5 Common Mistakes Nonprofits Make with PPC

Not knowing the competition

When you aren’t familiar with the competitive nature of AdWords in your industry, you are bound to make a few rookie mistakes that all lead to minimal Click-through-rates, low quality scores and ultimately wasted dollars. For example, you may want to set a budget of $25 per click on a highly competitive key term. The tougher the competition, the higher your bids will need to be until you establish some credibility with AdWords. Bidding $75 per click upfront could quickly increase your quality score and put you in a position for much lower bids in the long run.

Tip: Take a close look at what your competition is paying for and how much they are spending to get a good insight of what your bidding strategy should be. Put some research into what the value of a click might actually be for your organization. If one click could lead to an annual donor or a registration for your program, this may be easier to justify the increased budget to your board.

Not separating Ad Groups

Ad Groups are designed to keep multiple ads organized and easily differentiated between one another. The common mistake is when one Ad Group has several different focuses such as youth programs, adult programs, family services etc. These key terms would perform much better in terms of ad quality score and CTRs if they were split into different ad groups.

Tip: Consider yourself as the end user who is searching for your product or service. As many users won’t be searching for every service that you offer all at once, put just the terms that are closely related to one another into the same ad group. Then create another ad group for the next service and so on.

Not directing to the ideal landing page

All too often we see an ad that is targeted to an audience who is looking for a specific product, service or action such as enrolling or donating, yet the ad directs the user to either the homepage or a contact page. Either of these pages will just create an extra step for your audience. Eliminate the extra step by directing your audience to exactly what they are searching for.

Tip: It is best to direct the ad to the ideal landing page that speaks to the specific goal you have in mind for that user. For example, if your ad has key terms focused on gaining more enrollments, and ad copy that coincides with that focus, it would be best for the ad (and your audience) to direct the ad to your enrollment page. There they can quickly see more information and follow through with the call-to-action that is intended on that page.

Not utilizing negative keywords

Setting negative keywords is crucial in any successful AdWords campaign. Setting specific key terms that you do not want your ad to appear for will eliminate possible clicks from users who are looking for something that you do not provide. For example, if your ad is focused on gaining more registrations for your all boys summer camp, a few negative keywords would include girls and winter.

Tip: Set your negative key terms as any words that a user would search for that relates to your organization yet would not lead them to what they are looking for. Using “broad match” for your ads is acceptable as long as the proper negative key terms are included in the ad campaign.

Setting and forgetting

There is a reason that so many PPC DIYers turn to a professional sooner than later to manage their AdWords campaigns. That’s because many already have full time positions that do not allow much time for the maintenance needed to keep a successful ad campaign running. There is an abundance of resources, guides, videos etc. that make setting up an AdWords campaign seem like a breeze but it is anything but when it’s time to reevaluate and update your strategy.

Tip: Do the research needed to have a basic understanding of the principles of PPC. Learn about the amount of time, money and attention that is needed to be put into managing a campaign with your specific goals. With that knowledge you can comfortably move forward with a professional who can invest in creating a campaign that will not only have an increased quality score and CTR but attract your ideal users that will bring more traffic to your organization.