Google Ads sucks! That is the conclusion you've came to after weeks of using the pay per click advertising platform with little to nothing to show for it.
It's not hard to see why Google Ads (or Google Adwords as it's formally known) can suck for many new or even experienced business owners but the most likely reason to why Google Ads suck is that you're doing it wrong.
Truth is, some of the largest companies in the world are spending millions of dollars per month on Google Ads. Will they be spending that much if it's not working?
While it can be comforting to know other people are on the same boat as you, this article will not dwell on the negatives but instead will try to highlight the main culprits on why you're getting little to no results on the world's largest Search Engine Marketing platform.
Below are the main reasons why you are not getting the results you're after while using Google Ad:
*** BONUS – This is quite a lengthy article. If you're short on time, you can download a pdf summary of this article for use or print later. Just fill in your name and email address below:
You're using AdWords Express
Google Ads wants you to set up your campaign as quickly as possible that's why when you're first setting up your campaign it streamlines your process through Google Adwords Express.
*** Note: Check out Google Ads vs Adwords Express for a more comprehensive comparison.
Adwords Express is an automated approach by Google to gain you the most exposure and clicks as possible.
'But why is that a bad thing?' I hear you ask.
In marketing terms, this means Google optimises your campaign to get the most impressions and clicks but NOT conversions! Conversions are what gets you sales not impressions and clicks.
How does Adwords Express do this?
Adword Express makes it so everything is broad matched from the get-go. Broad match In layman terms will have Google Ads match you with the widest possible of keyword variations.
For instance, if you sell only Nike shoes and you have 'shoes' as a broad match, you may have your ad show up for 'Adidas shoes' or 'shoe reviews'.
When someone clicks on your ad, they'll see only Nike shoes and leave which means you are wasting serious money on ineffective clicks.
Which leads us to:.
You Haven't Done Your Research
Research, specifically keywords research is not something you do in Google Ads if you're just starting out but it is arguably the most important step.
Consider the following interchangeable search terms:
Below are the comparative average monthly searches and top of page bids.
One has lower cost and much much more searches per month than the other but they both mean the same thing (at least in your eyes). However, your potentially customers sees things a little differently.
If you're serious about Google Ads, you really need to be obsessive about what keywords your clients are using – don't just assume.
Your Actual Google Ads Ad Sucks
Your Google Ads ad is what is shown when your potential client searches for one of your keywords. As such it should be used to:
- Highlight your product and its features
- Draw them in or entice them to take action
If you're just starting out or have a limited budget you want to be as focused as you can. This means having all the keywords in your Ad title. For instance, if a person is searching for 'cheap flights Japan', which of the below ads do you think they will click on:
That's right, a vast majority will click on the 2nd ad (in green) because it contains the exact keywords they're searching for. Furthermore, they have an exact pricing on their ad – they're not afraid to put it out there.
The first ad is probably as plain as you can get in terms of ad headlines. Nothing in the ad (apart from Japan flight) tells me it will have what I'm looking for which is 'cheap flights'.
People by nature wants the path of least resistance. If the ad headline doesn't grab you in and tempt you to find out more, they will most likely go with the alternative.
By going with the alternative, your click through rate will decrease which means their ad will end up costing more per click in the long run.
The second ad also has Ad extensions that are proven to increase CTR.
Google Ad Extensions are designed to improve your CTR by including additional persuasive information on your ad such as location, telephone number, sitelinks, and reviews etc…
If your ad advertising cheap flights to Japan, when a person clicks on the ad, it better contain what they're searching for otherwise they will click out of it leading you to lose money on that click.
A relevant ad and landing page decreases bounce rate and Google use it as an important metric to determine the quality score of ad.
The Quality Score of an ad determines the cost of your bid and its ad rank.
If you have a low quality score you will need to bid more to be given the same ad rank as one that has a higher quality score as demonstrated by the below formula:
Ad Rank = CPC BID x Quality Score
By improving your quality score, you end up paying less for the same ad rank.
Ad extensions can help with better CTR and conversion. If you're not using extensions, then you are missing out on some of the perks that comes along with it.
Barrier of Entry
If you find many people click on your ads but aren't buying then you may need to add a barrier of entry to weed out your non ideal clients to save them from depleting your ad budget. For instance, if you only sell upscale products then it may be a good idea to list the pricing of your product to prevent everyone from clicking on your ad. Likewise, if your product is catered to a certain gender or demographic then it would be a wise decision to list them on your ad as well.
Call to Action Incentive
What do you want your customer to do when they reach your landing page? Do you want them to sign up, call your business or download a document?
