If you’re new to Google Ads and you’re trying to get your head around the system, it can be easy to fall prey to poor practices. Unfortunately, even the smallest of errors can lead to inadequate targeting, wasted clicks and a lack of those all-important conversions. These are the kinds of mistakes businesses like yours can’t afford to be making - especially in the wake of the economic tensions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, and at a time when every penny counts.
Here are 6 of the biggest blunders you could be making with your Google Ads campaigns, and what you need to do to bring your account back up to scratch and maximise your ROI.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” We’ve got Benjamin Franklin to thank for this old adage, which can be directly applied to virtually any digital marketing campaign. It’s especially true when it comes to PPC advertising, though - because not having a clear strategy in mind from the beginning can result in an account that’s not structured for success.
Goal setting is crucial. Without setting clear objectives, you’ll have no idea what your KPIs are – and this makes it difficult to judge whether your PPC advertising efforts are adding value to your business or achieving lacklustre results.
Before you even begin to think about keyword research, setting up your ad groups and creating ad copy, ask yourself this: what do you want to achieve from your Google Ads campaign?
For example, you may want to generate X amount of leads per month from Google Ads, hit a certain cost-per-lead (CPL) to keep finance happy, or encourage a certain number of mailing list signups from your campaigns. Once you have defined what a conversion means to your business, you can make sure your account is set up to track, and provide useful data on, these actions.
Remember, too, that your plan may change over time. Be prepared to update and re-optimise your PPC strategy based on what’s working and what’s not.
It’s true that investing in Google Ads can lead to much faster exposure when compared to other marketing approaches, like organic SEO.
But even so, you should never expect to be dominating the SERPs in a matter of days or weeks. Whoever is managing your Google Ads account will need to collect a few weeks’ or months’ worth of account data depending on your budget before they can gain a better understanding of how your ads are performing. Only then can they work out what needs to be done to generate the best return. All the insights you need are sitting right within the system – but it will take time to sift through the huge array of reports that are available and use this information to inform your strategy.
This is also why you need to be realistic when setting your goals and KPIs. We’d all like to be tripling sales in the first month of working with a paid search platform, but this rarely happens. Be patient, be diligent, and the results will come!
Many marketers think they can set up a campaign with Google Ads, hit the ‘log out’ button and leave the algorithms to work their magic.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Running a successful PPC campaign that generates a tangible return takes time and dedication. For some, it’s a full-time job!
Success with Google Ads comes down to identifying trends and reacting to them. It’s about analysing data, then using it to refine your campaigns for the best possible results. You can’t do either of these things effectively if you’re only dipping your toes into your Ads account every couple of weeks or months.
Similarly, neglecting your campaigns can mean that mistakes go unnoticed for long periods of time. At best, mistakes lead to missed opportunities; at worst, they will cost your business money. Losses of any kind can negate your ROI, rendering your paid search activities pointless! Instead of letting Google Ads steer your campaign in any old direction, you need to drive it along the route that’s going to generate the greatest returns. If managing your account on an ongoing basis is going to be too much of a time-drain for you and your team, you need to outsource this important work to the professionals.
Be honest - are you basing your keyword strategy on cold hard data? Or are you just going on a hunch?
Without knowing which search terms are driving the best leads, you could be spending a lot of money on keywords that are failing to convert.
The search terms reports within Google Ads will tell you which words and phrases are driving the most clicks, and its conversion tracking function will tell you which of these clicks are leading to user actions. But you may need to use other systems to determine exactly how many of these leads originated from PPC. This is especially important if you close many of your leads over the phone. Learn more about how to monitor phone conversions in Google Ads.
Blending your offline sales data with your PPC conversion data will give you a more accurate picture of where your leads are coming from. Customers will often find your ad in the search results, research your company online, and then revisit your landing page or call in at a later date when they’re ready to buy – but because this cycle started as a result of your PPC activity, the lead was technically generated using Google Ads, and should be recorded as such.
If you are using a CRM platform or another sales tool to track lead sources, you’ll benefit from using Google Ads’ conversion import feature, which allows you to feed offline lead generation data straight into the system for more comprehensive reporting.
You need to be attracting clicks from users who are in a ‘buying’ mindset – not those who are looking for help, advice or answers to their questions to help them with their decision-making process.
For example, if you run a skip hire company in Colchester, you’ll want to be found for keywords like ‘skip hire service in Colchester’, and ‘skip hire company in Colchester’. These keywords demonstrate that the user is looking for a service provider. They’re ready to talk to someone. They’re a warm lead.
On the other hand, search queries like ‘what is the average weight of a skip?’ and ‘how much does a skip cost?’ have no place within your Google Ads keyword targeting strategy. They’re informational keywords, and they tell us that the user is still looking for background information before they’re ready to make an enquiry. People using these search terms are not ready to talk. They may never be ready, in fact.
Don’t waste your click budget on top of the funnel keywords. Instead, use transactional keywords with clear commercial intent.
Picture this. Your ad has caught the attention of your dream customer. They’re actively looking for your product or service, and they’re ready to buy. They’ve clicked through to your landing page, excited to learn more about your proposition – only to be faced with poorly written, badly designed or totally irrelevant content. They can't easily find the information they are looking for, so they click back through their browser and continue their search elsewhere.
A good landing page will seal the deal. A bad landing page will more than likely result in a missed opportunity.
Spend time creating attractive, informative landing pages that talk your prospective customers through the benefits of the specific product or service you’re promoting. Focus the content on the keywords they have used to find you, and make your call to action clear.
Don’t ever be tempted to forward your prospects straight on to your homepage. We see this approach a lot, and it rarely works. This is because your homepage is the gateway to the rest of your website. It’s a starting point for your prospective customers, not an end destination that satisfies their search intent. It will signpost them to all the key areas on your site, which is great if they’re still in the research phase and aren’t yet aware of what they need – but if they’re ready to buy and searching for a single, straightforward path to conversion, it’s unlikely they’ll find it on your homepage without having to navigate through a number of pages first.
Don’t let these common mistakes ruin your chances of generating a brilliant ROI from your Google Ads account. For help setting up and managing optimised, highly effective paid search campaigns, contact the PPC experts here at Multi Layer Media.