The numerous capabilities, levels of personalization, and targeting choices that Google Ads provides are just a few of the factors that make it such an efficient tool for generating leads and sales. A carefully planned and managed Google Ads campaign can generate a significant amount of worthwhile traffic and result in conversions. However, if they aren’t carefully planned, created, and managed, your ads could quickly turn into a marketing initiative that costs more than it helps.
Google ads can be a hard platform and marketing resource to handle, there are a lot of moving parts. If you don’t understand the platform or optimise ads, running them can be a waste of time and money.
There are a number of common mistakes a lot of organizations make when it comes to Google ads. To run the best ads possible, marketers need to understand these mistakes and how to avoid them to ensure they’re getting the highest possible return on investment in paid search.
Mistake #1: Failing to use relevant keywords in ad copy
Ignoring the need of extensive keyword research is one of the most frequent and potentially dangerous Google Ads mistakes you can make. Not using your most impactful keywords in your ad copy is like trying to explain your product without telling people what it does. You won’t get the point across and users won’t understand why they should want to purchase the product.
Google takes keywords into account when ranking ads and deciding how often they will show your ads to users. Ad rank determines the placement of an ad in search results, while the platform does take several factors into account when ranking ads, the biggest factor is ad and search relevance.
If your ad copy contains keywords that are relevant to what users are searching for, you can improve the quality of ads, increasing the ad rank. Higher quality ads can lead to lower CPC (cost per click) and higher conversions.
When writing your ad copy include at least one or two of your main keywords. While it’s vital to use the most relevant target keywords, make sure not to keyword stuff. Google frowns upon overusing keywords and will rank your ads lower. Make sure to create a balance between using your most important keywords and using too many.
Mistake #2: Not Creating Effective Headlines
The headline of your Google ads is debatably the most important part of the ad. They need to be engaging, informative, and effective. According to a study, 80% of users only read headlines when viewing search results. This means that if you create effective and powerful headlines you have already captured 80% of the audience.
Headlines are your first and only chance to get attention and create a first impression, you have less than 5 seconds to make someone want to click on your ads and learn more about what you’re offering. If the headline is weak or boring, users will keep scrolling and your opportunity is missed.
When crafting Google headlines, you should avoid these five mistakes:
1. Not Making Headlines Attention Grabbing
- Write headlines that are interesting and make people want to learn more.
2. Not using keywords in headlines
The headline should match what users search for and their intent. Using keywords will help your ads appear in relevant search results and help users know what your ad is about.
3. Being too sales-y
The headline should be interesting and informative, not sales-y. Don’t make stuff too much information or make too many promises, keep it simple and to the point.
4. Making headlines too long
Keep headlines short and sweet, you have a few seconds to get users’ attention, make every word count.
5. Failing to experiment and test different headlines
Trying different headlines to see what works best is essential to finding the copy that makes the ads as effective as they can be. Try different styles, lengths, and keywords to see what gets the most clicks.
When you are creating headlines make sure to consider a number of variations, utilize keywords, and focus on getting the point across as fast as possible. Google headlines optimization is easier than ever with new tools and resources to generate and test ad titles.
Mistake #3: Not Having a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)
A CTA is extremely important in a PPC ad, it tells users what to do once they have an interest in the ad. A person that searches for something typically has a problem to solve or a question they need to find the answer to. If your ads clearly tell them how they can solve their problem or answer their question they are more likely to click.
For marketers, think of your Google ads as being a solution, if your keywords are connected to user searches and pain points, ads will convert more users. Once you know users’ issues, needs, and expectations, your ads can speak to those needs and encourage them to take action.
If Google ads appear in search results, they need to accomplish two things. First, tell potential customers that the product or service is a solution. Second, the action they need to take to get to the solution.
To create a clear and effective CTA, consider the problem you are solving and how users get there. Let potential customers know exactly what they need to do by using action-oriented words such as “Sign up today”, “Shop now”, or “Learn more”. However, don’t use “Click Here”, this is another tactic Google frowns upon, and using this wording will lead to ads that aren’t approved.
Mistake #4: Not Setting Goals or Establishing a Budget
Effective Google Ads require careful planning, so before launching a campaign, make sure your goals are clear and your budget is manageable. It’s easy to overspend on campaigns, especially if you are new to the platform or are running ads that target various audiences or regions.
Setting the goals you want your campaigns to achieve before launch will help determine ad spend and monitor how the ads are performing. Once the ads are live you can change the budget allocated to your different ads to boost the more effective ads and spend your budget in the right place.
It is best practice to plan the goals and establish a budget long before launching any Google ads. Marketing budgets and expected ROI are important factors for organizations of any size. It’s even more important to have a plan when marketing teams are running ads on multiple platforms or places. The good news, Google Ads lets you set a fixed budget and change bidding strategy as ads are running, any marketer can easily set a budget that works for the business.
Mistake #5: Failing to Test Ads
Ad testing can be one of the best ways to run the ads that are the most effective and show marketers the advertisement designs that resonate the most with users. Failing to test ads can put a business in a position where they are relying on personal preferences to create ads.
Testing different ad variations with Google’s built-in A/B testing tools can tell businesses which ads convert more users, lead to more traffic, and generate more clicks. It is a great way to experiment with ads and find what elements make the biggest difference. However, live A/B testing ads can come at a high cost and take weeks or months to gain statistically significant data.
Another method for testing is to run a pre-live Google ad test with a remote user testing platform. It allows marketers to optimize any part of the ad before they commit to spending money on live ads. Organizations can gather real user feedback on headlines, copy, creative, or full ads in a few hours or less.
Testing ads either with Google’s A/B testing or remote user testing should be a part of any marketer’s or advertiser’s process. It allows them to gather feedback and data to optimise the budget, run the most effective ads, and increase conversions.
Google ads can be a wildly successful marketing initiative for businesses of any size. They can lead to increased traffic, customer conversions, and become a revenue stream. However, Google Ads is happy to take your money regardless of the success of your ads. A successful Google ads campaign is carefully planned, monitored, optimized, and tested to get the best return on marketing investment.
The most common mistakes that Ad managers encounter are failing to use the right keywords, ineffective headlines, not having a clear CTA, not setting clear goals or budgets, and failing to properly test ads. If you’re looking to improve your Google Ads efforts, an effective remote user testing process is a great option.
There are undoubtedly more mistakes, but these are the most typical ones we notice in Google Ads. Running a good Google Ads campaign requires time, patience, and a lot of trial and error. Make sure to do your research before jumping into Google ads, understand the platform, establish goals, and do everything you can do to optimise ads before launch.
CEO @ Poll the People
With over 25 years of experience in digital marketing, Alden is an avid entrepreneur, digital marketer, and current CEO at Poll the People—a user testing platform that lets marketers and designers test their assets with real people. Formerly, Alden was CTO and co-founder of Chitika, which became the second largest contextual ad network after Google AdSense.