Recently, I sat down with our two longest-serving paid media specialists, Laura and Maria, to discuss some of the Google Ads mistakes to avoid when running paid media campaigns. However, they were keen not just to highlight mistakes but also to earmark a few areas of the platform that are hidden away or less known.
We had to split the blog into two parts, because Laura and Maria overwhelmed me with tips and advice. You can read the first five mistakes to avoid here. Now, let’s take a look at the final five.
Google ads mistake 6: Forgetting about Search or Display is an easy mistake to make
A nice easy one to kick off the second part of our list. But, as Laura and Maria both suggest, it’s one that is all too easy to forget about. When setting up a campaign, you need to remember to tell Google what kind of campaign you are running and which kind of network it is targeted at.
Laura’s advice: “When you are setting up a campaign, you have different steps you need to go through. These are:
- The type of campaign
- The name of the campaign
- The networks you are targeting
“You need to go through these and set up the right ones for your campaign. The mistake here concerns the last of these, networks.
“Google works with many partners across the internet. These are divided into Search and Display. Search ads are those you see at the top or bottom of the Search Engine Results Page. Display ads are graphic ads that appear on web pages, usually at the top or on the side of web pages – think of the banners at the top of a news article or a pop-up video that might appear midway through reading. If you leave both boxes ticked, your ad will be targeted at all of these partners.
“If you are setting up a Search campaign, you don’t want it to be targeted at the Display partners. It doesn’t make sense to do this, but it is all too easy to forget to untick the Display box. This is a mistake that is easy to make when you are new to the platform.”
Google ads mistake 7: If you don’t use a benchmark, you won’t know what to expect
When starting any Google Ads campaign, it is important to have a good idea of what to expect. This way you can plan accordingly. By looking at previous campaigns with similar budgets you can get an accurate forecast of what is achievable.
Maria’s advice: “Not analysing the data is a huge mistake. Everyone needs to analyse the data.
“You need to compare a new campaign with previous campaigns that had similar objectives and budgets. We always look to see how many clicks those previous campaigns achieved for the budget that was spent. This gives us a benchmark, which we can use to plan the strategy for the next campaign. This way we can show our clients that if they invest a certain amount of money, they will get a certain level of results.
“This is incredibly useful. Imagine a client wants to spend £500 on a three-month campaign. We can look at the benchmark, and it shows just what the impact will be. For instance, £500 might be used up in a week; it’s not enough for the results the client is hoping for – and we’ll suggest another strategy.”
Google Ads mistake 8: Not making use of ad extensions is a missed opportunity
Ad extensions are the small additions you see directly underneath an ad, usually consisting of side links or extra information. Google lets you add all sorts of useful information here and making best use of these is an important part of running a successful Google Ads campaign.
Laura’s advice: “Using ad extensions is one of the many things that Google puts forwards as an example of best practice. They highly recommend it, because it drives traffic to your ads and results in a good click-through-rate (CTR) for your campaign. What’s more, it’s tactical. You can take up as much room as possible from the search rank, to push you up and competitors down.”
“You can add as many ad extensions as you want. You can include an address or contact details or links to other pages on the web site. You can connect to Google Maps, which will provide directions on how to get to your business. You can even add a phone number as a link (a “call side link”), so that when it is clicked it automatically begins a phone call.”
“These are all tools which simplify how the user can get in touch with you. It’s important to use these, especially if you are a local business offering services for local people. If a campaign is local to a city, or even on a national level, this can be really useful. 46% of all Google searches are linked to something local. So, it is a big mistake not to take advantage of this.”
Google Ad mistake nine: You should optimise your ads every day or you’ll miss out
It’s really important to keep monitoring the performance of your ads. By looking at the data you can find ways to optimise them. Laura and Maria recommend doing this every day. Here, Laura gives an example of one area you can exploit.
Maria’s advice: “In general a lot of the work on a Google Ads campaign is done up front. You need to plan ahead for keywords and ad copy. But there are many opportunities to improve your ads once the campaign has begun. So, you need to keep an eye on how the campaign is developing, so that you can optimise it daily.”
Laura’s advice: “The campaign overview offers a glimpse of how the campaign is performing, providing the main highlights. One thing it tells you is the difference between devices – i.e. how your ad is performing on desktop computers or on mobile phones.”
“If it performs well on mobile, there are things you can do to tweak your ad to reach mobile users even better. You could start by including ad extensions that work well with mobile users, for instance adding contact details or call side links. As people are looking at the ads on the go, why not make sure the address is there, so they can get in contact if they are in the area. It’s important to take advantage of things like that.”
Google Ads mistake ten – If you don’t use rules, you risk unnecessary errors
If used correctly, Google’s Rules can give you greater control over your campaigns. As Maria says, it’s a lifesaver and can prevent all sorts of difficult situations developing.
Maria’s advice: “This was a big discovery for us. It’s really useful because it gives you more control over your ads – effectively, it prevents you from making mistakes.”
“Usually we will use it for spending, but it can be used for anything. Sometimes, as we mentioned in mistake five in part one of this blog series, even if you set up spending for the day, it can go over, or even double. With rules you can tell Google when you want the campaign to stop, for instance at a certain time or under certain conditions. For instance, once you reach the budget, stop.”
“Google doesn’t let you pick a total budget, just the number of days the campaign will run and the daily budget. If you don’t check that daily, Google can easily spend that budget in two days. So, if you set up rules, you can tell Google to stop the campaign if a certain amount of money is spent. It’s a lifesaver.”
“This is an important tool, yet many marketers don’t know it exists. It’s a hidden one. Unless you went through a certain certification where you are shown the whole platform and how it works, you won’t know to use it.”
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At Fifty Five and Five, our purpose is to help our clients realise their ambitions. We plan, execute and manage a wide variety of paid media campaigns of all sizes and budgets. Over the years our PPC team has grown in experience and expertise – and some of the biggest organisations around the world trust us to run Google Ads campaigns for them.