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7 Google Adwords Mistakes That Can Cost You Millions

Written by Tim Harris -- September 15th, 2007 in SEM

Google AdWordsA couple of years ago, I started managing clients Google Adwords accounts. It started out with just a couple of clients, but has steadily grown and I’m now managing well over a million dollars worth of PPC advertising dollars annually. Many of the clients I now have, had worked with other SEM companies in the past. I’ve been fortunate in the fact that I haven’t had a single one of those clients leave me. Why? Because I was able to use a common sense approach to help these clients greatly improve their ROI. Below are the most common issues I see that cause companies to literally throw away millions in Google Adwords advertising.

1. Not using relevant or compelling landing pages. On average, a prospect is only going to give a landing page 2 to 3 seconds to decide if it’s indeed what they thought it was. Often times, Adwords advertisers focus too much on writing attention getting ads that get good click through rates, with little consideration on the actual landing page. This is a sure fire way to cause a high bounce rate. If your bounce rate is over 40%, that likely means your landing page is not relevant enough to your ad, and definitely means you’re throwing money out the window.

2. Poor web site design. You can hire the best SEM company in the world (call us if you’re looking to), but if you don’t have a well designed web site, you’re wasting money. Period. Now, defining what makes a well designed web site certainly can be tricky, and probably why it’s such a common problem. In my opinion, a well designed web site is one that converts site visitors into clients at a high rate when compared to industry averages.

3. Unorganized campaign management. We have taken over a number of client Adwords accounts, and it’s shocking to see how disorganized they usually are. And not just “in house” accounts either, some of these messy accounts were created by “SEM professionals.” Having well organized campaigns and Ad Groups enables you to 1) more easily associate specific key terms with ads and landing pages, 2) minimize the chance of keyword overlap, and 3) more easily analyze and manage the account - all three of which helps net a better ROI for advertisers.

4. Advertising at the wrong times. Many of our clients have regular business hours, and offer services or products only during those hours. While it can make sense to run advertising outside of those business hours, it usually is not a good idea- even if you are converting prospects into leads. Why? Because you’re likely going to have higher conversion rates during your business hours. For example, lets say Company X has a $30,000 monthly budget. During normal business hours, Company X averages a conversion rate of 15%, and during non business hours a conversion rate of just 5%. Does it make sense in this common scenario to run ads during non business hours? Of course not! Yet companies are doing it, and doing it a lot.

5. Lack of testing. PPC Advertising is not an exact science. What works well for one company may not work well for the next. To take it a step further, what works well one month, may not work well the next. Internet marketing is an ever changing medium, and it requires ongoing trial and error in order to prosper. The mistake many companies make is being satisfied with results. No matter how well your campaign is doing, it can always do better. Always.

6. Poor key word selection. Choosing the right set of key terms to market your company isn’t only important, it’s absolutely critical. Obvious, right? You’d think. However, most companies advertising in Google (and the other search engines) have either a bloated list of key terms, or an anemic set. Neither of which are ideal, and ultimately lowers ROI. There isn’t an exact number of key terms that companies should shoot for, as it varies greatly from industry to industry. Other factors that play a role in the “right” number of key terms include budget, time of year, changes in the economy, etc.

7. Weak Ad Copy. Weak ad copy can hurt you in more ways than simply poor click through rates. It’s true that lower click through rates mean less visitors, which equates into less clients. However, that’s of minor concern compared to the fact it also means Google will lower your quality score. Quality score is a major factor in determining the price you pay per click. In other words, you are penalized for poorly written ads and will have to pay more than your competition for the same spot.

3 Responses to “7 Google Adwords Mistakes That Can Cost You Millions”

Great article! Anything I can read to help me get my ads to perform better is an appreciated read!

Great information Tim. Thanks for sharing and keep up the fantastic work for us.

The advertising at the wrong times is very important to pay attention to. I know what days I make the most on my sites so that is when I advertise.

Stumbled this post.

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