Failure to get the basics of a campaign right will reduce your Quality Score and prevent you from engaging in the level of tuning required to rev up your campaign.
Don't let common, easily rectified mistakes derail your PPC (define) search advertising campaign. Your campaign may be suffering from neglect as you go off and chase the sexy, hot, shiny new forms of online marketing such as Twitter or video advertising. Whether your campaign has been up for years or is still fairly new, I'd bet there are still significant improvements you could make - plus mistakes you should correct - to compete in the "quality score ecosystem" that evolves monthly and is quite different from that of even a year ago.
One really fun thing about having been in search engine marketing for 16 years (yikes) is that by now, I've seen dozens, perhaps hundreds, of mistakes made in paid search campaigns. I've even made more than my fair share of mistakes while getting my hands dirty in the campaigns I run. One common theme I've seen in the campaigns of hundreds of marketers is that many foundational elements of the campaign are lacking, resulting in large missed opportunities. Failure to get the basics and foundational elements of a campaign right will reduce your Quality Score and also prevent you from engaging in the level of tuning required to make a campaign really hum.
All search marketers should go through this checklist of common campaign mistakes to make sure they aren't wasting money or missing an opportunity. While the relative priority of the following list may vary slightly by advertiser, these cover most of the big mistakes that end up in old campaigns and even in new campaigns that have just gone live.
Bonus mistake: failure to test geotargeting and dayparting. It's not that hard to figure out. Should you bid more by time of day and geography?
Got all your campaign fundamentals done and optimized? Then you can consider the cool stuff like search retargeting, video ads, and display ad enhancements.
This column originally appeared in the March 2010 edition of SES Magazine.
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