7 Google Ad Mistakes to Avoid

January 12, 2021

Google Ads have the immensely powerful potential to scale your business quickly. With so many opportunities to customize your ads, targeting unique audiences is right at your figure tips. But having so much control also means there’s plenty of opportunity to make a mistake.

Even the most experienced marketers can overlook a simple option that could cost you significant ad spend. Here’s a list of seven of the most common Google Ad mistakes we see, and how to fix them to boost your ROI!

  1. Using General Ad Groups and Keywords

From your keywords to your ad groupings, one of the most common mistakes people make with their Google Ads is creating large, general ad groups. If you’re running an ad with several keywords, even if it does reach a larger audience, it’ll also bring in a higher volume of irrelevant clicks. 

How to fix it: Break down your ad groups into smaller chunks. The more specific you are about who you’re reaching, the better your ads will perform. Make sure you’re doing keyword research for each of your groups, including testing out ads and evaluating your conversion data. 

  1. Running one ad per ad group

Even with specific and unique ad groups, you reduce your opportunities to convert users when you only run one ad per ad group. Google has a built in feature that prioritizes your higher performing ads within a group to optimize your ROI.

How to fix it: Google recommends running three ad variants minimum for each ad group. Try out different copy, images, and strategies to see which ad performs best for each target audience. Google will optimize those ads for you based on which are performing, and you can continue to adapt your variations to fully optimize their performance.

  1. Neglecting your negative keywords

Not only can you optimize ads for the keywords you want, you can also set negative keywords to prevent those unrelated search results. Let’s say your goal is to bring in new customers for your heating and cooling installation business, but you’re noticing that a lot of your clicks are from HVAC mechanics looking for a job. Those irrelevant clicks are costing you unnecessary money on your marketing budget instead of boosting your revenue with new clients.

How to fix it: Adding negative keywords can be done before you launch your ad. Consider any keywords that you don’t want to rank for that might relate to your desired keywords, and add those to your negative keyword list. After you’ve launched your ad, regularly monitor your search results to determine which unrelated words are leading to irrelevant clicks. Be sure to add these negative keywords to your list, including synonyms, related words and misspellings to make sure you’re covering all your bases! 

  1. Choosing the wrong match type

There are four different match types available for Google Ads, and each has its own purpose. 

  • Broad match: Broad match will match your keywords with a wide range of search results, making it largely ineffective for conversions but highly effective for keyword research. 
  • Broad match modifier (BMM): BMM will bring in results for any search including ALL of your keywords. This option, while better than broad match, still tends to pull in a higher rate of irrelevant clicks. 
  • Phrase match: Phrase match is a great option when you’re optimizing for keywords searched in a specific order. Phrase match is a great alternative to BMM if you’re finding that your keywords are bringing in a lot of low converting traffic. 
  • Exact match: Unlike its name, exact match pulls in any search that exactly matches the intent of your keywords and not just your exact keywords. Exact match is highly effective when you know your keywords that convert, but can be costly if you haven’t tested and validated your keywords already. 

How to fix it: Focus on the goal of your ad! If you’re still in the keyword searching phase, select broad match or BMM match types to help you narrow down the most effective ads to reach your marketing objectives. Once you’ve gotten a sense of what keywords and copy are working for you, you might want to shift to an exact match type to really double down. Whichever match type you’re using, make sure you’re considering your objectives and what you currently know about your keyword performance.

  1. Skipping over Advanced Location settings

You’re probably familiar with how to set your location on your Google Ads. But have you ever checked out your advanced location settings? By default, Google has your location settings as include people interested in your location as well as actually within your location. This option can get you some decent results, but ultimately it’s set as the default because it works in Google’s best interest. 

How to fix it: When you’re setting up your Google Ads, set your location and click into the advanced location settings. Make sure to select includes people in or regularly targeted in your location. That way you’ll be targeting more specifically an audience that will engage with your business from your location, and lead to less irrelevant clicks.

  1. Running Display Ads and Search Ads together

One of the most missed settings that’s selected by default, and one of the most costly mistakes you can make, is to leave the “Include Google Display Network” selected. This settings tells Google Ads that you want to run your ad as both a search ad and a display ad. Both ads are great options for your business, depending on your goals, but running the ads together removes your ability to customize each type of ad independently. Display ads also don’t allow image ads which have better click-through rates when used in search. 

How to fix it: When setting up your ads, make sure to deselect “Include Google Display Network”. This will run your ad exclusively as a search ad, enabling you to set up your display ads separately. Google has this set as its default setting, likely to get more money without giving you better results. One simple click and you’re all set!

  1. Not leveraging ad extensions

The last mistake that we commonly see is a mistake of missed opportunities: not using ad extensions. Extensions are simple to set up and almost always lead to a higher CTR by highlighting key pieces of information within your ad. There are a variety of great ad extensions that showcase anything from location, sales (promotion extension), key features (spotlight extension) and how to contact your business (call extension). 

How to fix it: Think about your ideal next steps or key information that you’re looking to communicate to your audience. Scroll through the various ad extension options and find one that will highlight that CTA or piece of information effectively. Add an extension to each of your ads, whenever possible, and monitor your ad performance!

Whether you’re a Google Ad pro, or just getting started, these 7 common mistakes are easy to make. But not to worry, now that you know that you’ve got a bit more information you’re well on your way to a successful campaign! 

Still not sure how you can improve your Google Ads, or even where to start? Set up a consulting call with our team here!


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