Relevant and Targeted PPC Ads Critical to Campaign Success

Are Untargeted PPC Ads Hurting Your Click Through Rate?

There are a lot of moving parts in large AdWords campaigns.  One of the most important pieces to the equation are the ads you are presenting potential customers.  If your ads are not targeted and relevant, you could be losing out on customers to your competitors. Not only that, lower CTRs, lower quality scores, increased CPC and wasted ad spend.

Here are a few examples of some major companies that hit it right, along with some that do not:

I. First Google Search Query: Black Football Cleats

Below is an image of the ad results for the search query “black football cleats” into Google.  The ads with the green squares are very targeted and the ads with the red circles are not as targeted as they could be.


Analysis of Search Query:

I am being strict on these search results to prove a point.  No advertisement returned for this search query was terrible, but there are definitely ads that stand out, both good and bad.

The Good:

The ads returned by Nike are targeted and relevant.  In their top ad, the title uses the exact search query, “Black Football Cleats,” so that is a step in the right direction towards a conversion.  In addition, the description and sitelinks are related to football and cleats. 

The second good thing I noticed was Nike’s product listing ad to the bottom right.  Nike returned a generic black football cleat that is 100% targeted towards the search query.

The Bad:

The first bad thing I noticed is that the result returned by Zappos is not targeted towards the search query.  Not only does Zappos not advertise black cleats, but they also refer to them as ‘Football shoes’ instead of cleats.  While it is not a terrible ad, most people are likely going to click on the first result by or the second result by 

The Ugly:
In the product listing ad section to the right, the red and black cleat returned by eBay is not targeted at all.  The cleat is mostly red and there was no mention of red in the search query.  The same goes for the black and yellow cleat returned by Eastbay. 

Final Analysis:

I would click on the top ad for this search query and browse their website.

II. Second Google Search Query: Cheap New Couches

Below is an image of the ad results for the search query “cheap new couches” into Google.


Start by doing your own analysis on this one and see what you come up with.  You will be surprised at how helpful search queries can be towards your learning, especially if you are researching your own search ads. 

Analysis of Search Query:

First off, it is good no advertiser actually used the word ‘cheap’ in their ad.  Many people associate the word cheap with low-quality even if they use it in the query.  I think RoomsToGo has a somewhat irrelevant ad because they are promoting chairs instead of couches or sofas.  Plus, if chairs start at $299, I don’t even want to know what the prices for couches are.

My favorite ad is actually the 2nd one down, which is a local furniture warehouse to my location.  Their ad would be the one I’d click on because not only are they local, they are also having a $299 sofa sale according to their ad.  I really like how personalized this ad is to me because I know there is a sale, the location is within driving distance, and I know I can get a new couch for $299.  Perfect.

The third ad by Sears is a good one but it’s just not as targeted as the one above.  The one plus is that the Sear’s ad uses sitelink extensions, a review extension, and a location extension so there is a lot of information packed into the one advertisement.

Final Analysis:

I would click on the 2nd or 3rd ad but there is probably no chance of me clicking on the RoomsToGo ad.

In Conclusion:

One of the challenges I found while managing a large account is that it is difficult to ensure that every ad is targeted towards the search query.  Every marketer would love for their ads to be a 100% match to the search query that triggered it but it becomes a challenge when you have an account with 1,000+ keywords.

Using RoomsToGo as an example, they are likely bidding on so many different furniture keywords that sometimes ads are displayed that are not relevant.

You should make sure your AdWords ads are targeted to the keywords you target.  Search 10-15 of your keywords per day and see the results.  Start with your popular keywords and make sure your ads are targeted to each search query.  If you start noticing errors, it might be time to edit your campaign.