4 Sure-Fire Ways to Fail at PPC

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

PPC isn’t always predictably. And as nerdy and data centric as I am, I know it’s not always exact. But there are some sure-fire ways to tank a PPC account. Here are 5 of them:


Lose Perspective

An account that has an average CPC of $.20 is vastly different than one at $10.00. While you conceptually know this, it’s very easy to lose perspective when managing the accounts if you are switching between the two.

Of course you’re not going to up your bids on a $.20 average CPC account to $10.00 on accident. But you might raise it to $.30. And if your not intentionally trying to increase cost/cost per conversion by 50%, you’re in for quite a surprise the next time you log into your account.



We’ve all had a bad week, or two, and jumped furiously into our accounts to start fixing them. The thought process is right, but what can happen a lot of times is over-optimization.

This is continuously pulling the levers inside your PPC account (bids, ads, keywords) until results seem to be going up. Sometimes, it can feel like you need to be doing something everyday until you are back at goal. But typically this is too much. Spend your time analyzing what is going on, and coming up with 2-3 things that should make a major impact.


Focus on Yesterday, Today or Tomorrow

Along the lines of over-optimization, another way to assure you’ll fail at CPC is looking at too small a window when comparing results to goals. Always focusing on what happened yesterday, or what is happening today, or spiking results tomorrow will get you in a vicious cycle.

This cycle will cost you more time, more stress and worse long-term results. Instead look at longer time lines, and understand that sometimes you have to sacrifice results tomorrow, for better structure, strategy, results over the next few weeks.


Set the Wrong Goals

CPA and CPL are the prime metrics in PPC. But that’s not always the best metric. That’s because you can have a great CPA but be driving the wrong sales (low profit margin/revenue). Or your CPL could be within goal, but on the sales side, none of the leads make it to a bona fide sales appointment. The right goals may revolve more around value per visit, ROAS, or even cost-per-sale (total PPC cost/total sales).