I love Google Ads.
Thanks to Google Ads, I have been able to grow my building materials business and tap new markets. In 2014, I ran a small experiment in Google Search ads. That little experiment led me to get multiple 5-figure projects and put my contracting business on a growth trajectory.
Today, I have a steady flow of income thanks to ads that are running 24/7 on Google.
And if you are wondering how you can replicate my success, the answer is, to begin with, elimination. Eliminate all those silly google ads mistakes that most business owners make. Errors that I also made and ended up costing me thousands of euros.
Google wants you to spend more money on advertising. So they have set up their advertising platform with specific pre-selected default settings. These settings may not necessarily be in your best interest. As a result, businesses end up blowing thousands of dollars on wasted clicks that do not bring in qualified traffic.
I want to show you the 5 biggest Google Ads mistakes that I see entrepreneurs committing.
No. 1 – Running Search ads together with Display Ads.
In this article, I am talking about search ads on Google.
These are the ads that appear when someone types something in his google search bar, and many results show up. Among those search results, you may get up to 4 ads showing up as well. If someone clicks on your ad, you will get charged for the click.
When you start a new campaign, Google will encourage you to run Display ads along with your Search Campaign. Never do this!
Display ads are something entirely different, used to run banner ads on 3rd party websites. Keep your campaigns separate so you can actually measure what is working and what needs improving. It is much harder to find success on Display ads compared to Search ads. Therefore I strongly recommend that you do not even touch Display ads until you have mastered Search Ads.
Focus on Google Search only.
No 2 – Targeting too Broadly
We want to get as many people as possible to click on our ads. It makes sense.
But the mistake I see is that we target our keywords broadly. For example, let us assume that we sell tires for motorbikes. So we want to target people searching for this item. But if we just put the keyword “tires” (without the motorbikes), we will get many random people clicking on our ads. People will visit our website searching for car tires, bicycle tires, truck tires, etc.
Every time someone clicks, you get charged. Do you really want to pay for someone who is not even searching for your products?
Therefore, you always need to niche down when setting up your keywords and focus on specific search terms.
Bonus tip: Google has this sneaky little setting called broad match. This means that it will target your keywords broadly, running your ads on all search phrases that have the word tire. Prepare for an avalanche of worthless traffic of people typing in random phrases that include the word “tire.”
You should always select the setting ‘exact match’ or ‘phrase match’ when running keywords.
If you get irrelevant people landing on your page, you will pay for worthless clicks. But even worse, if Google sees everyone bouncing from your landing page, that will send Google a message that your ads are not any good. Google will then charge you more to show up on its search results! (notice the irony?)
Always niche down, always target specifically.
No 3 – The Landing Page is not relevant.
If I click on an ad for bathroom tiles, you better send me a page with bathroom tiles.
Please do not send me to your general homepage that includes all bathroom supplies. Please do not make me search for the bathroom tiles. And please do not ask me for my email address the minute I land on your website! (unless this is implied from the ad).
People on Google are actively searching for information, and they will stop searching when the right website piques their interest. They are not (yet) interested to sign up for your email list.
Sending people to a relevant landing page seems obvious and straightforward, yet thousands of businesses are not doing it! This is one the most common google ads mistakes.
Google tracks what users do after they click on your ad. They want to see visitors viewing pages, browsing, and taking action such as adding to a cart or making an inquiry.
If visitors are immediately bouncing, this will affect your overall quality score with Google. Too many google ads mistakes and your ads will stop showing.
No 4 – Not running Split Tests is one of the most common Google Ads Mistakes
On Google Ads, you are competing with a bunch of other companies over the same keywords. The more attractive and more relevant your ads, the more Google shall reward you.
You never know what will attract a user to click on your ad.
Take two Google ads that look fairly similar. Perhaps a few words in the headline or a different tagline underneath. Or, one ad uses numbers and punctuation while the other does not.
It is not uncommon to see that one ad will outperform the other by a Click Through Rate (CTR) 2x or 3x higher. I have seen this happen so many times. The problem is that you can never predict which ad will outperform the other.
You should always be split-testing and always be trying to improve your ad CTRs. You are competing with a bunch of other companies over the same keywords. If your ads are better, Google will show your ads more often and will charge you less. If the competition is fierce and your ads are unattractive, Google will stop showing your ads.
And speaking of testing, don’t just limit testing on your ads. Try testing landing pages. Different landing pages can lead to significantly different user experiences.
Remember: You are spending a lot of money for each click. You might as well make the most of the money that you are spending.
No 5 – Not grouping ads & keywords
People will use different words and terms to search for the same thing. For example, if I’m in the market for a new phone, I might type smartphones, mobile phones, iPhones, Android phones, etc.
If I type ‘Smartphone’ in the search bar, I want an ad for smartphones to show up. I expect to be led to a website with smartphones. However, if an ad for mobile phones comes up, I am less likely to click on it (even though it is advertising the same thing!)
This is why you need to group your keywords in ad groups and run different ads in each ad group so that the person searching feels as if the ad is relevant to their needs.
Setting up multiple ad groups with multiple ads can be a bit tedious in terms of the work involved. However, any company planning to spend serious money on Google Ads should be grouping their keywords.
Work on eliminating these 5 basic google ads mistakes, and you will immediately see an impact in results. The first change that you will notice is that you will stop bleeding money.
Once you start optimizing your ads, the flywheel will kick into full action. Getting some sales will give you some data on what’s working in your ads. Then you can start doubling down and increasing your spend on those campaigns. At the same time, you should ruthlessly eliminate ads or keywords that are not moving the needle. Get rid of all the above mentioned google ads mistakes.
The quicker you test and the faster you iterate, the more data you will gather. And you will be on your way to Google Ads greatness. Google Ads has helped me grow and overcome my financial worries, and I truly hope that you can also achieve great success.