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Rookie mistakes to avoid when using Google Ads

Posted on 9th April, 2020 by Andrew Dutson

Google Ads

Are you looking for a quick and effective way to reach more customers and get your products or services to your audience? Have you had to switch to an online business model to keep your business afloat during the Coronavirus pandemic? In this article, we’ll cover some basic mistakes that advertisers make when starting out with Google Ads and how you can avoid these pitfalls to build a successful pay per click (PPC) campaign for your brand.

No Tracking

One of the most common mistakes that we see people making is failing to put any form of tracking in place to measure the performance of their Google Ads campaigns. It doesn’t matter how well set up your campaign if you don’t have tracking in place then how will you know if your campaign is working? And, it’s not just online sales that should be tracked. Enquiry form submissions, brochure downloads, email signups and phone calls are just examples of things that you should be tracking on your website.

Another mistake that businesses make is to track clicks to their landing pages as conversions which results in the data showing a near 100% conversion rate. Setting up conversion tracking is relatively simple and involves adding your tracking code to success message or thank you pages on your website. If you are unsure about how to do this then your web developer or the person that designed and built your website should be able to help you out.

Not using negative keywords

So, you’ve done your keyword research and worked out the keywords that you should be targeting in your campaign, but have you taken the time to consider which keywords you don’t want to be found for. Without adding negative keywords to your campaigns, it is highly likely that a large proportion of your clicks and budget will be spent on irrelevant search phrases. For instance, for a retailer that sells Nike trainers, they would probably want to stop their adverts being shown for phrases like Nike trainer jobs, Nike trainer alternatives, Nike trainers eBay, Nike trainers reviews.


When doing your keyword research group your keywords into ones to keep and ones that you do not want to appear for. This way you can build up a list of negative keywords at the early stages of your campaign creation and help stop as much wastage as possible before it happens. Once your campaign is up and running you will also want to regularly check your search terms report to weed out additional irrelevant terms.

Not understanding ROI

One of the best things about PPC is the ability to easily calculate your return on investment (ROI). To work out if your campaign is profitable all you need is your average sales/order value, your average conversion rate (e.g. what number of your total leads convert) and your break-even value. So, if your average sales value is £450 and you convert 10% of your leads, then you can afford to pay up to £45 for each of your leads. For those that don’t know their conversion rates, this can be looked up online and the below is from the Adobe Digital Index 2020 report:


The key to a good PPC campaign is working out which areas of your campaign are generating sales and a positive ROI and which areas are performing poorly. You can then focus more budget on the better performing elements and either rework or scrap the poor performing products or services.

Incorrect targeting

Do you sell products or services all over the UK? Or are you solely looking to target a local demographic? Lots of businesses make the mistake of setting their campaigns to target the whole of the UK and in some cases the World when they really should be focusing on their local customers. With large travel restrictions now in place, due to COVID-19, now is the time to showcase the local nature of your business and your home delivery service.

In addition to location targeting, you can also implement device and demographic targeting to make sure your adverts are reaching your intended audience. Bid adjustments let you further optimise your campaign.

Missing ad extensions

Did you know that ad extensions can help boost the performance of your PPC adverts and help them get more clicks and a higher click through rate? Not only can they help you get more clicks, but they can also guide people on their user journey and help them quickly complete actions that are of value to your business. Some of the ad extensions that you could use include:

Location extension – this pulls data from your Google My Business listing to show people where you are located, your opening hours and contact details.

Callout extensions – these help you provide additional text offers to help make your listing stand out and encourage people to use your business e.g. Free Local Delivery

Call or message extensions – particularly suited to businesses whose customers use their mobile phones, this lets people get in touch by phone or text message.

Sitelink extensions – direct people to high-value pages on your website with the help of sitelink extensions.

As you can see there are plenty of ways that you can improve the setup of your Google Ads campaign and get it ready to convert for your business. If you’d like some professional help setting up your Google Ads campaign get in touch with us today on 0161 909 3400 to request your free PPC audit.


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