Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is an essential part of any political campaign. By targeting key demographics and using relevant keywords, PPC can help your campaign reach a larger audience and win over voters. That being said, PPC can also be expensive, and if not done correctly, it can be a massive waste of money.

To avoid costly mistakes, there are four common pitfalls in your political PPC campaigns.

The Top Political PPC Campaign Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

Not doing your research

Before you launch your PPC campaign, it’s essential to do your research. You must understand the target audience and the keywords they are searching for. Without this knowledge, you could waste a lot of money on ads that no one will see.

Take the time needed to research the target audience and develop a list of relevant keywords before you launch your campaign.

Bidding on the wrong keywords

If you have developed a list of relevant keywords, bidding on the right ones is essential. Not all keywords are equally created; some will be more expensive than others. It’s necessary to balance the cost of the keyword with the relevance to your campaign.

If you bid on a too-expensive keyword, you could blow through your budget quickly with little results to show for it.

On the other hand, if you bid on a keyword that is too cheap, your ad may never be seen by potential voters. When bidding on your political PPC campaign keywords, research and find a happy medium.

Ignoring negative keywords

In addition to bidding on the right keywords, paying attention to negative keywords is essential. Negative keywords are words or phrases you don’t want your ad to appear for.

For example, if you are running for city council, you may want to add “state” as a negative keyword so the ad doesn’t appear when people search for “state representatives.”

Adding negative keywords to the campaign can save money and ensure that your ad is only seen by people interested in what you offer.

You are not testing your Ad campaigns.

Finally, testing your ad campaigns before you launch them is essential. Create two ad versions and track the results to see which performs better. This will help you fine-tune campaigns and ensure they are as effective as possible.

You can avoid costly mistakes and run a more successful political PPC campaign by testing your ads before launching them.

Failing to set a realistic budget

Regarding PPC advertising, you need to be realistic about how much you’re willing to spend. Remember, you’re not just paying for the ad itself—you’re also paying for clicks.

As such, you must ensure enough budget to cover ad and click costs. If you don’t set a realistic budget, you may quickly run out of money with little to show.

You are not targeting your Ads properly.

One of the great things about PPC advertising is that it allows you to target the ads, especially those interested in what you have to say. However, many political campaigns mistake targeting their ads too broadly or not targeting them.

When it comes to PPC advertising, precision is critical—otherwise, you’re just wasting your money.

They are writing poor Ad copy.

Your ad copy will sell potential voters on your website or landing page. Your ad copy must be clear, concise, and persuasive. Unfortunately, many political campaigns write ad copy that is either full of jargon or completely unusable.

Take the time to craft well-written ad copy to grab people’s attention and convince them they need to learn more about your campaign.

I am not tracking your results.

Finally, one of the most common mistakes in political campaigns PPC is failing to track results properly. Remember, PPC advertising is only effective if it brings people to your website or landing page—and preferably converts them into supporters or donors.

Ensure you’re tracking critical metrics like click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and cost per conversion to effectively measure the success of your campaign’s PPC efforts.

They are not targeting the right people.

One of the most common mistakes in political PPC is not targeting the right people. When creating your ad campaigns, targeting voters likely to support your candidate or platform is essential.

To do this, you need to understand your target audience clearly. Consider age, gender, location, and interests when determining who you should target with your PPC ads.

Relying on broad keywords

Another mistake that campaigns make is relying too heavily on broad keywords. Broad keywords are those that are general and not specific to your campaign. For example, a broad keyword for a campaign about gun reform might be “gun control.”

While this keyword might get a lot of searches, it will not effectively reach voters interested in your particular gun reform platform. Instead, focus on long-tail keywords that are more specific to what you’re campaigning for.

For example, a long-tail keyword for the same campaign might be “assault weapons ban.” This keyword is much more targeted and, therefore, more likely to result in conversions.

Neglecting negative keywords

When creating your PPC ad campaigns, including negative keywords is essential. Negative keywords are those you don’t want your ad to appear for. For example, if you’re running a campaign for a pro-life candidate, you would like to use negative keywords like “abortion” and “pro-choice.”

That way, your ad won’t appear when someone searches for those terms, and you won’t waste money on clicks from people who aren’t interested in your candidate or platform.

You are not monitoring your campaigns regularly.

The final mistake we’ll discuss is neglecting to monitor your PPC campaigns regularly. You must check in on your campaigns regularly to ensure they’re performing well and making the most of your budget.

Monitor the click-through (CTR) and conversion rates to identify improvement areas. Adjust your bids and keywords accordingly so that you can maximize your results.

They are not targeting the right voting demographics.

When running a PPC campaign for a political candidate, you must target the right voting demographics. This means targeting voters based on age, gender, location, and interests.

For example, if you’re running a campaign for a mayoral candidate in a large city, you’ll want to target voters who live in that city and are interested in local politics. Failing to target the right voting demographics will result in wasted money and an ineffective PPC campaign.

We are not creating compelling Ads.

Your ads must be compelling if you want people to click on them. This means creating well-written, visually appealing, relevant ads for your target voters. Your ads should also contain a call-to-action (CTA) that compels people to take action, such as “Learn More” or “Sign Up Now.”

