8 Common Fails of AdWords (SEM) Campaigns

Pay Per Click Ads, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Ads or Adwords… whatever you like to call it, it’s still very much a growing industry and is more commonly adopted by a wide range of businesses. It also has a rather low cost of entry. Consequently, there are plenty of campaign managers that are entering the field and taking on accounts, with very little or broad experience. While AdWords can be a great advantage to a company’s exposure and source of generating leads, doing it incorrectly can cost more than the media bill from Google.

Here are 8 of the most common failures we often see in AdWords campaigns, and which you should avoid ‘at all costs’:


AdWords Fail #1: Scale of Targeting VS Budget

A common thing that we often see when auditing SEM accounts, is the campaign manager’s ability to find a sweet spot between setting your ads to be too broad, versus the budget they have to work with. It’s a fine balance. When you’re targeting is too broad, with a limited daily budget, it can create inefficient ad distribution. The result is either:

  1. Your ads stop showing too early in the day, and you therefore don’t make efficient use of clicks from the ad impressions you’ve shown.
  2. Your ads are showing below the ideal position i.e. position 4 and below, meaning that you won’t get the top click throughs, and relevant leads.

This is essentially putting your product or service, out of the reach of potential customers. Visibility should not be the top metric to measure, if you have a budget constraint. Rather, you should concentrate on conversions, leads and ROI. So, if budget and your Cost Per Click (CPC) is a constraint, then you’re better off going for more targeted ad groups, and keywords that are more niche or specific. It’s all about quality, instead of focusing on quantity. After all, you won’t get any conversions out of visibility. This approach does of course require more time and attention from your search campaign manager. So, if they’re managing a rather high volume of multiple client AdWords accounts, it can be easy to take the eye off the road, and find your campaign driving into the wilderness. Therefore, keywords aren’t being optimised on a weekly basis.

AdWords Fail #2: Searchability

A lot of the time, businesses or brands are just not simply using the right keywords. For instance, if no one is particularly searching for the specific keywords your products or services are labelled as, within your business. Or, using keywords with no historical search volumes, so it’s more based on the businesses product line, rather than the customer’s perception of their product in the online world. The main prerequisite to success in paid search is having an audience that is actively looking for something YOU are offering, not the other way around. It’s a more consumer centric approach to marketing which most campaign managers need to get their head around.

It can be a bit of a challenge to select the right combination of keywords, that will attract relevant audiences within your set budget. So, the best thing to do is use the Keyword Planner tool, review search data and look at what and how people are actually searching on Google in relation to what your offering, just like the picture below. You might be surprised at what you’ll fine. There could even be new opportunities that are uncovered.

Use the Keyword Planner to look at search volume


AdWords Problem #3: No Negative Keywords

You have insufficient use of negative keywords to prevent your ads showing on irrelevant searched terms, resulting in significant waste in spending on clicks for keywords which are not likely to generate conversions. An example is where we’ve seen wastage on search terms that are not even related to the location of the business i.e. you’re targeting Perth but have no negatives against keywords like ‘Sydney’. Or, your wanting to generate clicks and leads from ‘online travel agent’, but you haven’t placed a negative against the word ‘courses’ – so your ads appear for search terms like ‘travel agent course’. These sort of errors can lead to considerable wastage in spending.

A good trick is to get your campaign manager to run a ‘Top Keywords’ report, which will outline a large list of keywords that generated clicks for your campaign. Don’t be overwhelmed by the data, as a quick scan of your keywords each month will guarantee spotting wasted clicks on specific unwanted search terms.

Don't forget about the negative keywords!


PPC Problem #4: “Set and Forget”

Devoting too little time to optimising a campaign can be lethal. It takes time and effort to learn and make it work the way that’s right for your business. As the competitive landscape and trends of a product or service are constantly changing, you need to put in more time and effort to update your campaigns. Updating your campaigns means to do ongoing things like restructuring ad groups, adding new keywords and revising ad copy and messaging, which will keep your ads relevant.

The main issue we see here is when media agencies or campaign managers are looking after far too many accounts. This is usually common in agencies that are built for high volume of customer AdWords accounts. Paid search campaigns should be optimised on a weekly basis, which includes the review of campaign metrics. Campaign reports reveal data such as CTR (Click-Through Rate), Impressions, CPC (Cost-Per-Click), Conversions (leads), Clicks. These are all critical components that should looked at often, questioned and fine tuned to show ongoing improvement. If your not having ongoing conversations at least on a monthly basis with your campaign manager around these metrics then chances are there is not much being done on the account.

In addition a healthy campaign will show good ROI and should encourage you to spend more in order sustain more conversions.

PPC Problem #5: Tracking Results

One of the main successes and effectiveness of AdWords advertising over traditional advertising has been it’s drive towards accountability and conversion tracking. All actions taken in paid search are supported with data. No decision should be made without the supporting facts from the statistic obtained throughout the campaigns. Tracking your results will help you to see where you are and aren’t performing, and help you save money.

PPC Problem #6: Infrastructural Challenges

A common issue faced by most advertisers is that their websites are not properly set-up to convert the leads from their paid search campaigns. A unified layout, paired with relevant content and positive experience are aspects every audience is seeking before deciding to spend money. Unfortunately, a very common issue for non-converting ads is directly linked with landing page experience.

Convince your leads to buy with great website architecture

PPC Problem #7: Account Structure

This is another common issue. A campaign with an adgroup that consists of various keywords which send a broad ad message and takes the user to your home page is dangerous. It’s a sure-fire way to waste a lot of money. Paid search is all about relevance, therefore, an account must structure accordingly to product lines or sales funnels of your business.

So, don’t be the picture below – don’t link back to your home page.

Welcome back to the home page...

PPC Problem #8: Wrong implementation of Tracking

Incorrect implementation of tracking (i.e. conversion tracking or e-commerce tracking) could be more than just a costly mistake. Tracking takes a long time to implement, and by going about it the wrong way, you may end up with the wrong information, and result in removing ads that are making you money.

Unleashing the Power of Shopify: The Ultimate Advantage in Meta, Google, and SEO

In today's digital age, establishing a strong online presence is crucial for the success of any business. E-commerce platforms play a pivotal role in enabling businesses to thrive in the competitive online marketplace. Among the various platforms available, Shopify stands out as a leading solution that offers unmatched benefits, particularly in advertising for Meta, Google, and SEO.

What are the 3 phases of Equity Crowdfunding?

Raising capital is an essential part of any business venture, and for most, it can be a challenging and time-consuming process. However, thanks to modern technology, companies can now leverage various virtual platforms to simplify and expedite the capital-raising process.

7 Must-haves for Equity Crowdfunding advertising

Equity crowdfunding has revolutionised the way startups and small businesses raise capital, providing a platform for entrepreneurs to connect with a large pool of potential investors. However, with so many businesses vying for the attention of investors, it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd.