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The Top 5 Mistakes Made When Setting Up Online Advertising (How to Avoid Them)

The day has come when you’ve finally got sign off for that big new advertising campaign you’ve always wanted to run.  You’re eager to take your business to the next level with your great paid search and social advertising plans.  However, there are a number of pitfalls that first time advertisers, or those who haven’t used the AdWords or Facebook advertising systems for a while, often victim to due to the pace of change in each system.  In this article we’re going to cover 5 of those that we see most commonly and explain how to avoid them in your new campaign.

Conversion Tracking

One of the most crucial elements of any campaign set up is ensuring that you can track the end product of your work – the conversion.  If you’re setting up a new campaign and need new conversion tracking to be set up by developers then get ahead and plan this in advance as they can often take a few days to get around to putting your tag on depending on their workload.

The worst case scenario is you get to campaign launch day and your tags aren’t live, meaning that you can’t track conversions.  We’d never recommend going live in this scenario.

A great tool to help you with this is Google Tag Manager.  Tag Manager allows you to get one container tag placed which you can then add different marketing tags such as this in to as and when you need, regardless of platform.

Mobile Bidding/Enhanced Campaigns

If you’ve been away from AdWords for a while you’ll notice there’s been a bit of a change.  Unless you’ve been about as far away from the digital marketing world as you can get, you’ve probably heard about enhanced campaigns, and the uproar that followed amongst paid search marketers.

In reality, enhanced campaigns don’t change that much, however you need to be aware that now when setting up a campaign all of your creative goes across all devices at the same bid level.  The key is to set rules to increase or decrease your bid levels by device type depending on the responsiveness of your site, your conversion rate by device and your campaign strategy.

In an ideal world everyone would have a perfectly responsive site and conversion levels would be consistent, however often aspects of sites aren’t as good on different devices and user activity differs meaning that conversion rates are affected.  To make sure you’re not potentially wasting valuable campaign budget ensure you use bid adjustments by device based on your data. 

Auto-Optimized Bidding

Another easy oversight to make on setting up your campaigns is in your bid type, particularly on Facebook.  The default Facebook bid type is optimized CPM when working on page or post engagement campaigns, and optimized CPC’s when sending traffic to websites.  This can work out well, but it’s worth being aware of as optimized CPM does have the tendency to go wrong.

In effect what Facebook are doing here is optimizing for those who are more likely to like your page or like the post you’re promoting.  This naturally leads to a lower quality of engagement as Facebook shows the content or page ad to those who like a lot of things.  What’s more, you’re paying CPM rather than CPC or CPA, meaning that you may end up paying more if your ad is unengaging.

Make sure you know the bid types available and have a good grasp on your goals so that you can set your campaign up in the best way possible.

Call To Actions

If you’ve been particularly creative with your campaign it’s surprisingly easy to forget the call to action.  Often teams spend days and weeks devising a creative angle to make their business seem more exciting and interesting and build campaign creative accordingly.  However, when the campaign reaches the digital marketing arena, that crucial call to action message which tells your audience what you actually want them to do can be forgotten.

Ensure that you add a call to action at the end of your ad creative on any platform – it’s worth trying a variety of types, from “Buy now”, to “Learn More” and everything in between.  On Facebook, don’t forget there are now built in call to action buttons for your ads as shown below:

Targeting Types

The different targeting types are critical across social advertising and paid search.  Bear in mind the number of options available on Facebook alone where you can target by interest, custom audience, categories, lookalike audiences, demographics, relationship status, education and more.

Ensure that you are targeting in the best way to hit the audience you want.  Likewise, with AdWords, make sure you target the search network only and consider your keyword match types.  Quality score can be much improved and wastage reduced by going from a majority of broad match terms to a majority of phrase match terms in an account for instance.


We’d recommend planning everything out in detail before you go live to ensure that you have all the bases covered for your new campaign.  Consider our 5 point list of common mistakes above before embarking on your next campaign.  Good luck on your efforts, and hopefully this guide will stop you wasting any of that all important ad budget.

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