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Google Ads: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes

If Googled ruled the world (and don’t think they aren’t trying to), every business would use Google Ads.

Call it “Pay per click”, Adwords, or Google Ads, it’s a free product that anyone can use. In fact, when you set up your Google My Business listing (and you really should), they tempt you with a free $100 in Google Ads.

It’s like a crack dealer giving away the first rock for free.

Just because they make it so available doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for every business.

An Incredibly Brief History Of Google Ads

Google AdWords launched back in October of 2000 with a meager 350 advertisers. The product back then bears little resemblance to what it is today. After the first year, Google pulled in a paltry $70 million dollars which, admittedly, more than most of us have stashed in our couch cushions, but when you consider that they surpassed $116 billion in revenue in 2019, you can see the growth of this platform.

Some experts say that Google earns more than 90% of their revenue from Google Ads, so yeah, they really do want you to use it.

But, is that wise for your business?

How To Decide If Google Ads Is For You

When we do our free initial consultation with potential clients, we often talk about whether or not Google Ads is worth trying. To us, the math is simple. It’s about your potential return on investment (ROI), but really, what isn’t?

We begin with a seemingly innocent question.

“What’s your average client worth?”

Now, we realize that there are a dozen or so ways you can answer this, and we’ll accept any way the prospect wants to go with it. It’s not like this test will be on your permanent record.

The point is to get you thinking about the possible rewards for the risk.

Here’s an example:

We recently spoke to a salon owner that does Brazilian waxes. When we asked our average worth question, the owner said her average client brings the business $35. We walked her through the fact that if she set a monthly budget of $500 (which we suspect is low) for Google Adwords, she would need 14.28 clients to come from that campaign to break even. At 15 clients, she’s starting to make a little (very little) money and so forth.

Take a plastic surgeon’s office as another example. If a nose job costs $2,000 (In Georgia, you can get a nose job somewhere between $2,500-$8,000), and you run a Google Ads campaign for $1,000/month, you can easily see how one deal from that campaign covers your marketing expenses and helps the practice begin to make money. Two patients brings in $4,000, etc. This is where Google Ads can really be an effective marketing tool.

Learn more about how the math needs to work with Google Ads. 

Despite all this, there are some excellent ways to lose money with Google Ads.

The Secret About Adwords Google Won’t Tell You

Most people clearly recognize that when they go to a casino, the odds are not in their favor. They didn’t build Vegas by giving away money.

What most people don’t realize is that Google Ads is not really built to help you as much as to help them.

I’m not saying they’re trying to cheat you or even stack the odds against you like a casino. Let’s be clear about it though, if you’re making major mistakes with your campaign, Google will do nothing more than to continue to take your money without sympathy or recourse.

How To Lose Money With Google Ads

Here is our list of favorite ways we’ve seen businesses lose money with their campaigns. These are simply in the order we thought of them.

    1. Picking the wrong keywords – far too often we see people pick keywords that are not remotely related to their business- or they are related, but not well searched. Remember, there’s a huge difference between the number of times a keyword is searched monthly nationally vs locally. Do your homework about keywords.
    2. Lack of bid management – a very common mistake we see is businesses leaving their campaign running on automatic for months at a time. This is fine if you’re making money or beating your target average cost per click (CPC), but most people are not, they just leave it running and watch the numbers go down over time. Always look at the data and manage the campaign accordingly.
    3. Not selecting negative keywords – Trust us, there are keywords you do NOT want your ads to show for. Negative keywords are a great way to make sure you’re only targeting the right people. You can also peek at your competitors’ negative keyword list in Adwords as well.
    4. Not using mobile bid adjustment – If you’re not using the ability to adjust bids for mobile devices, or if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, it’s time to come on into 2021 and realize that more than 60% of searches are done on that little computer people carry in their pockets.
    5. Having no automation – If you’re not using Adwords scripts or anything similar to automate some of the more mundane tasks of running a campaign, time to get on that. Not only is it going to save you time but it’s also going to help you manage your data better.
    6. Letting the account go into inactivity for too long – Google Ads campaigns are the opposite of fine wines. They don’t get better with age. You can lose your relevance and have major gaps where you bleed money.
    7. Never setting a budget – Maybe you’re just testing Google Ads out, which is awesome. However, if you’re actually starting an ad campaign it’s important that you realize setting a budget is the first step in managing your ads effectively. It will determine how many impressions, clicks, and money you spend a day/month.
    8. Not getting your landing page right – Your only goal should be to get visitors to your (hopefully) optimized pages as quickly and easily as possible. You can have the most beautifully scripted ad in existence, but if no one clicks on it you’re going to lose money.
    9. Directing your ads to your homepage – This is one of the most common mistakes we see. Think about it. If you’re running a campaign for dental implants, but you point your ads to your homepage where you talk about teeth cleaning, root canals, tongue waxing (if that’s a thing), and all the other services you provide, it will dilute the relevance of your campaign and Google will make you pay more in so many ways.
    10. A downward spiral of tweaking ads for fractions of a cent – Here’s the problem with tweaking your ads for small fractions of a cent, especially after you’ve optimized them as much as possible- it becomes a never-ending drain on your time and resources. The problem is that there is essentially no way to predict what minor change will result in a significant impact to your campaign.
    11. Ignoring your quality score – this little data point can make your head spin, but you want to read up on this because managing this score can mean you pay less for higher exposure and get more clicks.
    12. No tracking – this is the biggest mistake you can make. There’s no reason you can’t track your campaign and its performance easily, but if you want to pay for results only, then you have to be able to measure what those results are.  When ads are not tracked, your future strategy becomes guesswork. No Bueno.
  • Using “Google Recommendations” – we hate to say this, but we need to- when we build ad campaigns, we use a whopping 10% (and, yes, we’re being kind) of these automated recommendations. These suggestions are definitely in Google’s favor and not yours most of the time. It might as well be labeled, “Our suggestions on how to pay us more money”.

This is enough to help you see where you might have gaps in any campaigns you are running.

It’s important to note that when it comes to running Google Ads campaigns, no other marketing tool gives you more data. That’s both the good and the bad news. It’s good because, well, hey, the more data the better, right? Eh. It’s bad because you can easily get lost in all the data and ignore what really matters. How much money are you making?

If you’ve gotten to the end of this blog post and realize that you’re in way over your head with your Google Ads campaign, give us a call. We provide training consultations as well as run campaigns for our clients. We’ll stop the bleeding.

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