Published 14th July 2021 | SEO, SEO Management

Common PPC Mistakes That Could Be Affecting Your Google Ads Campaigns

Common Google Ads PPC Mistakes

The benefits of Google Ads campaigns speak for themselves.

In fact, I could fill the rest of this page with nothing but numbers demonstrating the reach, power and effectiveness of Google Ads.

Instead however, (since Google has a fairly decent marketing department of its own) I’ll cherry-pick a few statistics which show why your business – no matter what its size, location or sector – should be investing in Google Ads:

  • Internet users are more likely to click on a paid search ad on Google than other search engines. The exact figures are as follow:
    • Google – 63%
    • Amazon – 15%
    • YouTube – 9%
    • Bing – 6%
  • Google Ads receive 95% of clicks on mobile devices
  • 96% of brands currently spend money on Google Ads
  • Google Ads achieve a conversion rate which is 50% better than organic search results
  • Customers spend 10% more in stores if they clicked on a Google search ad before visiting.

Our experience has taught us how to deliver effective Google Ads campaigns across a many business sectors with a wide range of budgets.

Very often, we take over existing (not very successful) Google Ads campaigns, and when we do, we regularly see the same mistakes time and time again.

Here are a few of the PPC mistakes we see most often, which could mean that your Google Ads campaigns aren’t delivering the kind of results you are expecting:

1. Lack of defined business objectives for the Google Ads campaign

Strange thing this, but sometimes people we speak to are quite vague about the goals they are trying to achieve with their Google Ads.

In a nutshell, given the budgets involved, your Google Ads campaign should be planned and executed to benefit the business, with input from across your business.

There needs to be common agreement on both vanity and sanity success metrics. Sanity metrics (i.e. the ones that ultimately matter) include sales, leads and return on investment. Vanity metrics (still important, but more indicators than results) include statistics such as visibility and position, CTR (click through rate), landing page views, the average cost per click and conversion rates.

Top tip: decide what success looks like

Before you design and execute your campaign, define what success looks like for your business, and the numbers you need to see. Without a set of clear and measurable objectives your campaign is likely to be poorly executed, and its success will be difficult to quantify.     

2. Not targeting the right keywords

It’s kind of obvious, but you need to understand how Google matches keywords.

Google’s “Broad Match Modified” (BMM) keywords have now been phased out, which means that defining relevant and specific keywords is even more important. If selected keywords are too broad, they’ll attract irrelevant traffic – wasting clicks and budget.

Avoid simply opting for the most popular keywords. Competition will be high, making getting your your ads onto the page 1 results expensive and difficult. Based on a range of factors such as the level of competition in your sector, you’ll strike the right balance of the different types of keywords:

  • Broad match – the default setting, which means your ad might be triggered when someone searches for words related to your keywords.
  • Phrase match – a more targeted option which means that your ad only appears when a specific phrase is typed into search.
  • Exact match – in this case the searches have to be identical to your keyword phrase, feature the same words in a different order, or be a close match with the same meaning.   

Top tip: invest time in researching searcher intent

As well as focus in on the specifics of the products and services you offer, factor in what searchers will actually type into Google when looking for products or services such as yours. If they are not necessarily searching for your business or your products, avoid using keywords and attributes that only your company uses.

3. Not prioritising Google Ads copy

Some Google Ads managers focus too much on the technicalities of algorithms, keywords, testing and conversion rates and lose sight of the importance of crafting compelling ad copy.

Your ad copy should be based closely around your keywords, and whether you’re using expanded text ads or responsive ads, your content should covers the main benefits and features which make you stand out from the competition.

Make sure you exploit the full character limits, create content which is distinctive and appealing and – on the most fundamental level – avoid spelling and grammar mistakes. Ask yourself if a potential customer reading the ad will understand exactly what it is you offer and will be tempted to explore further.   

Whether you’re using expanded text ads (ETA) or responsive ads, it’s imperative to ensure your advert includes the main features and benefits of your offering to stand out on Google.

