PPC Marketing: How to Suck at Google Adwords

by Frank on March 31, 2010

And I mean “suck” in at least two senses of the word.  Both to suck: as in, “the thing a vacuum does,” and to suck: as in, “the sound your badly set-up PPC campaigns make as Google sucks all the money out of your wallet.”  While you may be profitably surfing a number of other great PPC blogs on how to avoid the second sense of the term, I thought I’d write a post for those of you who want to:

  1. Cost you or your organization a lot of money
  2. Get laughed at by your peers
  3. Make sure you completely sabotage your brief online marketing career

How to Suck at Google Adwords:

1) Have No Real PPC Success Metric

If you think buying traffic is what Adwords is all about, then you’re well on your way.  Adwords can pump tons of totally irrelevant traffic to any site on the Internetz in no time at all.  Instead of wasting time defining success by asking what you want the PPC traffic to do once it arrives on your site (say, buy something, register, fill out a form, download a pdf), just punch in your credit card and build your excel sheet showing how much more traffic your site got from PPC, and then go take a 2 hour lunch.  After all, connecting your Adwords account to your Google Analytics account would take work, and then setting up conversion funnels would be even more work… and before you know it, you’re up to 40 hours a week!

2) Use Only Broad-Match Keywords

When you use the Adwords keyword tool, it defaults to the broad-match type.  Since (as in #1 above) we’re only interested in lots of traffic, regardless of whether any of it ever converts, this is an awesome way to suck at PPC marketing.  Why bother using phrase or exact match types?  They limit traffic to only the hyper-relevant stuff, and – after all – it’s not like

3) Don’t Modify Where Your PPC Ad Is Shown

Traffic is the goal, right?  So why would you tell Google NOT to show your ad somewhere?  It’s a great “branding” method.  It works for billboards, right?  And for Coke – so why can’t it work for your local pet shop?  Since all you care about is how many people see your ad, show it everywhere and treat every channel the same.  Segmentation is for people who like work and don’t suck, so make sure to have your ads show on everything: Search, Google Partners, the Content Network, and on Mobile Devices – even if your site is totally unreadable on a mobile browser.

4) Use 1 Adgroup… Total

If you’re a lazy aspiring PPC guy who wants to suck, this one is perfect for you.  For best results, use in conjunction with #2 and #3 above.  It works this way: you create one (1) PPC campaign, with one (1) Adgroup, and then dump all your broad match keywords into that one Adgroup.  The beauty of this strategy is that you only have to write one ad (which means you can go back to playing Farmville on company time a lot sooner).  This is a lot less effort than setting up separate Adgroups for each keyword theme and writing specific ads that target searchers who use those keyword themes.

If the only purpose of your life is to serve as a warning to others, then following the above steps should virtually guarantee your place in the “I Suck at Google Adwords” school of PPC Marketing.  If, on the other hand, you’d like to do it right, I’d suggest spending some time in the Adwords Online Classroom, which is free.  Or, if you’re looking for a more turnkey solution, I can set up your PPC campaigns for you (but not for free).

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