If you told a small business owner that he was throwing away one-quarter of his budget on a given expense, and might as well hand that cash out to strangers on the street, the reaction might have you looking for the nearest defibrillator and calling 911.

But that is exactly what Internet marketing software provider WordStream did in publishing the results of its online marketing survey last month. Search Engine Marketing blogger Danny Goodwin wrote Oct. 9 that survey results showed online marketers were wasting 25 percent of their PPC (pay-per-click) budget due to simple neglect. The WordStream survey looked at the performance of AdWords advertisers with set budgets.

According to Goodwin, the results from WordStream reveal that small businesses average a $1,200 monthly spend on PPC, but throw away some $300 of that through poor PPC practices. Goodwin also noted that WordStream found four predominant reasons for the survey result:

  • Keywords that have nothing to do with their business (due to poor keyword selection)
  • Clicks that occur outside their target market
  • Suboptimal ad relevancy and quality score
  • Lack of time and/or expertise to optimize for best PPC performance

What does this mean for small business? In addition to lost money, it also means sales opportunities missed. Among the examples noted by Goodwin from the survey, a typical bed and breakfast could be missing out on some 367 reservation inquiries, based on average cost per click (CPC) and conversion rates for the current year.

WordStream also offered some solutions for marketers’ PPC campaign makeovers, according to Goodwin. Among them, using mobile PPC best practices by having a call extension set up for a campaign; creating more effective landing pages; improving ad relevancy by narrowing and improving targeted copy; improving keyword research; and spending time each week — at least 20 minutes — tweaking and optimizing ads.


Goodwin, Danny. “Are You Wasting 25% of Your PPC Budget?“; Search Engine Watch. 10/9/13