Google Ads is a highly valuable tool in drawing traffic from consumers who are likely to spend money in your Shopify store. However, it is easy to slip up and misuse the features available which results in wasted cash from your marketing allowance.
To protect your budget and ensure a lucrative Google Ads campaign, take a look at some of these common mistakes so you can avoid them.
Common Mistakes To Avoid For Your Google Ads Campaign
Not optimizing keywords
For your ads to surface in the most relevant searches, choosing the right keywords and implementing them in the right way is imperative. Knowing which keywords to use for your ads is one thing, but utilizing them in a way that will better target your desired audience is another. Unfortunately, the latter tends to be something many businesses fail to get to grips with.
Let’s dive into the different aspects of keyword optimization so your ad bucks are spent wisely.
Keywords match type
Google offers three types of keyword matches: Broad match, Phrase match, and Exact Match. All too often, businesses tend to use the wrong match type, which hurts the efficacy of their ad campaigns. It helps to understand what each match type means and how to best use them. So, let’s dig in!
Broad match is the default keyword match type that essentially does what it says on the tin. The keywords you allocate here will show people your ads if their search term is related to them no matter which order they type the query into the search engine. Sounds great, right? So, what’s the problem with this? - you’re surely thinking.
Let’s say you have a women’s dress made for summer that you’d like to create an ad for so you bid on womens summer dress as your broad match keyword. Initially, this option seems to make sense. You’ll definitely get more impressions with this match type. However, the relevance - and therefore your conversions - will take a massive hit. Your ad will also surface to consumers searching for summer wedding dress, or even kids summer dress. This, of course, would be highly irrelevant and result in wasted ad spend. Rather than sticking to the default match type, consider using one of the other match types.
When you use Phrase match, it requires searchers to type in your keyword phrase in the exact order you’ve written it in and its close variants. Consumers can type in words before or after the keyword phrase and still have your ad show up. So it gives your ad a little more wiggle room whilst conserving relevance. This is also particularly useful if the meaning of your search term changes depending on the order of the phrase. To activate Phrase match for your keywords all you need to do is enter the phrase in quotation marks.
Exact match is the most stringent of the match types. Your ad only appears if the search query precisely resembles the keywords in your Google Ads campaign. It will also take into account very close variants like singular or plural form, misspellings, and abbreviations but not synonyms. This match type tends to have higher conversions and works particularly great for products with distinctive features. To use Exact match, type your keywords and phrases in square brackets.
When deciding on which keyword match type to use, it’s useful to think about what your ad is featuring and how precise search terms need to be for the ad to be relevant.
Including negative keywords is a must if you want to lower your ad cost yet ensuring your ads only appear in the most relevant searches. Negative keywords are words or phrases that are excluded from your search targeting. This works especially well in tandem with broad matches as irrelevant synonyms can be eliminated. As with the keyword match types, you can define whether to negate broad matches, phrase matches, or exact matches.
Negative keyword match types. (Source: Wordstream)
Not testing or using ad variations
When formulating ads, you want to be sure of what works best for the audiences you’re targeting, right? The best way to know which elements of your campaign are working or not working is with comparison. Creating only one ad per ad group or just a single variation seems to be a trap many store owners fall into.
Google Ads provides a number of tools to help users test and experiment with different ad versions. Ad Variations allows you to quickly make alterations to text or headlines, try out different promotions, or highlight the benefits of your product or service in different ways. This can be applied to specific campaigns or to everything in your Google Ads account. It is recommended to create two or three ad variations for each ad group you run.
To create an ad variation, scroll down to the bottom of the page menu and select Drafts & Experiments then click on the Ad Variations tab.
Another great testing tool is Campaign Experiments. This provides you with more comprehensive elements to adjust such as bid strategies, landing pages, keywords, scheduling, targeting, and display URLs. The tool basically lets you create a copy of an existing ad to make your desired changes while maintaining the same budget. The ads will run simultaneously so you can keep an eye on and compare their performances in real-time.
To create an ad experiment, scroll down on the left-hand side menu under All Campaigns and click on Drafts & Experiments. You can then make a new campaign draft for your chosen ad. (Source: Website Optimization)
Whichever of the tools you choose, make sure you test just one change at a time. A variety of elements for A/B testing make it virtually impossible to deduce precisely which change made an impact. So, start with one element, give it a few variations then move on to the next.
The default settings of Google Ads targeting can also wreak havoc on the vigor of your campaign. One of them is to do with location-based targeting.
You may be surprised to find out that Google Ads actually targets people outside of the location you choose by default. This is because in addition to people in and regularly in your chosen locations, it also displays your ad to people who have shown an interest in those locations too.
