avoiding these errors at SMX Next.


Below is a summary of the insights and advice she shared.


Always check your campaign goal settings


Mackey shared a cautionary tale about inheriting accounts with ample clicks but minimal conversions:

  • “This happened to me – I was thinking we would have to rebuild the whole campaign. Something must be wrong with it, right? But as I dug deeper, I realized something important was missing.”

  • “What’s cool about Google Ads is they have goal settings at account level and campaign specific goals. This is a fantastic setting, but you need to make sure you’re careful about how you use it.”

  • “In this case, the client wanted track custom goals of demo requests and lead forms. However, they had campaign specific goals selected instead – these were goals that couldn’t even be completed on the landing pages for the campaigns that were running on, which is why it showed zero.”

  • “Once we switched the campaign specific goal to the correct goal, we started seeing conversions. This could have been disastrous if we decided to blow up these campaigns without digging into it. So always check your campaign goal settings and make sure that you’re actually measuring what you want to measure.”


Default settings you should never use


Mackey suggested steering clear of certain default settings that come pre-configured in your Google Ads campaigns, despite the convenience of having them in place. For example:


1. Broad Match without smart bidding or audiences

  • “Google will tell you that broad match can:

  • Get you a 35% improvement in your target Cost Per Action (CPA).

  • Find keywords that you never would have thought of to bid on.

  • Deliver an overall better performance that’s more efficient.”

  • “This is true – but only if you do it correctly. Broad match needs smart bidding and audience signals to be sure to get you the right customers. Using broad match with those two things works well, but using it without does not.”

  • “Make sure you’re always layering on audiences and smart bidding with your broad match campaigns.”

2. Broad Match campaign setting


  • “There is a broad match campaign setting that you need to really be careful about:”

  • “If you turn this setting on (see picture above), it’ll say use broad match keywords for your entire campaign. That means you can only use broad match. Now, you may think that’s fine because that’s what I wanted to do anyway.”

  • “The problem is you will not be able to add other match types further down the road because you’ve locked yourself into just broad match.”

  • “I can think of few to no such situations where you would want to do this. You would always want to choose the ‘Use keyword, match types’ setting to give you flexibility.”

3. All the networks


  • “When you create a new campaign, Search Partners and Display Network are both on by default. For our B2B clients, we usually turn off Search Partners because we don’t tend to get good results and there’s not enough control. Your mileage may vary, so test it, look at it, but be careful with it.

  • “Display network – you should never run this alongside Search. Even though Google tells you, we have smart campaigns that can run in both Search and Display, what we have seen is that display will eat up all your budget. It’s also very challenging to optimize it properly and it is a best practice still to run separate Search and Display campaigns.”

  • “So make sure that you opt out of display.”

4. Location targeting method


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PPC Consultant London, Google AdWords Consultant London, PPC Specialist London, AdWords Specialist London

Original article by Nicola Agius on searchengineland.com


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