May 7th, 2008 | 3 MIN READ

9 PPC Advertising Crimes Caught On Screen!

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

PPC Cop Sez Ur Doin It WrongIt's not hard to find examples of PPC best-practice violations. In fact, it's darn easy - too many online retailers have sloppy paid search campaigns. As you will see, it's often the advertisers with big budgets that are "doing it wrong."

Though these retailers will not be ticketed, fined, jailed or suspended for these offenses, the lost revenue and poor campaign performance they experience may be far more costly.

#9 - Stupid DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion)

Big-budget advertisers bid on so many keywords, they often use Dynamic Keyword Insertion to show the keyword the searcher has queried in the ad text. Good idea, since click through is typically higher when there's that extra keyword relevance. Unfortunately, many lists are so big they include nonsensical keyword phrases, or keywords that don't match the adgroup's text, display URL or worse, the landing page.

"Sally Hansen nail polish"

Sally Hansen search ads

Nothing moisturizes and refreshes the skin like a coat of nail polish!

"home hair cutting"

Home Hair Cutting ads

"Duhahhhh...I was just on my way hair cutting home, officer..." Sounds like Shopzilla's had a few too many highballs. Guilty on both counts of DKI.

#8 - Negligent Keyword Targeting

I think Paris Hilton lets her chihuahua sleep in her Gucci bags, but most of us don't associate authentic designer handbags with dog beds.

Dog Beds Ads

Shopzilla does it again. Hey Billy, why be a pirate for Halloween when you can be a whoopie cushion?

whoopie cushions

I see you're looking for snow blowers, eh? Well, we may or may not have those...but summer's just around the corner. May I interest you in a mower? It rhymes with blower!

Home Depot Mowers

#7 - Obstruction of Call to Action

It's a pooper scooper ad, but BizRate "we's" all over itself. Where's the affirmative action verb?

No call to action

#6 - Using Ungood Grammar

Either this is an offshore PPC firm that uses the Babelfish translator, or someone's spent too long on ICanHasCheezburger.

Clean Air Ad

"No, I not has enough clean airs! That why I search for clean airs on internetz!"

#5 - Driving Without Your Keywords

Be careful not to direct searchers to your home page when they bid on something specific.

Talbots Ads

#4 - Failure to Bid on Brands

If you sell consumables, it's crazy not to bid on brand names. Your competitors are, and customers don't want to waste time searching for brand and model names. See the difference between the yellow-box (earned by high CTR%) results and the rest? What's worse, "printer ink" is not the same as toner. Some online ink retailers don't even carry toner. The least Printer Ink Warehouse could do is create a "toner" campaign with different ad headlines, copy and landing page. Even better, create tightly focused ad-groups around brands and models.

Toner Ads

#3 - Bait and Switch

Cookie jars! Get your cookie jars. I mean, cookie recipes. I mean, download our toolbar! I mean, er...cookies!

Cookie Jar ad

#2 - Insufficient Keyword Research

"One of these things just doesn't belong here, now it's time to play our game!"

What the Puck?

If you're going to broad match "hockey souvenir" you better exclude products you don't sell in your negative keywords, or you'll show up for such terms as "souvenir hockey pucks."

#1 - Tresspassing

Circuit City is way out in left field with this ad, and has no business hanging around "charm bracelets for boys." Literally, no business. Go on, get out of here.

Circuit City Ad

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