7 Expensive Google AdWords Mistakes To Avoid

Please note: this article is over 12 years old. Information may be out of date.

1. Putting your Company Name as the Headline

This is actually a basic marketing error as such, let alone in a Pay-per-Click campaign, and time and time again you see it. Its also one where we have had clients actually insisting we do it!

The trick to any advertising, on-line of off-line, is to grab attention in the headline and, sorry, but your brand name one its own just doesn't cut it. Your customers want to see what's in it for them - not what's in it for you. Unless it's a strong brand and a massive and eye catching offer - such as "95% of all Nike Trainers" - don't use your brand name.

For example if you are ACME Accountants specialising in VAT, instead of: "ACME Accounting for all your VAT and Accounting Needs." why not use an attention-grabbing headline like: "Save £10k on your Next VAT return".

Trust me, your click-through-rate (CTR) will be much better and your clicks will be pre-qualified leads and not just tyre-kickers!

2. Limiting the Campaign to just one Ad Execution

Again this is another basic marketing error. In the good old days when lumpy mail was the only alternative, we used to send out different executions of the same direct marketing (DM) piece and measure the Return on Investment (ROI) for each one.

Use different ways of offering the same thing using headline and copy variations, try different promotional tools (£s off or % off), advertise different products in the range. Here's an example of 2 executions selling the same PowerPoint and Presentations skills courses - Number 1: Want Great Presentations? "Develop a Presentation Style that's Effective & Works Time and Again." Number 2: MS PowerPoint Course "Learn How to Present Effectively in 2 Days in Hants. Book Now £397." They had quite different click through rates.

Test, measure, review, refine - make money!

3. Sending Visitors to your Home Page

Those people who have take the trouble to click on your Pay-per-Click Ad, have a specific interest - after all you have carefully crafted a laser headline and killer copy. Pointing them to your home page is a bit like keying in my postcode and your sat-nav sending you to Reading! Technically correct but absolutely no use whatsoever.

Have a landing page set up that specifically deals with the content of the ad with an attention grabbing headlines the same as the Pay-per-Click Ad - repetition is one key principle of marketing. Offer a "buy now" call to action or a "request more information" option - why not grab their details with a form first so you can re-market back to them via your email marketing list (you have got one of those haven't you!). Why not have different landing pages for each execution so you can test and track that as well. Find the killer combination that gets you the most return for your outlay.

Never send your prospect to your home page - unless you have a specific reason for it.

4. Not measuring conversions

Who was it who said "I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half." Actually, according to Wikipedia, it was John (Nelson) Wanamaker (July 11, 1838 - December 12, 1922) who was a much respected and admired United States merchant, religious leader, civic and political figure, considered the father of modern advertising. Invented the Department Store.

In those days there was not the technology to measure effectiveness but now there is no excuse.

Register with Google Analytics. It is treasure-trove of tools, and vital piece of kit to measure the effectiveness, down to the last penny, of your campaign.

Get free access to the largest backlink database

Download the html code - embed it into your website, including the landing pages, and you will be deluged with a mass of vital stats with which to fine-tune your campaign. You will be surprised by what works and what doesn't.

5. Using the wrong keywords

With the tools available in AdWords and Analytics, you can really home in on the keywords that will work best for your ad. Your prospective customers are really specific about what they are looking for and you have to find the best blend of keywords and key phrases.

You will find that key phrases generate a much better CTR but will not deliver the volume of clicks that a single keyword will produce. You need both, but also be aware that some keywords are very expensive in terms of cost per click (CPC) - and if they are not producing quality leads then avoid them - try and dominate a phrase.

You are going to need between 25-50 keywords as a rule of thumb. Use a keyword tool -the Google one is a pretty good place to start.

Again, measure, review, refine - make money!

6. Not using Negative Keywords

Negative keywords should be a key component of a successful keyword strategy. Integrating negative keywords into a well-targeted keyword list will lower your costs and will ensure visits to your landing pages are properly targeted.

Negative keywords (just put a minus sign in front of the keyword) will stop the wrong sort of customer being presented with your ad when they search.

For example, you sell old guitars and especially electric semi-acoustic - key words could be: Used guitars, used semi-acoustic guitars. Negative keywords would be: -vintage (because you don't deal in rare vintage guitars), -Guild (because you only deal with Gibsons and Gretsch).

7. Not Switching Off Google AdSense

Actually Google AdSense or Content Network is a wonderful thing, but its not necessarily for everyone.

Content Network is those contextual ads you see on for example forums and review sites. Ads presented here are largely out of your control and can eat up your budget really quickly.

Unless you specifically want your ads presented there, switch off 'Content Network' in the User Settings - just un-tick the box.

I hope you found these 7 tips useful and that you use Pay-per-Click as a successful part of your overall marketing mix. You will find this and other useful articles on my website.

Have fun!

Dissect your rivals' key traffic drivers

Rate This Article

How would you rate the quality of this content?
Currently rated: 1.5 out of 5 stars. 2 users have rated this article. Select your rating:
  • 1.5 out of 5 Stars
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

About The Author

Henley Interim was set up by Matthew Simmons who, following a successful corporate career developing and launching technology products in many different fields, has had over 6 years experience, as a contract interim, helping businesses at all stages of their development fulfill their potential through planned, creative marketing and business development.

Related Articles


Why You Need an International PPC Campaign, and How to Do It

Are you using the power of PPC to get the international traffic you deserve? This sort of advertising can put a brand or service in front of global customers who would otherwise be out of reach.Even if you already benefit from PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, using the English language will only take you so far in the rapidly changing online landscape.

5 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Ad CTR

We've learned a thing or two over the years about increasing click through rates. Now we want to share some of our top tips with you. Read on to discover 5 ways to entice people to click your ad.

Landing Page Optimization 101

Landing page optimization is perhaps the most important Internet marketing tactic you need to master if you truly want to succeed online. Having an effective landing page that maximizes your conversions will help you dominate your niche market.

Google, Its Advertisers, and the End User: from 2003 to 2010

The launch of Google Instant has created a mighty online stir with Google users and advertisers alike, but I know the focus has always been on the end user, and Google Instant will ultimately benefit Google's users.

13 Great PPC Tips

PPC advertising is one of the toughest, most time consuming marketing strategies to master that you'll ever encounter. It's also one of the most effective, so if you're putting it off or have already written it off, here are some valuable tips to getting in there and making some serious profits.
Dissect your rivals' key traffic drivers