4 Biggest Blunders Businesses make with Google Ads

“Give me a home among the gum trees, with lots of plumb trees, a sheep or two…”

I used to love that song when I was a kid. As I started out to write this blog article my mind automatically jumped to this song and the line

“I’ve been around the world a couple of times or maybe more. I’ve seen the sights; I’ve had delights on every foreign shore….”

As I feel like that’s what I/we have done with google ads. We stumbled into AdWords back in 2005 with my first business in the payments/financial services space. Over the next 15 years we’ve run google ads for ourselves, our own business and for hundreds of clients. So, I think we’re pretty qualified (actually I know we are one of the best in the business at google ads management) to share with you:

The biggest blunders businesses continue to make with their Google Ads. 

It’s seems a time-honoured tradition that many businesses (and agencies) continue to make bit mistakes when it comes to google ads. Most people running google ads do so only on a circumstantial and coursery approach, and thus produce mediocre results at best.

Many businesses are literally: Pissing money up against the wall

This is because they’re not managing and optimising their campaigns as required. So, without further a due, lets crack in to the 4 biggest blunders businesses make with their google ads.

  1. What the hell is SQA?
  2. Google is the only winner when you choose auto bidding!
  3. It’s called analysis for a reason
  4. Common sense is not so common!

1. What the hell is SQA?

SQA, or search query analysis, is a gold mine when it comes to maximising your ROI. Some call it ‘search term analysis’, either way it allows you to see exactly what people are typing into mr google for him to show your ad. This is very powerful as it does two things:

  1. Cuts Costs – There will be a whole bunch of keywords that we don’t want your ad to show for that mr google currently is showing. This means people are clicking on your ad that don’t want to come through to your site. So, you are literally wasting money every day and every month by bringing the wrong visitor to your site. We want to implement a stringent negatives process to continually weed out these poor visitors that aren’t relevant, thus cutting costs.
  2. New Ideas – There are some great ideas that come out of search terms that you can implement into your digital marketing:
    • New keywords you hadn’t considered to get more of the right people to find out about your products and services.
    • Great content ideas of what your target audience is searching for.
    • Long term business expansion – get ideas of new products and services that your target audience is searching for.

Key take away #1

Do weekly and monthly ‘Search Query Analysis’ to continue bringing more of the right visitors to your website and reduce the number of poor visitors to your website (who will never convert).

2. Google is the only winner when you choose auto bidding!

In the backend, you can choose to let google do the bidding for you or you can manually control the bids (max CPC) your prepared to pay to bring a visitor to your site. In my 15-year experience I have never seen an auto-bid strategy deliver better results than manual bidding.

It Simply Can’t be in your Best Interest!

Given google ads is an auction system, guess what happens if at least 3 competitors are using auto bidding?

  • Jim’s plumbing is set to auto-bid and starting at $3per click
  • Paul’s plumbing is on auto-bid so his account automatically bids $3.10
  • Kamal’s plumbing is on auto-bid so his account automatically bids $3.20 to outbid Paul
  • So, then Jim’s auto-bid jumps in to $3.30

See where this is going?

  • Then Kamal’s kicks back in at $3.40
  • Then Paul’s pushes again to $3.50

So, who wins here? Paul isn’t getting any more conversions, neither is Kamal, but google’s just made an extra 20%!

It’s actually pretty lazy, and you lose out!

We want to manually control the bids based on:

  1. Conversions
  2. Cost per conversion targets
  3. Visitors’ numbers (that convert)

On average we see 10-30% better cost per conversion rates on manual bidding strategies versus auto bidding strategies.

It’s ironic: Google’s account managers (the ones that call you up and pester you ever month or two) are pushing you to use auto bidding as much as possible! It drives up their profit, but not yours. In any other industry that would be a form of collusion!

Note: there are a few exceptions to this rule, especially around google shopping.

Key take away #2

Manual bidding is a MUST! Automated bidding is a lazy man’s game that drives googles profit and not yours!

3. It’s called analysis for a reason

The secret sauce to great google ads performance is all about analysis:

  • What’s converting to outcomes for your business and doing more of it
  • Fixing or getting rid of what’s not producing acceptable returns

That starts by setting a cost per conversion or return on ad spend target. And then managing the campaigns based on these outcomes. Let’s take a look at an example:

Green highlights: Converting well, good conversion rates and good cost per conversions, so let’s give this campaign as much budget as we can.

Red highlights: Converting poorly, high cost per conversion, we need to do something about that:

  • Option 1: This product/service is a priority for the business, we can compete well on it so let’s fix what’s not going well. This requires us to look at a few things:
    • Analyse Keywords (including SQA process above)
      • Are we bringing the right or wrong visitors to the site?
    • The Ads themselves:
      • Are we enticing the right people to click on our ads or the wrong people?
      • Are we communicating the right messages or wrong messages?
    • The landing page:
      • Is the landing page engaging enough and communicating the right messages?
    • Option 2: Can it! Sometimes it’s just as important to stop doing things, so lets be strict on what’s not working for us and put that money to better use else where on campaigns that are converting

This process is what drives better ROI versus mediocre ROI.

Key take away #3

Analyse weekly and monthly conversion rates and cost per conversion and then follow this basic premise:

  • More – let’s get more of what’s converting well
  • Fix – let’s fix what we can improve on
  • Stop – let’s get rid of things that aren’t easily fixable (and revisit on a rainy day, that actually never comes)

4. Common sense is not so common!

Unfortunately, it’s true, and google ads is no different. It takes good common sense to do well. Here are a few examples of some of the biggest ‘common sense’ mistakes we continue to see:

  • You can’t compete: Google and the internet make it a very level playing field. You need to focus your google ads on things you can compete and win on. There is no point on paying for google ads for a widget that you are selling for $50 when the exact same widget is being sold by your competitors for $20. (You can justify a premium under some circumstances but not double the price)
  • You Have no idea of lifetime value: if you don’t know what your lifetime value of a customer is, how can you determine what your cost per customer acquisition model should be? Thus, you can’t work out what your target cost per lead/revenue or return on ad spend (ROAS) needs to be
  • You have an average website: If you’ve got an average website, no matter how good you run/manage google ads you’re always going to have average to poor returns from your google ad spend. That’s your fault not your google ads manager. Build a great website.

Key take away #4

Great Google Ads ROI takes good marketing, can’t get good results without good marketing overall.

Want to learn more? Download our Google Ads eBook for FREE!

It’s filled with rock solid content!

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