Over the past 10 years we’ve taken over large numbers of Google Ads campaigns and fixed the following common mistakes people make when managing their Ads PPC:

1)      Failure to bid up (or down) on mobile

2)      Failure to group keywords correctly

3)      Failure to use the correct keyword matching

4)      Failure to deliver the user to the correct landing page

5)      Failure to split out Search and Display Campaigns

6)      Failure to use Negative Keywords

7)      Failure to use the Search Term Reports

8)      Failure to test new ads

9)      Failure to manage their campaigns weekly/daily

10)   Failure to assess Competitor Ads and Landing Pages

Failure to adjust bids for Mobiles

We have seen many campaigns where the PC/Tablet Ads are working well getting a great time on site, strong Click through rates (CTR) and high quality scores. We then discover that the client’s site is not mobile/smart phone friendly so performs badly. 2 activities here can be carried out:

In Campaign settings alter how much you are prepared to bid for mobile bids. If the site does not perform well then consider adjusting a mobile bid down by 90% so you are not overpaying for any clicks.

Or you could ensure your site performs well on mobile and in that case then make sure you capture a greater share of the relevant traffic by increasing your bid up by 30%, 40% or even more.

Keywords Grouped too Loosely in Ad Groups

Google Ads likes to recommend new keyword phrases to target and allows you a number of ways to add them to existing Ad Groups. This is not a particularly good idea if the keywords are not on theme.

If you get Ads advising you to add “Red Widgets” as a new keyword to target when you have Blue, Yellow and Green Ad Groups already set up then do not add this phrase to an existing Ad Group. We’d recommend setting up a New “Red Widgets” Ad Group so your Ads are more specific and deliver users to the right web pages for better conversion potential.

In essence, do not lump all of your keywords into one Ad Group, it’s better to have lots of Ad Groups with a few keywords in each so split them out for better Ad Performance. If your ad copy can exactly match (or as close as possible) a users keyword then you have a better chance of generating a click through to your site.

Too Many Broad Matched Keywords

When you choose to set your keywords to “broad-match” you really are giving  Google a field day to show your ads for completely irrelevant phrases (in our opinion) and waste your money generating click-throughs with no hope of conversion.

You can use a range of broad match modifier, phrase match and exact match to offer varying degrees of targeting, but generally broad match should be avoided, particularly if you are not experienced with the platform. Take a look under the search terms tab, click “Keywords” and then “Search Terms. If broad match is your only type of keyword targeting you will find an array of keywords that you likely haven’t targeted, resulting in CPC waste and very poor conversions on your site.

Delivering users to the wrong landing page

This is possibly the biggest mistake we find for most Ads campaigns we are asked to manage. How many times have you clicked on a Google Ad to be dropped off on a page which is either broken or has completely irrelevant content for your search?

Make sure each ad is delivering the user to the relevant page on your site. If the page isn’t relevant then your quality score will be that much higher.

We have seen (even last week) just by changing the landing page destination from a home page to a category page that mentions the keyword phrase that we are advertising against boosts the quality score from 4/10 to 8/10. This will result in higher position/lower cost per click in most cases showing an immediate improvement for the Ads account.

Failure to split out Search and Display campaigns

Typically we find poorly set up Ads campaigns advertise both on Google search and in display (across other sites using Ads to help generate income). Display advertising generates far more ad impressions and lower clicks, usually as the person is reading other content on the page. This type of advertising generates a low CTR percentage, and if combined with Search ads, drags down the overall Ad Campaign CTR, affecting Quality Scores.

If this is happening then stop the campaign. Create 2 new campaigns (you can quickly import Ads from the original campaign) and make sure one is for Search only and the other is for Display only. Carrying out this will help improve Ad performance and means you can tailor ad content better to each platform.

Not using Negative Keyword Matching

Failing to take advantage of negative keywords in your Ad campaigns is a costly mistake. To ensure the best performance you will want to research which keywords people might use which could attract clicks that won’t convert.

For example if we were to target “Records Storage” in a Campaign (for company information archiving and backup) we would not want Google to associate that phrase with “music records”.

