13 Most Common PPC Mistakes in E-commerce [+ Quick Fixes]

Most Common PPC Mistakes

This article will show the top 13 mistakes eCommerce PPC agencies and marketers make with Google Ads.

Also, for each mistake, we offer you a quick fix you can quickly implement and improve your advertising performance.

So let’s dive in:

Mistake #1 – Not Measuring Your Ads ROI

Return on investment or ROI is simply the ratio of new profit based on the cost spent to achieve that profit.

Have you ever calculated the ROI of your ads?

If not, there’s no way to know how much you can spend on Google Ads per acquisition, and you may pay more than you afford and end up losing money.

Quick fix: Calculate your Ads Roi

There is a simple formula for this: Google Ads ROI = (Total Profit – Advertising Costs ) / Advertising costs x 100

For example, if you have an online store that generated $4500 last month from your Google Ads campaign, your cost of products and wages was $1500, and your advertising costs on Google Ads were $500, then you could work out your Google Ads ROI as:

Total Profit = $4500 – $1500 = $3000 So for the calculation, the figures are: (3000 – 500) / 500 x 100 = 250% ROI

Mistake #2 – Not Bidding Your Brand Terms

Many assume that since they already rank for their brand, they don’t need to advertise. It’s good to rank number one for your e-commerce brand in both the ad space and organic results.

Why? Because your total clicks will go up, the cost per click for your brand is meagre, and you’ll make sure a competitor doesn’t outrank you with an ad above organic result.

Quick fix: Bid Your Ecommerce Brand Terms and Own the Top Spot

Ensure you’re ranking #1 for branded terms so you don’t sacrifice valuable clicks to your competition. If you’re not bidding on your brand terms, your competitor will.

Bidding on your brand name will ensure your company has maximum visibility on the first page of the Search Engine Result Page — for both paid and organic search results. Brand terms will likely have a high-quality score and CTR, which helps decrease average CPC.

Mistake #3 – Not Grouping Keywords

Not using ad groups is one of the biggest mistakes people make regarding Google Ads.

For instance, IKEA sells furniture, sofas & armchairs, kitchen & appliances, home textiles, etc. Suppose they don’t segment their products into different ad groups.

In that case, they won’t be able to show specific ads for different products, and they would have to resort to an ad with a headline such as “Buy IKEA furniture” instead of “Buy an IKEA bed” or “Buy an IKEA sofa.”

Quick fix: No More Than 20 Keywords

It’s best to use no more than 20 keywords per ad group. Sometimes you can get away with using more, but exceeding 20 keywords signifies that your ad copy doesn’t match the keyword searched for as closely as it should. Each of the ad groups in your campaign should target different themes.

Mistake #4 – Not Using Negative Keywords

Google Ads allows you to use negative keywords to exclude terms that are not a good match for your product.

For example, if you own a store that sells designer women’s shoes but not athletic shoes, then you don’t want your ads to show up on searches for “women’s running shoes” but do want them to show up for “women’s shoes.”

Thus, you can add “running” as a negative keyword, and your ads won’t be shown for any searches that include the word “running.” Negative keywords are the easiest way to reach the most targeted audiences, lower costs, and boost your ROI.

Quick fix: Start with exact matching

A good approach is to start with exact matches and then expand to phrases and broad match modifiers. An exact match gives you the most control over which search terms your ads will show up for, and a broad match modifier is a good middle ground to get more impressions without giving up complete control.

Use exact match for keywords you know are relevant to your business, and use phrase match or broad match modifier to ensure you don’t miss out on other relevant keywords you had not thought of.

Mistake #5 – Not Using the Right Keyword Match

Google Ads allows you to add keywords to a campaign as a broad match modifier, phrase, or exact match.

Broad match keywords deliver more impressions but are less precise. Phrase and exact matches often increase conversion rates but provide significantly fewer impressions.

Quick fix: Run a Search Terms Report

To find negative keywords, run a search terms report in Google Ads and figure out which keywords convert and which don’t. Once you find ones that don’t, check to see if there’s a negative keyword you can add so you won’t show up for that term without excluding words you want to continue showing up for.

Mistake #6 – Poorly Written Headline and Ad Copy

Falling in love with your ad copy is a problem. You may write an ad and think, “I love this copy! It’s great!” That’s fine unless the numbers tell you otherwise.

You should always test your ad copy. You can try two different headline variations, the same headlines but different body copy, or the exact copy but a different call to action. Testing different variations will help you to know what works best.

Quick fix: Always Be Testing

It’s recommended to test constantly. Once you have a winner for one test, turn off the less performing ads and change the ad copy. Always try to beat the winner until you’re happy with the results.

You may be surprised that this testing can eventually lead to doubling your conversion rates and lowering your CPA by 50%.

Mistake #7 – Not Knowing the LTV of your Customers

Have you ever calculated the Lifetime Value (LTV) of your customers? If not, there’s no way to know how much you can spend on Google Ads per acquisition.

Let’s say your LTV is $100. This means you’ll earn $100 on average over the lifetime of doing business with your customers.

If you’re paying $25 per acquisition, you’re okay because you’re making more per customer than you spend. But if your LTV is $40 and you’re paying $60 per acquisition, eventually, you’ll go out of business.

