Here it is – the post I’ve been threatening to write. In today’s online advertising world, it seems as though new social media platforms are sprouting every day, and adding an ad network at the same time. Advertisers are excited about testing out new platforms like Promoted Pins and Instagram Ads.
Most of the new platforms’ ad interfaces are awful. Even some stalwart PPC engine interfaces are awful. Now it’s time to name names. Here are the top 3 PPC engines that don’t seem to want my money.
#1: LinkedIn Ads
I work at a B2B-focused agency, so naturally many of our clients are interested in LinkedIn ads. We’ve had good luck with LinkedIn – the nice thing about advertising with them is that if you reach just a handful of people in your key target audience, the ads pay for themselves. As a result, clients who try LinkedIn are often eager to spend more money once they see the results.
And what a challenge it is to spend more money. LinkedIn’s advertising interface has countless shortcomings, and they’re detailed in this wonderful post by Merry Morud over at aimClear, so I won’t rehash most of them here.
I have to mention the timeout issue, though. The LI interface times out after about 5 minutes, even if you are working in it. Yes folks, you can be in the middle of adding companies to a campaign (one by one, because there is no bulk upload), and then it times out. It’s enough to make me take my money and go someplace else, like Facebook which never times out.
The icing on the user interface disaster cake is that LinkedIn’s CPCs are well above industry averages. The minimum CPC on one of our campaigns is $4.00 – because we excluded entry-level people. LinkedIn, please take some of that exorbitant CPC you’re charging and use it to overhaul your interface.
#2: Twitter Ads
In Twitter’s defense, their ad platform is fairly new. They haven’t had a lot of time to work out the bugs. Also, audience data is limited to 140 characters – so it’s no easy task to achieve laser-focused targeting.
Still, Twitter Ads leaves so much to be desired. For one thing, their reporting is TERRIBLE. It took me about a week to even find out where to download a custom report.
Imagine you’re new to Twitter. Where would you go to download a report?
I see the “CSV” button, but it’s not clear that that’s the button you click to customize your report. Even at that, the available stats are very limited.
The thing is, if I can’t download detailed results data, I can’t optimize the campaign. If I can’t optimize the campaign, I’m not inclined to keep spending money there.
Another big downfall of Twitter ads is the lack of dayparting. Businesses often want to promote tweets during business hours, not at 2am when Twitter is full of drunk college students. Want to do that? No can do.
Limited options mean limited spend, Twitter.
#3: Facebook Ads
I realize I praised Facebook Ads earlier in this post. They have many, many positive features.
The constant changes to their ads interface are not on that list.
Merry Morud strikes again with a nice comment on the latest changes:
(Side note: If you want a good laugh, go read the whole conversation, especially Andrew Goodman’s response. You won’t be disappointed.)
I had the same challenge as Merry with updating URLs. Like most FB advertisers, to create new ads I duplicate ads and then edit them. I tried this in Power Editor, but it wouldn’t let me edit the destination URL. All I was doing was updating the Google Analytics tag – I wasn’t changing the URL itself. And what if I did want to change the URL? So what? Why can’t I do that, Facebook?
If I can’t track it, I can’t optimize it. If I can’t optimize it… You know the rest.
Honorable Mention: Bing Ads
Sorry Bing – I have to put you guys on the list for the recent login fiasco. You did not win friends and influence PPC’ers with that move. I was thisclose to pulling every dime out of Bing when I couldn’t log in.
Thankfully, the issue was resolved and we’re back to seeing the good results we normally do with Bing. I get that there were security issues, but this was not the way to handle them – especially when so many people are reluctant to use Bing due to low traffic.
I find it interesting that Google is all too eager to take our money (case in point: their “optimization” suggestions that equate to “increase your bids” – I just got one of these from them today), and yet their competitors throw up roadblock after roadblock.
Are they competitive with Google? Hardly. I’m not sure they want our money.
What do you think? Do you agree with my list? Got someone to add? Share in the comments!