If your ads are not compelling, they will not effectively promote your political campaign.

I am not tracking your results.

It’s essential to track your results to see what’s working and what’s not. This means setting up goals and tracking your progress toward those goals. For example, if your goal is to increase name recognition for your candidate, you’ll want to track how many people click on your ads and visit your website.

By tracking your results, you can adjust your PPC campaign accordingly and ensure it is as effective as possible.

Not automating bids

Bids should be automatically adjusted based on real-time data to ensure that the right people see your ads at the right time. Not automating your requests means you could miss critical opportunities to reach potential voters.

Relying on broad match keywords

Broad-match keywords might deliver a high traffic volume, but they’re not necessarily the most relevant. Regarding political campaigns, you must be laser-focused on delivering your message to those most likely to vote for your candidate.

Narrow and negative keywords will help you do just that.

Ignoring mobile traffic

Today, more people use their mobile devices to search for information online. If your political campaign PPC strategy does not consider mobile traffic, you could miss out on a huge opportunity to reach potential voters.

Forgetting about remarketing

Remarketing allows you to target potential voters who have already shown an interest in your candidate but haven’t converted.

By including remarketing as part of your political campaign PPC strategy, you can boost brand awareness and increase the chances of winning over undecided voters.

Not advertising enough

Another common mistake political campaigns make is not advertising enough. Many campaigns make the mistake of thinking that they can rely on earned media to get their message out there. However, this is rarely sufficient.

To win, you must ensure your campaign gets its message in front of as many people as possible—using paid media like PPC ads to supplement your earned media efforts.

I am not using negative keywords.

When it comes to political campaigns, negative keywords are your best friend. Negative keywords allow you to exclude people from seeing your ads who aren’t likely to vote for your candidate.

This helps ensure that your ads are only seen by people who are interested in what you have to say—and not by people who are just going to click on them out of curiosity and then quickly leave your site.

Bidding too low

When it comes to PPC advertising, you generally get what you pay for. If you bid too low on your keywords, your ads are less likely to be seen by potential voters.

If your ads are seen but don’t generate clicks, that wastes money. You want to ensure you’re bidding high enough that potential voters are seeing your ads but not so high that you’re blowing your budget on PPC alone.

We are not optimizing for mobile.

One of the political campaigns’ biggest mistakes with their PPC advertising is not optimizing for mobile devices.

These days, more and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to access the internet—which means that if your campaign’s website and ads aren’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re missing out on a big chunk of potential voters.

Ensure your website is responsive and that your ads look good on desktop computers and mobile devices— otherwise, you could lose out on many votes on election day.

I am not researching keywords thoroughly.

When it comes to PPC campaigns, keyword research is essential. You need to know which keywords your target audience is searching for and bid on those keywords accordingly.

Failing to do proper keyword research can result in your ad being shown to people not interested in your campaign, which is a wasted opportunity and a waste of money.

Not negative keyword testing

In addition to researching which keywords to bid on, you must test negative keywords. Negative keywords are words or phrases you do not want your ad to be shown.

For example, if you run a campaign for a local candidate, you would want to add negative keywords such as “national” or “federal” so that your ad is not shown to people outside your district.

Negative keyword testing can save you significant money by ensuring that your ad is only being shown to people who are interested in what you have to say.

We are not optimizing your Ad copy.

Your ad copy is the text that appears in your ad, and it needs to be compelling and relevant to get people to click on it. Failing to optimize your ad copy will result in low click-through rates (CTRs), costing you money in the long run.

Ensure your ad copy is clear, concise, and relevant to your target keyword.

Bidding too high or too low

When bidding on keywords, there is such a thing as bidding too high or too low. If you bid too high, you will spend more money than necessary on your campaigns. On the other hand, if you bid too low, your ads may never be seen by potential voters.

Finding a balance when bidding on keywords is essential so you’re not overspending or underspending on your PPC campaigns.

You are failing to monitor your campaigns regularly.

Lastly, failing to monitor your PPC campaigns regularly can also cost you money. Things change quickly in politics, and what worked yesterday may not work today.

By monitoring your campaigns regularly and making necessary changes, you can ensure that you get the most bang from your PPC campaigns.


Political pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a necessary evil. It’s essential for reaching voters but can also be expensive if not done correctly.

To avoid wasting money on costly mistakes, here are four common pitfalls to avoid in your political PPC campaigns :

  • Not doing your research
  • Bidding on the wrong keywords
  • Ignoring negative keywords
  • Not testing your ad campaigns

Following these tips can run a successful political PPC campaign without breaking the bank. Happy campaigning!

As you can see, there are several mistakes that political campaigns can make regarding their PPC efforts. 356 Avoiding these common pitfalls is essential if you want your campaign to be successful.

Contact our team today if you need help getting started with your PPC strategy or want us to look at what you’ve already done.

We have years of experience in political marketing and know how to get the most out of your advertising budget.

Published On: October 12th, 2022 / Categories: Political Marketing /

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