7 Costly Paid Search Management Campaign Mistakes in Higher Education
Has your paid search management campaign performance bottomed out when looking at your Higher Education Marketing strategy? You see the clicks, but the money isn’t following. PPC campaigns can appear deceptively simple to set up. The problem is, small mistakes can be costly over time.
7 Mistakes to Avoid When Managing a Successful Paid Search Management Campaign
How do you successfully set up a campaign that aligns with your goals as an institution of higher learning? Let’s look at seven mistakes it’s best to avoid.
1. Setting It Up and Walking Away
Even if it seems like your paid search management campaign is perfectly executed, walking away expecting the campaign to run itself is a huge risk. Optimize your PPC campaigns to stay up to date with current trends. As data becomes available, it should be used to make positive changes. It does not make sense to continue paying for underperforming ads. Without testing ads and keeping track of performance, you are likely paying for clicks that will never lead to conversions – thus attributing to wasted spend. Wasted spend means your school is losing money, therefore, it is especially important to choose your KPI’s early on.
2. Running Poor Quality Ads
Prospects do not care about the research you put into keyword matching. They want to be drawn in and find something valuable about your college, university, or institution. Prospects are searching for a place to invest in their future. What sets you apart from your competition’s sub-par ads do not elicit the same click-through-rate as more visually appealing ad copy. Think creatively, and avoid redundancies. Just because your competition has done this already, doesn’t mean that it’s OK to follow suit. Think more about what your competition is NOT doing and focus on how to stand out.
Look at the bigger picture when creating paid search management campaign ad copy. Your keywords should match what the audience intends to find when it performs a search. Ad copy should be relevant to what prospects will experience when they click through to your landing page.
3. Ignoring Regular Conversion Tracking
You cannot just pull up analytics once and think you’ve seen the whole picture. Conversion tracking is a continuous process that gives you the low-down on how specific ads are working for you. PPC advertising is one part of a broader marketing plan, so it is important to analyze and focus funds on the ads that are generating the most conversions. Conversions do not tell the whole story, there is much more under the hood when it comes to a prospect’s journey. Keep in mind other metrics like time on page, new visitors, and returning users, and figuring out how to capitalize on those users by delivering them the best experience. Just cause they’ve seen your ad a few hundred times doesn’t make it relevant. In fact, it can be more annoying than it is helpful. Avoid the user going online and writing a bad review because you’ve retargeted them too many times.
4. Choosing the Wrong Keywords
Time spent researching keywords is time well spent. Specific searches tend to result in visitors who are closer to conversion than those performing generic searches. Generic keywords or keyword phrases will end up wasting your money by bringing visitors who aren’t interested in your products or services. Focus on keywords that are your bread winners. Just because a keyword serves a purpose in terms of clicks and impressions, doesn’t mean that you’re getting the best ROI.
5. Discounting the Power of Negative Keywords
Let’s say you want to sell a “softball bat”. Your audience is very specific, so a negative keyword that could save you money would be “baseball bat”. By incorporating negative keywords, you stop your ad from appearing when a searcher uses one of the words. Irrelevant queries cost money and can hinder campaign performance when the wrong visitors show up who have no intention of converting. Choosing the keywords you add to a negative keyword list, when done incorrectly, will have a negative impact on performance. Make sure to check and update your negative keyword list regularly, as this can result in poor user experience and attribute to more wasted spend.
6. Using the Wrong Type of Keywords
Broad match keywords cast a net that is far too wide and often counts minimally related search matches as important. If you go with broad match keywords in the hopes that a higher click-through-rate will result in more conversions, you will be sorely disappointed. You are more likely to end up with qualified leads from an exact match or phrase match keywords than with broad match.
7. Downplaying Quality Score
We mentioned optimization earlier. Quality Score lets you know when it is time to optimize your paid search management campaign. Search results are the result of several factors, not just how much you bid. Quality Score gives you the historical performance of your keywords, ads, and landing pages. Relevant ads help boost your Quality Score, which in return affects your cost.
PPC management can save your advertising budget when you avoid common mistakes. Make sure you use keywords appropriately and keep track of your conversions to stay on top of current trends.