Top 10 signs that you are the victim of a weak AdWords campaign

If you are considering using Google AdWords for the first time, you are often left in awe at how much it offers you with regards to online visibility. All you need to do is add keywords into your campaign and wait for the money to start rolling in whilst your business flourishes online, sounds like a full proof plan, right? Wrong. It is a beneficial platform to use, but it does not offer any guarantees of success. When setting up a Google AdWords account, you need to be aware of the general, yet less visible rules that could be leading your business down the wrong path, which could mean spending more money with next to no reward.

In this article, we cover the top 10 signs that could signal that you are a victim of a weak AdWords campaign.

1. Keyword chaos

If you look at an online clothing store, for example, you’ll see the store divides its products via categories e.g. men’s clothes, women’s clothes, children’s clothes, etc. In this way, a man searching for “men’s clothing” will most likely select an ad that is relevant to his search query.

If your ad groups are jammed with keywords that are not relevant or vary too much, your ad to your online store will most likely not make the cut and therefore won’t show as Google will see it as irrelevant content for the search query at hand.

In short, you can’t have all your keywords pertaining to all your services under one ad group as this messes with the search results. Your goal needs to be targeted so you can reach and engage with the right audience, otherwise, you’ll be wasting your hard earned money.

Separate your ad groups in conjunction with the service you offer, for example, women’s clothes should have relevant keywords pertaining to women’s clothing, such as a “strapless Armani black dress”, “pink blouse”, “V-neck shirts”, and so on.

2. Going too broad

There are four match types a person can use to specify their keywords to target the right audience for their services.

  • Broad Match – Matches searches with the keywords used in any order. It also replaces the keywords with synonyms.
  • Broad Match Modifier – If you add a “+” sign before your keyword, your ads will only be shown on queries that contain the exact word but in any order.
  • Phrase Match – If you wrap your keyword in quotation marks, your ads will only show when they type in a search containing your keywords in that specific order set.
  • Exact Match – If you wrap your keywords in square brackets [ ], your ads will only show when the exact search query has been typed in.

You need to understand how these keyword matches work as these can be very useful or devastating for your campaigns. If you make all your keywords exact match, phrase match, broad match modified, or broad match without taking your clients’ search methods into consideration, you may lose out on a lot of possible clicks, which in turn might affect your ROI.

3. Ignoring the negatives

With all things in marketing, there are people you want to target and people you do not want to target. If you are selling and marketing clothes, the last thing you want is someone phoning you or emailing you requesting a quote for fishing equipment, books, or jobs.

Negative keywords are almost as important as your actual keywords as they can help you gain more control over the search terms you are paying for. When planning your campaigns and the ad groups within the campaign, you need to establish which keywords or phrases will be your target market and which will be time wasters.

The default keywords that are used in the negative section are words like: “Free”, “Cheap”, “Jobs”, “Vacancies”, “How to”, and “DIY” especially if you are selling quality clothes online and in no way wish to give them away or market them as cheap. Despite the alluring nature of keywords like “Free” and “Cheap”, you as a business owner should try your best to keep away from these words when creating your campaigns.

In the end, using negative keywords correctly help you gain more control and target your campaigns more accurately, however, if used incorrectly, they can damage your campaign and stop you from reaching your target market.

4. Over estimating your client worth

When it comes to your keywords and the cost you pay daily for your ads to run on Google, you need to be aware of how much you’re spending and how much you’re getting back. In essence, AdWords is a numbers game and you need to be prepared. If you are spending over R50 to get a conversion, but the conversion is only worth R35, you then need to re-evaluate your campaign.

Calculating the lifetime value of a customer will vary depending on what industry you are in and how targeted your ad groups are. There are a few websites that can show you how to break a client down into a numeric value, counting in resales, new sales, and expenses, but first things first, when starting a new campaign, you need to see what services you are offering, the target market you are aiming towards, and what the lifetime value of the customer is before deciding how much of your budget you are willing to blow on a few high price keywords.

If you’re spending a budget of R170 a day on a specific campaign, but one conversion is worth over R2000, that would be money well spent. However, you should always first investigate what the lifetime value of your customer is before diving head first into the AdWords dream pool.

