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Five common pitfalls to avoid in Google AdWords

28th Aug 2014
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You may not fully appreciate the difference pay per click (PPC) can make to your business if you are new to the Google AdWords platform, however with the right management you can successfully drive traffic and increase conversion rates.

Every ecommerce website is different, so it's important to experiment with different formulas until you find the right one for your business. Knowing what not to do in AdWords is just as important as knowing what you should be doing. Here are five common pitfalls that people can often fall victim to - so you can make sure you're not one of them.

1. Ads directed to your homepage

Directing customers to your homepage is bad practice; it’s invariably more lucrative to point them in the direction of a relevant page based on their search.

If a customer lands on your homepage, they’re far less likely to spend time navigating your site than if they are taken directly to a page that contains what they were searching for originally. 

For example, if the customer searches ‘little black dress’, you want your ad to direct them to a page on your site with little black dresses.

2. Failing to use negative keywords

Using negative words helps to prevent your ads appearing in irrelevant searches.

For example, if you sell business internet, you should choose to exclude searches featuring words such as ‘banking’, as you could inadvertently spend a significant amount of money on potentially expensive clicks which will not convert. 

3. Using the wrong keyword match types

We don’t often recommend using broad match keywords; these are expensive so you can end up spending much of your budget and there is a higher risk of your ads appearing in irrelevant searches.

Using appropriate keyword match types is vital to avoid featuring in the wrong searches and thus potentially wasting AdWords budget.

Make the most of phrase, exact and broad match modifier keywords, these may lead to fewer impressions, but your ads are likely to show up for more relevant searches.

4. Staying the same

It doesn’t make sense to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. Experiment with headlines, use various words and phrases, and highlight different USPs in each ad.

Something as small as using the phrase ‘Free P+P’ instead of ‘Free Delivery’ could earn you more conversions. Make sure you use at least two ads per ad group, this way over time you’ll discover which one performs the best. You should then remove the worst and add a new variant into the mix. This process should be repeated as part of an ongoing process allowing you to continually refine and improve. 

5. Not monitoring campaigns

AdWords campaigns should be treated like a work in progress. Constant monitoring and tweaking is the best way to ensure your campaigns are efficient and cost-effective. Use AdWords data to adjust bids and budgets, and make changes to your keywords and ad text. It is bad practice to create a campaign and leave it to run itself. Doing so will result in poor performance and decreases in efficiency. 

Eliminating these five cardinal sins from your campaigns will hugely increase your chances of AdWords success.

Oliver Lees is digital marketing manager at ecommerce agency Space 48.

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