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Why Most PPC Ad Campaigns Flop

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ppc advertising

Organic traffic is always the goal. However, it happens at a snail’s pace.

Few businesses can wait months, if not years, before enough visitors from Organic Search convert to customers. This is why PPC (pay per click) is popular, to boost sales while organic traffic marketing strategies work their magic.

However, often there is no end to using PPC advertising. You’ll inevitably realise that even when you reach the point of healthy sales from organic traffic, there will always be a desire to generate more sales and more revenue.

Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising

PPC advertising is both a quick fix and a long-term solution. It provides immediate traffic at scale without having to wait for organic traffic to slowly trickle in. Then, once your business grows, you can continue to use PPC advertising to scale at an even faster rate.

But PPC advertising isn’t a panacea. Did you know just a fraction of ads produce conversions?

If you want to succeed in this space, you must understand what’s happening behind the scenes of these failed campaigns.

In the most basic sense, PPC operates on a “per click” basis. Whereas many display ads require the advertiser to pay a fee for placement and impressions, PPC ads only cost you when someone actually clicks. This eliminates wasted exposure and provides an opportunity to generate a healthy ROI.

Pros for PPC

Let’s look at the benefits of PPC. The list of reasons to use PPC includes:

  • A low-cost strategy to reach an audience at scale
  • Provides an instant boost of traffic
  • Provides a steady flow of warm/semi-warm leads
  • User data can be used to improve SEO and marketing
  • PPC ads aren’t dependent on search algorithm changes
  • PPC ads provide multi-layered targeting for advertisers

Clearly, it’s impossible to discount the value of PPC ad campaigns as part of a marketing mix. However, like all advertising and marketing strategies, you need to set them up for success. Just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean a novice can create PPC campaigns to convert for the best ROI.

For example, setting up a PPC campaign is not as easy as writing a quick CTA (call to action), pasting in a link, setting a budget, and letting ‘er rip. The businesses that take this spitball approach typically don’t get any results.

Successful PPC advertising requires a much more nuanced approach.

ppc diagram

5 Reasons PPC Ad Campaigns Fail

According to, most PPC campaigns produce zero results and zero sales. In fact, they say less than 25% of PPC ads produce any conversions. And here are a few reasons why:

Failing to Do Keyword Research

Never assume you know what your target audience is searching for. Keywords are the heart and soul of PPC advertising. Make sure you do thorough research to discover what sort of keywords are actually profitable.

Some keywords have a high click-through rate but a low conversion rate. Other keywords have a low click-through rate but convert almost every time. It’s up to you to develop a strategy that gives you the best chance to be successful. (And don’t be afraid to iterate after you launch.)

Not Studying the Competition

So much of PPC advertising is dependent on what others are doing. Because PPC ad prices are set based on bids from other advertisers, the price can easily get driven up for valuable keywords. If you’re just blindly launching a campaign, you might inadvertently launch an ad that’s destined to fail from the start.

Spend some time poking around to see which ads are already out there. What are some valuable pieces of information you can pull from these ads?

Too Small Budget

You don’t need a massive budget to do PPC advertising, but you need enough to get started. A $10 daily budget won’t be enough to give you any traction (unless it’s a totally untouched niche, for example, Cat’s Claw Tool). 🙂

You’ll need to set the CPC – cost per click. Plus, when you’re starting out, make sure you have the budget to test the conversion rate of your PPC ads. Are you spending too little or too much? You can always pare back on your CPC after you figure out what works.

Giving Up Prematurely

It takes time to get a PPC ad campaign dialed in. Don’t be surprised if you’re unprofitable over the first few days or weeks. It can take time to gather data, test different ad creatives, and find the correct combination of targeting. If you give up prematurely, your campaign won’t live long enough to enjoy the fruits of all this optimization.

Lack of Cohesion

A PPC ad is like a flashing sign outside of a store. It’s what grabs people’s attention and convinces them to come inside. But the actual sale is dependent on what’s in the store. If the sign says one thing, but the store provides something totally different, people will leave as quickly as they came. Unfortunately, this happens a lot with PPC advertising.

For a PPC ad campaign to succeed, there must be cohesion between the ad copy and the landing page experience. It should be a smooth transition that meets the visitor’s expectations. A failure to deliver on the promise made in the ad will result in wasted ad spend, high bounce rates, and low conversions.

How to be an Exception to the Rule

There’s so much potential with PPC advertising. However, you need a plan if you want it to be a powerful asset for your marketing and sales. The shotgun approach doesn’t work. Careful preparation is an absolute must. When in doubt, consult with a PPC ad strategist to figure out the right plan for your brand.

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