December 19, 2014

Don’t Make These 7 Adwords Mistakes With Your Online Marketing Campaign

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adwords mistakes

For many of you, online advertising drives a big chunk of your sales. So we’ve asked Sheri Firstenberg, Adwords Queen with Ripen eCommerce, to help guide you to the best ways to use Google Adwords advertising and avoid common Adwords mistakes.

Sheri knows what she’s talking about. She manages more than $1 million in paid search ad spend annually at Ripen eCommerce which is a full service digital agency that specializes in delivering custom solutions to online retailers.

AdWords is both an ‘easy-to-get-started’ and ‘difficult-to-master’ tool for online advertisers. Although setup can be simple, there are many in-depth features eCommerce owners may not understand or simply overlook. Here’s a look at seven common Adwords mistakes that could be killing your ROI (return on investment).

Choosing Search Network with Display Select

When you add a new campaign, the first thing Google asks you for is the campaign type. Your options are the following:

  • Search Network only
  • Display Network only
  • Search Network with Display Select
  • Shopping

Assuming this is not a shopping campaign (we’ll touch on that later), you should choose either search or display. Google tries to steer you towards the combo category, claiming it gives you the best opportunity to reach more customers.

However, search campaigns and display campaigns target different audiences and serve different initiatives. If you’re looking to drive conversions, focus on the search network only. On the other hand, if brand awareness is your game, the display network is your playground.

Running Ads that Don’t Speak to Your Audience

If your company only ships products to the continental US, you shouldn’t be paying for your ads to be shown to buyers in Saskatchewan. If you’re targeting the population of Mexico, your ads shouldn’t be in English.

Setup your campaigns to target the area your customers are living in. Similarly, ads should be written in the language they speak. If you feel like you are missing out on capturing an audience outside of your main service areas, try setting up a dedicated test campaign using geographically based search terms to catch the outliers.

Letting Google Run the Show

Out of all the common Adwords mistakes, this may be the biggest. You know your market better than Google. Trust yourself to assess what is an appropriate limit on budgets.

Accelerated delivery settings serve ad impressions as the opportunity arises, while standard delivery settings pace impressions based on a predicted number of daily inquiries. Using standard delivery, you’ll miss out on impressions no matter what your budget is because of Google’s predetermined pacing. A simple solution is to set your own budgets so you don’t run out of cash using accelerated campaigns.

Tolerating Poor Segmentation

Every market responds differently to AdWords. Volume and conversion rates vary significantly depending on time of day, a customer’s location, and the device they’re using. You have historical account data on these behaviors – use it to predict future patterns.

Typically, response rates from mobile users are well below that of the desktop/tablet-using contingency. See which campaigns are preforming poorly and lower those bids. If customers in one location typically have a higher return on ad spend (ROAS) than those in another, adjust the bids accordingly.

AdWords allows you to set 6 different bid adjustments per day based on the time (up to 42 bid adjustments per week). Figure out (or refer to your data to determine) when your customers are shopping and hit those times hardest.

To avoid making this blunder in the list of Adwords mistakes, know which segments convert best in your market and bid higher on them. Also, be sure you’re leveraging the higher bids by lowering those on segments that historically haven’t converted as well.

Dropping the Ball on Ad Extensions

Not all extensions are created equal. In general, ad extensions get you better placement and lower costs per click. They also involve minimal set-up and are displayed at no additional cost. Decide which extensions are best for your business and start reaping the benefits.

If you want to prompt customers to contact you by phone, call extensions are the way to go. These allow you to incorporate your phone number into text ads (otherwise not allowed by Google). On mobile devices, these extensions even add a call button to your ad. Location extensions are perfect for those with a brick and mortar business as they incorporate a physical address and phone number into ads (even link Google Places accounts).

Other extension options include linking to a review, especially if there’s a reputable source that has given your business some good feedback. Or if you offer an app, make it as easy as possible for customers to research and download it.

If none of these extensions make sense for your business, sitelink extensions have the answer. They allow you to promote additional landing pages below your standard ad text. You get 25 characters per extension to drive traffic to a relevant site, and up to four sitelinks can appear with each text ad.

That’s a lot of front-page real estate at no additional cost.

Ignoring Match Type and Negative Keywords

One of the biggest AdWords mistakes and pitfalls is allowing Google to determine which queries you want your ads shown for. Google is pretty intuitive but they get it wrong – a lot. The more direction you give them, the better your results will be. Unless you specify the type of matches you want, your keywords will all default to broad match. Use Exact and Phrase match for more control over when your ads are shown.

Just as important is safeguarding your ads against unrelated searches. Use the search terms tool to discover the queries that trigger your ads. If there are irrelevant terms, include them as negative keywords in order to suppress the ad from showing and potentially throwing money out the window.

Don’t forget, match type counts for negative keywords too.

Lumping Together Shopping Campaigns

If you sell anything online, shopping campaigns are a must. The biggest pitfall here is that unless you pay attention to the details, every product will end up in a catchall category called “all products.”

Not all products offer the same return, so categorize inventory with a focus on product lines, profit margins, and best sellers. The introduction of Shopping Campaigns has made it easier than ever to use labels and targets to group products and bid accordingly.

Features like extensions, proper categorizations, and specific match types add details to your campaigns to both stand out from your competitors and target shoppers outside of your typical audience. Even if you were catching 75% of your potential customers with your initial AdWords setup, you should not ignore the last quarter.

With a few detailed fixes, your campaigns can be smarter and more cost effective for your eCommerce brand.

Google Photo via Shutterstock

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Small Biz Technology


Small Biz Technology SmallBizTechnology.com is part of the Small Business Trends Publisher Channel, and is all about helping “regular” small business owners – those who are not technically savvy – know what technology they need to boost productivity, save time, save money, increase revenue and boost customer service in their business.

5 Reactions

  1. Good tips and I second the idea that you should take control of your campaigns and not let Google drive. They’re very good at getting clicks, but you need to make sure they’re clicks that turn into revenue for your business.

  2. Awesome post! Personally, I try to stay away from adwords. I’ve had success with it in the past, but I’ve found a few other options to be more effective. Nonetheless, I couldn’t agree more with the tips you share here. Especially the fact that it’s never a good idea to lump two ad types into one. Everything should be targeted, but that would make targeting a bear!

  3. Very effective post, since mistake are bound take place in every scenario. But importance needs to be paid in rectifying those mistake whereby giving every effort to make marketing or adwords achieve the desired growth that it wants to have, by using positive keyword.

  4. “Sheri knows what she’s talking about. She manages more than $1 million in paid search ad spend annually at Ripen eCommerce which is a full service digital agency that specializes in delivering custom solutions to online retailers.”

    What on earth does this sentence mean? Can someone translate this into English, please?

    • Hi Ashley, sorry about that. We didn’t realize it was so hard to understand. Thank you for reminding us about the dangers of insider lingo.

      The author is saying:

      (1) Sheri (the person who was interviewed) knows what she is talking about.
      (2) She manages paid search ads (i.e., Google AdWords, which are also called “search ads” because the ads appear in the search results). She does that for clients.
      (3) The amount of ads she manages totals $1 million annually. So in other words, clients entrust her with a lot of money for buying ads.
      (4) The name of the company she works for is Ripen eCommerce. It is a “full-service” digital agency. Meaning, they do a wide range of things, not limited services.
      (5) The company she works for has a specialty of doing custom (not cookie cutter) work for online retailers.

      That’s how I interpret it. But the bottom line is, I think the author was simply trying to outline the interviewee’s credentials and expertise — to lend weight to the pointers given.

      Hope that helps!

      – Anita

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