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Why Your PPC Campaign Isn't Working

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can yield exceptional results in new customers, new event attendees, new downloads...and, of course, by increasing your bottom line. However, PPC can be a little tricky at first. We find that a lot of the issues associated with this type of advertising are similar for each project. Some of the most common are listed below:


Bidding is the process of purchasing the keywords that you want to use in your PPC campaign. Some issues associated with this process include...

  • Your bidding strategy doesn’t align with goals. If you are aiming at a high conversion rate or cost-per-action (CPA), you probably don't want to use the "maximize clicks" bidding strategy. This strategy will get you more clicks, but they will be less targeted and, thus, less likely to convert (that is, download your e-book, sign up for your class or purchase a product).
  • You don't have enough data to select a proper bidding strategy. If you don't have a substantial amount of historical data from your other ad campaigns (or if this is your first attempt at PPC advertising), you don't know what type of customer and what demographics will work best for your campaign.
  • You're not checking your bid Adjustments. Google Ads allows you to use automated bidding, a system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to make small changes in your bid amount, based on your target demographic and desired CPA. However, you'll still want to continue to review your bid adjustments to determine if they are still driving success or hurting your CPA.

Ad Copy

Content is still king. What you write on your web pages still affects how potential customers and those who click through your ads view your company. Some common missteps with content include:

  • You have bad landing pages. After you've spent all of that time and money getting people to click through to your website, you need to make sure that the first page they view is spectacular and easy to read and understand. Landing pages with little to no relevant copy do not produce strong results.
  • Your ad copy is irrelevant. People who click through to your landing page will quickly exit if they don't find the content they were expecting to find.
  • You didn't opt for ad extensions. Ad extensions sit at the bottom of your ad and give a little extra information about your business, such as contact information or a link to your website. Google rewards accounts that provide a better experience for the user. Ad extensions help provide that experience.
  • Your visitor has a poor landing page experience. What's a poor landing page experience. This could include the page having no content, not being easily viewed on mobile devices or not having an easy form to ask for an appointment, sign up for your event or download your e-book.
  • A landing page that is slow to load. If your landing page takes too long to load, you'll quickly lose your user's interest, and they will click away. Enough said.


Metrics are key to tracking how well your PPC ad campaign is working. However, measurement can be a source of problems also.

  • You're not tracking conversions. If you don't know how many people are taking the desired action when they click through to your website, you don't know if your campaign is a success or a failure.
  • You've failed to set goals or KPIs. If you haven't set done what you want your ad campaign to accomplish and what key performance indicators you want to watch, you won't be able to optimize successfully.
  • You set up your campaign and forgot about it. You must monitor your campaign regularly and make adjustments based on performance to better optimize your campaign.


It's also important to pay attention to how you set up your PPC campaign. Some trouble spots here include:

  • Your overall campaign structure is poor. Just a few potential structuring problems include poorly themed ad groups, not enough ads or keywords and not adding extensions to your ads.
  • Your budget isn't adequate for what you want to achieve. Your grand plans won't take you very far if you don't have to budget to back up your goals and maximize your campaign potential.
  • You didn't name your campaign properly. If the title of your ad isn't eye-catching and thought-provoking, you're not going to get people to click on it.
  • You didn't create enough ads per ad group. Google needs ad options in order to determine what ads are the best performing. In addition, users will get bored with your company if they continue to see the same ad over and over again.


Lastly, you need to be specific and careful about how you target your ads. This can go wrong in quite a few ways.

  • You choose your keywords poorly. You want to go after keywords that are relevant to what you offer. Minimize waste.
  • You have negative keyword conflicts. Bidding on negative keywords can be useful. These words are kept out of your user's search results and offer a more targeted result. However, if you aren't careful, your negative keywords can "cancel out" your regular keyword. Fortunately, Google has a tool to help you avoid this conflict.
  • You're not retargeting your customers well. You don't want to retarget your customers with the same ad they clicked through to make their original purchase. Offer them something new.

To learn more about how PPC marketing can work for you and how you can reduce the issues you're having with your campaigns, give us a shout. We've been helping businesses of all sizes make good use of digital marketing for nearly a decade.

  • Paid Media

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About the author

Morgan Oakes

Morgan is the Paid Media Director at Marcel Digital, specializing in creative ways to provide solutions in paid advertising platforms for all types of goals.