I love Google AdWords. In my opinion, it’s one of the best investments a small business can make because it can generate tons of leads that convert into sales.
But, it’s also very easy to lose money if you mismanage your AdWords account. AdWords mistakes can be costly, but are often easy to fix.
Here are 7 of the most common AdWords mistakes I see when working with small businesses.
Mistake #1: Using The Wrong Settings
Setting up your campaign correctly is the key to success and if you’re using the wrong settings, you’re guaranteed to end up wasting money.
For example, when setting up your keyword settings you can waste a lot of money on irrelevant clicks if you choose Broad match keywords instead of Exact or Phrase match.
Choosing the right settings is easy if you know what to look for. Click here for more tips on choosing the right settings to your AdWords campaign correctly.
Mistake #2: Using The Wrong Definition of Success
In order to be successful you must understand how to measure success with Google AdWords.
I’ve spoken to more than a few business owners about AdWords, and when I asked how their campaigns were going they said “Great!”
But when I asked, “How do you know?“
They say, “I’m getting a lot of clicks.”
This is critical- clicks are the WRONG definition of success. Clicks do NOT equal customers!
If you’re getting lots of clicks but no leads or sales, you’re losing money hand over fist. The only one profiting from that situation is Google.
Instead of aiming for clicks, your goal is to attract new paying customers… and to earn a healthy return on investment (ROI) from your advertising.
It’s very important to understand this difference when considering whether your campaign is performing successfully.
Mistake #3: NOT Tracking
Understanding the definition of success is important, but unless you’re tracking the results of your advertising you’ll never know if your ads are profitable.
Most likely, you’re losing money every month by not updating the campaigns that aren’t working.
From what I’ve heard when speaking with small business owners, the vast majority of people are making this mistake and are NOT tracking the results of their advertising.
The shame of it is- proper tracking isn’t hard. Click here for some tips to get you started.
Make sure to always track your advertising. Even if your ads are generating an ROI, you should still be tracking so you can improve your ROI.
Mistake #4: Not Analyzing the Right Reports
Once you set up tracking, it’s important to generate the correct reports.
When you first log into AdWords, you’ll see a list of all of your campaigns. It’s almost impossible to tell what’s wrong with a campaign by looking at these aggregate reports. You need to dig deeper and generate reports on individual keywords (for search) and placements (for display).
But, running keyword and placement level reports, still won’t give you the entire picture because there are a LOT of factors at play. Segmenting your reports even further will give you more exact results. For example, your performance may vary across Google and the Search Partner network.
In addition to segmenting by network, look at performance by time of day, day of the week, geography, and device. You’ll likely find that performance varies by all of those segments and by reviewing them you’ll find ideas to improve your campaign.
Mistake #5: Ignoring Search Partner Traffic
The Search network is a combination of Google.com and Search partners like AOL, Ask, and even Amazon.
If you find that your performance in the Search Partner network is poor, you have the option to turn it off. And, while there’s no way to figure out which partner websites are working and which ones are not working, you can still optimize your Search Partner traffic.
For example, I reviewed a campaign for a consultant not too long ago. When I ran the search query report to see which keywords were driving sales, I noticed a tell-tale Search Partner sign: very long search phrases that no one would actually type into Google.com.
As I dug deeper I found that the majority of the sales for this Search campaign were not coming from Google… they were coming from Amazon.com! That’s why it was so hard to figure out how to optimize the campaign. Knowing the sales were from Amazon, not Google, meant he would need to use a different strategy for keyword selection and ad copywriting.
So while it’s fresh in your mind, go log into your AdWords campaign to see if you’re making this mistake. AdWords can be overwhelming, but when you’re looking at the right reports, then things start to look a whole lot clearer.
Mistake #6: Treating Desktop and Mobile the Same
Mobile is officially the most popular way to search online. The thing is, advertising on mobile and desktop yields different performance.
It is still possible to block your ads from showing on mobile devices, which I typically recommend when you’re just getting started. If you do target mobile devices, then make sure you optimize your pages for mobile. Users have come to expect mobile-friendly pages, so your standard “desktop optimized” website probably won’t cut it.
Mistake #7: Not Knowing When to Delegate
Managing AdWords can be very time consuming, which is why people often hire an agency to manage it for them. But, when it comes to delegating the management of your campaigns, you want to make sure the timing is right.
If you delegate the management of your AdWords campaign before you fully understand how it works, you’re taking a big gamble. We recommend learning how AdWords works before you hand it off to an employee or an agency. That way, you’ll know whether your campaign is being managed properly or not.
It’s also important to recognize when it’s time to invest in some help. If you’re having success with your campaigns but feel like you’ve plateaued, then it may be time to hire an agency to manage your campaigns. With an agency, an analyst who specializes in AdWords will be able to audit your campaign and quickly identify ways to improve it. They’ll also be constantly optimizing your campaigns to make sure you’re getting the best ROI.
Want More AdWords Tips?
To help you succeed with AdWords and avoid common mistakes, I created a new video for you called…
“How to Manage AdWords Campaigns Like a Pro!”
(This is video #2 in our AdWords video series. Click here to watch video #1)
Main Street ROI is a digital marketing agency based in New York City.
Our mission is to help small businesses thrive. With our services and training, we help small businesses succeed with marketing regardless of their budgets.
Since 2010, we’ve helped thousands of small businesses create profitable digital marketing campaigns.
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