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6 Common And Costly Mistakes To Avoid In Google Ads

6 Common and costly mistakes to avoid in Google Ads

Google Ads are an impactful and cost effective way to increase leads and sales for your business. However when creating a Google Ads campaign during the campaign creation there are many options to choose from. 

To achieve the highest return on investment it is important for each campaign that the actual ad and ad groups are set up correctly. Our blog post below looks at 6 common and costly mistakes which we recommend avoiding to achieve the best results from your Google Ads campaign (previously called Google Adwords). 

From using geographical targeting to testing different ad variations. For each common and costly mistake we will go into detail of what to avoid and the best method for your Google Ads campaigns.

Ben Webster

Creative director at 1PCS. Addicted to design, SEO, pizza and helping companies big and small succeed online.

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Mistake 1: Using only broad match keywords

When it comes to your Google Ads account putting the time into your keyword research plays a vital part in the success of your Google Ads campaigns. Often the keywords seen within a Google Ads account has been based purely on a gut feeling of what businesses think their potential customers will have put as their Google search.

Understanding search queries for your target audience is important so all relevant keywords are used in your Google Ads account. A common mistake is to only use broad match keywords. This can seem appealing as using a broad match means you are reaching the largest pool from the search network for the Google search.

However in reality this can lead to wasted ad spend on your Google Ads campaign. We recommend using all three types of keyword match types. To give an example your keyword could be ‘Football boots’. For a broad match the Google search could be ‘Running shoes for women’ or ‘Socks for football’. A phrase match in the search results page could be ‘Women’s football boots’. With an exact match being ‘Football boots’ on the search terms.

An opposite mistake could be to purely focus on exact match keywords. This could make the audience size for the monthly search volume too small to see the level of conversions you are aiming for. Therefore the best approach is to include a mixture of the keyword match types.

6 Mistakes to avoid in Google Ads - Broad Match Keywords

Recommend using all types of keyword match types to make the most of your ad spend.

Mistake 2: Not using conversion tracking

Knowing where your clicks and conversions have come from for a new campaign is essential to test and optimise in the future to order to improve your return on ad spend.

During campaign creation if your Google Ads account is not set up with conversion tracking and you have multiple ads running across different ad groups it will make it challenging to know which ads have resulted in increased leads and sales. Without this knowledge, it makes it difficult to know your best performing ads.

Within the campaign settings we recommend deciding which are the relevant conversions tracking for your business goals, so the results directly reflect your aim for your Google Ads campaign. Regardless of whether it is your first campaign or if you have multiple campaigns running at one time.

Some examples of conversions which are deemed as high value conversions for most businesses include: purchases, form submission, phone call or email sent, downloads of a file e.g. Ebook or signing up for a newsletter. The conversion data shouldn’t purely be just page view conversions.

By having the right conversion tracking in place you can review if your pay per click advertising campaign is achieving a high enough click through rate, number of conversions and if reaching your max CPC bid strategy. As your quality score improves and directly increases your ad rank, this will likely improve your cost per click.

Mistake 3: Ignoring Negative Keywords

When beginning your PPC advertising in your Google Ads account ensure to use a keyword planner to research user searches and do your keyword research to collate a list of relevant negative keywords. To expand on this, these are the keywords you are telling Google you specifically do not want your ads to be shown for when people search with that keyword.

This may feel counterproductive when first beginning Google Ads as it can feel the more website traffic the better to your landing page. The reality is this could waste ad spend and impact your quality score if consistently have a high bounce rate, due to your own ads not being relevant for the search results page.

To give an example if your business offered football boots which were only available in adult sizes. Having website traffic and clicks as a result of a users search for ‘kids football boots’ is not going to result in converting to a sale due to not offering kid sizes. Therefore in this example the keyword ‘kids’ would be included in the negative keywords list.

