During my nearly 15 years of using pay per click advertising platforms I have learned an awful lot! Much of this has come from trial and error. In the early days I made a bunch of Google Ads mistakes and these have taught me almost as much as my successes.
What follows then is the explanation of a particular Google Ads problem I experienced that cost me nearly $1,000!
I use it as an example because I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did!
So to help you understand let me set a scene for you to imagine.
My Google Ads Mistake: Setting the Scene
It’s 16:30 on Friday afternoon and you’ve set up your new Google Ads campaign in preparation for the weekend.
Your keywords are prepped and ready to go. You’ve done your research and have a good targeted Ad Group with a few closely related keywords.
Your Ad Group is ready with several killer ads that have strong USPs and a compelling call to action. All ads are relevant to the keywords.
Max-CPC for the Ad Group is good.
You’ve decided to extend the reach of this new Ad Group and so you are bidding broad match.
You’ve also decided to open up the budget on this campaign to see what search terms trigger your ads and hope to find some nuggets. In addition, of course you’re also hoping to win some orders!
You decide to carry out some final checks to be confident that everything is good before putting the Google Ads campaign live and clocking off for the weekend:
- Campaign settings – check
- Ad Group settings – check
- Keyword bids – check
- Keywords themselves are set to correct match type – check
- Ad Extensions in place – check
You are confident that everything is looking good so push the new campaign live and look forward to checking on Saturday morning to see how it’s performing. Your weekend begins!
What could go wrong?
Saturday morning comes… it’s 09:00. You login to your Ads account to see how your new campaign has performed and your jaw hits the floor!
$850 spent on the new campaign! No conversions! CTR 0.2%. Bounce rate 93%!
This happened to me in my very early days of using Google Ads on my own lead generation website for personal finance products!
What Went Wrong?
Well… everything looked fine at first glance. All settings were as they should have been. All the ads were good.
But what about the keywords?
Well… the three keywords I was bidding on were highly relevant terms… and they were set to broad match as I’d specified.
Unfortunately for me, one of the keywords was a single word that triggered my ads for thousands of searches resulting in hundreds of clicks for terms that were not relevant to my landing page at all.
Of course the visitors that the new ads brought to my site took one look, realised they were not where they wanted to be and just bounced right out of my site to look for a more relevant one to answer their needs.
What Was the Search Term Mistake in Google Ads?
In my haste to get my campaign running before the weekend, I had suffered from keyword tunnel vision.
They keyword I’d allowed to run as a broad match was:
It was such a stupid mistake. Of course I realised immediately on looking at my search term report what the issue was.
My ads were triggering for search terms such as:
- what is an abbey
- where is bath abbey
- where are abbey ales made
- best abbey to visit in England
- is westminster abbey open today
- what is the oldest abbey
- blah blah blah abbey
- abbey blah blah blah
- blah abbey blah blah…
The search term report went on and on like this… hundreds of terms that were completely irrelevant to my site.
It’s a Google Ads mistake I have never made since!
Avoid Keyword Tunnel Vision
In the excitement of putting new campaign or Ad Groups live, it’s always worth sanity checking the keywords you are letting loose.
I would suggest using a checklist to make sure you don’t end up bleeding out your budget because of enthusiasm.
Avoiding Google Ads Mistakes: Checklist For Campaign Go Live
These days I always make sure I carry out the following checks to be 100% certain I don’t make the same mistake again.
- Have you set the Campaign budget correctly?
- Is your Ad Group budget set correctly?
- Is the Campaign targeting the specific geographical area you desire and excluding those you don’t?
- Do you have at least 3 competing Ads in the Ad Group?
- Does each Ad contain your target Keyword, strong USPs and a call to action?
- Do you only have one Keyword Match Type in the Ad Group?
- Do you have any single word Keyword phrases in the Ad Group and if so do you really want them running broad match?
- Perhaps most importantly… will you be able to check your Campaign and Ad Group shortly after you set them live?
Perhaps one of the biggest Google Ads mistakes you can make is putting new Keywords live and then just leaving them to run unobserved for several hours.
What’s the Best Lesson I Learned from this Expensive Episode?
Whenever you set new Keywords running:
- Always check your keywords one last time, especially if you are running broad match.
- Don’t put Keywords live at any time if you are not planning to check on their performance until the next day, or worse, several days later. If you will not be able to check them (and intervene if necessary), wait until you are in a position whereby you can.
As I said earlier, this is not the only mistake I’ve made using Google’s advertising platform. However, it is the single most expensive one!
I intend to post a whole series of articles about common Google Ads mistakes, so check back soon for more laughs at my expense!
That’s all folks! Thanks for reading.
Note: At the time I made this mistake, Google Ads (as known now) was called Google Adwords.
Please drop a comment below or let me know if you have ever had a similar experience. It’s good to share!