Digital Trends | MIN READ

What You’re Doing Wrong With Your Google Ads And How To Fix Them

Ariane Alyerunga

June 8, 2020

Are your pay-per-click ads failing? Here are tips on what may be causing the problem and advice on how to resolve it.

Google ads are a powerful tool for growing awareness, website traffic, and conversions. A well-tuned and optimized account can provide significant returns on investment and help you achieve your digital marketing goals. Because it’s so important, it’s even likely that there is a dedicated employee on your team or a third-party agency, tasked with managing your organization’s Google Ads account.

That said, irrespective of the way responsibility is shared, Google will happily accept your payments whether or not your account brings returns, so there are things you should ensure you aren’t doing wrong or overlooking.


Account control

Do not presume that the previous account manager had things under control. If you are taking responsibility for an account and didn’t go through every piece of information, there could be hidden problems.

There are several acceptable methods to strategically operate a Google ads account and conduct paid searches. However, even the best marketers often forget a setting or miss an important notice. It is highly recommended that you conduct a complete audit of the account and avoid taking matters for granted.

Even if you are taking over from a trusted partner or friend. You need to invest a reasonable amount of time in understanding all the settings, ad structures, and negative matching strategies; and develop a sense for how and why they were configured as that way before you commence with your process and strategy.


Account customization

Your Google ads account settings may not be customized to your business’ requirements. Google-ads starts with several defaults and one-size-fits-all settings. It’s dangerous to leave them as they are. A quick example of how these settings could affect you is if you are targeting a specific region, country or geographical radius. Google advertising can target the people that live or are interested in a specific geographical area. So, if your ads are meant for a specific location, but the corresponding settings aren’t configured, it will lead to a waste of money. You need to ensure your account has the correct settings.

Another property that is commonly misconfigured is the “auto-applied” ad setting. If you receive Google’s automated ad adjustment recommendations and do not review, edit, or dismiss them within two weeks, they will be automatically applied to your account, and in most cases, this has negative results. You should always retain complete control over your advertising strategy. Though Google’s recommendations may prove helpful, it would be wise to review each one to verify that it aligns with your advertising plans.


Irregular or non-existent auditing

It does not suffice to perform a single audit after you take over an account. You need to conduct a comprehensive account audit at least once every year. Since its easy to overlook mistakes if you have been working on the same thing for a long time, letting someone else have a look at your account will help you find any errors you couldn’t see.


Competitor analysis and monitoring

Market research helps to uncover the best keywords and placements. It is a fundamental prerequisite before the account is set up and is crucial for future optimization. Without market research, you won’t know which demographic and geographic groups to target, and this will reduce the effectiveness of your ads. It is vital, therefore, that you conduct routine market analysis. Besides your audience, you need to study your competitors as well. You need to know:

  • How much they are spending
  • How they advertise (tone, style, themes)
  • Which keywords they are targeting

This information will help you identify gaps in their advertising like consumer segments that their products do not address.


Over-reliance on broad match and poor match-type strategies

Find a match type strategy that suits your goals. The match-type selected for each keyword decides which searches can feature your advertisements i.e., it controls whether your ads will be seen by a wide audience or whether they will appear for a small segment of users.

Broad match

Of all the keyword match formats, broad match throws the widest net. When you select broad-match for a keyword, Google will several variations of your advert to a wide audience. This, of course, will include the keyword itself.

Let’s say, for instance, that your keyword is “ceramic vases.” If you select broad-match, your ad won’t just appear for people who type ceramic vases into their search bar. Google will also show it to individuals looking for green ceramic vases, ceramic pots, and even pots. Ceramic. Your advertisement may also show up when people type synonyms of your keyword like ornamental pottery.

Broad match is the default match type for keywords. Consequently, if you haven’t modified your keyword match types, then they will be set to broad match. It is the most appropriate filter for when you want to reach a broad audience. However, depending on what you want to achieve, this capability could become disadvantageous. The impressions obtained from broad match keywords aren’t targeted, so it could be that you are paying for clicks from individuals who have no interest in your offers.

You may counter some of these weaknesses by modifying your broad match strategy to specify the words that must appear in a search query for your advertisement to display. Once you do this, your keyword will still be classified as a broad match, but you’ll have more control over who sees your offers. Modified broad match will keep your keywords flexible and reduce irrelevant traffic at the same time.