5. Bid your brand

Another mistake quite a few companies make is not bidding on their brand. Regardless if your brand is well known or not, you should create ads that incorporate your brand name within your ad copy or at the very least within a keyword phrase.

This method constantly keeps your brand name in the mind of the searcher and can create a relationship with them, for instance, Nike, Amazon, Take a lot, Dell, etc. have ads that contain their brand name. For example, when I type in “Nike Sports” in my browser, this is the first ad to appear: “NIKE Shoes, Clothing & More – Online Store – Just Do It – nike.com‎”. The moral of the story, bid on your brand, build trust, and become more targeted.

6. Not testing your ad position

Most marketing companies will tell you that being in the top two ad positions on Google is a great success and you not knowing otherwise might agree, after all, isn’t it better to be number 1 on the most popular search engine? Not necessarily. The top two positions are generally ‘click happy’ when it comes to search results, which do not guarantee conversions as the person clicking on your ad might not be in the state of mind to purchase your product or service. Whereas the bottom ads in the third or fourth position are more accurate clicks as people generally read onward, scroll down, and then select the search result of their choice.

Without testing your ad position, there will be no way to know for sure which ad position best suits your business and its budget. Rather run cost effective tests and find out what works for you.

7. Low quality score

The quality score is essentially a metric used by Google which determines how to rank your ads. It generally starts at 1 being very bad and ends at 10 being very good. Ideally, you want a quality score of 6 and above as this will determine your ad placement on Google as well as your CPC (cost per click). You’ll find keywords that have higher quality scores generally have a lower CPC as opposed to your lower ranking keywords.

There are many reasons why your keywords may have a low quality score, some being ad relevancy, landing page experience, estimated CTR (click through rate) as well as poor keyword matches. If your quality score is lower than 6, it could mean you’re paying Google a lot more per click than you need to simply because your keywords aren’t matched correctly or your website needs improvement.

8. Afraid to try new things?

We can all agree that consistency matters when it comes to your business, but there are times when you need to think out of the box and try something new. After all, you never know what benefits you could be missing.

When it comes to your AdWords campaigns, there is always that worry of making changes to an already established and high ranking campaign, but if you stay up to date, such as reading through Google AdWords Blogs, you will be able to make informed decisions rather than running blindly with your changes.

You can also look at creating duplicate campaigns and mixing the keyword matches and phrases up a bit, using call out add-ons or Google rating add-ons without compromising a campaign that has been proven to work for you and your business.

Whatever you do, don’t stop being creative with your campaigns as this could lead to your competitors driving forward and leaving you in the dust.

9. Expecting too much from AdWords

Most companies think that creating a campaign, placing in keywords, and assigning a small budget to your campaign will mean that by tomorrow you’ll be swimming in quotation requests. Unfortunately, it really doesn’t work that way.

New campaigns need to be tested, refined, tested again, and then refined some more before you’re able to determine what works and what doesn’t. In order to do this, you need to be prepared to lose some money before you can expect return on your investment. If you are starting out and are quite limited with cash intake, you’ll end up limiting your campaign’s visibility, which could damage your results in Google. This could mean having to make changes to your campaigns that were working before.

As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and unfortunately despite what the many books tell you, you can’t expect your campaigns to shoot off on the first try. Always remember, if you’re going to have a small budget, it could take longer to get to where you want to go.

10. Relying too much on Google’s suggestions

This is a mistake many rookies make when starting out with AdWords and that is relying too much on Google’s suggestions. You need to keep in mind that Google is a business, you pay Google every time your ad gets clicked. Therefore, most of the suggestions made by Google will be to increase your budget or your CPC.

AdWords is ultimately a great marketing tool and if you get the formula right you can end up making quite a lot of money from it, but always keep this in mind: you get paid by conversions and Google gets paid by click.

If you’re focusing too much on Google’s suggestions, you could be adding fuel to the fire, burning away your budget without any reward. However, never fear, you can always seek professional help when you feel like your AdWords campaign is heading towards a downward spiral. You can feel at ease knowing that your AdWords campaign is in safe hands.

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