Many people complain that Google Ads doesn’t work for them. They’re putting money into it, but seeing little return on investment. Many are at the point of giving up.
The sad part is that in most cases Google ads could very well drive a lot of relevant traffic to their business.
The reason so many campaigns fail to deliver is because of issues with the way they are set up.
I review dozens of accounts each month for businesses and I consistently see some of the same mistakes repeated over and over again.
Here are the 10 worst AdWords campaign management mistakes made on Google and how to correct them.
I’ve tried to focus on mistakes that you as a marketer can often correct on your own. Obviously, one of the biggest mistakes businesses make is to not to use landing pages, but this isn’t always an option for a business.
Another common mistake is not having a mobile-friendly website. This can be expensive and not something one can usually do on their own.
10 worst adwords campaign management mistakes
Most often correcting these mistakes will help to turn a non-profitable campaign into a profitable one.
1-a Relying on Google Ads Automation For Clicks
Don’t get me wrong. There are definite benefits to using automation for bidding and Google is certainly pushing it. Nearly all the types of bidding options involve some sort of automaton.
The problem is that businesses choose it when they first set up a campaign. Most often they go with targeted CPA or maximize conversions, both of which sound good. The problem is that data is needed for these to work. Conversion data.
Google has to learn what it is that makes your best prospects convert.
You need to let the accounts run for a while with conversion tracking properly installed or Google is simply guessing at what converts for you. Ideally, you need at least 15 conversions over a 30-day period and I’d suggest even this is not enough. The more data Google’s algorithm has, the better off your campaign will be.
Choosing the wrong bidding strategy too early could negatively impact your campaign
If you’re not tracking conversions or it’s a new campaign with no data yet than these options simply won’t work as they should.
1-b Using Maximize Clicks
I’m lumping this with the previous mistake because it’s another choice available for bidding.
Maximize clicks sounds good on the face of it. The problem here, however, is that you’re choosing quantity over quality.
In order to get you as many clicks as possible, the system often looks for the cheapest clicks. Often these clicks are cheap for a reason. They don’t convert as well and as a result, have less competition.
Google's system focuses on phrases your competitors are either ignoring or at the very least bidding a lot lower on. They’re concentrating on the words that get them the most business.
2 Not Connecting Google Analytics Properly to Google Ads
Google Analytics is the most popular analytics tool out there and it does provide a lot of useful information.
Yet, for it to benefit a Google Ads campaign, the two accounts have to be linked. The visitors to your site from Google Ads will be tracked, but the data won’t be separated out.
To find out if you have linked the accounts go into Google analytics and look under Acquisition for Google Ads. You should see the active campaigns you have running there.
If not, go to Admin and then look for Google Ads Linking in the center column.
You need to be an admin for both Google ads and analytics and they have to be in the same account to link to them. If you don't see the option to link, then it means you're not an admin on both.
3 Not Using Conversion Tracking
This really echoes what I just discussed, but no matter what bidding option you’re running you want to know if your Google Ads campaign is profitable.
This means you want to track as many conversions as you can.
Often this begins by using call forwarding if you’re doing click to call ads or the call extension. You establish this when setting up the campaign or the ad extension.
You also want to track conversions from a form submission. This works if you send prospects to a thank you page once they complete the form. The reason is that you only want to track them to a page they can only reach once they've converted.
You can either put conversion code on the site for tracking or use Google analytics.
You can also install coding on your site so that a tracking number is used if someone calls from your site after clicking the ad.
Google has a very good tech team that can assist you or your webmaster in setting up your coding properly, whether on the site or in Google Tag Manager.
4 Not Using All Available Ad Text
Creating an ad can be daunting when you start as there is a lot of copy to fill in. Three headlines, two descriptions in an expanded text ad.
Potentially 5 or more titles and 5 or more descriptions in a responsive ad. Even more work.
Yet, it’s best to take advantage of the space available. The idea is you want to take up a lot of real estate on the search results page. And you want to give a lot of information on the benefits of your services or products. As well as information on your company.
In the ads below, it's not the first ad that attracts your attention, but the others. They take up more space and establish why you want to go with them.
The goal of your ad is to stand out from the competition so that it gets clicked on.
This is why you also want to have 3-4 ads running in each ad group. You might think you’ve created the perfect ad and so only need to run one ad. The problem with this is if you’re wrong, Google might stop showing your ad.
If an ad isn’t getting clicks, Google will simply stop showing it and display competitors’ ads, even if they are bidding lower. This is why you want to have multiple ads. So if one isn't working, but others are, your campaigns will be running.
5 Not Using All Google Ad Extensions
Ad extensions are another way to make your ads stand out and take up more space. The problem is that many marketers don’t take advantage of all the extensions that they are eligible for or don’t use them to their full advantage.