Quick Fix: Calculate the LTV for your customers, and then manage your campaigns accordingly

Here’s a simple formula you can use to do so: LTV = ((Average Monthly Revenue / Customer) x (Gross Margin / Customer) )) / Monthly Churn Rate

Mistake #8 – Not Using Ad Extensions

Google Ads offers this feature for free. You could easily set it up in your account. Not having the ad extensions while your competitors do could mean you may have missed some click opportunities to your ads.

Quick Fix: Add at least 1 or 2 Add Extensions to Your Ads

Ad extensions provide additional information that gives people more reason to choose your business (click on your ads). With the Ad Extensions, you could show site links, phone numbers, star ratings, and location to enhance your ad. Adding Ad extensions gives your ad greater visibility and prominence on the search result page.

Mistake #9 – Not Directing Visitors to the Appropriate Pages

The biggest mistake people make with Google Ads is not directing customers to the appropriate landing page. Instead, they lead everyone to their homepage.

If you’re offering multiple products, it’s better to send them to a specific product or category page where they can learn about the particular product as advertised in your ad copy. Not only will this help increase conversion rates, but it will also improve your Quality Score to help you reduce your PPC costs.

Quick Fix: Direct Your Audience to the Right Content

Please ensure the page people land on matches the ad copy they clicked. If you’re selling wedding-related items, create ad groups based on themes like “bridesmaid gifts” and “groomsmen gifts,” and then take people to category pages for each of these items instead of your homepage, where they’ll have to self-navigate around the page to find the products they were initially searching for.

Mistake #10 – Not Testing an Optimal Ad Position

If your goal is to improve brand recognition, it’s a good idea to be in one of the top two ad positions, but if your goal is to get the higher CTR and most conversions, sometimes it’s better to be in position 3-5.

Can this be true? How is it possible that it’s better to be in a lower position than first or second? It’s because naturally, people tend to be happy with the top two ads; they may click whether they’re seriously interested or not. Those who click on ads in positions 3-5 are usually serious prospects seeking a product or a solution.

Quick Fix: Test for Position & Bid Cost per Click

Test to find the optimal position by raising or lowering the bid for cost per click. Lower it and then see what happens. If Google suggests a $1 or $3 bid, start with $1 to see the results. You may not need to pay more per click if they’re good enough.

Mistake #11 – Not Knowing Who You’re Competing Against

Another mistake is not knowing which ads your competitors are using. You need to know who you’re competing against, what keywords they’re using, and what their landing pages look like.

Specifically, you want to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and see which ad you’re most likely to click. Then, once you do click (although it’s recommended to find ways to do it without actually clicking on your competitors’ ads and making them pay for it), pay attention to their landing pages, see their offers and ask yourself a question, “Which landing pages and offers do you think are most appealing to your audience?”

Suppose you run an e-commerce brand that sells lady’s clothes to customers in the US. You should check out who your direct competitors in the niche are. Understanding what they are doing right or wrong will help you offer competitive and unique products.

Quick Fix: Review Your Competitors

Review your competitors’ ad copy and landing pages regularly to see if there’s anything you can learn from their campaigns. You can use a tool like SEMrush that makes this easy to do by saving your competitors’ ads and landing page URLs all in one place.

Mistake #12 – Not Using Dynamic Search Ads

Your work is not.” done if you haven’t included dynamic search ads in your marketing plan. Dynamic search ads are advertisements that pop up based on your website content instead of keywords.

It works so that once it is set up, Google automatically creates a headline for you based on the search your prospect makes and the information it pulls from your site. The only thing you have to do is write a description line for the ads.

Dynamic search ads help you cast a wider net along with Google’s search network while placing dynamic content in front of interested persons.

For instance, if you run a hotel service in the Bahamas and your prospect searches for “cheap hotel in the Bahamas,” Your dynamic search ad will appear using your website’s actual content as the headline. The good thing is that the dynamic search ads appear precisely like the text ads, so your prospect cannot suspect any difference.

Quick Fix: Pay for Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic search ads run via a bidding system similar to what you will find when running text ads. It operates on a CPC system, so costs are determined by multiplying the number of clicks by the maximum CPC limit you have set.

Mistake #13 – Expecting Too Much From Google Ads

Have you ever considered whether you expect too much from Google Ads? Many businesses have a small budget and hope to launch the next big business for $10 to $20 daily. That’s not going to get you very far.

Your budget may vary depending on your industry, and if you’re bidding for keywords that cost $3 – $5 per click, a $10 – $20 budget won’t give you enough traffic. Also, since your campaign requires some A/B testing, you may want to consider setting some of that budget aside for testing purposes.

Quick Fix: Start With a Good Budget Plan

Start with a large enough budget that allows you to drive a significant amount of traffic and gives you time to tweak and optimize your campaigns. Initially, you’ll have to spend some time to learn what works and what doesn’t and will be able to optimize over time.


There you have it —the top 13 mistakes PPC advertisers make and how to fix them.

You were wondering how we compiled this list?

At Today’s PPC agency, we talk with our customers and audit all the accounts before doing any work. Also, we do a lot of testing to ensure the client gets the best for his budget.

Following these recommendations will help you optimize your campaigns and avoid the common pitfalls most people get stuck in with Google Ads.

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Do you have any questions after reading the article?

Is there anything that stood out or that didn’t make sense? Ask a question or leave a comment so we can discuss it!

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