(Source: Search Engine Journal)
Google deems that someone has shown an interest in a location if they have searched for it in the past, have been there physically before, or have used Google Maps to find the location. This may serve ads to tons of irrelevant people, which will drain your ad spend. It’s, therefore, a good idea to take a look at your reports to see if interest-based location is negatively affecting your results.
Another common problem when it comes to location-based targeting is to skip regional trends and factors. Typically, relying upon automated bidding makes it easy to negate regional factors. For example, in major cities, people tend to view content via their phones as they commute, hence, drilling down your targeting in these areas with device modifiers would be the way forward. Be sure to check your Location section and go into the city level to optimize your bidding here.
Not using Ad extensions
According to Google, Ad extensions can contribute up to 15% higher click-through rate. That’s a whole lot of extra clicks for no additional cost! Despite this, loads of ads do not use this highly valuable feature.
Getting searchers to click on your ad is the first step towards achieving a purchase, so doing all you can to enable that is key. Let’s take a quick look at what ad extensions are, how to use them, and which ones are best for upping your Google Ads game.
Ad extensions are extra bits of information about your business to the main body of text that can be included in your ads on SERPs. Not only do they solve the issue of limited characters in headlines and the description, but they also increase the visibility and improve the quality of your ads with more relevant content.
To create an ad extension, find the Ads and Extensions section on the left-hand side of the page and then click Extensions. You’ll then see a “+” button that reveals a dropdown menu.
There are many types of ad extensions available, so, let’s take a look at the ones you should definitely consider using.
Sitelink extensions: these allow you to add hyperlinks to a specific page on your website, thus, acting as a CTA.
Call out extensions: they are extra information beneath your ad. These are short and limited to just 25 characters each, so should be treated like a non-clickable CTA. A good tactic here is to use call out extensions to highlight the benefits of the product or service you are presenting in your ad.
Structured snippet extensions: with these, you can create links to different pages alongside a description of each hyperlink. They make your ads way more visible and can work wonders in providing more relevant clicks. Be sure to use compelling copy to show the product values on the pages to shoppers.
Location extension: if you are operating a brick-and-mortar store, use this extension to include the address and opening hours of your business.
Price extension displays the cost of your products or services. The inclusion of this is great if you want to showcase some key offerings, or if low-cost items are your selling point.
Source: Neil Patel
App extension: if you have a lot of mobile browsers for your Google ads and a mobile shopping app, why not use this extension to prompt them to download your app? This extension will show your company logo, brand name, and a link to download your store’s mobile app.
Google suggests using at least four extensions to help boost the efficacy of your ads.
Not splitting Search and Display for campaigns
Another example of default settings hurting ad campaigns is the combination of Search and Display network in a single ad campaign. This is a massive no-no as they are two separate entities and should be treated as such to help you avoid big headaches in the long run.
Search ad networks are based on keywords typed right into the search engine. Display ad networks, on the other hand, couple keywords from your ad groups with websites that are also using the same keywords to display your ads on other websites.
As they are shown in completely different user scenarios, it’s crucial to have a separate campaign for each network. This will allow you to take control over the messaging and content to make it resonate more with the audience. For example, ads targeting display networks work best for building awareness, so simplicity and focusing on conveying your brand assets are best here.
Combining these two networks impedes your ability to assess and measure performance as the data is lumped together. Display networks have a much higher reach and lower conversions. This can actually drag down your CTR and quality score when having both these networks in one campaign. When you separate the two, you’ll ensure that your data is well organized so that you can make the right decisions for each network type.
To be able to segment for search networks and display networks individually, go to your campaign settings, select Networks and untick both search and display networks.
Conversion tracking is an extremely useful tool to track the actions of visitors to your website or landing page. This means that you can assess the effectiveness of your ads, and adjust your marketing efforts if needed. However, it's crucial to regularly update your conversion trackers as your business evolves. Fail to do so, and you run the risk of impairing your bid decision making. Tags are imported from a myriad of other tools and are used across many pages of a store over a long period of time. This can cause a lot of noise or even the double-counting of conversions.
Take the time to review your Google Ads’ conversions at least quarterly to ensure that they are active and recording properly. Also, make sure that the assigned value and the window of conversion remain accurate. You should answer the following questions when reviewing:
- What are we tracking?
- Where is the tracking coming from?
- Do we need to count all of these factors as a conversion in all calculations?
- Are there any dead conversions that need to be deleted?
It’s very easy to find yourself in a spiral of unsuccessful or underperforming Google Ad campaigns, particularly as some of the default settings can actually be detrimental to your marketing efforts. But with the knowledge of these common mistakes and how to quickly rectify them, you can rest assured knowing that your Google Ads are in tip-top shape.