Top tip: check your ads again and again

Make sure you use your full character limits, avoid publishing dull, boring adverts and above all eliminate any spelling or grammatical errors. Focusing on producing well written, accurate ads will ensure potential customers are attracted rather than put off.

4. Not using experiments for testing

The Experiments feature of Google Ads makes it possible to test elements of your campaign such as the landing pages and bidding mechanism.

The feature makes it possible to create a non-live version of the campaign, with some aspects altered, and run this version as an Experiment for a set period of time.

Top tip: always test your ads

Use Ad Variations to run a split test on your copy, altering aspects such as keywords, match types, demographics and targeting. Test both versions to gather data on which approaches are the most effective, then proceed with the better performing version. 

5. Not setting up conversion tracking

Conversion tracking is a vital tool, helping you to measure the impact of a campaign in terms of specific actions on your website, such as form submissions, transactions, phone calls and – in the case of e-commerce websites – sales.

By setting up conversion tracking with the correct parameters, it’s possible to see how many leads and sales your campaign has actually been delivering.

Top tip: set up your conversion parameters accurately

To get accurate conversion figures, it’s important to set the right restrictions in Google Ads, so the number of conversions isn’t over-stated.  

6. Not using negative keywords

All too often businesses concentrate on ‘positive’ keywords but neglect negative keywords.

The negative keywords feature allows you to set the campaign so that your ads aren’t triggered by specific keywords that you don’t want to spend money on.

For example, if you sell “mens shoes” but not “womens shoes”, you don’t want to pay for clicks from shoppers looking for ladies or womens shoes because they are of no use to you.

Top tip: invest time in creating a negative keyword list

Think of as many negative keywords as you can at the start, then exclude these from the campaign. As your campaign progresses, you can continually add more negative keywords as you think of them – or as your ad results reveal clicks coming from keywords you don’t want to use.

7. Sending traffic to the wrong page

Don’t be tempted to direct Google Ads traffic to your home page or some other existing page as the default option.

This is a lazy approach, and with most campaigns, the broad content on a home page or internal page is not optimised to convert traffic arriving as a result of a PPC ad i.e. it doesn’t reflect the specific content of your ads.

Top tip: set up a specific landing page for each campaign

All visitors responding to Google Ads tend to have highly specific requirements. Your landing page should therefor cater directly for those requirements. By linking traffic to relevant messages on a custom landing page with an effective call to action, your conversion rate will increase.    

8. Not utilising Google Ads schedules

The default setting of Google is to show ads around the clock, but your own research – both prior to launching a campaign and once the data from that campaign can be analysed – should reveal that there are certain times of the day and days of the week which maximise your chances of conversion.

Top tip: schedule your Google Ads

Use the scheduling feature to disable ads entirely during unproductive periods and maximise the use of your ad spend by concentrating it on the most productive days of the week and hours of the day.  

9. Having a slow website

A brilliantly planned and executed Google Ads campaign is going to be of little use if your destination landing page (typically on your website) takes too long to load. Google’s own guidelines state that a website which takes five seconds to load will have a bounce rate 90% higher than one which takes one second.

Top tip: maintain your website in top shape

Make sure your website and in particular your landing page – including aspects such as form submission – loads quickly. Ensure too that it is optimised for mobile and desktop devices. We cover page load speed and web vitals work as part of our SEO services.

10. Setting and forgetting

After the work, analysis and testing associated with launching a Google Ads campaign, it might be tempting to sit back and leave it to get on with the job of driving traffic to your business.

Don’t do this.

Top tip: check your ad campaign metrics on a daily basis

If the metrics set at the beginning of the process aren’t delivering as hoped and expected, your ad campaign needs to be tweaked and optimised. If you made all the right choices and the campaign is firing on all cylinders, then it could be time to scale the campaign up.  

For assistance with your Google Ads campaign contact the SEO experts at C4B Media. 01763 877110 or

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