Therefore we would enter in any keywords to stop our ad coming when someone was to search for our phrase. The negative keyword list might be as follows:

  • Music
  • Bands
  • Band names
  • Player

Another example would be for advertising Small Storage Bins – we would set the following negative keywords to prevent our ads from showing if any of these words or also used within the search term:

  • Asda
  • Aldi
  • Tesco

If someone was looking for a brand we do not sell then we would not want our ad to show, the intent from the user is to buy from that brand so why waste our Cost Per Clicks?

Likewise we would also add these:

  • Compare (we don’t want someone comparing, we want them to buy, so we’ll advertise further down the buying funnel)
  • Clearance (we’re not selling the boxes at clearance prices so we don’t advertise against this)
  • Wooden (the boxes are plastic)
  • Food (our bins are too small to store food, they are for small tool components so unlikely to convert)
  • Kids (our storage bins are for workshops, not really for children)
  • Lockable (we don’t sell lockable versions)

We then regularly use the Search Term tool to ensure we apply other negative match phrases that are similar with our targeted phrase but would have no chance of converting into a sale.  We only want our ads to show for a tight set of terms as this boosts CTR rate (true it lowers Ad impressions) and generates a stronger Return on Investment for us.

Not using the Search Terms Report

This report is the one most people don’t know about, it is hidden away in the Menu system and something we recommend Google bring to the fore inside the Ads system.

The Search Terms report tells you exactly which phrases are generating traffic to your site, giving you the ability to add more keywords directly to the Ad Group or setting a negative exact match on any phrase you deem to be irrelevant.

This is one report we always use to minimise click wastage on an Ads campaign – why hand over money to Google for irrelevant clicks? We took over one client Ads account and discovered with a lack of negative keywords combined with too many broad matches we were able to prevent overspend and reduce wastage by around 50% for the same number of sales for the client.

Failing to Test New Ads

You set your Ad campaign up, generate a few Ads and then leave it on a “fire and forget” basis. Ultimately you find your ads start to perform well but over time clicks begin to dry up and you’re not sure why.

It maybe that your competitors have created close variations of your ad or the audience is looking for an ad that stands out. In both cases you have to create new ads, especially to test against current performing ones. A continual refinement to your ads can lead to better CTR’s and increased conversion performance.

We are pretty hard on non-performing Ads here for our clients. If they don’t perform they are scrapped and this strategy works well in keeping relevant searchers to the site.

Test headlines and call to actions against mentioning pricing or benefits within your Ad. Think like a user so avoid official industry terms – a searcher may be looking for the same thing, just with a different, more casual sounding keyword phrase so do your research – either within Google Ads or using SEMRush.com (something we use on behalf of our clients).

Just remember what you promise to deliver in your Ads should be reflected on your landing page – if not expect a short time on site with the visitor bouncing back to Google pretty sharpish!

Not managing your Ad Campaigns Weekly/Daily

Once you have set up your Ad Campaign don’t just head off into the hills and leave it, your ads will need nurturing and fine tuning to get the most bang for your buck.

We’ve come across a few Ads accounts where due to a lack of management activity and reduced potential effectiveness of the advertising by an estimated two thirds.

True, if your advertising budget isn’t huge then you may only need to login weekly rather than daily –but if you do then ensure you check ad performance, cost per clicks, keyword CTR’s and quality scores. This will help keep your ads in tip top condition keeping you one step ahead of your competitors who do not regularly manage their Ads accounts.

Not monitoring Competitors Pages and Keywords

We have mentioned before that we use SEMRush.com as this gives us an in-depth look at Competitor ads and the keywords they are targeting.

This does not mean you should in a bid to just copy out their keywords and target in your campaign. Instead it should allow you to develop your own strategy to convince people to click on your ads.

At the same time you should review competitor landing pages, are their ads delivering the user directly and correctly? If you can see weaknesses in your competitors’ ads or landing pages then you are in a much better position to start to pull away and generate more leads.

Correcting these mistakes will really tighten up the performance of your Google Ads Campaigns and generate a better ROI. So what is stopping you, get to it!

If however you want some professional help on getting a better return from your Ads Campaign, why not contact one of the team about our PPC service on 01285 50 55 50.