Paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a very effective means of generating quality leads and raising brand awareness for B2B organizations. However, it’s easy for B2B marketers to unknowingly make costly mistakes if they don’t set up and manage paid search campaigns with best practices in mind. Addressing and avoiding these mistakes will go a long way towards ensuring your PPC efforts deliver a solid ROI.

Discover key insights and best practices in online marketing activities such as paid search and more in our In-Depth Digital Strategy for B2B Marketers white paper.

If you’re preparing to launch a new paid search campaign for your B2B company or are currently running PPC campaigns, review these costly mistakes that advertisers often make and learn how to avoid them.

1. Launching paid search campaigns without conversion tracking

Arguably the most important component to set up in your paid search campaigns is conversion tracking. Conversion tracking typically comes in the form of a piece of JavaScript or HTML code snippet that is dropped in an organization’s website. It allows marketers to measure how many conversions (i.e. content downloads, webinar registrations, product purchases, etc.) you are receiving and where the source of the conversion (i.e. the campaign, ad and keyword the resulted in the conversion).

Without conversion tracking properly set up, you will not be able to get a true measurement of your paid campaigns’ ROI and determine which ads and keywords are most effective, so make sure your campaigns have the proper conversion tracking code snippets installed in your website.

If you need help setting up your conversion tracking check out the following resources:

2. Ignoring important campaign settings

Each paid search platform (Google AdWords, Bing Ads, etc.) has their own set of campaign settings that should be carefully reviewed and considered upon setting up your next campaign or refining your current one.

The first setting to pay attention to is geographic and demographic targeting. Both Google and Bing allow you to select what geographic region (country, state, city, zip code) you would like your ads to show up. You can also choose to exclude specific locations to target as well.

With demographic targeting, you can make bid adjustments for various age ranges (18-24, 25-35, and so on) and gender so that your ads are more likely to show up for a specific demographic group.

The type of device (i.e. desktop, mobile or tablet) your ads show up on is another important setting to consider before launching your campaign. You can adjust the bids by each device type to increase/decrease the likelihood of your ads showing up on each device. This is particularly useful if you are seeing more of your leads convert from one particular device type then you may want to reduce your bids on other device types.

Pro tip: If you are showing display ads on mobile devices, it’s very important you pay attention to the number of clicks you are getting and where those clicks are coming from. By default, Google/Bing will have your display ads show up in mobile apps and games. However, most of those clicks are likely from kids playing with phones, which wastes your ad spend. Unless toddlers have recently become an important influence in B2B buying decisions, you’ll want to take steps to minimize this possibility.

3. Missing out on remarketing

Remarketing (or retargeting) is a form of online advertising that allows you to serve ads to people who have visited your website. For many websites, less than 2% of web traffic actually converts, so it’s important to have a way to bring back those visitors and re-engage me them with relevant marketing offers.

How does remarketing work? By using a special piece of code across your entire website, a cookie is automatically added on your web visitors’ devices after meeting your desired criteria (i.e. visiting your home page). Once an individual is “cookied,” they are added to your remarketing list and are eligible to be served ads. Remarketing ads can come in the form of text ads, static/animated images, videos and responsive ads.

When setting up a remarketing campaign, keep the following best practices mind:

  • Ensure your remarketing code is placed across the entire website.
  • Update your privacy policy to declare your use of the remarketing cookie.
  • Offer relevant content in your ads for audiences who are already familiar with your product/service, as you will be targeting people who have previously visited your site.
  • Swap on our remarketing ads on a regular basis (monthly) to reduce ad fatigue.

4. Failing to use keyword match types effectively

PPC campaigns are not like fishing—casting a wide net is not always the most effective use of your dollars. Using proper keyword match types across your paid search campaigns is critical to ensure effective spend of your campaign budget.

One example of improper keyword usage is using broad match keywords across your entire campaign. Broad match is the default match type in AdWords and Bing and they generally bring in plenty of impressions and ad clicks. However, they could also bring irrelevant ad clicks as ads using broad match are eligible to whenever a user’s search query includes any word in your keyword(s), in any order, resulting in wasted ad spend.

Because of this, it’s important to incorporate a combination of various keyword match types and negative keywords to make sure you are getting high-quality clicks.

5. Setting and forgetting your ads without A/B testing

Your text and display ads are not something you should ever set and forget. You must always be monitoring performance to see what ads are working and which are not. If you are not consistently swapping out your ads, you run the risk of having your ads suffer from ad fatigue, resulting in less ad clicks and potentially annoying your audience with the same repetitive ads.

Create an A/B testing plan for your campaigns and set a testing variable for each A/B test. Variables to test in your ads can include:

  • Ad copy (headlines and descriptions)
  • Design /Image in display ads
  • CTA button text or color
  • Display ad sizes

The benefits of paid search marketing for B2B are significant as it can help your organization generate more leads, increase brand exposure and get valuable search insights from your customers. By following the five tips mentioned above you can avoid some costly mistakes and make full use of your budget.