Is Adwords working for your business? If not, then it’s likely you are making one or more common mistakes that can be easily fixed. As a Google Adwords expert, I’ve seen many errors that lead to high advertising costs, low return on investment and total failure of accounts that lead to frustration.
I’ve listed here some of the major reasons why many accounts fail, and I hope this will help you to turn your account fortunes around:
1. No goals
Creating adwords campaigns without goals is a major reason behind many failures. Without clear goals it will take you a long time to figure out whether your account is performing well or not and by then it could be too late. You will have spent a lot of money with little results and you are also likely to prematurely end your campaigns because you think it is not working.
So, start by figuring out what you want to achieve. Is it more sales, more profit, raising brand awareness etc and make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Related).
2. Very low budget
I’m often asked by clients what is an ideal budget for their account and my response is that it should be sufficient enough to allow you to achieve your objectives profitably. There are tools to help you set a budget for your account and one of them is the keyword research tool. It gives you an insight into what the competition is like and what your average CPC is for your keywords.
3. Not testing
Make sure you test all aspects of your account especially the ads. You can test keywords, placements, demographics, landing pages, ads and much more and that will inform you which features and benefits are most effective.
Ads are easier to test and in each ad group you can add at least two ads. Then run them for a specific length of time or until you receive at least 100 or 1000 clicks or impressions to determine which one has better Click Through Rates (CTR) and conversions.
4. No benefits in ads
Benefits work better than features. Searchers want to know how your product, services or business can help them and it’s benefits and not features that are most effective. However, a combination of the two can make your ads more targeted and increase CTRs.
5. Not adding conversion tracking
Many advertisers don’t add conversion tracking or they add it too late. And that’s mainly because they see it as a complex and technical process and don’t have the skills to do it. Also, some do attempt, but because of the structure of their website, some work is required to make tracking work and they abandon it.
However, conversion tracking is easy and any developer can install the code on your site easily and even make any necessary changes to your forms or success pages.
Linking your adwords and analytics accounts is easy and it helps to track your google adwords traffic effectively. One of the benefits is that your adwords traffic is separated from your organic traffic and this helps you to assess the metrics easily.
7. No keyword research
Keyword research is one of the first things to do when you launch Adwords. Keyword research will help you to understand:
– the size of the market,
– who your target market is,
– what opportunities exist,
– what the costs will be,
– who your competitors are
– where your target customers are located
– help structure campaigns and ad groups
– and much more
There are many ways to conduct keyword research and one quick way is to do it as you create your ad groups, which can save you a lot of time. A more effective way is to do it before creating any campaigns and then use a spreadsheet to group them.
8. Poor account structure
A poor account structure has many disadvantages including:
– Affects quality scores
– Easily miss opportunities
– Difficult to find keywords etc when account is large
There are a number of ways to structure your account effectively and these include following your website structure, according to locations (cities, countries etc), according to target markets and based on products or categories.
9. Incorrect advanced location settings
The default settings in advanced location options targeting is ‘people in, searching for or show interest in my targeted location’. The problem with this option is your campaign is likely to receive many people who are physically outside your targeted location but is searching for a product or service in your location.
An example would be someone in France using the UK Google domain name to search for a product. Of course, such a person could become a customer for your business, however if you don’t ship to France, then that could be a wasted click.
So, in such a case you should advanced location options targeting to ‘people in my targeted location’.
10. Choosing wrong networks
Adwords provides you with 5 main campaign types and within those you have different networks and placements to choose from. The display network for example reaches a wide audience of potential customers who may not be actively searching for your products but could be convinced to purchase.
However, the display network doesn’t work for all products or services and that’s usually true for emergency services – for example people who have put the wrong fuel in their car at the forecourt and need an emergency fuel removal service. The search network is a far better option for such a business.
11. Over bidding
Over bidding is common at campaign creation and that’s simply because it is difficult to determine what bids to set at the start. It’s better to start low and then increase bids as you receive impressions.
Also, quality scores tend to be low at the beginning so you will often pay more per click but this will change as you manage your account. So, start with a lower bid and work on your quality scores.
Again, you may be able to get lower cost per conversions with lower bids and lower positions. Being in the top 3 positions on Google is not always necessary especially for shopping products and services were people request multiple quotes from companies.
12. Low Ad Positions
Low ad positions often lead to low click through rates (CTR) and fewer sales or leads. Many searchers don’t click below the top 3 ad positions and if your ads are constantly lower, your ROI will be low too.
So you should work on increasing your quality scores and your bids because these two affect your Ad Rank
13. Poor Quality Scores
There are three contributing factors to your quality scores:
– Expected Click Through Rate
– Ad Relevance
– Landing Page Experience
You should work on each of these to ensure that your scores are above 7/10. High quality scores lead to higher ad positions and lower CPC rates and this reduces your advertising costs and increases profit for your business.
14. Poor landing page choice
As mentioned above, landing page experience is an important factor to your quality scores, so you should choose pages that won’t lead to high bounce rates. Visitors should be able to find what you’ve promised in the ad without searching your site again.
