Google Ads has continued its explosive growth in recent years, making it one of the largest platforms for online advertising. This should come as no surprise given Google itself makes up over 61% of all core search queries, allowing advertisers the opportunity to reach an incomparably large number of people and ultimately boost revenue.

With so many users, advertisers, and ad options, the competition for visibility and conversions is fierce and it’s easy to see lackluster results if you’re not experienced. To help you navigate this platform and maximize the effectiveness of your next ad campaign, let’s explore eight Google Ads campaign mistakes you’re making and how to fix them.

Google Ads Campaign Mistakes You Can Fix

Google Ads can be an immensely powerful tool to drive leads and generate conversions. Conversely, it’s also easy to make common Google Ads mistakes that drain your ad budget and yield low results. When set up correctly, an effective Google Ads campaign can work perfectly for a plethora of services and products and doesn’t necessitate a giant budget to get started. Naturally, a larger budget offers your business the opportunity to advertise more aggressively, but the potential for smaller-budget campaigns means this tool can help businesses of all sizes scale up.

The quick and easy nature of setting up a basic Google Ads campaign may, however, be part of its potential downfall for those unfamiliar with the platform. While it may be tempting to trust Google and accept all the default settings, doing so is unlikely to be in your best interests. Check out these common Google Ads mistakes and how to fix them to start maximizing your campaign effectiveness:

  • Not managing your Google Ads budget effectively
  • Pinning too many responsive ads assets
  • Combining search campaigns and display network campaigns
  • Bad Google Ads keywords practices
  • Using auto-applied recommendations
  • Broken or inaccurate conversion tracking settings
  • Using low quality images for display ads
  • Lack of Google Ad extensions

Not Managing Google Ads Budgets Effectively

The first common Google Ads campaign mistake people make is not managing their budget properly. While you may be setting up your Google Ads campaign with a daily spend amount, that doesn’t mean that Google will adhere strictly to that. In fact, daily ad spend can be twice as much as the daily budget you’ve set, but should average out over time.

To counteract these Google Ads mistakes, start by breaking down your monthly ad budget by dividing it by 31, then setting your daily spend slightly lower to avoid overspending. Fortunately, the release of monthly Google ad spend limits is making it easier than ever to monitor your expenses when it comes to Google Ads campaigns.

Pinning Too Many Google Responsive Ads Assets

Beginning in July 2022, you will no longer be able to set up a Google Ads campaign using expanded text ads. They’re being permanently replaced by responsive search ads, representing the next step in the platform’s vision to step up Google advertising automation to drive performance.

Responsive search ads allows you to create up to 15 different headlines and 4 different description sets, giving its automated tools the ability to mix and match each for optimized delivery to users. You can, however, pin important headlines or descriptions that you require be included in your ad copy whenever shown.

One of the most common Google Ads mistakes new users make when it comes to responsive search ads is pinning every headline and description, effectively cutting off Google’s ability to combine them into different variations based on performance data.
To fix this in your next Google Ads campaign, only pin one or two headlines and descriptions that absolutely must be included with your responsive search ads such as your brand name or a legally-required inclusion. This lets the platform try different combinations, ultimately identifying the best-performing ads for advertisers to focus on and build from.

Combining Search Campaigns and Display Ads

The next entry in our exploration of Google Ads campaign mistakes that may be costing you money without yielding results is combining search campaigns and display ads. When you set up a google Ads campaign it will include both search ads and Display Network ads. While you may think this is effective for getting your ad delivered to a larger number of users, it may actually reduce your conversion rate and negatively impact engagement and performance.
This is largely in part due to statistics showing a vast difference between the CTRs of search ads vs display ads. In fact, Display Network ad campaigns manage an average CTR of just over 0.35% whereas search ads are yielding an average CTR of 1.91%.

The solution to these Google Ads mistakes is simple: separate your search campaigns and Display Network ads. This further helps you glean data from your ad performance, attributing conversions to their proper placement and informing you of the best practices for your future Google Ads campaigns in the process.

Bad Google Ads Keywords Practices

As simple as this sounds, you’d be shocked by the number of Google Ads mistakes that involve poor keyword practices. Targeting the wrong keywords can deliver your ads to an irrelevant audience (or an audience at the wrong position in the funnel), wasting precious ad budget while yielding low conversion rates.

To help fix this for your next Google Ads campaign, practicing solid keyword research is imperative. Not only should you be looking for keywords related to your business, but you can also use tools like SEMrush to identify their search volume and search intent to help you determine those worth targeting.

In addition to choosing a strong keyword strategy to drive ad delivery to the right audience, you should also consider which keywords you want to exclude, as well. These are called negative keywords. Forgetting to exclude keywords that may be similar, but of little relevance, to your targeted ones is one of the simplest Google Ads mistakes to avoid. Simultaneously, it can be a powerful tool, ensuring your ad delivery isn’t muddled up with erroneous search results.

