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If you’re just starting out with Google Ads and haven’t yet figured out how to get the most out of your ad campaigns, you’ve come to the right place. When it comes to navigating this powerful platform, it’s important to study up on the kinds of mistakes others have made before you.
In this post you’ll discover five of the most common Google Ads mistakes. More importantly, you’ll find out how you can fix them. And for the seasoned pros and PPC specialists among you, a little recap never hurt anyone!
1. Using the wrong match type
According to Google, broad match keywords match to “misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations”.
Broad match keywords are useful because they can help you capture relevant traffic that is searching in a way that your keywords don’t specifically cover.
The problem however, is that Google isn’t always that smart. If you have very generic keywords like “dresses” set on broad match, then this can trigger for any number of searches. You may get people looking to buy a dress, which is what your ad is showing for. However, your ad may also show for pretty much any other search containing the word “dress”, as well as anything Google thinks is relevant to this word. This can mean lots of impressions and clicks from people who are not looking for what you’re advertising, ultimately wasting both their time and your budget.
In general, you should try to use a mix of match types. Exact match keywords allow you to control exactly what searches your ads are showing for, so you can make sure your ads aren’t being seen by the wrong people.
2. Limited by budget
If you have a limited budget then your ads won’t be showing as often as they are able to, limiting your reach and audience. This becomes problematic when your account has loads of campaigns, each of them with a daily budget of, say, £10 and their average CPC (cost per click) is £2.
That means that, on average, each campaign can generate 5 clicks a day at the most – nowhere near enough data to make informed decisions or optimise for performance.
When you have a very limited budget, it’s better to concentrate on one or two campaigns that focus on your most important and/or profitable areas, rather than spread it across loads of campaigns and try to target everything at once. Using programmatic ads helps since it allows you to target the real users.
3. Wasted spend from irrelevant terms
Search query reports show the exact terms that someone used in order for your ad to show to them.
Many people forget to review their search query reports and often make assumptions about which keywords will convert. This can lead to wasting significant spend on search terms that are irrelevant.
A big part of effectively managing PPC campaigns is to review search query reports, see what terms your ads are showing for and then look to optimise your account based on what you find.
Exclude all keywords that are irrelevant or that perform poorly (by adding them as negative keywords and blocking them from showing) and if there are any search terms that are performing well but aren’t already in the account, then you can look to add these in – safe in the knowledge that they will do well for you. By incorporating Google Trends into your strategy, you can also view the broader interest over time of your search terms to find out which are likely to continue to perform well.
4. Not using all available ad extensions
Ad extensions let you show additional, supplemental information in your ad without having to ‘waste’ valuable space in your ad copy to communicate it. Failure to use all available ad extensions is an extremely common error when it comes to campaign execution.
Google has said that ad extensions help increase the ad’s rank and often leads to higher click-through rates.
What’s more, ad extensions let you communicate more information, whilst your ad takes up more real estate on the SERP, thus becoming more prominent and pushing any other listings below you further down the page.
Best practice is basically to include as many relevant ad extensions as possible:
- Sitelinks let you advertise other relevant pages on your website.
- Call extensions let you list your phone number.
Location extensions let you show your address.
5. Not testing ad variations
Many people are guilty of writing just one set of ads and then leaving them to run indefinitely without monitoring their reception or performance.
A/B testing ad copy is a good way of making incremental improvements to the performance of a PPC account over time. The improvements are often small, but after an extended period of time you’ll have a good idea about the kind of messaging and USPs that users respond to, giving you a better understanding of the information you should be communicating.
Ideally, you should be reviewing performance at regular intervals (which varies depending on available traffic and the intent of the PPC campaigns). Make small changes to one aspect of your ad copy, then analyse its impact. If your new variation performs better, go ahead and roll out the changes permanently. Rinse and repeat this process and you’ll start to see incremental improvements over time.
Stay up to date with your Google Ad knowledge.
Possibly the biggest mistake you can make when it comes to Google Ads is to stop learning and growing your knowledge base. Google is constantly changing (it even changed the name of the platform in 2018!), and the best campaign managers are always staying up to date with the latest trends and techniques.
For more PPC and Google Ad tips, check out these articles.
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