For example, I often see accounts that only have 3 site links and often they are just the title tags with no description.
You want to have at least 4 site links and while the descriptions aren’t always used, they are enough to warrant you filling them in.
Google provides a lot of extensions and not all will apply to your business. Go through them and see which do apply and utilize them.
Read my article on How to Set Up Ad Extensions.
6 Using Broad Match
The default setting for adding keywords in an account is broad match and many people simply use this. The problem is that broad match can result in a lot of unrelated searches.
I once took over a campaign that was using exclusively broad match. They were a real estate agency and so among their keywords was their community name, plus real estate, all in broad match. The result was that they were showing up for tourism-related phrase, weather phrases, apartments, and competitors names.
Any other match type is better than broad match as they allow you to have more control over what search terms you appear for.
The only time to use broad match is if you’re struggling to get impressions for your market and looking for other ideas. Even then you want to closely monitor the search term reports.
If your time is limited, as well as your budget, then change your match type.
7 Using Search and Display Together
Many of the default settings in Google often result in a lot of wasted spend. One of these is when you set up your account. Most often Google will have two additional categories under networks when you choose a search campaign. These are Google Partners and Display.
Avoid running display and search campaigns together.
Google Partners are other sites that use the Google search program. Google doesn’t tell us who these sites are and depending on your vertical they don’t convert as well. But at least their still search. And if you want to show up on Google maps, then you definitely want to use it.
With display, you’re putting ads on pages people visit for other reasons. You might show up on gaming sites, local news stations, weather-related sites, and Hollywood news sites. The options can be endless. It means you’re trying to get their attention when they’re on a page for another reason.
Display has its uses, but not when lumped into a search campaign. If you want to try it, then create a new campaign that is strictly display. Then create ads that are more effective at attracting people’s attention.
8 Running Display Campaigns on Mobile Apps
If you separate out the display campaign and begin running it, you’ll likely see a lot of clicks and impressions right away. The problem is that almost all of these are from mobile apps.
Which are usually a complete waste of money.
People seem to endlessly click on ads as they are playing a game, most likely by accident. Chances are your prospect isn’t on many of these apps and if they are, won’t stop what they’re doing to check out your website.
It used to be pretty easy to block all ads from showing on apps. Then Google did away with that method and now it’s a lot bigger headache to avoid them.
There is a way to get rid of a lot of them. You’ll find this in placements.
Unfortunately, even after clicking all the boxes, you’ll like to see mobile apps in your placement. You can try excluding each and every one of these in the hopes that you’ll eventually stop seeing them.
Or you can take the easier option of just bidding significantly lower for mobile devices and tablets.
Go to devices and put in a negative bid adjustment.
This isn’t the best option, but with display, you’ll still get a lot of impressions from desktop. And I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing this with a remarketing campaign.
9 Not Using Negative Keywords or Misusing Them
One of the regular tasks for any campaign is to review the search terms. These are the actual terms that people typed in that triggered your ads.
In the search terms you’ll often find phrases that don’t apply to your business. In some cases, it could be someone looking for services in a location that you don’t serve. Or maybe something you don’t offer at all.
The two most common mistakes I see is that marketers either don’t use negative keywords or, when they do, apply them in the wrong manner.
Your first instinct when you see a bad phrase is to add it as a negative. For example, in the below example a junk removal company doesn’t deal with cars.
Blocking that would make sense. Yet, if you click on the phrase and add it in the format shown, you’re only blocking that exact phrase. So if another person types in haul away my junk car, they would be charged again.
The better option is simply to add car as a negative so that any phrase that contains that word will be blocked. This saves you time and a lot of money.
10 Calling Google Ads Support
It wasn’t that long ago that I called Google AdWords support regularly when I had a question about a campaign. Nearly all the time they had an answer, or they could get one pretty quickly.
Then they started to farm all the work out to a third world country and things went downhill.
The problem isn’t that they’re from another country, as India has many fine pay per click agencies.
The problem is that they don’t seem to get any training on Google ads. And they’ve never managed a campaign themselves.
After the change, I would call and the person wouldn’t have an answer or even understand the actual questions. Invariably they would put me on hold, ask someone else the question, get back to me, and then put me on hold when I asked a follow-up question.
I hear from a number of business people that when they call, they’ll get one response from one support person and then a totally different response if they call back and speak to someone else.
I’m lucky in that I know if I have questions there are Facebook groups or forums, I can post the question on.
A good place to post questions on the Google Ads Community and the Google Support Community.
Go through your account and see if you’re facing any of the problems I’ve listed here. For nearly all businesses Google Ads works. It’s the way to reach prospects at the moment they are searching for your products or services.
If you’re looking for professional help, then consider hiring a Google Ads Consultant such as myself to either help with your campaign or to manage it.