Incentive for call to action that works well include a free consultation or product or a discount.
Your intention on the landing page should be either:
- Get your client to follow through or
- Leave your website.
There is no step 3.
You're not A/B Split testing
Split testing in short allows you to see what works and what doesn't.
People are motivated by different reasons to buy. Some by features, others by price or fear of missing out . By not testing your ads to include different motives and wording variations, you risk missing out on a certain demographic of your buyers.
You're Not Segmenting Your Services or Product Categories
Segmenting your Google Ad to your services and product categories tailors your ad to what your clients are searching for.
Without segmentation, your ads become a big messy pile and you burn through your ad budget on irrelevant or ineffective ads.
As a general rule, at the minimum you should have a different product group for each major service or product category you're providing.
So as an example for a photo studio that provides weddings, engagements, and family photography, they should have a different ad group and keywords for each major category.
For a computer shop that provides hardware sales, installation, and cloud based services then there should be ad group for each of the major services etc…
Below is the absolute minimum you should do to segment your Google Ads campaign. Obviously if you have the time and budget then adding and testing more ads and landing pages will help you find the best ads to increase CTR and conversion and subsequently decrease cost of your campaign.
Your Google Ads Landing Page Sucks
Your landing page is the page a visitor visits when they click on your ad.
For Google Ad beginners, chances are they will point the landing page to their home page.
And then they wonder why Google Ads is not working.
Your potential clients who are the closest to buying an item will often search for terms that very specific. By not having a landing page tailored specifically to them, you risk them clicking out of your ad before they even find your product or service.
Ideally, you want separate landing pages on each Ad Group or Services at the very least.
You're Not Using It Long Enough
When you're starting out in Google Ads, we recommend at least one month(ideally two) of testing to tweak the results and lower your cost per click.
The reason it takes this long is due to the law of averages. Your industry may be particularly slow for one particular month due to your ideal clients away for industry specific holidays, financial or business reasons etc..
By testing for more than one month, you will begin to see the average result of what your Google Ads campaign will look like..
One of the main reasons of not testing long enough or giving up early is due to budget constraints as we will discuss below:
Your Budget is Too Small
We get many calls from clients who received a promotion offer of $100 credit to spend on Google Ads and not having results call us for suggestions.
With only $100 you could potentially use up that credit in 10 clicks or less (depending on what keywords you're targeting). That's far too little to see the average results of a Google Ads campaign.
Think of any business online or brick and mortar store. Out of 10 people who walks into your store, how many actually walk in and buy an item? This should be the same scenario with your ads campaign. Your ads bring them to your business but not every single one of them will buy.
Added to it are the many mistakes you see in this article and you can see why it can take a moderate budget to fine tune everything to make it work.
As a guideline, $1000 should be the minimum for testing even if you've avoided every mistake as mentioned in this article.
If you do not set aside even that then Google Ads may not be the platform you want to use.
You're Not Reviewing and Optimising Your Google Ad Campaign
Google Ads is not a set and forget type of thing. You need to constantly keep a tab on it otherwise you will end up paying more for low quality ads, revenue draining bad keywords and low conversion which can hamper your business opportunities and bottom line.
Let's demonstrate this with a scenario:
Suppose you are currently paying $3 for every click of your ad. By optimising your ad, landing page and improving your quality score you know you could be paying $2 per click. Now $1 difference might not seem much but consider a $1000 monthly budget and the difference is between 333 and 500 clicks! Over the course of a year and that's 4000 clicks compared to 6000 clicks – a 50% difference! Imagine what those 50% could do for your business if even some of them are converted to paying customers.
That is without even optimising conversion rate and weeding out negative keywords!
By not optimising your ads and weeding out bad keywords and ads constantly, you will never have it run at its optimum.
Your Products and Services are not Suitable for Google Ads
We admit, Google Ads is not for everyone. There are some industries and products that are simply not worth the time and effort with Google Ads. They include industries that are ultra competitive and have low profit margins.
Google Ads can be a difficult platform for new users and mistakes are easily made. However, given enough time to learn and test your ad campaigns, it can provide a powerful source of leads and revenue stream to your business.
When you're not getting good results through Google Ads, it's usually a combination of the above mistakes. However, Google Ads is a level playing field for everyone so even if you've come to the party late, you're not at a disadvantage unlike something like SEO.
Remember that Google Ads is not a set and forget solution. You need to be constantly testing and optimising your ads campaign in order to get the most out of every dollar spent.
By spending more time on research and refining your ads, landing page, and testing and optimising constantly, you will find your Google ads will begin to suck less and give you the results and return on investment you desire.