9 Not-So-Clever AdWord Mistakes


We should always be looking to better our online paid advertising and the best place to start is by reviewing your current activities to make sure you are getting the most out of your efforts. However, you might be doing your website a disservice by not keeping an eye out for those simple mistakes that slip through the gaps when it comes to pay per click (PPC) advertising

Here are nine common mistakes to look out for that you can correct immediately.

1. Not Taking Advantage of Brand Names as Keywords

Increasing brand awareness, be it your brand or one of your supplier’s, branded keywords that are used in paid search advertising are 5 times more likely to encourage visitors to click through to your website. They are also twice more likely to convert that visitor to a customer versus that of your organic search visitors. In short, it’s better to have paid ads promoting and emphasising your brand than to rely just on your organic listing.

A study conducted by Bing towards the end of 2015 found that brand terms within the retail sector had the ability to generate a higher click through rate of 31% in comparison to those that didn’t. Those that searched for a branded keyword are already familiar with that brand and therefore have a sense of trust in the next time they see it, albeit a small sense. This means that the visitor is already further down the sales funnel compared with those that landed on your site with no knowledge of your brand prior to searching.

2. Not Geo-targeting

In Australia, especially in Perth, geo targeting is something at the forefront of a business owner’s mind when understanding the potential area in which they can service. For ecommerce businesses the biggest hindrance in their operation is their courier’s ability to ship products at the rate a consumer expects them, despite Australia’s geographical challenges. However, a large proportion of customers are very particular about using a local provider over a national one, or would prefer to use a local provider should any issues arise. If a consumer wants the product sooner rather than later and/or have no prior dealings or reviews to base that service on then a local provider is a more popular option.

Targeting your local market through geo-targeting not only prevents a wasted ad spend on areas you cannot service but it also reduces your competition and/or allows you to push a particular product or service in high demand but in a relatively local market.

3. Not Bidding on Your Own Brand

You might already hold the top organic position for your brand on Google, yet in a survey back in 2013 (ok it’s a bit old!) only 40% of web users didn’t know the difference between a paid ad link and an organic one. Hence they believed the top link, or in this case the ad was the most relevant link to their search query. Therefore, having a paid ad ensures you double the chances of the click through to your website whilst also doubling up your brand exposure on a search result page.

Aside from being a cheap ad for you because of the high quality score you should have, it offers brand protection against your competitors bidding on your brand as an opportunity to expose theirs as a substitute via an advert. Any competitor doing this would of course have a low quality score for your branded keywords. However, if you are not bidding on your own brand as keywords then there is no precedent quality score for Google to reference. I.e. there is no mention of your brand via AdWords other than your competitors advert so there is no reason why their ad for your brand won’t show to your potential customer base. As a result, you embarrassingly lose out on that potential business you would have otherwise had.

4. Not Controlling Your Affiliates

Your brand can be the most successful keyword for your product, especially if you are the leader within your industry. Your affiliates know this and therefore want to capture that success through monetising your brand through advertising in paid search. How you solve this issue on whether or not you let your affiliates bid on your brand is ultimately a business decision based on your business model and the relationship you have with them. Nevertheless, if they do, not only will you be paying them for carrying out your own brand marketing, in some cases the commissions might be higher than the cost of the ads you could have created yourself.

5. Not Managing Your Negative Keywords

Reporting on negative keywords allow you to focus your ads and budget on more productive and relevant keywords. Keeping on top of them reduces cost from unrelated clicks that stem from unrelated ad impressions. Broad match types typically produce the largest amount of these negative keywords and no doubt you’ll see a lot of searches with the prefix term “free”. Terms like this aren’t worth the cost per click coming out of your budget if you have a visitor essentially looking for an item but not willing to pay for it. Unless of course, what you are offering is free. Keep on top of them to keep your spend profitable and your ad campaign well optimised.

6. Not Knowing Your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

If you don’t know your customer’s lifetime value before carrying out a keyword campaign you could effectively be wasting time, money and effort. Ask yourself how much are you willing to spend to acquire a new customer. Then ask, how much do you believe that customer will generate for you over their lifetime or the length of time a customer usually engages with your brand. Once you know the answer to these two questions you will be better able to focus on driving the right type of customers to your website with the right budget and identify what type of landing pages are most relevant for those customers. However, prior to undertaking any campaigns don’t forget to take into consideration your ROI when assigning a cost to acquiring that new customer.

7. Not Grouping Keywords Correctly

By not using ad groups you will be prevented from achieving a good quality score and overall ad rank as your keywords will not be grouped together by relevance nor truly reflect the landing page which your ads are targeting. This will subsequently cause your campaign to waste its daily budget and ultimately limit your ROI opportunity. Therefore, the best practice for AdWords when it comes to ad groups is to segment you campaign into keyword relevance and then group them together under an ad group. The best way to structure your campaign with this principle can start by looking at your website’s structure and create campaigns and ad groups that best reflect your website (providing your website has good information architecture to it). For example, if you have multiple subcategories of “powertools” under a single category, you could potentially have an ad group that represents these subcategories e.g. “Routers” under a powertool campaign.

8. Not A/B or Multivariate Testing Your Ad Position

This is very much dependent on your particular industry and daily budget, however a common rule of thumb suggests that having your ads at position 1 or 2 is better for the purpose of branding recognition, whereas having your ads around position 3 – 5 is better for those customers that spend more time researching but convert at a better rate. In any case, it makes sense to test this principle yourself. However, as recommended earlier you should be bidding on your own brand keywords to achieve position 1. Therefore, in this instance your more generic keyword targeted ads are better placed for testing this theory.

9. Not Being Realistic with Your AdWords Expectations

If your business is in a highly competitive industry the likelihood is that the average CPC bid price will be fairly high. For example, if your suggested cost per click bid is $10 and your daily budget is $100, then you could potential only achieve 10 click throughs a day. You need to consider how quickly your budget will be used up whilst also taking into consideration the average conversion rate for your industry as a whole. Therefore, you need to be realistic about the campaign daily budget your set. You need to have a budget that reflects your market and ROI objectives. A monthly budget of $3040 ($100 a day) is not sufficient or realistic if your industry norm based on your competitors is $30,000 a month. A lot of businesses fail to allocate a budget correctly based on this information and are effectively throwing good money after bad each day.

Category: Marketing