I am going to be presenting Paid Search 101 to a college class this week and prepping for these kinds of presentations always brings to my mind the lessons I can teach them from experience (the big no-no’s of PPC). One of the lessons that comes with experience is having made an error a time or two to learn what you should, and shouldn’t, do when setting up a paid search campaign. Sometimes you discover a few settings that may or may not kill your budget quite quickly…

Online marketing is one huge experiment, you are always testing and you can never say that you officially know everything because the landscape could change next week (like Google’s first huge revamp of the entire AdWords system that they now call Enhanced Campaigns).

Here are some ways a newbie (and sometimes a really experienced person) could spend all of their budget in the wrong place in a paid search campaign:

1. Not Breaking up Your Display and Search Campaigns

The default is a mixed campaign. Google has made the split much more obvious in recent changes in the interface. Not breaking those two apart could cost you or your client loads of money. The targeting is completely different and the bidding is definitely different. If you end up accidentally bidding aggressively on the content network (even though it is a different bidding setting, it happens…) you could find your budget maxed pretty quickly (which is why it is good to have a max set, in case something goes wonky and you have to drill down to figure out where you are getting more traffic than expected).

2. Not Narrowing Down Your Geotargeting

Should your keywords really be available globally? The default is typically the United States and Canada, but I have ended up with a campaign going live globally that was not supposed to be global. Where are your potential customers? Are they 10 blocks away, are they worldwide, do you ship to Canada? Limit the reach of your campaigns to where your customers are.

3. Not Understanding Match Types

There is no faster way to blow through your budget than having some really broad terms that go rampant. Make sure you understand your match types and how to build a negative keyword list. This will help you focus on only targeting terms that are likely to drive business for you. I have a basic tutorial on keyword match types here.

There are many more lessons learned over the years, but these are the top 3 budget busters in paid search..

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