When it comes to lead generation, Google ads are one of the best tools in the digital marketing arsenal. A favorite of SEO experts, digital marketing agencies, and content creators alike, Google ads have the ability to send targeted leads to your website and take any digital marketing campaign to the next level. In fact, recent data shows that online ads can boost brand awareness by 80%, and with 63,000 Google searches being processed every second, it’s easy to see why they’re such an effective marketing tool.
However, the secret to their success relies on a variety of factors. Nothing is more frustrating than when businesses pour their hard-earned cash into digital marketing campaigns, only to see them underperform due to Google ads that aren’t optimized correctly. So I’ve compiled a list of the five most common Google ads mistakes and what you can do to avoid them. With the right knowledge and the right approach, a successful digital marketing campaign is more than possible.
1. Targeting the wrong geographic region
One of the best things about Google ads is their geotargeting feature – it gives you the ability to advertise specialized content to a targeted area. However, one big mistake many business owners make is targeting people they don’t want to reach and they end up wasting their budget on clicks from customers that are unlikely to turn into paid leads. However, profiling too narrowly can be an equally dangerous thing. Make sure you’re not targeting a region that is too specific, otherwise your business could end up missing out on leads from people in more rural areas. When it comes to geographic targeting, the key is finding the right balance, and there are a few ways to make that easier:
- Target locations where your customers are. If you’re a retail chain with multiple locations, then you should be targeting those areas and locations within a certain radius.
- Excluding locations is just as important as including them. For example, if your business is 100% online and only ships nationwide, then your location should be set at the entire country, rather than States or towns.
- Keep accurate data of your customer base. It’s important to have a clearly defined audience in mind before you start your Google ads campaign and key information on their location, age, gender, buying behavior, and more. When it comes to Google ads geotargeting, knowledge is power.
2. Not optimizing your ad group structure
Google ads are made up of multiple ad groups, and each group is designed to focus on a different keyword. When it comes to building out these ad groups, the majority of business owners start with the mindset of “you can never target too narrowly” and over time as their campaign becomes more complex, they realize they need to group their ads into more specific groups. Unfortunately, when it comes to Google ads this isn’t the case and ad groups should be as broad and general as possible. This means your ad groups should be made up of ads that target the same audience including:
- Customer location – all ads in this ad group target the same general area, whether it’s a nation or state.
- Conversation topics – can be based on demographic characteristics such as gender, age, or income.
- Environmental factors – for example, you could create a separate ad group for each search term that needs to be included in your Google ads campaign due to a specific environmental factor.
3. Not tracking your conversions
Tracking and analyzing the performance of your Google ads is a crucial part of its success. After all, the key to good digital marketing is reviewing what works and what doesn’t and adjusting your strategy accordingly. Setting up conversion tracking for Google ads might seem intimidating, but it’s actually quite simple. Once you’ve confirmed which type of conversion tracking you need, just complete the following steps:
Step 1: Set up a conversion action
You have the option to track different kinds of user engagement, but your conversion action should always align with the goal of your Google ad campaign, i.e leads, sales, purchases, etc.
Step 2: Set up your conversion tracking tag
You’ll need to add two tags to your website. The first tag is the global site tag. This will add people who visit your website to a remarketing list and store information about how they got there. The event snippet sets new cookies telling Google Ads that someone visited your site from an ad click and that a conversion happened because of it.
Google provides a comprehensive guide on how to set up conversion tracking for Google ads, so be sure to read it closely for more information.
4. Not changing your ad based on performance
The best way to ensure that your ad group is optimized and as effective as possible is always making the necessary changes. Pay attention to how your ad performs and its budget. If you see that it’s not working, then try to make changes to improve its performance. For example, you may change your content or realign your marketing strategy. Examine the search query reports to find out how people are finding your business and whether there are any specific trends to take advantage of. Finally, if you’re not getting the results that you want it’s important to determine whether your keyword is being charged per click or a cost-per-thousand-impressions and then make the necessary changes.
5. Not A/B testing your ad creative
One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is assuming they know their customers and the best way to target them. Actually, you’ll never fully understand your audience until you test out different ads for each ad group. Each of your customers is a unique person with individual considerations and wants, and because their needs change through their life cycle, it’s important to design separate campaigns for each of them. The best way to go about this is through split testing your ads, these will provide you with the information as to which ad is more appealing and which keywords are more effective.
If you’re looking for an easy way to increase your exposure online and generate leads, Google ads is a great option. But before you get started with this campaign type, make sure that you avoid these five common mistakes. With these tips in mind and a little testing, you’ll be kicking business goals in no time. If you want your business to grow, it’s time to start taking advantage of this advertising opportunity!
About the Author
Nathan Elly is the branch manager for Digital Next, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne, Australia. When he isn’t busy optimizing web marketing campaigns, you can find him supporting his favorite football team or enjoying a friendly game of futsal.