6 mistakes people make when managing Google Ads

4 MIN READ   Marketing

Whitelaw Mitchell Staff By Heather Cosentino
Brand Strategist

Google Ads tips
Google Ads, like most pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platforms, is an amazing tool that marketers use to reach their target audience with sales messages at a relativity low cost. The way these tools are structured you don’t have to pay unless someone clicks on your ad, meaning brand awareness is free.

Google Ads served on the Search Network are a highly valuable advertising stream for many marketers because users served ads on this platform are actively searching for the products or services being advertised. Search ads, compared to display, capitalise on users search intent, meaning that they often have a higher click-through rate, because the ads are reaching users at an optimal point in the buying cycle—as they have expressed an intent to buy.

While this advertising channel is extremely valuable, there are also some pitfalls and missteps people can make when managing them. Poor account set up and management can result in higher advertising costs, poor customer acquisition and lost conversion metrics. We’ve outlined below 6 mistakes frequently people make when managing Google Ads so you can make sure you’re on the path to success. 

Poor Account Structure

Setting up your Google Ads account structure in an intuitive and organised way is vital if you want to use the channel effectively. Take a step back and identify what goals you want users to complete, and then assign each goal its own campaign. Each campaign should then have its own ad groups: use as many ad groups as necessary to organise your keywords by topic or theme. 

The diagram below outlines the best practice when it comes to setting up your Google Ads account structure.

Overlooking Negative Keywords

Google Ads is structured so that advertisers bid on prospective keywords relevant to the products or services they’re offering. Most people are quick to compile long lists of keywords they want to bid on, without thinking about search intent and the potential negative keywords associated with these terms. 

Negative keywords are a type of keyword that prevents your ad being triggered by a certain word or phrase. Ads aren’t shown if a person searches for your negative keyword, even if the rest of the keywords in the search query are keywords that you’re bidding on.

Here’s an example of how this works:

We’re a design agency and so we want to bid on the keyword “graphic designer” so we can reach people looking for our services. 

However, there is a high volume of searches for “graphic designer job” which are not relevant to what we’re offering. So, to address this we add the keyword “job” to our negative keyword list, so that we are excluded from these searches.

Considering your negative keywords is just as important as the keywords you’re bidding on, because otherwise your ads may be showing for irrelevant results, costing you money.

Forgetting to Define an Ad Schedule

The ad schedule is a powerful tool that allows you to select the days of the week and the hours of the day when your ads are shown. This is important, especially if you’re using Google Ads to drive traffic to a physical location that may be closed in the evenings or on weekends. Consider who your audience is and when they will be searching for your products or services and make sure you set your ad schedule accordingly. 

Missing Tracking Tags

Digital marketing is—more than anything else—data driven. What makes it so much more valuable than traditional tactics like print or radio advertising is the ability to track, measure and optimise results in real time — and change tactics when the results you’re after aren’t materialising. 

Enter Google Tag Manager. If you aren’t already using this system alongside Google Ads, you’re missing out on valuable tracking data and campaign metrics that could inform future advertising decisions. Make sure you’re utilising Google Tag Manager to its full potential, to track, measure and report on valuable results every step of the way.

Generic Landing Pages

So your account is set up, you’re seeing a strong conversion rate, your CPC is reasonable, but your campaign still isn’t converting. What gives? Advertising doesn’t end with Google, in fact, if you’re seeing strong campaign results but still aren’t achieving the sales or leads you’re after, this is a good indication that there may be something wrong with your landing page. 

The landing page is the website URL where traffic is directed to after a user clicks on your ad. When considering your landing page, make sure it is specific, relevant and optimised for conversions. Directing traffic from Google Ads to your website homepage is not recommended. Spend time crafting a landing page with a clear call to action that functions not just as a communications channel, but also as a sales tool.

Here are some landing page best practices to get you started.

Implementing Google’s Recommendations — Without Considering If They’re Right for You

As marketers and advertisers ourselves, we love Google. But, Google doesn’t know everything, and often the account recommendations Google makes are a one size fits all approach that may or may not be relevant for your business. 

For example, the “add Google search partners to this campaign” recommendation is only valuable if your target audience is present on Google’s partner websites. If they aren’t, you’re effectively broadening your campaign targets unnecessarily (and spending your budget faster!)

Similarly, Google may recommend relevant keywords to add to your bid strategy. Make sure you review these keywords one by one, rather than just adding them to your campaign with one click. Google is smart at identifying topics and trends, but it’s not a foolproof system, and lots of headache can be avoided with human intervention.

You can’t have all of our jobs just yet, Google.


Whitelaw Mitchell staff By Heather Cosentino
Brand Strategist


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