The Most Disastrous Google Ad Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

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By Boris Dzhingarov

When it comes to digital marketing methods, Google ads are one of the most powerful for many reasons. They’re one of the best tactics to get instant traffic, but also a great tool to assess your current material and make adjustments. One issue with PPC, however, is that it’s also easy to get things wrong, and mistakes can get costly. This is especially the case if you’re coming unprepared and are trying to conduct your first campaigns on your own. Let’s take a look at some of the most common and disastrous Google ad mistakes. We’ll also look at ways you can avoid them.

Not Showcasing Your Main Keywords in Your Ads

Choosing the right keywords is probably the single most important aspect of running an Adwords campaign. Yet, so many people assume that appearing on the right searches is the only thing that matters. However, people are much more likely to click on an ad that features their exact query. This is why you need to either customize your ads for certain keyword sets or use things like dynamic keyword insertion to make your ads stand out.

Also, try not to do this with every keyword. Instead, try to stick with keywords that show strong intent and align directly with your landing page. That intent could be informational if it’s for lead generation or transactional for a home or product page.

Not Using Negative Keywords

This is one of the worst mistakes you can commit when choosing keywords. Negative keywords play a very important role and will allow your ads to only appear on searches that benefit your final goals. And, if you think that all publicity is good for your brand, think again. Imagine selling insurance and having your ads show when people are looking for insurance scams. This can all be fixed by learning how to use negative keywords properly.

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You also don’t want to attract unfocused searches. It could be nice to have someone looking for car maintenance tips reading your blog if you’re a car dealership. However, the chances of them deciding to not only ditch their current vehicle but buy one from you are slim to none.

The good news is that Adwords will give you a list of negative keywords you can start with. You can then refine them as you notice which keywords are converting or underperforming. You might also start seeing traffic coming from unrelated keywords and remove those you feel are muddying the waters.

Not Using Location Targeting

This one is as common as it is perplexing. Google Ads management has to include location targeting. Setting geographical location takes so little time, and yet, so many still decide to take a one-size-fits-all approach.

Let’s say that you have a brand with a wide variety of products. If you sell both winter and summer wear and ship internationally, there’s no need to target areas that don’t experience winter weather during wintertime. What you’ll get is a lot of people bouncing in and out of your website, which will end up affecting you in so many ways. The worst thing is that this may be the only thing you did wrong in the whole equation.

You can fine-tune location targeting to be even more precise and improve both your click-through rates and conversion. One prime example would be a car dealership targeting ads for certain models to certain locations. Luxury supercars, sedans, minivans, and sub-compact economic vehicles reach very different demographics. You might also get much better results by targeting suburban areas where having a car is more of a necessity vs a densely populated urban area with an extensive public transit system.

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We haven’t even talked about the importance of location targeting when it comes to businesses that are local in nature. One study found that around half of all people who conduct mobile searches and 34% on desktop and tablets are likely to visit a store within 24 hours. This means that not making the location of your ads specific could result in lots of lost direct traffic.

Only Sending Traffic to Your Home Page

This is another common mistake that you need to avoid at all costs. If you’re going to be putting up ads for a special offer or product, don’t send them to your homepage where it will be vaguely mentioned in an attempt to have them check out everything else you have to offer. You want them to give them exactly what they wanted and make the conversion process as simple as possible.

People online are searching for immediate solutions for their problems, and a vague or misleading page will send them bouncing out like nothing else. Not to mention that landing page relevance is one of the criteria Google uses to judge the quality and placement of your ad.

Only Making Minor Changes

One of the most important things when using Google ads is to test as much as you can. There are times when making small changes is the best thing. If you’re doing A/B testing to improve your conversions or CTR, it’s usually better to go one step at a time so you can form a concrete hypothesis. However, there are times when you need to do something big to see results.

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For instance, if your ad has a formal tone, you could try creating a sense of urgency by injecting a bit of FOMO in your ad copy. When it comes to the landing page, you could try completely changing the layout or background of your landing page.

Also, don’t be stuck in your ways and try things you think wouldn’t work. While you might be personally turned off by stock images of friendly faces, it might be because you have too much of an educated eye. Friendly faces could be exactly what your audience actually resonates with, and the only way to know is to test radical changes.

These are all mistakes that could end up destroying your ad budget or lead to poorly performing ads. Make sure that you avoid these mistakes if you want your ads to perform to the best of their potential and don’t be afraid to call for help if you feel like you’re hitting a wall.