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3 Common Google Ads Mistakes

Mike Friedman

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Mike’s Tuesday Tips:

These are just a couple of common mistakes I see when auditing Google Ads accounts. This is going to be strictly for search based text ads. I’m not going to get into shopping ads or display ads here. All of this would apply to BingAds campaigns as well.

#1 Campaigns are Where You Control What You Spend

One of the most common mistakes I see is in the way that an account is organized. Always remember that it is at the campaign level where you control the budget.

If you are advertising multiple products or services, each one of them should have their own campaign. The reason for that is simple.

Let’s say you are selling men’s clothing: shirts, pants, socks, and shoes.

You would have each of those in their own campaign. In fact, you may even divide it up further. One campaign for dress shirts. One campaign for tshirts. One campaign for running shirts. And so on.

Same thing for pants. A campaign for dress pants. A campaign for jeans. A campaign for sweatpants. A campaign for exercise pants.

The mistake I see people frequently make is they make one campaign for shirts, and then divide things up at the ad group level. They create an ad group for dress shirts, another for tshirts, and another for running shirts.

The problem with that organization is simple. What if your highest converting or most profitable shirts that you sell are dress shirts and you want to increase your ad spend on them? If you increase the money on your shirts campaign, it is going to be spent on all the ad groups. You have no ability to funnel the money towards a specific ad group.

Depending on your inventory, you may even get more granular than what I suggested above. Instead of just dress shirts, you might want separate campaigns for short-sleeve dress shirts, long-sleeve dress shirts, dress shirts for boys, and campaigns for button-down collars and non-button-down collars.

However you do it, always keep in mind that you control the budget at the campaign level and any products or services that you want to have complete control over the ad spend on need to have their own campaign.

But Mike, I can just move products into their own campaign if I need to in the future.

Sure, you can, but you lose the historical data (Quality Scores, conversion data, automated bidding data, ad performance, etc.). You are basically starting from scratch with a new campaign when you do that.

#2 Keep Your Ad Groups Small

The second most common mistake I see is ad groups with tons of keywords. Over the years, I have lost count of how many accounts I have seen where they just had one ad group in a campaign and all their keywords were thrown into it.

Generally, your ad groups should not be more than 3-5 keywords each. I don’t go over 10 max.

The reason for this is Quality Scores and Ad Rank. Your Quality Scores are impacted by several factors. The most common and important ones:

Click-through rate of your ads.

The relevance of each keyword to its ad group and to its ad text.

The relevance and quality of your landing page.

Historical Google Ads account performance.

It is easier to control those relevance factors with tightly constructed ad groups and landing pages. The more broad your keywords get, the harder it is to make the ads and landing pages hyper-relevant. This is also good for conversions. It’s easier to convey a consistent message from search to ad to landing page this way.

Today with the expanding definition of exact match search queries in Google Ads, it becomes even less necessary to have lots of different keywords in the same ad group.

Why should you be worried about Quality Scores? Well, that’s the next one.

#3 Not Worrying About Quality Scores

This is a huge mistake costing advertisers a ton of money. I have often audited ad accounts and found lots of search terms with Quality Scores of 3 and less.

The exact method for calculating Ad Rank is not shared publicly by Google, but Quality Score is a factor. In fact, they use a real-time Quality Score that does not get shared with you and takes into account things like proximity of the searcher, the time of day, nature of the search term, etc.

What we get to see and work with is a general Quality Score. Why this matters is because it helps to determine how much you will pay per click. Higher QS’s get discounted positions in the advertising auctions.

Lower QS’s have to pay more than other advertisers in order to show in the same position. Lower QS’s also means that oftentimes your ad just won’t be shown at all.


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