It that’s time again -- time to review your paid media performance; specifically, with Google Ads.
If you are like many businesses, you’re most likely going to see a report that tells you, “Hey, my name is Google. Here is how many people clicked on your ad, here is how many leads you got, thanks for your money.”
And, like many businesses, you could decide to accept this message as a byproduct of doing business on the internet and move on with your day. However, there is another way.
A road less traveled.
Inside of turning a blind eye, you could give your account some much-needed maintenance.
“Mind-boggling suggestion, guy, how about some actionable advice?”
Ok. Ok. Don’t say I never did anything for ya.
Here are my Top 11 reasons why you’re spending lots of money on Google Ads, not getting the results you want, and what to do about it.
1. You are not using dedicated landing pages.
Why it’s a mistake: Your website pages and PPC landing pages serve two different purposes.
While it may seem like you are saving resources by using your website pages for PPC ads, this is a costly mistake.
By sending searches to your homepage (instead of a page dedicated to a specific paid media campaign), you are creating a poor experience for your paid search visitors.
You are not giving them what they are asking for when they click on your ad.
Customers are using the keywords you are bidding on for a reason. They are looking for something specific. If, when they click your ad, they are taken to a general page that does not speak directly to these keywords, they’re likely to bounce and your dollar will be wasted.
For example, if you were to search “enterprise CRM training” and you clicked on an ad that took you to a page all about the many different types of training a company had to offer, you would rightfully be a bit unsatisfied.
When a user searches for a topic that you are paying to be seen for, give them exactly what they want. page and then bounce in one of the many leakage points that are common on website pages.
What to do instead: Design a custom landing page for each paid media campaign you have.
For the above-mentioned search, your landing page should present an offer which provide value directly related to “enterprise CRM training.”
This may be an eBook or white paper, but the best would be a video or a form to sign up for more information on a training.
Additionally, the ideal landing page will only present two ways the user away can be directed away from the landing page: the back button and the call-to-action.
2. You Don’t Measure ROI
Why it’s a mistake: Failing to measure your return on investment (ROI) is a fundamental flaw that will cause you to waste advertising dollars.
Simply put, without measuring ROI, you will be unable to know whether or not you are making money and at what margin.
Making sure you have an accurate measurement of how much money is worth investing in your paid media efforts is the first step towards making financially significant improvements in your account.
What to do instead: Install, maintain, and continuously improve a data analytics platform.
For many of our clients, Google Analytics is a great place to start.
Make sure you install your data package in a way that allows you to clearly identify key metrics related to ROI.
At the end of the day, you will want to see how much money you spent versus how many conversions you achieved.
Lowering the price per conversion is the beginning of many paid media optimizations and cannot be achieved without a proper analytic setup.
3. Not Using the Correct Keyword Categories
Why it’s a mistake: From a tactical perspective, keyword categories are what decide the size of impact your ad will have on an audience.
Simply put, if you use a Broad keyword category, you will reach a broad amount of people; if you use any other type of category, you will be narrowing the audience in some shape, form or fashion.
Using a broad match categorization when an exact match is necessary would be akin to using the ‘@here’ in a Slack channel when you only need to speak to a few colleagues.
Both get the job done, but neither is efficient and one will get you on the office’s bad side real quick.
With a broad match categorization, you message will get seen, but a large number of them may not be interested.
What to do instead: Map out your keywords alongside your customer journeys and look for areas where the two do not align.
When you see these areas, reflect on your customers’ journey to determine what keywords they would be searching for during each stage, and implement them into your content.
Keyword and customer journey alignment ensures your customers are continually getting the answers they need to the questions they ask. Without proper alignment, you threaten your image by being unable to provide answers to customers questions.
4. Using Poor Landing Page Design and Copy
Why it’s a mistake: Think of your landing page in the same way you think about your storefront or your office.
Like signs and offices, a landing page can often be the first impression a potential client has with your business.
Whoever lands on that page will form an instant impression based on what they see, read, and experience.
A poor landing experience usually involves a combination of poor graphics, confusing content, and an experience that leaves you wondering what the purpose of the page was in the first place.
In Google Ads, poor landing pages will not see many results because they scare away or frustrate visitors..
What to do instead: Create professional landing pages with great content and great user experience.
A great landing page will have a compelling mix of both media (photos or videos) and a strong CTA.
5. You’re Targeting An Audience That Hasn’t Heard Of You.
Why it’s a mistake: Of all the reasons on this list, this is perhaps the most important. If you don’t take any other reasons from reading this post but this one, you’ll still be coming out on top.
Now, let me caveat. I am not saying that all ads should be remarketing campaigns. I am simply suggesting that creating ads with the purpose of generating qualified leads and putting them in front of people who are not educated enough about your industry, business, or value is a recipe for failure.
If you’re targeting people who haven’t heard of you with your Google Ads, they likely won’t trust you.
If they don't trust you, they’re not likely to give you their hard earned money.
