Google search results are responsible for over 70% of market share. AdWords offers countless customization options and has a massive audience, with millions of people completing Google searches every day. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder you’re interested in using AdWords to promote your business. 

However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to miss the mark—throwing money out the window with badly set-up campaigns that don’t bring your business any leads.

If in doubt, always recruit a talented digital marketing agency to help you make sure you’re achieving the best return on your AdWords investment. Handily, you can contact one using the form at the bottom of this page.

In the meantime, we’ve identified some common AdWords ailments that your campaign might suffer from. These tips apply to the Google Search Network (the promoted links you see at the top of your search results in Google). We’ll save our tips about the Google Display Network (the ads you see at the top or side of pages as you browse the web, YouTube ads, etc.) for another day…

1. Your keywords aren’t appropriate

Keywords are the building blocks of AdWords – they’re the words people use to find what they’re looking for on the search network. These are the words that will put your ad in front of your target audience. However, it takes a lot of work to find exactly the right words to use. If your AdWords campaign isn’t performing well, your keywords could be the culprit;

    • Too narrow: nobody is actually searching for the very specific search term you selected as a keyword and therefore your ads won’t be displayed. For example, it’s unlikely people will be organically searching for “[MyBusinessName] Event June 2018 in London”.
    • Too broad: Unless you’re willing to spend big bucks, using popular keywords like ‘social media’ is a mistake. This is due to the sheer amount of competition, which means your ads are unlikely to be shown.
    • No negative keywords: Using negative keywords allows you to exclude terms that would generate your ads, but aren’t related to your product/services. For example, if your business sells prescription glasses but you notice that people searching for drinking glasses are seeing your ad, you could add ‘drinking’ as a negative keyword. This reduces wasted ad impressions on people who are searching for different things.

2. Your ads are problematic

Your ads are what prospective clients actually see, so they should be compelling and persuade your audience to click through to your website. If your ad is being shown a lot, but you have a very low click-through rate (CTR) then your ads could be the problem.

    • They don’t include a call to action (CTA): Ads should compel the audience to actually do something. Get in touch? Call you? Download a guide? If you don’t include a CTA you’ll miss out on prime lead generating opportunities. 
    • They’re too spammy: Don’t use excessive or random cApItAl LeTtErS. Don’t spel tings rong.  Don’t use random symbol$$$ or characters. Basically, anything that looks annoying for your audience, and is designed purely to get their attention at the expense of quality: don’t do it. Google will penalize you and can refuse to display your ads, no matter how high your budget is, or how good your keywords are. This brings us on to…
    • They don’t include the keywords in them: Do all your keywords relate to business’ services? Put these words in your ads. It will help Google connect the dots of your campaign and make your ads more likely to be shown. Whilst you’re there, make sure the landing page has your keywords on it and is relevant to the ad too. This gives the best possible user journey for your audience, from search to landing on your web page. Google will like this, and so will your audience.

Note: Google actually rates your ads; higher rated ads are more likely to be shown. By improving your ads in line with Google’s policies, they will be rated more highly by Google. This ultimately increases the likelihood of your ad being shown to your audience which, in turn, makes it more likely a potential client will see it. So there’s a big incentive to get them right!


3. You’re targeting the wrong people

It’s very tempting to target the broadest audience possible to maximize the amount of people that will see your ad, and hope some of them click on it. But there’s a whole host of reasons why this isn’t a good idea. As experts in reaching right-fit clients, we go on a lot about why blanket targeting isn’t a good idea. To find out more, you can download our Self-Managing Client Attraction Process guide.

So, how do you find these right-fit clients? Here are a few basic options you can play around with:

    • Location options: For starters, use the location option to narrow down your audience. You might want to select a particular country, city, or businesses within a certain radius of your office.
    • Demographics: AdWords gives you the option to target by demographic information such as age or gender, or exclude certain groups altogether.
    • Remarketing: Remarketing (also known as retargeting) is a great tool to recapture an already interested audience. Set up a campaign to retarget people who have visited your website, or—if you’re feeling really confident—people who have visited a certain page but not another page. For example, you could target people who have visited a download page but not reached the ‘thank you’ page after they’ve downloaded the item. This allows you to put your business back into the forefront of their mind next time they’re online. Remarketing can be confusing, and takes some time to set up, so if you want a pair of expert eyes on the case then we’d be happy to help.

4. You’re not optimizing

When you’re first starting out with AdWords, it’s best practice to set a campaign as live, wait a week or two and then start optimizing. Optimizing means you look at what’s working and what’s not, and do more of what’s working, less of what’s not. You should also try new things based on the data you have.

For example, if you see a particular keyword is driving lots of clicks to your website, you could increase the spend on this keyword. Or, if a particular ad has failed to generate any interest, stop it from running and develop a new one based on a better performing ad.

There are numerous ways to optimize your campaigns, but make sure you give Google a couple of weeks to adapt after any major changes.

And last, but by no means least;

5. Your campaign objectives are wrong.

This is a big one, and requires more help than we can give in a single blog post. If you’re doing the basics right but not seeing any results, your campaign could be pointing in the wrong direction. In this situation, we’d recommend enlisting the help of an expert digital marketing agency in order to achieve the best return on investment possible. As we might have mentioned, you’re on the website of a great one!

Right now you’re probably feeling one of two ways:

  • Great! I feel so much better about my ads. I’ve done the basics and now I’m ready to take the next step and make my Google AdWords campaigns even better. How do I do that?


  • I’m so overwhelmed, I don’t know where to start. Help!

We get it. Google AdWords can be overwhelming. Whilst the endless customizable options mean you can tweak your campaign to be the best that it can be, it’s difficult to know where to start.

Either way, we’re here to help. At JTN, we have marketing experts who are Google AdWords Search and Display Certified. Not only that, but we can help with the full spectrum of digital marketing strategy for your firm, to ensure your AdWords activity aligns with a greater strategic purpose.

If you’d like to know more, our account manager Matt would love to hear from you. Shoot him an email: [email protected]

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