7 Common Google Ads Mistakes and How to Fix Them

For many, Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) is a great way to advertise their business and bring visitors to their sites, but like any product or service, it is most effective when used correctly. Even those who have been using Google Ads for years may be using it incorrectly without knowing it, and some of these errors could end up costing you your entire PPC budget.

Here, then are common Google Ads mistakes, and how to go about fixing them.

  1. Not Making Use of Search Terms
  2. Not Using the Negative Keywords Function
  3. Poorly Written Ads
  4. Not Understanding the Value of Your Customer
  5. Setting Up your Google Ads Incorrectly
  6. Ignoring Ad Extensions
  7. Not Researching Your Competitors


1 Not Making Use of Search Terms

Search Terms is a feature which helps you determine if you are targeting the correct keywords by showing what users have searched for in your ad. This way, you can omit search phrases that don’t relate to your business and select similar keywords to what you are targeting. In order to check your keywords, click on the Search Terms button found on your campaign page. This will bring you to a list of searches that have brought users to your ads. If you find that some are not appropriate, check the box next to them to mark them as “Excluded,” which will add them to your negative keywords (see below).


2 Not Using the Negative Keywords Function

It may be that a search term is bringing querents to you, while not making sense for your business. For example, if your business sells “Adult Running Shoes” but you are constantly dealing with parents seeking children’s shoes, you could add “children” as a negative keyword.
Adding negative keywords helps you to spend your budget on the audience that best matches your business. Add them in the same way that you would with other keywords that you are tracking, by going to the keywords tab, but adding them to the negative column.


3. Poorly Written Ads

This can be a bit tricky, as it is somewhat subjective, but in general, your ad needs to be written in a way that catches the eye of your audience, while fitting into Google’s limits. Those limits may prove difficult to work with, at 30 characters for your first headline. You will need to get creative to fit in all the information that you want to convey.
After your first headline, you have 30 characters for a second headline and 80 characters for the rest of your ad. That limited amount of text needs to engage your audience, provide the information they need and get them to act.


4. Not Understanding the Value of Your Customer

This isn’t meant to say that you don’t value them. Rather, if you don’t know the lifetime value of your customer, you will not be able to judge if you are receiving a good ROI. You can figure this out with some quick math:

First, you should know the average purchase made by your customer, the number of repeat transactions, and how long they stay with you. Multiply these together to determine the lifetime value of your customers.

For example, your average customer spends $25 dollars per month and stays with you for 2 years, you would multiply (25)(12)(2). The lifetime value would be $600. If your campaign were to cost $600, you would need 10 customers just to break even.


5. Setting Up your AdWords Incorrectly

You may be sabotaging yourself right from the beginning.

Picking your keywords and budget can be pretty easy, but the important part lies in tracking conversions. You must set up conversion tracking if you want to know how well your campaign is performing (hint: you do).

To set it up properly, you will need to input your Thank You page information (Google Ads tracks those who actually see the Thank You page you have created for your campaign, not just those who fill out a form.

After providing this information, you will receive a tracking code to add to the head tag of your page. Be sure to check that it is working by filling in the form yourself and remember to exclude this in your final data.


6. Ignoring Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions are simple add-ons that allow people to take different actions on your ad. For example, you may receive more phone calls from your audience by using the “Call Extension.” Consider what your goals are and see which extensions can help you achieve them.
Go to the Ad Extension page, and then the heading “select your extensions based on your goal”, where you can review some common goals and which extensions are a good match.


7. Not Researching Your Competitors

You should have an idea of what your competitors are trying to rank for. Are they using the same keywords? Have they found others that are performing well? Keep an eye on your competitors to know what they are doing on their sites and on social media, as they will likely be doing the same on Google Ads.

Tools like SpyFu and SEMRush will give you some insight into where your competitors are spending their ad budget. By finding out what is already working well for them, you can focus your efforts on beating out their bids.

Investing in Google Ads can be of great benefit to your business, but like anything else, it will do you the most good once you know how to use it effectively. Don’t waste your precious advertising budget with campaigns that are not working to their full potential.

If you have made some of these mistakes, it’s not the end of the world. Just be sure that you learn from them to make your Google Ads campaign the best it can be.

Christian Thomson

Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing. Founded in 2012, Marwick has grown from a start-up to the 11th Fastest Growing Company in Canada in 2020 and expanded into the UK in 2019.

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