Avoid sending visitors to the homepage, but instead send them to the inner page that describes the promise of offer that you made in the ad. Also, a category page may at times be a better chance than a product page, depending on the search term they have used.
15. Not using keyword match types
A common mistake with many new advertisers is to use broad match keywords only throughout. It’s ok to start with one match type at the beginning like exact match, and you can increase traffic and sales by adding other match types like phrase, modified broad and broad match as you see a good return from your ads. Just make sure you have added negative keywords and are sure you have picked the right keywords.
16. Sending traffic to the homepage
As mentioned earlier, the homepage is a poor choice as a landing page in most cases except maybe when you are running a branding campaign. For direct response campaigns where you are looking to acquire a sale or lead or other conversion, sending visitors to an inner page, category page or product page is the better option.
17. No negative keywords
Google is the world’s biggest search engine with billions of searches taking place there every day. In fact, Google states that about 15% of searches performed each day are completely new to them and they have never seen them before. Also, many searches are long tail searches and it’s hard to identify them during the keyword research process.
That means, when you create and run your ads, whatever keywords you have chosen, you are likely to get searches that you never envisaged or were aware of. So, you should add negative keywords to your account to block any potential searches that are not relevant to your account. And that means negative keyword research should be done early on and should be an active part of your account management.
18. Poorly written ads
Ads are the first thing that potential customers experience and see about your business. So it’s important to make a good first impression. Some important elements to add in your banner and text ads are:
– Good catchy headline – with the keyword included (for text ads)
– Benefits and features
– A unique selling proposition
– Call to action
– Good graphics for banner ads
And ads should be well written and targeted to the search terms. Good ads usually lead to high CTRs, better quality scores, more conversions, lower CPC costs and higher ad positions.
19. Targeting multiple countries in one campaign
A common mistake with advertisers that target multiple countries is to create one campaign for all countries. This is especially bad when products are being sold and have to be shipped to customers across the globe. Firstly, shipping rates differ from one country to another and you will want to add the different rates in the ads- which you can’t do if all countries are seeing the same ads.
Also, languages differ and this is another feature that is set at the campaign level. Even English speaking countries like the UK, USA, Australia have differences in spellings and grammar and you may need to setup different campaigns for them.
However, if you are offering an online product download, then targeting multiple countries may be fine.
20. Not monitoring search terms report
The search terms report is a very important report that shows you which searches are driving traffic to your site. This report is especially important if you have broad, modified broad and phrase match keywords which will drive a wide range of searches, some which will not be relevant. You can then add the irrelevant searches in your negative keyword list.
You can access the search terms report in the Dimensions tab in your campaign or from the keywords tab.
21. No remarketing campaigns
Remarketing is an effective way to retain website visitors and customers by sending them tailored offers to bring them back to your site. You can setup remarketing audiences in analytics and then create a campaign in adwords which includes banners and text ads that target these audiences.
Without remarketing, you will lose many visitors to competitors and this will affect your profitability.
22. Ad groups not tightly themed
All keywords in each ad group should be related and relevant to the ads in that ad group. Adding differently matched keywords leads to poor quality scores, low Click Through Rates (CTR), and low conversion rates.
23. No ad extensions
Ad extensions bring your ads alive with extra links, offers, ratings and other info that is relevant to your prospects. So you can add a phone number using call extensions; add links to other pages with sitelinks, add your business address with location extensions and add your business hours with callout extensions.
There are many ways you can make use of ad extensions and this helps to boost trust in your business and increase CTRs and conversions.
24. Creating one ad per ad group
Having only one ad in each ad group means that you can’t test any features or benefits. Always start with at least two ads with slight differences to test different features like headlines, call to action, price, offers, text and so on.
25. Too few keywords
Bidding on a few keywords means you miss out on the full potential of other keywords that could bring you sales. So, start with a thorough keyword research and even if you have a low budget, keep some keywords in reserve for later or you can add all the relevant ones at a low Cost Per Click (CPC).
26. Too many keywords
Too many keywords in your account causes confusion and leads to poor quality scores. Ideally, each ad group should have no more than 20 keywords and no less than 5. This also makes your campaigns and ad groups more manageable and boosts ROI.
The web is littered with poorly crafted banner designs. And it’s no wonder that banners are now less effective overall. However, well designed banners will improve your targeting and increase visitor traffic and sales too.
28. Not using a flexible bid strategy
Google Adwords offers a number of flexible bidding strategies that are helpful when you want to increase exposure and competition is high. One important one is the target search page location strategy that helps you to place your ads at the top of the search page results or anywhere on the first search results page. These features will gain more exposure for your ads and could see you outperform your competitors without making manual changes to your bids.
29. Only using standard campaign settings
The standard settings in the campaign are basic and mean you won’t have access to powerful features like advanced location options and ad scheduling. These features are essential if you want to target more precisely and block any visitors who are outside of your target audience.
30. Not using ad scheduling or day parting
If your business does not operate all hours, then you may want to stop your ads at times when you are not available to take calls like weekends or in the evenings. Or if you find that your conversion rate is better at certain hours than others, then you could change bids at specific times, or just turn off the ads at low performing times.