When it comes to Google AdWords, getting your keywords sorted out, establishing a campaign setup and entering your credit card details is the easy part. Your account setup might look great but is it producing the ROI you are looking for? Time and time again we’ve come across clients whose campaigns look good at face value but lack the strategy necessary to get successful results.

If your campaigns are costing you money instead of producing profits, you need to invest more in AdWords; and we’re not talking about money. Investing in your understanding of how AdWords works will help you run campaigns the right way. From our experience, there are seven common mistakes that lead to poor campaign performance.

Before we dive into our list of common AdWords mistakes to avoid, take a look at our Google AdWords best practices to further your understanding of how AdWords works.


#1: Make Keyword Match Types Your Best Friend

The nice thing about Google AdWords is that it gives you full control over your campaigns. You can decide which keywords to target and when to target them. Thanks to keyword matching, you can also match your keywords to the terms people search.

Keyword match types allow you to control which search triggered your ads to appear. Not using keyword match types can lead to unwanted traffic and clicks on your ads. Here are the four different keyword match types in AdWords:

Broad Match: This is the default keyword match type in AdWords. This match type allows you to reach the widest audience. It tells google to show your ads to a particular keyword and other search terms closely related to your keyword.

Broad Match Modifier: This match type is slightly narrower than broad match and allows you to specify an important keyword you want to closely match with search queries.

Phrase Match: This is a more specified match type that displays your ads to people searching for specific terms that match your keywords. Phrase match will only display your ad to search terms that are close variants of your keywords.

Exact Match: The name same it all. Exact match only displays your ad to search terms that exactly match your keywords without including close variants.

Keyword match types allow you to target your ads to the right audience and it also determines the impressions your ads will receive. Keyword match types also help you to increase your bid on important terms to drive the conversions and engagement you want.

So which match type should you use?

There is no definitive answer, but there are a few points to consider. Using all the match types is unnecessary and can be costly. Although Broad match keywords bring in the most traffic, keep in mind, that traffic includes unwanted traffic.

Broad match keywords require adding a lot of negative keywords; which can be time consuming. We recommend testing all three match types against each other for a short period to see which one is cheaper and drives the most relevant clicks.


#2: Take Advantage Of The Search Terms Report

The search terms report is a great tool you can use to see how your ads perform when they are triggered by real searches in the Search Network. This nifty tool is ideal for discovering new search terms and eliminating unwanted or useless terms that can cost you money down the road.

#3: Make Use Of Negative Keywords

Once you discover which keywords aren’t relevant, be sure to list those keywords as negative keywords. This will stop your ads from being triggered by irrelevant impressions, especially if you are using broad match keywords. Using negative keywords improves the quality of your ads and leads to a higher click through rate and an increase in conversions.

#4: Use Branded Keywords

Runnings ads on branded terms is a plus. Not only is it the cheapest traffic to acquire in AdWords, but it also promotes brand awareness and increases your business’ visibility. Research shows that when you bid on branded terms you are more likely to get an increase in clicks than when you bid on generic terms.

#5 Use Multiple Ad Variations

Trying new things leads to new discoveries. When it comes to AdWords, testing multiple ad variations will help you find out what truly works. Having one ad variation in your ad groups can lead to missed opportunities that can be detrimental to your ROI. Be sure to test different value propositions, calls to action and selling points. Once you find out what works, you can get rid of the guess work and focus on what really works.

#6 Know Who and Where Your Audience Is

To target the right audience, you have to know who and where they are. AdWords allows you to target specific groups of people in specific locations. You can target a radius around a location or a specific zip code. You can also target areas with a certain household income. We recommend starting with the areas where you’re receiving the most conversions, then expand from there.

#7 Revamp Your Landing Page To Track Conversions

Focus on the relationship between your landing page and your keywords. If your keywords are irrelevant to what your landing page is selling or offering, you’re going to experience a high bounce rate. Be sure that wherever your ads are linking to is relevant. Also, don’t forget to set up conversion tracking before you start your campaign; this will help you see how effective your ads are.

Final Thoughts

Get ahead of the game by following these AdWords tips. When you focus on targeting the right keywords, producing relevant ads and providing resourceful landing page experiences, your AdWords campaigns will generate amazing results.




Tanya Chibanda Austin

Tanya Chibanda Austin is a Associate Marketing Analyst for Opportunity Max. She provides support for SEO, social media and online reputation management on behalf of clients.