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Are You Making These Five AdWords Mistakes?

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Google loves businesses that utilize AdWords as part of their online marketing strategy. In fact, 97 percent of Google's revenue comes from advertising. A pretty astounding figure when you consider that Google was recently named the world's most valuable company, surpassing Apple for the first time in four years. When all said and done, the relationship between a businesses AdWords account and Google is a mutually beneficial one. On average, business's make an average of $2 for every $1 they spend on the advertising platform. Not too shabby, right?

However, the average small business is reported to waste 25% or more of their total paid search spend. More often than not, simply tweaking your settings or adjusting your account structure can patch up the biggest money linking campaigns. Here are the top five culprits that Blue Compass recommends taking a second look at when optimizing your AdWords search campaign.

Mistake #1: Not Using the Right Keyword Matches

Not learning how keyword match types work and how they impact your performance can influence your account performance greatly. By setting a keyword to a broad match type, you are opening the door for Google to show your ad anytime a query is related to or contains just a small fraction of your keywords. While broad match keywords are great for impressions, few tend to be truly qualified leads. Since broad match is Google's default setting, many new advertisers fall into this expensive trap.

A few keyword tips for new AdWords users:

  • Start with exact match keywords and then expand to phrase and broad match, as needed
  • Bid lower for broad match terms
  • Monitor your search query report on a weekly basis to identify new keyword/negative keywords ideas
  • Always include one of your main keywords in your ad copy or header. The more your ad matches, the higher it will rank

Mistake #2: Using Search Network with Display Select

By default, AdWords campaigns are automatically enabled to display your ads on both the search network and the display network on any new campaign. At Blue Compass, we always advise marketers to not use this setting and to instead break off the search and network initiatives into two separate campaigns for greater control. Although AdWords interface says Search Network with Display select is the "best" opportunity to reach the most people, the high impressions doesn't always translate to quality leads. Due to the fact that users on the search network are actively looking for your product/service, this network is generally more likely to convert for you compared to the display network, which generally has a much lower click through rate since ads are triggered when matched to relevant page content. 

 AdWords campaign type dropdown

If you want to advertise on the display network, wonderful! A display campaign can be great for creating brand awareness, among many other things. But do it in a separate campaign with different messaging and goals. The audiences of search and display are just too different to be lumped together into one campaign.

Mistake #3: Lack of Ad Testing

Another common problem we see with AdWords accounts is no A/B testing of ad copy. Creating 3-4 ad variations for each Ad Group is always recommended, as this allows you to test different ad messaging to see what your audience best reacts to. Sometimes something as little as a different call to action or a different headline can make a greater impact with your consumer, resulting in a better ROI for your company.

A/B test for some (or all) of the following:

  • Headline
  • Ad Copy
  • Call To Action
  • URL Link
  • Landing Page

By default in new campaigns, the ad delivery option is set to optimize for more clicks, not conversions. This setting works by evenly rotating ads within an Ad Group. Once one ad starts to have a significantly higher click through rate, AdWords will "favor" this ad and serve it a majority of the time. I recommend testing out different ads in your own A/B test to see what ads lead to more qualified conversions, as a high click through rate is not always the best indicator of. To do this, simply change your setting to "rotate evenly" for at least 30 days.

 Ad delivery options in Adwords

Mistake #4: No Time Investment

Many people think that once they set up their AdWords campaign, they can step aside and let Google work its magic. Wrong! It's important to make the effort and invest your time into your AdWords account to identify what keywords are driving quality traffic back to your website. Some things you should address on at least a weekly basis include adjusting bid prices, adding negative keywords, creating new ad copy and addressing low click through rates and quality scores.

Mistake #5: Not Utilizing Campaign Extensions

Google's ever growing list of campaign extensions offer an increasingly large option for advertisers to optimize their campaigns. However, many people fail to implement these free, useful features that are well known for increasing ad click through rates.

For example:

  • Sitelinks allow you to push down your competitor's ads while giving you multiple opportunities to create a call to action or motivate the user to visit your site
  • Call extensions allow you to receive calls directly from the mobile channel
  • Social extensions will let you publicize your company's Google Plus page

Best Buy is a great example of a company utilizing all three extensions mentioned above.

Best Buy Search Ad Example

Google AdWords can be quite daunting for any new user. Don't stress! Following these simple recommendations will help you optimize your campaigns to achieve a better ROI for your company. Have any additional questions about how to improve any of your PPC campaigns? Contact Blue Compass Today!

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