3 Worst AdWords Mistakes


New to Google AdWords? Don’t want to pay a professional?

We get it. You wanna save a few bucks. Because there’s nothing better in life than marketing your business on the most complex platform in advertising history, completely on your own. Sarcasm intended. However, it doesn’t mean you need go spend a fortune on AdWords management either.

The biggest AdWords mistake typically come from the people who are in charge of your marketing department. It may shock you how little most Directors of Marketing actually know about digital advertising and its immense complexity, and that’s not even diving into data mining and campaign management component.

So yes, many marketing teams not familiar with AdWords (come off it, reading blogs about it doesn’t make one a professional) can cause complete sabotage to your monthly budget. Wasted dollars, just walking out your door.

So, here you are. A dashing business executive who wants to get a grip on AdWord spend.

You’ve come to the right place. Let’s begin.

Mistake #1 – Using One (yes, 1) Ad Group

Typical of a “this should be easy” attitude of most marketing departments, managing detail is not of the essence. These people find it comforting to create a single campaign that houses all the ads, and yes, all of the keywords under one, single ad group.

What’s an Ad Group you ask? It’s a group of ads of course.

The hierarchy in AdWords starts with the Campaign. Then its followed by your Ad Group. The reason these things are called “Ad Groups” is so that you can group similar ads, keywords, and targeting into a single group. But instead, most marketers dump all of the ads, keywords, and targeting into the one and only Ad Group under the one and only campaign.

Waste of time. Waste of ad spend. Waste of your customer’s time while at it (if you’re a digital marketing agency).

Specific targeting, no matter how tight a channel is, might grow into ten keywords, or easily a few hundred. Sometimes over a thousand or more. Basically the more you advertise the more you need to understand grouping of ads, targeting, and keywords.

By not understanding grouping in Google AdWords is an expensive mistake. Here’s why.

  • You lose the ability to create custom targeted groups of similar keywords.
  • Your ad copies will all show up under keywords that may not even relate to it.
  • Your data will be useless for any major business decision making.
  • Your quality scores won’t be able to improve as they should, resulting in higher costs.
  • Your conversions will suffer due to a mess of ads, keywords, and targeting.

AdWords is not a place where you just run ads and expect results. The system is completely data driven, and you will need data to measure ROI (return on investment) if you want any real results out of it. Definitely, AdWords is not a “forget and let it run” type of platform.

Mistake #2 – Using Generic Keywords

If there is any other better way to waste money, than just plunking in a few generic keywords into AdWords campaign, I have not found it yet.

AdWords offers a wealth of tools to identify and target your customers and narrow down your search criteria so that you don’t actually waste money. The problem is, most marketers today have no idea how to use the tools Google supplies correctly.

For example. Let’s say you own a shoe store and sell shows. You might feel that the keyword ‘shoes’ is excellent and relates to your customers. Problem is however, it is not the case. So you say “Yes! I got this” and run your ads. A month later, no phone calls, no customers, no conversions.

What happened? You’re in the shoe business right?

Generic keywords do for you blow through your budget because the search volumes are typically extremely high. The word “shoes” in the state of California has a range of 100,000 to 1,000,000 searches per month. The typical cost is just over a dollar per click. Now, do you have $100,000 laying around every month to pay for those clicks at their lowest season of the year?

Probably not. Your ads will show for just about anything with the word “shoes” in it, even if you don’t sell it. Here are some searches that might trigger such an ad.

  • Men’s Shoes
  • Navy Blue Women’s Dress Shoes
  • Shoe Repair
  • Kids Superman Shoes for 5 Year Old
  • Etc.,

If you understand business, you’ll quickly understand that the only company that potentially fit the bill here is Walmart. And you’re not Walmart.

So you might start to get a few clicks here and there, as your ad will be shown, but people will land on your website and realize your store doesn’t have what they are looking for. You just paid for a click, and you don’t even sell the product. You’ll get an instant bounce (people will just leave your website right away). Or simply put, there will be no conversion for your efforts.

One final example. Maybe someone wants to “buy shoes online” but you only have a physical location with no e-commerce website set up. Well that’s a total waste of money right there!

But it gets worse. If people find your ad vague and generic, it will quickly rack up impressions, and wind up with a low click-through-rate, and then they might stop showing. Basically, you might wind up with a useless campaign in no time that wasted money and never generated a single sale nor collected any useful data.

Your marketing team might also want to learn the AdWords concept of keyword matching. Here are the three basic keyword types.

  • Broad Match
  • “Phrase Match”
  • [Exact Match]

We’ll cover these in another article later.

Top AdWords Mistake #3 – Not Tracking Conversions

Before you jump the hoop and start saying things like “but my sales team tells me where the leads are coming from” I have some news for you. People lie. Google doesn’t. To prove this point, I have helped companies streamline their people’s operations when it comes to ensuring quality sales teams.

Tracking conversions is mandatory for all AdWords digital marketing campaigns. If you are doing it, if your marketing is doing, or you’re paying someone else to do it, but you’re not getting a conversions report on a weekly or monthly basis then something is very, very wrong!

Conversion tracking is what makes or breaks a paid cost-per-click (CPC) campaign. There are number of ways to track conversions, here are some examples.

Lead Submission Form Tracking

This is a form that you use on your landing pages to generate leads. It could also be a newsletter sign up. Or maybe you’re offering something for free for an exchange of the user’s e-mail. Either way, if you’re spending money, you need to see results.

E-commerce Sales Tracking

Want to where your customers are from and from what cities most of your e-commerce online sales are coming from? Well, integrating your shopping cart with Google Analytics, and then linking up your AdWords account will give access to data that be invaluable for future marketing campaigns.

Call Tracking

Yes, people still call people. Believe it or not, the most effective leads come from quality phone calls. When someone picks up the phone to call you, they are a “hot” lead. They, are calling you! Imagine the commitment it takes to do that. Without call tracking installed, your salespeople can make stuff up all day as to where calls come from, and you’d never know about it.

But hey. You know what? It’s your business. I hope you get the point now. With specialized call tracking tools, calls can be measured as conversions, and even tracked and recorded if the application warrants itself (call recording is not done in AdWords itself, you’ll need a 3rd party provider to set that up).

Final Say About Conversions

If your marketing team is not tracking conversions, or can’t explain where the leads are coming from, and are not providing business-decision level making reports, you’re just flying blind in the fog. And that never ends well. Do you know why?

Your competition is not flying blind in the fog. Even if you’re the most arrogant business executive in the world, know this. Someone will be after you market share sooner or later. They might do it cheaper, faster, and scale like you could never imagine, all because they are taking digital and data mining seriously.


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