July 19, 2012
Welcome to today’s Heroview, everyone! Real-time interviews featuring PPC experts from around the industry!
Today, Jeff Ferguson, CEO of consulting group Fang Digital, talked with us about common PPC blunders that may be holding back your campaign.
PPC Hero: We’re really excited to have you with us today, Jeff! Thanks for joining PPC Hero!
Jeff: My pleasure! We’re big fans of your blog over at @FangDigital and jazzed to be here!
PPC Hero: Why don’t we start with you giving us a little more info about your background in PPC?
Jeff: I’ve actually been in the online marketing biz for over 17 years now… so I’ve done it all,SEO,Display,PPC. I got my start inPPC while at the Hilton Hotels Corp in the late 90s & worked campaigns at IAC, Napster. Kimberly-Clark & a few others before starting Fang Digital in 2010, which has been a blast.
PPC Hero: Wow, lots of experience!
Jeff: Yeah, it’s been quite the ride… and to think, I wanted to be a copywriter when I was in school… 🙂
PPC Hero: What would you say are the most common problems you’ve come across when it comes to diagnosing a PPC campaign?
Jeff: I would easily say poor account structure/organization makes it hard for me to see a lot of problems. Google makes AdWords fairly easy to organize, but I think it’s self-serve mentality throws a wrench in things at times.
PPC Hero: What are the biggest mistakes you come avross when it comes to keywords, negatives, and match types?
Jeff: Usually it’s a complete lack of use of most of the match types and negative match (big time). There have been plenty of times where I’ve audited campaigns with only one match type, usually Broad, and no negatives. Terrifying!
PPC Hero: I can’t even imagine!
Jeff: PPC isn’t that different from SEO, usually the biggest problems are the basics and not the complicated things that people claim.
PPC Hero: What are some common account structure blunders, and how do they impact performance? How do you go about fixing them?
Jeff: Overstuffed ad groups are a big problem with a lot of accounts. Small, tight groups of keywords make life easier on many fronts, especially creating matching, quality ads. Also, not siloing your match types, networks, and devices.
PPC Hero: Many people underestimate the power of great ad copy. What testing methods do you employ to help improve your ads?
Jeff: It’s a combination of both quality and quantity. So, first, get some help with copywriting if you’re not strong on this front; Next, iterate, iterate, iterate! Call to actions, caps, no caps, mixed caps, etc. Do it all, don’t quit.
PPC Hero: We do that here at Hanapin. Some people enjoy the creative aspect of ad writing, so we make sure to utilize them!
Jeff: Same here atFang Digital; we employ actual copywriters for our ad writing, makes all the difference in the world!
PPC Hero: What is the most overlooked aspect of writing great copy? A strong call to action? Seasonal/special offers?
Jeff: All of the above and then some; too often during audits do I see just 1-2 ads in an ad group… try harder.
PPC Hero: Lets move on to landing pages. In your opinion, what are the most common blunders advertisers make when it comes to the use of landing pages?
Jeff: In this day and age, I’m still seeing people go to the home page for entire campaigns. Be as targeted as possible.
PPC Hero: Sending to the homepage = oooph! In your experience, how can poor targeting settings affect the performance of a campaign?
Jeff: Massively. I’ve seen companies waste thousands of dollars a day simply because they have mobile targeting on for a non-mobile friendly site; the same for not using ad scheduling, etc. All while claiming search ad don’t work for them!
PPC Hero: Many advertisers believe that they need their ad to show in position 1 every time. What advice do you have for them?
Jeff: That they need to re-evaluate their reason for advertising. Is the goal the top spot, or to increase revenue/sales/ROI?
PPC Hero: Good advice! We even wrote an article about finding your “sweet spot.” Check it out.
Jeff: Sweet spot is a good way to put it; it’s always going to be less about position, more about results.
PPC Hero: In your opinion, what are the biggest pitfalls to avoid when it comes to creating and managing Display campaigns?
Jeff: Not keeping your ad groups tight is a big one, but also not providing enough creative assets to test.
PPC Hero: Can you explain the importance of strangly defined goals when it comes to getting the most out of your PPC campaigns?
Jeff: Simply put, you can’t ignore having the right goals for the campaign. Too often, I’ve had clients approach me with odd goals of “more traffic” when their site sells a product or something similar. It’s maddening & destructive to biz.
PPC Hero: What about the mistake of falling behind on current PPC trends. How do you stay up-to-date in our industry?
Jeff: Big mistake! I read the trades daily, plus I answer questions on Quora (http://www.quora.com/Jeff-Ferguson-1), LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/FangDigital). If I can’t answer a question, I make sure to find out the answer on my own.
PPC Hero: Some clients don’t always make use of branded campaigns. What advice do you have for them?
Jeff: Are they happy losing sales to their competitors? Because that’s what happens. Even if you rank wellSEO wise, for your brand, you probably don’t for the long tail variations of your brand. Google stated this week that in 2/3rds of branded searches, the click goes to the paid ad. It’s just a big missed opportunity.
PPC Hero: Great stat! Last question: What’s the most common mistake you know you’ve made when you started out in PPC? How did you fix it?
Jeff: Delegating, thinking I had to do it all myself. I had been so used to being solo in most of my early gigs, when I finally had help (or hired help), I was awful at spreading out the work to everybody.PPC-wise… I’d say not using all the tools at my disposal. Share of Voice, keyword reports, etc., all invaluable, use them!
PPC Hero: We love tools! Makes PPC much easier! Well, that’s all from us! If anyone has any questions or examples of past blunders, feel free to send those in now.
Jeff: Yeah, it took a lot… I’m old school, used to doing things with pivots, etc. Took awhile, but I got there!
PPC Hero: Thanks for joining us today, Jeff! We really appreciate you taking the time to “drop some PPC knowledge” on the Twitter-verse!
Jeff: My pleasure, this was a blast! 🙂