Don’t make the mistake of speaking to people who do not know you.
What to do instead:
Ensure your campaigns are targeting people who have heard of you before, or seen your content before.
Build audience lists in Google Analytics, then retarget them in your Google Ads campaigns.
One highly effective strategy is to create display ads for the purpose of attracting visitors to a website, building an audience list on the website, and then remarketing to that audience.
6. You’re Not Using Extensions
Why it’s a mistake:
Extensions are additional bits of copy that can be attached to your ads. When you use them, not only do you offer searchers more options to meet/complete their intent, you also make your ad BIGGER.
This logic dates back to the beginning of advertising, for good reason.
Extensions provide the necessary real estate to allow searchers the longest amount of time possible to see your search ad.
Plus, they bring intended actions like getting in contact to the forefront and make them much easier to complete.
What to do instead: Use extensions to give your ad the space it needs to be seen.
For a more advanced strategy, consider which extensions will provide the most value for searchers.
There are a variety of different extensions, ranging from phone numbers to shopping coupons, and the topic has been talked about fully ad nauseam.
The basic point is: use the extensions that make the most sense for your business.
7. You’re Not Using Negative Keywords
Why it’s a mistake: Negative keywords are the words that you don’t want your ad to be associated with and are a great way to help guide Google’s ad platform in how to best display yours.
Simply put, instead of thinking about where you want your ad to display, think about where you don't want it to display.
Insert keywords that prevent your ad from showing for searches you don't want to associate with your brand.
What to do instead: Begin to add negative keywords in an organized and systematic manner.
As you can imagine, there are some negative keywords that every account should use in addition to industry-specific and campaign specific negative keywords.
Like many PPC professionals, I like to have a working list of negative keywords before any account build. If you don’t know how to choose your keywords, consider working with a professional or, use this article as a starting point.
8. Not Bidding on Branded Keywords
Why it’s a mistake: By not owning keywords like your business’ name, flagship product, or service, and other significant proprietary terms, you are doing your bottom line and your reputation a disservice.
Savvy competitors will likely see that you are not bidding on your own branded keywords, and they will then buy those words themselves.
When competitors cannibalize your brand terms, they show up in search queries where you should be. In other words, when customers search your name, looking for you, they’ll see your competitors’ names first.
What to do instead: Start a branded paid media campaign.
Use the names of your business, flagship products and services, and any trademarked slogans to build out a keyword list.
Once you have a list of branded terms to bid on, create landing pages with ad copy that direct user searches to offers and information that directly applies to your brand image.
For most businesses, branded keywords are super cheap, so these are also great if you are advertising with small budgets.
9. You Don’t Know Your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
Why it’s a mistake: Customer Lifetime Value is the total value, often expressed in revenue or profit metrics, a customer or client represents to your business over the course of your relationship together.
Once you know your target CLV, you can accurately budget for your paid media campaigns, ensuring that you don’t spend more on acquiring a customer than you end up making from them.
Without knowing your CLV, you may have no idea whether or not the price you are paying for your Google Ads conversions is worth the time and capital required to generate them.
This effectively removes any ability to use a data-driven approach. Without the ability to use a data-driven approach, you are literally guessing at what you should be doing instead of making an informed decision about what you should be doing. This leads to costly errors.
What to do: Calculate Target CLV for your business, use it to inform data-driven campaign decisions. There are a variety of different formulas to do this.
I won’t lie. The few times I have been tasked to calculate the true CLV of a business, it has been challenging.
At the end of the day, if you are an enterprise level organization your CLV calculation may be a bit more complicated than a freelance copywriter. For most of us, this article is a great place to begin to learn how to calculate CLV.
10. Your Landing Page Has a Poor ‘Attention Ratio’
Why it’s a mistake:
Attention Ratio is the balance between your landing page’s “leaks” and call-to-actions (CTAs).
Leaks are places where the user could click and move off the landing page, away from the desired CTA. You do not want your users moving away from a landing page which you are paying for them to visit.
The worse the ratio, the harder it is to generate conversions. An ideal ratio is 1:1, but I’ve seen as bad as 75:1 in some cases.
A poor attention ratio is the number one indicator that the landing page most likely has other areas that will need attention.
What to do instead: Fix your leaks. Do you have a header with links? Remove it. Footer? You already know the drill. Any link that doesn’t contribute to a conversion, remove it.
These are my Top 10 reasons why your paid media account is not performing. They are also likely the reasons why you are not seeing as much value in your paid media campaigns as you would like.
Keep in mind, these are my top 10, not the only 10.
There are a great many ways to mess up an account. You can avoid them by staying abreast of professional best practices, monitoring your account health, and creating ads that give searchers value.
If all else fails, remember to keep it simple. Reach out to a Google rep or a paid media professional and ask them questions.
Remember, things change so quickly, we are always students when it comes to any marketing initiative. If you are experiencing difficulties achieving the account performance you desire, use these tips to get back on track.