Why PPC Campaigns Fail (& When Paid Advertising Is Not For You)

Paid ads aren’t the best fit for every business. If you aren’t careful, one of the reasons why PPC campaigns fail is not because ad platforms aren’t good enough; it’s only because you aren’t really thinking hard enough. You aren’t doing enough.

It just had to be said because of the eagerness with which so many entrepreneurs want to rush to platforms such as Facebook and Google to launch ads, to “spray and pray”, and to see what happens.

Rand Fishkin of Moz puts it best:

“Pouring money into a paid ad campaign that’s destined to fail isn’t a sound growth strategy. Time and again, companies breaking into online ads don’t see success due to the same issue: they aren’t known to their audiences. There’s no trust, no recognition, and so the cost per click remains high and rising.”

Of course, there’s no strategy. Most businesses don’t even put reasonable thought into their campaigns. Very often, businesses and marketers do so many mistakes that they’ll only end up declaring that Paid ads are not working for them.

Paid ads do work, but that’s already been written about.

Here’s why PPC campaigns fail (& are not a good fit for your business sometimes):

Products with Low Margins (Or businesses with High Overheads)

I remember a potential client who once met me to discuss how we wanted to who wanted to sell T-shirts sourced from a local vendor. His margin for each tee that’d sell would be around $1.5 to $2.5.

Even if he launches paid ad campaigns with ultra-focused local advertising strategies, he wouldn’t be able to break even given the rising costs of paid advertising on platforms such as Google and Facebook.

He won’t ever get a positive ROI for his business. He doesn’t even need to try. Maybe long term SEO could be a better strategy for his e-commerce business.

For some businesses, there’s just no way you’d be able to make platforms like Google and Facebook work for you when you sell low-priced products and services.

Paid advertising is not a good fit for a business that sells products and services with low margins. Period.

Ignoring the Trifecta of Advertising

When it comes to paid ads, there’s a trifecta of advertising that you must follow. It’s as below:

Paid Ads Trifecta

The trifecta goes something like this:

  • Ads: Includes great work with design, copy, the angles you take, and the offer you are making.
  • Landing pages: Message-matching landing pages built with focus, great design, and compelling copy while adhering to the best conversion optimization strategies. (Don’t overthink this step with developers and designers. Just use Unbounce or Leadpages)
  • Email Nurturing: Grow your list. Deploy sequential communication with your leads and email subscribers while segmenting and staying personalized throughout. (Hint: Use Drip or MailChimp).

Now, you can replace landing pages with Chatbots if you like. Or maybe you can skip Email marketing automation and only use mobile messaging, SMS, or Facebook Messenger.

You can play. You can experiment. You can obviously try out different things. But not using the Trifecta is non-negotiable.

No ifs and buts. No opinions needed. No dilly-dallying. No way you can think (and do) otherwise.

You have Opinions (& You Don’t Listen)

With digital marketing, there are chances that you just don’t get it.

On top of that, you have your own set of opinions, perceptions, experiences, and a set way of thinking.

Hopefully, you have an open mind and that you are thinking in the right direction. Most people don’t.

Given all that, you could be a serious bottleneck for the success of your paid ad campaigns.

Paid ad campaigns are best handled by professionals — they know what they are doing, they’ve done it before, and they do it full-time.

Full-time paid ads management is a back-breaking job. If you thought it was easy, you grossly underestimate the value of the varied skill set, the multiple things you’d need to do, and the hard work it really is to make paid ad campaigns work for your business.

Also, do you want to run your business or do you want to sit, hit refresh, and manage your ad campaigns all day long?

You Underestimate Simplicity (and Overdo Campaigns)

Go into your Google Ads Manager or Facebook Ads manager and take a good look at your accounts.

Chances are that you have a slobbering mess inside those accounts as far as how you organize and manage your paid campaigns go.

Too many campaigns, each with an unwieldy number of Ad Sets or Ad Groups. Then, God only knows just how many ads live within each of those Ad sets (Facebook) and Ad Groups (Google).

More than 90% of all the ad accounts I manage are as ugly, unwieldy, and horribly-managed as they come.

Imagine this: Your daily budget is $20 per day. If you have one ad set with 7 ads, do you see how you are spreading yourself thin? None of those 7 ads has enough juice to run thanks to limited budgets but too many ads eating away at that daily budget.

Granted that you should run ads in pairs, do split testing, and all that. Most PPC campaigns fail because people seem to think that all you had to do with PPC campaigns was to spend money and that’s about it. Really?

Here are a few reasons why PPC campaigns fail and there’s no point in running your paid ads if you don’t pay attention to the points below:

You have no USP (or didn’t bother with one)

Let’s be honest here: there’s hardly anything that’s unique and jaw-dropping in the world, especially in the world of business. When I say USP, I don’t imply you to talk “unique” in the sense that there’s no one else who does what you do or offers what you offer.

By USP, I mean that your products or services do have a certain degree of uniqueness as you go about making offers or when you shout off the top of the mountain.

With paid ads, the window of opportunity is rather low. You have the responsibility to let the world know how you’ll solve their problem (and why they should consider you) in a few seconds, tops.

That, by itself, tells you why you need a unique angle to use in your ads.

No Brands, People, Meaning, & Context behind the ads

In the U.S alone, more than 20% of users aged between 16 and 34 used ad blockers in the year 2016.

While it’s easy enough to roll out campaigns after campaigns for various objectives, you must understand that the profile of the average customer today is rapidly changing.

These aren’t those days in the early 1990s when your potential customer would see an ad and click eagerly. These are the days of customers bombarded with ads all day long (across media). If you do everything right with respect to copy and design, you’ll get their attention.

Today, however, they need more:

  • What do you stand for?
  • How will you make a difference in their life?
  • How are you different from your competition?
  • Why should they pay attention?
  • Are you who you say you are?
  • Everyone makes promises. How are you different?
  • What value do you provide today, like without even asking for my money?

Don’t just roll out an ad. Think strategically and work hard to be a real business behind those ads.

The choices for ad platforms are many today. You have Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest along with Mobile Advertising and Native ads. We didn’t even begin to add the infinite inventory of ads with Google’s Display Network, Google Shopping, and third-party inventory.

If you don’t do what you need to do though, you can throw all the money you have wherever you want to but you won’t have much to show for it.

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