Common Ways Marketers Waste Money on Google Ads
Managing a Google Ads campaign is complex. There are a myriad of features to consider when you create a campaign, from more technical elements such as bidding strategy to the creative aspects of writing the copy or creating and selecting visuals.
All of this means that sometimes, even the best, most knowledgable and well-intentioned of marketers let certain elements slip through the cracks. Here, I’ll walk you through some of the most common ways marketers waste money on Google Ads, and what you can do to change your approach and get the greatest ROI on your campaigns.
Getting Keyword Happy
While Google allows you to run campaigns with hundreds of keywords, it’s best to limit it to 10-15 keywords per ad. Otherwise, you’ll end up ranking for searches that aren’t truly relevant to the ad content.
A part of your keyword planning process should be thinking not just about the keywords that are best for the brand, but about the keywords that are best for this specific ad campaign. If you’re running a campaign for a clothing store but this particular ad is about their upcoming shoe sale, you want to focus on keywords that speak specifically to their footwear business, rather than their broader clothing offerings.
It’s also smart to utilize the various types of keywords Google allows you to create. From broad to exact, different keyword types make sense depending on the type of audience you’re hoping to attract.
A broad keyword is best for campaigns that are targeted at prospects at the top of the hourglass. For a campaign that’s all about brand awareness, using broad keywords to get new eyeballs on the business’s name is the right choice. However, for campaigns that are targeted at people closer to the buy stage, or those who have made a purchase in the past, exact keywords with your business’s name in them can keep your ads displaying to people who already know your company, and will save you from wasting money on an unintended audience.
Forgetting Negative Keywords
The last element on the chart above is negative keywords. These are sometimes ignored by marketers, but they shouldn’t be. Negative keywords allow you to keep the audience for your ad campaign specific and narrow.
By preventing your ads from running for certain irrelevant phrases, you are able to boost clickthrough rate on the ads. This not only leads to a better ROI on the marketing campaign, but also helps raise the ad’s quality score with Google, meaning that it will be given priority placement over your competitors’ ads.
Take Advantage of Responsive Ads
Google has introduced a feature called responsive ads, which allows you to automatically A/B test combinations of headlines and descriptions.
A/B testing is a good idea for any type of campaign, but Google makes it especially easy to do with their text ads by doing the testing for you. Input as many variations on headlines and descriptions as you’d like, and Google will mix and match to find the combination that gets the best response with viewers. They’ll then start to show that ad regularly.
If you’re not A/B testing your ads, you’re missing out on the opportunity to optimize your approach and squeeze the best possible results out of your campaign.
Not Creating Landing Pages
Each ad campaign that you run should be driving traffic to a customized landing page. People are clicking on your ad because of something specific they saw: an appealing offer, a particular product or service, or an upcoming event they’re interested in attending.
If they click the ad and are then taken to a generic page on the website—like the homepage—they’re now forced to search for the information they were interested in. A landing page designed for the campaign, which contains all of the relevant information, is a lot more likely to win conversions than a page with general information about the business.
Ignoring Ad Extensions
Ad extensions allow you to include additional information about the business in your ads. It could be information like the company’s telephone number or address, reviews of the specific product you’re featuring, or information about special pricing.
The more content you can fit into an ad campaign, the better. If a viewer feels like they already have all the information they need to make an informed decision just by looking at your ad, when they click on your link you’re far more likely to get the conversion.
Since Google limits the amount of characters you can put in headlines and descriptions, these extensions are a valuable feature to fit even more content into your ad’s slice of real estate on the SERPs page. Including that additional information can be the difference between closing the sale and getting passed over.
Not Bidding on the Brand Name
When people Google a business’s name, it’s likely that the first organic result will be the company’s website, so why bother to bid on the name for paid search, too?
There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that paid search results are at the very top of the page. Even if your client is the very first organic result, you don’t want to lose any real estate at the top of the page to any other business (particularly not a savvy competitor, who’s decided to bid on your client’s business name!).
Second, the bids for the business name are generally low cost. While a more generic term like “black dress shoes” or “florist near me” might generate more competition (and a bigger price tag), the shoe store or florist’s business name will be a cheap and easy investment.
Finally, there’s research from Google that shows that running a paid search ad alongside an organic search result can drive up to 89% incremental volume. So a paid ad can significantly boost your organic results and vice versa.
Google provides you with a lot of opportunities to optimize your advertising approach and get the most out of your investment. Understanding some of the tricks of the trade can help you boost clickthrough rate, raise your ad quality score, improve ROI, and generate better results for your clients.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Paid Search.