Chantelle Evelyn is a certified AdWords Specialist and Search Engine Marketer at Vovia. She was born in Barbados but moved to Calgary to experience all 4 seasons in one day. She enjoys running with her dog, getting out to the mountains, and her own jokes.

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The Dangers of DIY Pay-Per-Click Research

DIYWhen it comes to setting up pay per click campaigns, I find it interesting to learn how few people invest adequate time in research prior to launching their ads! Perhaps its not that surprising – research can be time consuming and many business owners and marketing managers are time-starved with many tasks demanding their attention.

That said, a truly successful and well-run PPC campaign requires more than just picking keywords, writing an couple of ads, then setting your bids. Successful campaigns also depend on research, both at the onset and on an ongoing basis.

Here are a few of the more common problems we come across in DIY campaigns.

The Dangers of DIY Pay-Per-Click Research

  • You Know What They Say About Assumptions – Your own bias may be blinding you! While nobody knows your business better than you do, online advertising is often a medium full of surprises. Bias can cause you to overlook potential keyword niches or to assume some are more profitable than others. It’s a case of opinion clouding the data – one that can be hard to remove. And what about platforms? Are you sure that Google Adwords is the only platform for you? Depending on your preconceived ideas of pay per click marketing, you may be choosing the wrong platform.  A PPC professional excels at both learning about your business and translating that understanding into effective paid campaigns.
  • Too Small Of A Reach, Too Narrow A Scope – Think you’ve captured your entire market? Think again. Many people fail to do ongoing keyword research, but one of the most effective ways to expand your reach is by adding new, relevant keywords over time. There may be new opportunities out there that you’re missing if you aren’t watching for them! For example,if teenagers are your target market then you better be including the newest slang/jargon related to your products or else you won’t show up for their searches.
  • Wasted Spend & Irrelevant Keywords – Not only should you be thinking about and updating the words that you would like people to find you with, but also keywords that you want to exclude (negative keywords). As a campaign progresses, research can reveal irrelevant phrases that are triggering your ads and wasting your spend. Removing these phrases with an updated negative keywords list is crucial to preventing your spend from going to waste.
  • Being Blind to The Competition – A PPC professional doesn’t just research your niche – they also investigate what your competition is doing. This can be tough to determine on your own and even harder to track on an ongoing basis. Proper research means evaluating the tactics of your competition and learning from their mistakes so you can avoid making them yourself, something that takes a trained and watchful eye. You also want to watch and see which competitors start emulating YOUR strategies, and then figure out how to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Missed Updates & Forgotten Features – In this fast-paced, ever-changing industry, you must be in the know – now. But if you don’t have the energy to devote to ongoing research and management of your campaigns, it is easy to miss important new updates and feature changes that have a serious impact on your campaign. Almost constantly new opportunities are being rolled out on the various platforms! For example were you aware when Facebook changed the character limits on their ads or when Google Adwords changed their keyword matching? Both of those changes were relatively recent – and they’re not the only significant ones! There’s also the emergence of new mediums and platforms.  For example, Google+ is regularly introducing new and exciting ways to connect with your audience. Are you on top of these changes? What if your competitors are?
  • Old Research Grows Stale – Research that was done 6 months ago or even 6 weeks ago may not even be relevant today. The way people search is fluid and always changing. I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay on top of this, nor how difficult it can be for someone who doesn’t have the tools or expertise to do so.
  • The Great Unknown – Sometimes, you don’t know what you don’t know! When performing research for your PPC campaign it is important to have an understanding of what to look for and where to find it. A PPC manager can act as your Sherpa on the Everest of paid online advertising – an experienced guide who has your best interests in mind.
  • Your Time Is Valuable! – Performing an adequate amount of research to make decisions can be time consuming. Depending on the size/scope of the campaign, PPC research can take anywhere from 4 to 24 hours for an experienced PPC marketer (and even longer if you’re learning all of the ins and outs for the first time). Because that’s time spent that you can’t devote to other business functions, it’s important to ask yourself if you can really afford to go the DIY road.

All-in-all, DIY research can be risky business.  Are you doing your own research or using a PPC professional?