7 Mistakes Adwords Advertisers Should Avoid

It is 2017, Adwords advertisers are under more and more pressure to make good spending decisions and be able to show their ads in markets that are more competitive and expensive than ever! Gone are the days (2001) when all we had to do was chunk some keywords together and waited to see what happened. (back in those times you could get clicks for cents!) Now the Adwords advertiser is faced with innumerable options and traps that await discovery.

I look at Adwords accounts and run audits and was having an informal conversation with someone who asked me what were the top 5 things that people mess up on. I probably wont be able to go into huge detail because doing so would result in a book not a blog post. However I thought I could summarize some mistakes that I see happening again and again in Adwords accounts.

  1. Not Using Expanded Text Ads: This changed recently but it a was a big move and by google standards it was a fast one. Expanded text ads now include a two headline formula as well as a two line description (not to mention the ad extensions, we’ll get to those) This of course results in a larger ad. Advertisers that have a “set and forget” mentality will always suffer in digital platforms because they tend to change a lot, this is a pretty big change and if you are not using expanded text ads not only will you experience reduced Click through rates and lower quality score but you will also pay more for clicks and spend more money than you ordinarily should.
  2. Not using extensions: Extensions are additional pieces of information about your company and website that Google really wants to see advertisers doing, why do I say that? Well I have not personally talked to Mr. Google himself but Ad extensions are a explicit factor in Quality Score which basically dictates how much you pay for clicks. This is Google’s way of telling you “do this or else” Setting up extensions might be a little bit of work at first but once you do it, provided is for the same domain, you will be able to add the to all your ads. One particular tricky one is the “Location” ad extension, you will need to have a Google My Business Account set up and hooked up to your Adwords account (and we all know how much fun that can be!)
  3. Writing only ONE ad: If the previous 2 mistakes are mostly about not keeping up with the changes Google makes, this one is a classic mistake people have been making for decades (almost decades I guess) Marketing in Google is not (or should not be ) a branding exercise. What do I mean by that? Well, when mass media advertising like radio and TV became the dominant forces of moving the masses marketing budgets became pie charts. “We spend 5k on TV and 3k on Radio and lets throw a couple of grand at google and see what happens”  Is a typical conversation at a marketing business for many companies. The truth is that Google is the most advanced, sophisticated and leverageable (probably not a real word) Direct Marketing Machine in the History of Human Kind! I could probably write a book on this concept alone but to put it simply, Google is a Testing Ground. The mistake I see all the time for advertisers is that there is only ONE ad written per adset or sometimes per campaign. Always write TWO because that way you can test one versus the other and optimize the better ads, find what your customers respond to the most!
  4. Writing more than one Ad but not different enough: This is a version of the previous mistake where the advertiser might intuitively know that he/she should test different ads but might not know what to test exactly. Basically test BIG stuff first, so when you write an ad, write very different kinds of ads so you can really test them. I see a lot of accounts with multiple ads but the headline (the most visible part of your ad and arguably the only part that really gets read by your prospect) remains the same. Not to mention that many use their business name as a headline (usually not a good choice) So write very DIFFERENT headlines for the ads that you are testing.
  5. Not Setting up conversions: This point ties up with the previous one, Google is a direct marketing machine we want (and we can) to be able to track results, direct results of our advertising efforts. So the question is: What do you want your prospects to DO after the click on your ad? Call you? fill out a form? Watch a Video? Sign up for an offer? Whatever it is, then the next question is: “Are you tracking that?” Because if you are not it is like driving a car without a dashboard, you are going to crash or be stopped by the police or run out of gas (or all three?) and wont know what hit you. There is not enough room to explain how to set up conversions here and every case is a bit different but ask your agency or adwords person about how conversions are getting tracked (not impressions or clicks but CONVERSIONS. If they don’t know or are not sure you might consider hiring someone else)
  6. Landing Page Problems: I see 90% of advertisers taking people to their home page as a landing page. This is a no no. Why? because you want people to go to a landing page that is highly relevant to the ad they just clicked on. I am not saying to make a new page per ad but (depending on the value of your client you might consider it though) but it has to be relevant and focused. Your home page includes all kinds of links and pictures and social media icons that do nothing but distract your prospect. Think about it, when was the last time you went to someone’s site and started to look around and try to figure out where you can find the information? No, if you did not find it right away you would go back to google and search again. Thats what your prospects are doing (after all that money spent getting them to YOUR site!) Plus this is another way that you can track and test your offers and products! Definitely think about WHERE to take people and what the process looks like.
  7. Not Using Google Analytics: Google analytics and Adwords are hardly a match made in heaven but the savvy 2017 advertiser should be using and harnessing the power of each. There are specifically 2 areas inside of google analytics to connect Adwords with and vice versa and it does take a little experimenting but the remarketing capabilities of analytics should be worth the trouble. Make sure you are using google Tag manager (which can make this process a lot easier) this way you can track smaller events (micro conversions) as well as the big things you want to track such as people filling out your form or calling you (macro conversions) UI’s in google are not the best (this is not apple people) but they have come a long way and are improving all the time. Analytics is definitely worth a look.

There are many more that come to mind but I had to list a few of the ones that would be relatively easy to take a look and improve in your own account. hopefully this helps a little, there is always room for improvement but it is always good to remind ourselves of the process from the point of view of the prospect (like when we ourselves are trying to find stuff) and test accordingly. This awesome advertising machine keeps getting more and more complex but that is part of the fun of it (fun for some) to be able to stay up to date. If you are managing any substancial amount of money in adwords (l$1000+ a month) you should definitely consider outsourcing it to a adwords consultant/agency if you havent already. Not all are reputable though, so there is more sifting to go through, also I advice people to hire individuals or agencies that are familiar with your industry that can help too.

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