Top 7 Reasons Pay Per Click Doesn’t Work

Pay per click (PPC) is definitely NOT easy and on the surface it can appear that it doesn’t work at all. Here are 7 reasons why pay per click doesn’t work, and hopefully by being aware of these issues you can learn how to succeed with pay per click.

Lack of Effort

How often have you become good at something or learned something new without a little hustle and effort? I bet it doesn’t happen very often, if at all. PPC marketing is just the same, it takes time and effort to create a campaign that delivers the return on investment you want. With PPC you need to be willing to commit to making it work for you. The keywords and site placements you choose can’t do the work for you, they are just the vehicle that drives traffic for your campaign. It’s what happens on your landing page that will determine your campaign’s success.

For each campaign you need to develop a strategy and target a niche, find your angle! Do you know something specific about the campaign you are promoting? Do you have an insight? What keywords would your target market search for? Answer these questions to determine what your unique approach to the campaign is and which keywords and sites you want your ad to be on. After your campaign has been running for a while, and you have a statistically significant amount of data, you can begin to optimize and focus your campaign on what works. PPC is not a “set it and forget” type of marketing, it takes dedication and begins to work over time.

Failure to Set Goals

In order to reach a goal and succeed you need to clearly define exactly what your goal is. What do you want to get from your PPC campaign? As a marketer it should be to generate more leads and increase your profit margin. Before you set your goals, you’ll want to determine how much you can spend per click to receive one lead. Once you have clearly defined how much you can afford to pay to receive a lead you can then modify your campaign to define how much you’re willing to spend per day, how much you can spend keyword, etc.

Stay on your toes and be prepared to learn from your campaign to determine where the best opportunities are, in order to make the most of your ad spend.


Advertising works best when the ad is an answer to a problem the user was looking for. As a marketer your potential users have a problem, and you need to provide a solution. So, you’re goal is simply to be the relevant answer to a potential user’s question. Structure your campaign in such a way that the semantics of the keywords search match with the ad text they see. This gives you the best opportunity to be the relevant answer a user is looking for. Do this by creating ad groups that contain similar terms with similar semantics and ensuring those terms are used within the ad text associated with the ad group.

Relevance is a very important factor to creating a successful PPC campaign and failing to be relevant will not only lead to a failing campaign, but it will cost you a lot more.


User friction is anything that gets in the way of the potential user from reaching their goal, whether your goal is a lead form, download, white paper or phone call. There are many forms of user friction, from poor copywriting, unappealing images, inconspicuous buttons, a poor call to action or long and unnecessary lead forms.

Give your potential users what they want. Tell them exactly what you want them to do with a clear call to action and be sure that your buttons look like clickable buttons. Make certain that potential leads can do exactly what you want them to do, then get out of the way and let them do it.

No Skills

PPC marketing can seem overwhelming and there is a lot to learn, so don’t underestimate the task and be prepared to ask for help. Although it may seem complicated, it is something that can be learned and there are many self-taught PPC marketers. A good PPC marketer will need to be able to sell, think creatively, interpret statistical data, use Excel spreadsheets and understand how the PPC advertising network systems work.

PPC requires a very diverse set of skills and not every marketer will possess all of them, so be prepared to ask questions and search the internet for answers, they’re out there! Find out and learn your own style for success with PPC, there are many different ways to make PPC work.

Campaign Scope

A large campaign will not only be difficult to manage, but it will also spread your advertising budget thin. A very important part of creating a strong PPC campaign is creating a scope for your campaign and limiting the amount of keywords or sites that you’ll target.

There are literally thousands of keywords that you could advertise on for a given campaign, but you just can’t afford to. You need to define a scope for your campaign and maximize the effectiveness of your ad spend. Take your time and find the right keywords within your market or niche to choose the most highly relevant keywords. When you first get started, keep your campaign small and you can expand as you go, it’s a lot more difficult, and costly, to start big and scale down.


Don’t let your emotions rule your decisions. Just because you take the time to come up with what you think is a great idea for a campaign doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remove a portion of it because it doesn’t work. Successful PPC is all about focusing only on what works, if what works isn’t what you expected then don’t let your decisions be determined by your emotions.

Don’t become emotionally attached to any part of your campaign. The keywords or ad text that you think are “fun” or “creative”, or the elements of your landing page that you think look pretty, may be the exact parts of your campaign that hold it back from success. You’ll need to be able to look at your campaign in a un-biased way in order to make good business decisions. Look at the statistics and find out which parts of your campaign deliver the most leads and focus on those elements with an un-biased view.

Read More: How to Get Started with Pay Per Call Marketing