According to a recent Searchmetrics study, 49% of paid search ad campaigns suffer from duplicate traffic.

Duplicate traffic is an expensive waste of money, and in PPC campaigns, it can lead to wasted ad spending and inaccurate performance metrics.

What is duplicate traffic in paid search campaigns?

Have you ever looked at your Google Ads search term report and noticed a lot of duplicated search terms running ads, but they are not causing any issues in your account or causing a drop in Quality Score?

Well, you have duplicate traffic in your account. So, before you celebrate the traffic coming to your website from other places, remember that you are probably paying for this traffic through pay-per-click campaigns, which can cause an increment in your average CPCs. Read on to find out why this is not good for your account and how to fix it.

Effects of duplicate traffic on performance

  • Auto-inflation: Google Ads auction works somehow like a traditional auction house. The more people bidding, the higher it can get the price. So, if you bid against yourself, you may increase the average CPC for the specific search term.
  • Cannibalization: having duplicate traffic in your account can mean that you are showing several ads on the same search results page (SERP). That provokes cannibalization in between your campaigns or ad groups.
  • Unclear data: if you have duplicate traffic you will have, for sure, different data for each duplicated search term, so your global data can be inaccurate.

How to avoid duplicate traffic

One of the most complex aspects of Google AdWords is avoiding duplicate traffic. It can be a problem when you manage your campaigns or even when an agency that oversees them for you. The problem occurs when a search term triggers multiple keywords in different ad groups. You must link each search term to a single ad group.

The three most common types of duplicate traffic are direct traffic, paid search, and referral traffic. Paid search can be helpful, but you must beware of duplicate paid search traffic, which can eat up your budget and prevent you from achieving the highest positions. Sending traffic to the same campaign and ad group will help you avoid spending money needlessly.

1. Work your cross-negativization thoroughly

It seems counter-intuitive at first, but it makes perfect sense.

When selling multiple products, your campaigns will compete and decrease your profits. For example, if you use a broad match keyword like white shoes and have a campaign set up for shoes, that same keyword can produce duplicate traffic between the different ad groups.

It is also an issue with negative keywords because if you add a negative keyword to one campaign (like [dress] to the red shoe campaign), you have to add that term to all of your other campaigns, thereby cross-negating them.

Using a single campaign to house all of your similar products instead of individual ads for each product will prevent this from happening. Set up separate campaigns for product or service categories (shoes campaign), but place all similar products in the same ad group (white shoes ad group). Then be sure to set up cross-negativization between ad groups and between campaigns (make sure there’s no overlap).

This way, the search term white shoes will only trigger the white shoes ad group. It allows maximum exposure for each product and prevents cannibalization of your profits by ensuring that no product distracts from the performance of another one.

2. Avoid having duplicate keywords

Having the same keyword in several ad groups will cause duplicate traffic. But, don’t worry, it’s very easy to check and fix.

To avoid having duplicate active keywords go to the Google Ads Editor and use the find duplicate keywords feature. After that, you can choose which ones you want to keep and which ones to pause.

3. Spot automatically and remove duplicate traffic with OrbitalAds

Spotting duplicate traffic at search term level can be very difficult. With OrbitalAds you have a special dashboard that will show each case of duplicate traffic and allow you to quickly decide which search term you want to negate to end the problem.

After you decide which ad group you want to keep receiving the traffic, you just have to give the order to the tool and it will do it for you.

Also, all the automation regarding keyword adding and pausing it’s done with automatic cross negativization so you don’t have to worry ever again to control duplicate traffic on Google Ads.

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