To improve the specificity of a broad match keyword, place a”+” sign directly before any word that must appear in a query before your ad can show. For example, using the example above, you could modify your keyword by altering it to +ceramic vases. This tells Google not to display your offers unless the word “ceramic” is part of the search. For example, your advertisement will show for ceramic decorations, and pottery ceramic, but not decorative pottery. You may also insert the “+” sign before other words. if you want your ad to appear for searches that include the words “ceramic” and “vase”, then you could change your keyword to +ceramic +vases.

Besides broad-match, there are several other match types you need to consider for your Google ads account.

Phrase match

Phrase match lets you choose a specific phrase that must appear in a search query before your ad is displayed. It offers higher specificity than the broad match type, but is not as restrictive as “exact match.”

Exact match

Whenever you select “exact match” for your keywords, your ad will only appear for people who type in that exact keyword or close variations. This match type limits impressions most, so it should be utilized with care. The impressions you score, on the other hand, will be more targeted than those from the other match filters, so it’s more likely that they’ll convert. To set a keyword as exact-match, you’ll need to enclose it within square brackets – for instance [ceramic vases].  Remember, though, that only people who type “ceramic vases” or close variations of the phrase will see your advertisement.

Negative match

Negative match differs from the match type strategies mentioned above in the sense that it lets you identify the words you don’t want your offers to appear for. For example, if “ceramic vase” is your keyword and you are selling ornamental vases, you may want to mark “pot” as a negative match. If you don’t, people looking for pots might visit your website then leave soon after, which would only waste your advertising investments, and affect your website’s ranking. You can set a negative keyword by including “-” before it.  Your use of the various match types and dynamic ads


Focusing too much on paid advertising

Paid advertising tends to operate independently of other digital marketing channels. However, you must resist the temptation to focus too much on it. Aligning your ads with branded content, messages, and calls to action can improve the success of our ads. While it is fine to target generic keywords, you may benefit more from an approach that is consistent with the voice and wording of your landing pages and any other touch points consumers have with your brand. Your ad copy should also reflect your brand’s testimonials and value propositions. Leveraging these assets will ensure that you offer audiences a consistent experience across paid and organic search. Furthermore, audience response to other aspects of your marketing effort like what happens after conversion will help you improve your targeting. It will help you identify which kind of customer is more likely to purchase your product or service.


Automated PPC

If you are managing an account with over twenty campaigns across several platforms, then automated bidding might be the only way to do pay per click advertising. It would allow you to stay on budget while maximizing returns on investment. However, for a new account, automated bidding wouldn’t be the best place to begin. It would be wiser to handle the account manually during the setup process, otherwise, you risk causing severe damage to your brand’s quality score. If you need a professional touch, several agencies offer digital marketing in Uganda. You could reach out for a consultation.

Furthermore, in the absence routine (manual) corrections, after automated software identifies a few targets, it focuses only on them and excludes everything else. This may be fine on a small budget, but it frequently leads to the loss of high-value targets. Remember, just because a campaign is working does not mean that it is properly optimized.

Automated bidding is not all bad, though, and if you are own a business that needs Search Engine Marketing but can’t dedicate months to becoming an expert SEM marketer, then it may be the only viable option. Before you choose between manual and automated bidding, you need to consider your enterprise’s advertising targets. Like everything else in search engine marketing, what works for one company may not apply to yours. Evaluating your current situation will help you make the right decision.


You can’t control what you do not measure

On average, only 3% of keywords directly lead to sales. This means that 97% of the keywords you bid on in ad words are going to lead to irrelevant clicks and prospects that have no interest in your products or services. To properly manage any pay per click advertising campaign, you must ensure that you track the profitability of every keyword conversion and the costs for each customer acquired. Besides the advice previously mentioned, if you aren’t managing your account this way, then you need to. There is always a reason why your Google ads campaigns are failing, and if you have tracking configured correctly, the answers will always be there. Examine the user experience and sales funnel reports, then find the problem and look for solutions. Your sales will come back eventually. However, if you feel you lack the time or expertise to do it on your own, you should consider hiring a professional.