9 Mistakes Health Brands are Making in Paid Search

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PPC is the best channel to be in for health brands. Let’s face it, health is about searching and researching conditions, improvements, modalities and products. Paid search is the easiest place to sell product, acquire new customers and control the budget you pay to make a sale.  Nevertheless, Google and Bing are complex systems, and it’s easy to make mistakes in bidding that cost you money. Here are the nine powerful tips to save you money and make your marketing more efficient and scalable: 

1-Not tracking properly

.Tracking is complex and it’s easy to bucket keywords, get tags transposed or to even re-use the tag when you’ve made a change to the targeting or match type. Check and re-check your tracking and look for signs like getting lots of impressions and clicks but no sales, abrupt change to the performance of a known keyword, or a lack of matching historical performance with a product.

2-Too many keywords in an ad-group.

Ideally, small groups of relevant-themed keywords in ad groups will give you the ultimate targeting and tracking precision for keywords because you can tightly tie the creative more closely to those search terms. Loading up an ad group with 25 or more keywords will lower your CTR in the end.

3-Not geo-targeting.

Unless you are Procter & Gamble, your product is not distributed everywhere in every market. Take the time to geo-fence product searches to match your distribution footprint. It will save you a lot of wasted cost in media buying and cut down on frustrating your potential customers.

4-Not buying your brand terms.

Right or wrong, Google makes us buy our company and product brands. If you don’t buy them, you leave that search open to competitors stealing customers who were looking for you specifically.  Even if you’re number 1 in organic search, it’s proven that buying your paid brand keyword is additive to sales and doesn’t cannibalize the organic responses.

5-Not enough exact match terms.

Buying all broad match keywords is lazy and wastes money. Take the time to set up as many exact match terms as you can. The fact is that organic almond milk and almond milk will perform differently and therefore should be tracked and bid differently. Even if you use a broad match modifier, you should be using it to detect the 20% of new search queries you can move to exact match.

6-Bleeding your budget on bad campaign structure in Paid Search.

Put your match types in different ad groups and limit the budget on anything that isn’t an exact match. Too often your budget drains away on less relevant searches because you let broad match pull the money away from exact.

7-Not testing creative and offer.

Your ad copy is incredibly influential in whether or not you get a click.  Using dynamic keyword insertion is a given for most search terms, but you still need to tailor the creative for the search intent. You can only find out what works by testing, for example, 10% off vs. $10 off and tracking them separately.

8-Chasing competitors.

Too many search marketers watch the competitors and sweat being outbid for keywords. Google’s bidding systems reward high click-thru rates based on relevant and persuasive copy. Focus on your campaigns and beating your results in CTR and sales. The rest will take care of itself. Most of your competitors are idiots, so copying them is a race to mediocrity and poor ad performance.

9-Too much automation.

You need to log in every day and look through your campaigns. Leaving your paid search on autopilot, even with sophisticated tools like Kenshoo or Marin wastes money. The fact is, there is no automated system that doesn’t have a significant amount of wasted clicks and inefficient keyword spend. 

BONUS MISTAKE:  Leaving Paid Search.

Nothing works like paid search. Nothing. If you can make any advertising channel generate a positive ROI, it’s PPC search marketing. Why? Because you can lower the bid, changes the creative, test offers and do two dozen other tactics to improve performance. Health and wellness are not impulse buys. They are deliberate, often well-researched purchases. Search is a research and browsing medium. If it’s not working for you, you’re doing it wrong.