10 Common Mistakes People Make with their Adwords Campaign

You might be a small business owner, a marketing manager or even a website administrator. Whoever you are, if you are running an Adwords campaign yourself, there are a number of mistakes you could be making that are costing you serious money.

The aim of an Adwords campaign is almost always to get the best return on your investment you can possibly get. That means as many conversions as possible, for the lowest possible cost.

To do that, you need to ensure your campaign is set up for success. Like many people, however, you might be extremely time-poor, meaning you might not be as close to your Adwords campaign as you really want to be. If you aren’t on top of your campaign, you could be wasting money.

To help you out, below are 10 common mistakes I see when reviewing Adwords campaigns.

1. Too Much Broad Match

Possibly the most common problem I see with Adwords campaigns is the over-use of broad match keywords. Broad match is good to use when you first set up a campaign; it gives you a feel for the way people search and helps to identify keywords that you wouldn’t have thought of or were not presented to you via the Adwords Keyword Tool.

The problem, however, is that broad match can bring up a significant number of irrelevant keywords, meaning you can burn through your budget and have little to show for it at the end.

2. Only Using Exact Match

The flipside to using too much broad match is using too much exact match. Exact match keywords are great when you know what your ‘money’ keywords are i.e. keywords that you know will result in leads/sales.

The problem is that there are likely hundreds or even thousands of variations of your ‘money’ keywords that will also result in conversions. If you only set up your campaign using exact match, you could potentially miss out on a huge number of valuable clicks – clicks that are often at a much lower cost per click compared to your ‘money’ keywords.

3. Poor Segmentation

Poor segmentation can kill your quality score and make your cost-per-click skyrocket. Ideally, your Campaign segmentation should follow the major categories of your business, with relevant sub-categories segmented into Ad Groups. For example, if you were a furniture store, you might set up your campaign as follows:


Living Room

Home Office

Ad Groups:


Coffee Tables



Good segmentation doesn’t only help to increase your quality score; it also helps you to manage your campaign much more effectively. You can adjust budgets easily in different areas, and can ensure your Ad Copy reflects the sub-category more effectively.

4. No Landing Pages

This is still so common. If you are a service related business, specific landing pages can make your conversion rate go up considerably.

Let’s say you are only sending your Adwords traffic to your website’s home page. You might be getting as low as 1% conversion, maybe even worse. That means for every 100 people that visit your page only 1 of those visitors will result in a lead. Using landing pages, you can turn that 1% into 5% or 8%, or in certain industries, even as high as 50%. Imagine what kind of impact that could have on your business. If you are a service-related business and you are spending a lot of cash on Adwords, landing pages are a no-brainer.

5. Not Using Negative Keywords

If your campaign consists of broad match, modified broad match or phrase match keywords, there is a chance your ads might be triggered for keywords that are not relevant to your business. One of the most common culprits is the word ‘free’ (however see point 6 below before you go ahead and exclude this).

Let’s say you are a printer who sells business cards, and you are bidding on ‘business cards,’ set up as a phrase match keyword. What you probably didn’t consider is that ‘free business cards’ is an extremely highly searched term. If you don’t offer a free option, you probably don’t want your ad showing up for that keyword. If it does, it could affect your click-through rate (meaning your quality score will drop, resulting in higher cost per click) or, worse still, you may actually get clicks that don’t result in conversions. That’s wasted budget – which is bad.

6. Incorrect Use of Negative Keywords

The flip side to not using negative keywords is using negative keywords that could actually result in conversions. It sounds silly, but it is easy to make the mistake.

Using the example of ‘free’ again… what if you offer ‘spring-free trampolines’? Or what if you want Ads to show for ‘florists Melbourne free delivery’? Just because your service is not free, that doesn’t mean the word ‘free’ might not result in a conversion. It’s all about context – think carefully about what you are potentially excluding before you dive in head first.

7. Bidding at the Wrong Times

A common mistake, particularly with business-to-business, is allowing Ads to run late into the evening and at weekends. Depending on your style of business, the day of the week or the time at which conversions are likely to happen could vary considerably.

Once you have a good understanding of when your website generates the most leads or sales, ensure your Ads are showing during these time periods and then think about turning off your Ads during your quieter periods. This will help to conserve budget for when you really need it most.

8. Bidding in Locations You Don’t Service

If you are only able to service a certain location, ensure your Ads only come up for that location. You may be a carpet cleaner who only services customers in Melbourne. If so, don’t allow your Ads to show in Adelaide! It sounds so obvious, but people still get this wrong.

9. Little or No Testing

Think you have the best Ad Copy in the world? Think the marketing message or offer on your website is perfect? Think again – you might be missing out on valuable clicks and conversions by not testing new Ad Copy, value propositions, or call-to-actions. If it doesn’t work, that’s fine – roll back to the previous version. In my opinion, trying and failing is so much better than not trying at all.

10. Leaving Ads Running When Products Are Out of Stock

 Last but not least, is leaving Ads running regardless of stock levels. If you can’t offer the service you are advertising for, don’t advertise for it!

Do any of the above common mistakes sound all-too familiar to your Adwords campaign? Do you know that you have a problem, but just don’t have time to sort it out? Give us a call to find out how we can save you money and help you to generate more business at the same time with our comprehensive Google Adwords services.

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