Recommend aiming for 50-100 negative keywords for your Google Ads account. With your multiple ad groups and new Google ads reviewed regularly to identify other keywords which can be included to improve your return on ad spend. The number of negative keywords in your Google Ads account will vary depending on the volume of traffic you are getting and the keywords you have set up. 

Broad match keywords will results in a wider variety of terms being searched and therefore likely a higher amount of less relevant terms, lowering your return on ad spend. A negative keyword list may be an ever growing one, so good to regularly check in and see if any new terms need adding.

It is worthwhile taking the time to list your negative keywords and review regularly.

Mistake 4: Not Utilising Geographical or Device Targeting

With your search engine marketing for Google Ads campaigns if you are not bound to a particular location radius due to the products or services you provide. Depending on what services you offer in different areas, you can set a Google Ads campaign to only show to certain locations. This may be based off a particular location radius, or county(s) or even countries if you offer products internationally.

 This also could either complement or work as an alternative strategy to any search engine marketing you are running like SEO. It can be often overlooked that the Google Ads platform can be further improved for your ad campaign through geographical targeting, which is one of the drop down menu options.

In the beginning of launching your ad campaign it is wise to use a larger geographical area so you can collate sufficient data to identify in the Google Ads interface for each ad group or Google Ad which have performed best in particular cities or location. Equally you can see if any locations aren’t working for your search campaigns.

This data will allow you to either adjust locations or upweight ad budget to the best performing locations for each search ad or potentially deliver separate campaigns off the back of the findings for further testing.

Other targeting data to utilise is for particular devices such as desktop, tablet or mobile. Within your Google Analytics account and Google Ads account advanced settings you can see right down to the device type which delivered the most clicks to your landing page, and then compare the conversion rate to sales or leads etc.

Similarly to above if a particular device is performing well, then you can fine tune the targeting within your Google Ads campaign settings to improve your return on investment for your online advertising.

Mistake 5: Creating too few or too many variations

When reviewing existing Google Ads campaigns we often find that only one ad or one ad group has been set up and running. This may have been based on just one set of target keywords and ad writing based on what the internal team think will result in leads and sales increasing for the business.

However it is rare that the first ad in a Google Ad campaign creation is going to deliver the best results possible. Or another common and costly mistake in Google Ads are too many ads running at each ad group level or too many campaign types running for the daily budget given to Google Ads. If there are too many ads running this can segment the traffic too far and stretch the daily budget too thinly.

We recommend creating 2-4 Google Ads for each ad group. This amount of ads allows you to test different messages for certain keywords and each ad group and review from the search terms report and Google Analytics which actual ad is giving the best return on investment. Then once narrowed down, the lower performing ads can be paused with a new ad rotation for testing begun to further test and optimise.

For testing and optimising we recommend creating 2-4 Google Ads for each ad group.

Mistake 6: Not using Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions are a fantastic feature to give potential customers in the search results for your keyword themes on your ad displays more information and links about your products and services. Some of the Ad extensions you can utilise include call extensions, location extensions and price extensions.

This can even be used by device, for example, within your Google Ads account you can be specific for mobile ads. With ad extensions enabling users to call or send a message directly from their mobile, making it easier and quicker to convert a potential customer.

Not all ad extensions will be relevant and it is recommended to test various ad extensions to establish which ones work best for you. This may vary by campaign type or at ad group level. It is best to pause any ad extensions which after testing aren’t adding value to your Google Ads campaign.

How can we help?

Above are just some of the costly and common mistakes which can be made with Google Ads. For your pay per click advertising Google Ads can deliver a high return on your ad spend providing it has been set up correctly and is regularly tested and optimised.

As a Google Partner we have the right knowledge and expertise to help your business achieve the best return on investment from your Google Ads. 

Please feel free to get in touch with one of the team to see how we can help, whether that be to review your existing Google Ads campaigns or if you are looking to grow your business by beginning Google Ads.


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Article By

Ben Webster

Creative director at 1PCS. Addicted to design, SEO, pizza and helping companies big and small succeed online

Need some help? Pop me an email [email protected]


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