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6 Ways to Fail with AdWords Campaigns

December 6th, 2012

While it’s easy to set up an AdWords account in order to run ads on Google, it’s even easier to manage your advertising campaigns poorly. In the process you’ll waste a lot of time and even more money.

Paul Downs, a small business owner who manages his own AdWords campaigns, shared in the New York Times that his campaign was being wasted on the wrong people, “Google’s algorithm saw the total number of clicks generated as evidence of success, regardless of whether we closed any business. By all of its own metrics, the AdWords campaign was a home run. I had received lots of impressions and bought lots of clicks. The only problem was that these apparently were the wrong clicks.”

Here are six ways you could fail with AdWords if you don’t plan ahead:

Failing to Link to a Landing Page

Website visitors will be lost in the shuffle if you send them to your home page. By setting up a custom landing page with either a plugin or an HTML company, you’ll be able to convert your AdWord leads into sales since you can keep the process simple and focused on one action. Keep the copy simple and limited to what you want your visitors to do—such as subscribing to a newsletter, making a purchase, or downloading a free sample.

Failing to Understand Your Customers

The foundation to any marketing effort is identifying who your customers are and what problems they’re trying to solve. Failing this step at the beginning will doom your AdWords campaign since your success hinges on targeting the most closely related keywords to your customers’ needs and tendencies.

Perry Marshall and Bryan Todd write for Entrepreneur.com, “These people probably don’t know about you, but they do know about your product. Often they have an immediate problem and have decided to go online looking for a solution. They may have already made up their mind about how they want to solve the problem. Now they’re searching Google, trying to locate the product that fits their solution and then buy it.”

Failing to Understand Keyword Matching

There are several different kinds of keyword groups. Some are very broad keywords. For example, if you sell computers, “laptop” would be a broad keyword. They’ll become more specific as you specify a brand, such as a Toshiba. There are also exact match keywords such as a particular laptop model by Toshiba. Naturally the exact match will reach fewer customers, but they may be more likely to purchase your product. Nevertheless, broad match keywords are important too.

For example, Anton McCarthy shares at Shopify, “[broad keywords] can be a useful match type to use at the outset of a campaign in particular, and when you may not be all that sure which keywords customers are most likely to use when searching for what it is you sell. Then… you can use it to refine your campaign, eliminating the keywords which aren’t bringing you value.”

Failing to Create More Than One Ad

There isn’t a precise science to AdWords success since every customer and every industry is a little different, and that’s why you need to experiment. Kalena Jordan writes for SitePro News, “You should always create multiple text ads for each keyword so that you can measure which ads work best. Not everyone will click on the same ad so you need to create and test multiple ads with different wording to see which convert best. AdWords will gradually show only the best performing ads over time.”

Failing to Remove the Display Network

The key to AdWords success is targeting your ads on the most relevant searches on Google. If you include the display network with your AdWords campaign, your ads will appear in extremely broad search results that will drain your advertising budget quickly.

While you may want to still create specific campaigns that target display ads, it’s not sustainable to run all of your ads in the display network. The search display will provide a far more focused range of keywords for your ads.

Failing to Read Your Search Query Reports

The only way you’ll improve on your AdWords campaign effectiveness is by evaluating your results, refining your copy, and tinkering with your keywords. That may sound like a lot of work, but if you invest some time in the early stages of your campaigns, you should be able to refine them to the point that regular maintenance won’t take too long.

Jeremy Decker writes for Search Engine Journal, “Rather than attributing your clicks, costs, and conversion data to particular keywords within your account, this report allows you to see exactly what users are typing into Google to generate your ads. This data is extremely useful when it comes to expanding your negative keyword list. If you see that there are particular searches that are not relevant to your product or service, simply add these search phrases as negative keywords within your account.”

Success with an AdWords campaign takes some research, planning, and testing. The good news is that even if it’s really easy to fail with AdWords, there are plenty of ways to meet your goals.

This post was sent by Lior Levin, who works for a a company that provides shopping cart abandonment services to ecommerce companies.