Google Ads can be an important source of relevant traffic to your website and generation of new leads for your business, when used correctly. With its assisted setup, you can launch a basic Google Ad campaign within minutes, even if you’ve never done it before.

Usually that’s the beginning of the challenges with Google Ads. Without taking time to understand the different features it provides, and leaving the default settings as is, you run a risk of spending too much thereby, getting very little return on ads spend.

Here are five common mistakes people make with Google Ads that you must avoid:

1. Choosing the wrong keywords

Using the wrong keywords in your ads will drive the wrong audience to your website. These people have no interest in the products or services you sell. This will amount to waste of advertising funds. It can also result in Google rating your site poorly because the bounce rate would be high.

2. Using the wrong match types

Match type refers to the similarity between your chosen keywords and the actual search term someone types into Google. The different match types are explained below.

Exact match:  your ad will only show when that exact phrase is used. E.g. The keyword “Fitness Centre in Lagos” will only show up when that exact term is used in search.

Phrase match: your ad will show when a related phrase or words are used. E.g. An ad with a phrase match for the keyword “Fitness centre in Lagos” will display if  someone in Lagos searches for “Fitness centre near me”.

Broad match: your ad will show up for search terms that Google thinks are related to your keyword even if the relationship is weak. E.g. An ad with the keyword “Women shoes” could show up for searches like “cheap women shoes” “women clothes” etc.

For the keyword ‘lawn mowing service’, we can match the following queries– 1. Broad match (loose matching)– Ads may show on searches that relate to your keyword such as “lawn aeration prices”. Notation for inputting keywords– lawn mowing services (without any brackets or inside quotations). 2. Phrase match (moderate matching)– Ads may show on searches that include the meaning of your keyword such as “lawn mowing service near me”, “hire company to mow lawn”, or “landscaping service to cut grass”. Notation for inputting keywords– “lawn mowing services” (keyword in quotations). 3. Exact match (tight matching)– Ads may show on searches that are the same meaning as your keyword such as, “lawn mowing service” or “grass cut service”. Notation for inputting keywords– [lawn mowing services] (keyword within square brackets).

By doing away with broad match keywords and instead using a combination of exact match, phrase match and modified broad match, you can greatly reduce the number of irrelevant clicks you get and hence cut your costs dramatically.

3. Having poor-quality ads

The better the click through rate (CTR) of your ads, the better your Quality Scores will be. Making your ads more exciting and engaging will increase your CTR and hence improve your Quality Score, which means you pay a lesser per click. 

Here are a few tips to improving your ad quality

  • Use relevant colours and images
  • Use more image than text
  • Include a call to action
  • Include relevant keywords in your display url
  • Make ads relevant to what people are searching for.

4. Outbidding yourself

When setting up ad groups, less-experienced PPC marketers tend to add the same keyword with different match types, which inevitably leads to a bidding war with yourself. We also find this happens the most when the structure of campaigns aren’t optimized to match company products and services. Having the same keyword in different ad groups will result in each ad from different groups trying to outbid one another to be featured higher. Each keyword should be unique to each ad group.

5. Not bidding on your own brand

Having as much of your brand offering visible on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) is vital if you want to increase the likelihood of click-throughs. Research shows that ad rank positions are directly related to percentage clickthrough.

Since our brand keyword is not competitive, the potential return on ad spend outweighs the cost per click and we see when a user converts via the designated sitelink extension pages. By using the sitelink extensions option in Google Ads you will increase the space you occupy on the SERPs and direct traffic to better-targeted pages.

This list is by no means exhaustive. It is recommended that you audit your Google ads account at least once a week to

  • Identify keywords opportunities to explore
  • Test different versions of copy and CTA
  • Pause ads with poor performance
  • Adjust bids on keywords based on performance
  • Identify what days or times are most or least profitable
  • and so on…