Many beginners seem to believe that Google AdWords is a simple system that doesn’t require any deeper consideration. How difficult it can be to add a couple of words and invent a catchy advertisement? The devil is in the detail: work performed in a hurry by a person, who isn’t aware of particularities, may generate more costs than profits. This way, you may become deeply discouraged to use Google tools in the future.

This article is the first part of a list that presents 10 most frequent mistakes of AdWords users. Being aware of these common errors may save you a lot of stress and money.

Mistake no. 1. General keywords

After a short introduction to Google AdWords account, new users are quickly prompted to specify keywords for their campaign. Beginners naturally tend to use very general phrases, which, they believe, will be looked up by their potential clients. In some cases, such an approach may be justified (for instance, if the brand or information page are still being developed), most often however, such a tendency leads directly to inefficiency.


Keywords pyramid

As you may see, general phrases like “school textbooks” or “laptop” are used by people, who aren’t fully aware of their needs and aim rather at gathering information about the market/product. In such a case, the use of those words by direct potential buyers to the target page of our product doesn’t make much sense, because even if they decide to visit the site, the purchase won’t be made until they get the sufficient amount of knowledge. General phrases are justified only if we want to improve the awareness of our brand, or if we want to educate the visitors. We may prompt the clients to leave their email addresses, so we can use them to present our offer in the future, when they will be more aware of the market, or we may encourage potential buyers straightaway, by exposing the advantages of our product. In other cases, the use of the word “laptop” is a simple method for spending money for no effects.

Mistake no. 2. Insufficient amount of ads in a group

This mistake does not result from the unwillingness, but is rather caused by the stage of the works. Introduction of advertisements is frequently one of the last steps taken in the process of AdWords account preparation. Therefore, the adepts of online marketing, tired of handling the whole account management, tend to limit the scope of their projects to a single ad. The result is easy to predict – only one tested version of the advertisement and missed opportunity to increase the CTR and profits. How can we assume that the content we came up with is the best available way to attract our clients? On the other hand, adding too many variants of the same ad, in conjunction with low popularity of keywords used in the given campaign, may extend the time needed for the selection of the most efficient option. Therefore, it is always a good idea to try to find the balance – add 3 advertisements and their variants for mobile devices and run an AdWords experiment. Such an approach will allow you to trace the efficiency of your ads on traditional devices, mobile phones and tablets (you may notice many differences). Experiments make it possible to display your advertisements proportionally (for example, one user will see version A, the second one – version B, and so on), enabling the collection of reliable data. Experiments may be set up in the given campaign’s settings tab.

Mistake no. 3. Mismatched keywords

When selecting keywords for our account, we are able to choose one of several match types, which may be treated as certain guidelines that inform AdWords system about our way of competing for the clients’ attention. The following list presents the available keyword matching options:

  • Broad match;
  • Broad match modifier;
  • Phrase match;
  • Exact match;
  • Negative match.

More details concerning particular match types may be found at AdWords Help Centre. Unfortunately, many people don’t read this information carefully enough and tend to choose between broad match and broad match modifier options only. In order to analyze this mistake more profoundly, assume we add a keyword “school textbooks” and select the broad match option. After two weeks, the CTR of this phrase will be 11.41%, meaning that for every 100 people who have seen our ad, 11 decided to click it. The cost of such an action is €335, while direct conversions generated €388 of revenue. Is it a good result? Theoretically speaking, we are on the edge of profitability, but let us take a closer look at the more accurate statistics related to this outcome (you may find them in your AdWords account, in Keywords – Details – Search terms – All).

Keywords effectiveness

The table proves that the final effect of the keyword “school textbooks” is composed of a single phrase of high effectiveness, one phrase that generates most of the costs and one that is on the edge of profitability. Using the broad match option, we may come to a conclusion that all keywords related to school textbooks are ineffective and miss the opportunity given by the phrase “cheap school textbooks”. Concluding, if you need to allocate your budget in an efficient manner, I strongly recommend to perform this kind of analysis and to change the match type of keywords to “exact match” or “phrase match” (preferably both these variants simultaneously).

Mistake no. 4. No restrictions in remarketing ads display

Have you ever visited a web store and learned more about its offer only to become an unwilling victim of its advertisements, displayed at every site you visit? Does it encourage you to make a purchase or maybe quite the opposite – such impudent attempts to make you buy a product bring out the frustration and anger? Such a situation isn’t always caused by the bad will of remarketing specialists, but it is often brought about by leaving the default settings of the account unchanged. This may cause practically unlimited (only by the budget) display of advertisements. If you want to avoid such an unwanted effect, it may be a good idea to enter the remarketing campaign settings, and limit the amount of displays in the All settings tab. This way, you will avoid the anger of your potential clients and improve your account quality score, by limiting the amount of displays while maintaining the same amount of clicks. Consequently, your CTR will increase.

Mistakes presented in this list constitute only the tip of the iceberg. However, if you deal with them, you will reduce the costs of your campaigns and improve the quality of your account, turning it into a reliable source of revenue for your company.

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Aleksander Szafranski

e-Commerce Marketing Specialist at Divante eCommerce Software House | LinkedIn | Twitter

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