Lastly, when setting up your Google Ads campaign, you’re given the options for choosing keyword match parameters. There are three keyword matches to choose from:

  • Broad Match: Displaying keywords regardless of the order of the words in the search string.
  • Phrase Match: Allowing for keyword expansion without changing the original word order.
  • Exact Match: Triggers your ad to only appear when someone types in your exact keyword.

Combining the right target keywords with using negative keywords wisely and choosing the right keyword match parameters will help you optimize your Google Ads campaign performance and maximize your ROAS.

Using Auto-Applied Recommendations

The next entry on our list of Google Ads campaign mistakes isn’t cut-and-dry. Using auto-applied recommendations is something that many new Google Ads users may initially think will help immediately optimize their ads for better delivery and yield better results. Unfortunately, the opposite is true in many cases.

As part of Google’s push towards AI and algorithm-backed ad delivery, many ad accounts have been opted-in to their auto-applied recommendations already, whether they’ve realized it or not. Officially, Google says auto-applied recommendations are meant “to apply a certain subset of recommendations automatically to your account, which can improve your account performance and save time.” In short, there are a series of recommendations ranging from ad extensions and keywords to bid strategies and targeting expansion that can be automatically applied to your Google Ads campaign.

For those starting out with little baseline data to pull decisions from, these recommendations can lead to very mixed results, as well as performance problems. To avoid these Google Ads mistakes, we recommend opting out of auto-applied recommendations until you get baseline data for how your ads are performing on their own and a deeper understanding of how these recommendations may affect your campaign. Once you’ve determined how to best use them to your advantage, you can opt back in and choose which ones you want to potentially be applied to your Google Ads campaign.

Broken Or Inaccurate Conversion Tracking

Arguably the biggest Google Ads mistakes you could be making stem from broken or inaccurate conversion tracking. Tracking conversions accurately is key to making informed decisions regarding your Google Ads campaign to maximize its effectiveness and your ROAS. Over time, you may change your conversion tracking, resulting in multiple conversions being set up at once, muddling your data if left unchecked.

The easiest way to check and ensure you’re tracking conversions correctly is to make sure you update your conversion tracking parameters fully and have them set to what you need. For example, an e-commerce site would want to have transactional conversion tracking to be set to “Every” to ensure you are counting every sale the user completes.

Low Quality Images for Display Ads

While this might seem like the most obvious of the many potential Google Ads mistakes you can make, too many advertisers inadvertently set up their Display Network ads using low-quality or ineffective images. The simple fix for your Google Ads campaign here is to stay on top of current image recommendations and requirements for Google Display Network ads and to ensure your assets are top quality within those parameters.

Lacking Google Ad Extensions

Last, though certainly not least, when it comes to Google Ads mistakes to avoid is forgetting about Google ad extensions. Ad extensions are clickable elements that you can attach to any Google ad, displaying information such as your business’s phone number, services offered, or the price of an item. While they are optional, there is no additional cost for adding extensions to your ad, and Google states they contribute up to a 20% increase in CTR over those without them. 

There are a wide variety of available extensions to add to your Google Ads campaign such as:

  • Location and Affiliate location extensions
  • Price extensions
  • Call extensions
  • Callout extensions
  • Sitelink extensions
  • Lead form extensions
  • Structured snippet extensions
  • App extensions

Google recommends choosing at least four ad extensions for your Google Ads campaign to maximize their effectiveness and boost performance. They’ve also announced a few changes affecting ad extensions beginning March 2022. These changes are:

  • Automated and manual extensions can be shown together.
  • Google Ads will provide a report for “automatically created” extensions.
  • Ad extensions can now be added at ad group, campaign, or account level.

Results of ad extensions will vary but can be changed with ease. To continuously optimize your google Ads campaign, you can always pause or remove any underperforming extensions.

Setting up a successful Google Ads campaign doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The platform’s massive exposure potential means your business has the opportunity to scale up with Google Ads Management. Avoiding these simple Google Ads mistakes will help you achieve a solid Google Ads structure to grow your customer acquisition campaign success while building out an efficient model to increase your revenue.

Published On: April 13th, 2022 / Categories: Google Ads / Tags: , , /

About the Author: Tony Adam

Tony Adam is a serial technology entrepreneur, investor, and Fractional CMO. He is currently the Founder & CEO of Visible Factors a Digital Marketing Agency providing Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) brands, startups and large organizations services around growth and online marketing principles like SEO, Google Ads, Meta Ads, and Email/Lifecycle Marketing. Prior to Visible Factors, Tony founded Eventup, an Event Venue Marketplace and grew to 12 cities and over $1MM top line revenue in under one year. Throughout his career, he has worked with early stage startups, SMBs, Fortune 500 companies and high-profile brands including Yahoo!, PayPal and Myspace.
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