Many companies are throwing money away with a badly managed Adwords campaign or putting their faith in a Google Adwords Agency or manager who may not be up to date with the system or in some cases not know what they are doing at all!
Almost every business will benefit from Google Adwords, provided the account is properly managed. In the years we’ve been managing the accounts of our clients and our own websites, we’ve seen a lot of very common mistakes that almost form a pattern. We know what to look for before we even access a new clients flagging account. This is why we can turn around a campaign and make it profitable.
Below are 8 common mistakes that we immediately look for upon taking over management of existing accounts:
Yes, number 1 in our list is site owners’ expectation. There is still the feeling that ‘build it and they will come’ when creating a website or online business and often “How do we actually get traffic” is an afterthought. This seems to follow with Adwords campaigns. Getting a campaign right takes time, hard data and a lot of know how. It may take a few weeks or months to get an account converting well. It’s extremely rare that Adwords will be profitable overnight so a website owner should never expect to be turning a profit the moment they get their ads approved!
This always goes one of two ways: If the budget is too small then it will take an age to get tangible data to work from and can often lead to making changes based on gut feeling rather than hard fact. Every mis-click, bounced visitor and poorly converting ad or keyword is precious as it provides some data to stop that happening in the future.
On the rarest of occasions, a company may be spending TOO MUCH on their ad campaign. One example could be raising a budget in the hope of compensating for the poor quality scores of the ads or throwing a big budget at Adwords in the hope it will convert. Usually though, this will mean there is a LOT of data to work from and a good Google Adwords Manager will be able to turn things around fairly quickly by using this legacy data to optimise the account.
Not Trusting the Data:
The key to making a campaign work is using the aforementioned data to drive which areas to work on or pause for the time being. In the beginning it can hard to know where to concentrate the budget but given time you can see which areas are working and improve them. Perhaps pause the areas that have not converted to divert funds to the into the parts of the campaign that do. THE ROI is the bottom line and you can always expand a campaign at a later date. In the meantime, you need to interpret the data and use it to guide where to work on next.
Thinking Max Traffic = Max Sales / Conversions / Enquiries:
Every visitor to your site who came from Adwords has cost you money. We hear a lot of companies say that they want as much traffic as possible from their Ad campaign. What they really mean is the bottom line: They want as many CONVERSIONS AND SALES as possible. Irrelevant visitors and traffic are sapping your budget away from getting more visitors who may actually make you money. Never assume that traffic = money. In fact it is losing money if the quality of traffic is not there with an intention to buy.
Spreading Campaigns Too Thinly:
As touched upon already, in the early days of an ad campaign, even an Adwords expert can only predict so much and use their experience and best practices to the help the campaign gain momentum and convert. We often see accounts that are backing far too many products or services. You will not see patterns emerge from the data if you are decimating your budget across too many campaigns. Concentrate on a few set areas and try to see those converting positively before moving on!
Backing Broad Terms & Using the Wrong Match Types:
Classic mistake! This is one of the biggest budget killers and main reasons your campaign will not convert. Using broad match across the board means you are probably paying for highly untargeted traffic that will most likely never convert but it will divert your budget away from areas of your campaign that could have converted!
Exercise caution when setting up a new campaign but do try to keep your keyword match types tight. Exact and phrase match may be the key to ensuring you keep the costs down but the search relevance up. If you’re backing broad terms only then you may want to review what you’re doing!
Too Many / Not Enough Changes to the Account
This is opposite ends of the scale… But checking the change history will reveal if you fall into the ’tweakers’ or ‘leavers’ category! We often find that the results are the same when you get tweaker who is constantly playing and making changes without letting things run to get some data. Changing too often means you will never have a well optimised account: You’ll make knee jerk reactions to what might be a rare occurrence and this will bring long term damage to the account. On the other hand, if you’re a ‘leaver’ who sets up and forgets the account, you will have the same issues. You cannot expect to make money from a stagnant campaign… And you won’t. But if you’ve had your account managed for you, then it’s time to start asking questions about what you’re paying for!
Leaving Adwords Too Late:
We’ve seen this a few times and it is the saddest story of all: Webmasters who are in financial crisis and leave Adwords as their last chance at salvation. As the finances dwindle, nothing short of a miracle can save them. But Adwords is not likely to be the miracle they require, it takes time to get an account on track and if a business cannot afford to pay for the data and go through an initial period of expense then things may have been left too late. We can manage an account and make it profitable quicker than almost anyone but if we go back to expectation for moment and that expectation is instant ROI then sadly that is not possible in all / most cases. There will be occasions where it is possible to go from zero to hero within a month but usually that would be on an account that has plenty of legacy data. A brand new campaign will eat up some time and money before being profitable… If time and money are an issue then things have quite simply, been left too late.
This is by no means the conclusive list of reasons that an Adwords account might not work or may not be performing but it’s some of the most obvious. I could go on to talk about specifics types of campaign like re-marketing or features like call tracking or ad extension that may benefit a campaign but if you’ve got the basics wrong in the first place then these points would be of little use to you.
Almost all online businesses can benefit from Adwords provided they have the time, budget and the right person managing the account. It can be a great way to maximise sales and enquiries… It’s the reason businesses like ours exist!