The ability to advertise your brand, product or service on Google is an amazing opportunity to grow your business. The fact that we can get in front of people who are searching for things relevant to our products should make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
However, Google Adwords is a pay to play platform.
There are no guarantees that you'll make money on your ad spend and many advertisers make mistakes that cause them to lose lots of money, really fast.
In this post, I'm going to show you how to avoid flushing your Google ad budget down the toilet.
#1 Trusting Google's Keyword Recommendations Blindly
Repeat after me:
Google does NOT care if you waste money
I heard someone say this before I started using Google ads myself and I didn't believe it. I figured the person was just bitter that Google wasn't working for them.
I was wrong.
Check the recommendations I was given recently for an ad that was promoting a software product for Amazon sellers.
"OA X-Ray" is a competing software for the product I was promoting but Google is recommending keywords that relate to x-rays.
"Price Checker 2" is another competing software yet they are recommending that I target a keyword about finding used car values!
An inexperienced advertiser might blindly trust Google and add all of these keywords to their campaign.
These keywords would help you spend money (a big "W" for Google) but they wouldn't drive conversions (a big "L" for you).
They'd have God awful click through rates since they are totally irrelevant but you'd still waste money at warp speed.
So, do your own keyword research.
Now, you should still always review the recommendations. You might find some good keywords (or keywords to add as negative keywords) but never blindly add keywords that Google recommends.
#2 Poor Use of Broad Match Type Keywords
A broad match keyword allows Google to show your ads on any search they deem to be relevant to your search term. This typically leads to tons of impressions but poor conversions. The clicks are going to be less relevant and your conversion rates will suffer. You'll be able to spend more money much more quickly but that only a good thing if you're seeing conversions.
If you're new to Adwords, get to know the different keyword match types. I've created a simple reference for you above.
Broad keywords absolutely have their place but you need to be smart with how you use them. Which segues nicely into mistake #3...
#3 Not Optimizing Ads and Landing Pages
Success with Google ads requires continual optimization. If you just "set it and forget it," your ads aren't likely to be very successful. Even if they are profitable, you're leaving tons of money on the table by not regularly reviewing your ads and making them as profitable as possible.
You should regularly optimize the following:
- Your audience/demographics
- Your ads and extensions
- Your keywords
- Your landing pages
Optimizing these will allow you to get better positioning and lower CPCs. Google provides reports showing everything you need to diagnose and improve your ad scores so do the work and reap the rewards!
#4 Not Tracking Conversions
If you're running ads to something that you can track (leads, purchases, calls etc) you absolutely need to take the time to install your tracking pixels on your pages.
Tracking conversions is a no brainer. This segues nicely again into the next mistake
#5 Not Knowing the Value of Clicks or Conversions
If you don't know how much a conversion is worth, how do you know if your ads are actually profitable?
It seems like common sense but it isn't. It's alarming to see how many people have no clue what a customer is worth to them.
If you have the exact dollar figure, add this number when you create a conversion.
Adding a conversion value will allow you to see exactly how much you're making or losing. This will allow you to be more confident when increasing your budget. The goal is, after all, to increase your budget as long as you remain profitable.
#6 Copying a Campaign and Forgetting to Update Budget
Copying campaigns is a fairly common practice when optimizing your ads. However, if you copy a campaign that is spending money on a shared budget (for example $200/day) the copied campaign will not bring over this shared budget setting and will run for its own additional $200/day!
A Final Tip: Don't Give Up
Wait, I thought this article was about losing money? Doesn't giving up on Google ads mean we're not losing money anymore?
It depends how you see things. If you give up on Google ads you're losing an enormous amount of potential money you could earn if you had the patience to learn the platform and fight through your early struggles.
Consider losing money early on with your ads as your tuition to getting an invisible but tremendously valuable degree in advertising. You'll learn from your mistakes and you'll eventually figure things out IF you stick with it.
Google Ads work if you put in the work.