Top 5 Google AdWords Mistakes That Could Cost You Dearly

Many small businesses run Google AdWords campaigns successfully to instantly get their website listed on page 1 of Google and drive targeted traffic. However, a badly managed Google AdWords campaign can be an expensive undertaking , so watch out for these common mistakes that could cost you dearly:



Mistake #1: Structuring your campaign badly

Lumping together all keywords that are relevant to your business in one large ad group is a big mistake. Structure your ad groups tightly according to your service offerings or product categories.

Each ad group should focus on only one product category. That way your keywords trigger only relevant ads and then direct users to the most relevant landing page. E.g. if you are advertising different types of shoes, you might have separate ad groups for “men’s shoes” and “hiking boots”.

Within each ad group, make sure the keywords are as relevant as possible. By default, Google uses the “broad match” option for your keywords, so the keyword “shoes” could trigger ads for related searches such as “boots” and “sandals”. Read up on keyword match types to ensure your keywords are as relevant as possible, and use negative keywords to exclude irrelevant searches.


Mistake #2: Accepting Google’s default campaign settings

When setting up your campaign, Google defaults to certain campaign settings. These often broaden your campaign unnecessarily. Watch out for the “Campaign Type” setting, which defaults to “Search & Display”. That means your ads won’t just be shown on Google’s search engine, but also on a large number of other websites where people aren’t actively searching for a product or service.

To advertise on Google’s search engine, usually the “Search Network only – all features” setting is good to start with.

Likewise, go through all other options in your campaign settings to ensure they suit your purpose. For example, by default the location options include people who are not necessarily in your target location but might be searching for related information. If you were targeting Australia and someone in the US searched for Australian products or services, your ad might be shown to them. This may or may not suit your business, and you can restrict Google to show your ads only to those people who are actually in your target location.

Mistake #3: Getting too excited about clicks

While it is exciting to watch the clicks and website traffic accumulate, your goal should generally be to maximise your return on investment, not to break your website traffic record at any cost.

Set a realistic advertising budget and increase it once you have achieved a profitable campaign.

To work out how much to bid for your maximum cost per click, first calculate the lifetime value of a customer, or at least your average profit per conversion. By calculating or estimating your website conversion rate, you’ll know how many clicks are required to achieve a conversion. From here you can work out how much you are willing to bid per click to still make a profit on your conversions.


Mistake #4: Ignoring your landing pages

Sending all your traffic to your beautiful website home page may not be a good idea. Just as you need to structure your ad groups around your products and services, you also need to ensure that each ad links to the most relevant web page. This could be a page describing the service you are advertising, or a product category page for an online store.

To optimise your landing pages and maximise conversions, make sure that they contain relevant, useful and original content, clearly outlining the benefits of your product or service. The design of your landing page should make you look professional and trustworthy. Make it easy for customers to navigate and find out more about you, and don’t annoy them with pop-ups or spelling mistakes!

Mistake #5: Not tracking results

Tracking your results and reviewing your strategy based on your findings are crucial to running an effective AdWords campaign. The first step is to link your AdWords account to Google Analytics. Google Analytics can provide much more in-depth information than AdWords alone, such as bounce rates, pages per visit and length of visits.

If possible, you should also set up conversion tracking so that you know how many ad clicks have converted into sales or enquiries, and which keywords or ad groups have triggered these conversions. To set up conversion tracking, you generally need to add a tracking code to a confirmation page that people see after making a purchase or submitting a contact form. This is not always 100% accurate as some people might make a phone call instead, but it will give you a good starting point.

I hope these tips will help you avoid unnecessary advertising expenditure and guide you towards running a more efficient campaign. Please contact us if you need help with your AdWords setup and management.