No one will deny the allure of Google and Bing Adwords. As a system for business promotion, it appears on the surface to be a dream-come-true for businesses of all shapes and sizes. What’s more – Google and Bing have made using Adwords seemingly as simple as loading a printer with paper.
The truth of the matter is much different.
Yes. Setting up a Google or Bing account and launching a campaign for your business is beguilingly easy.
And that’s a problem for many well intentioned advertisers. The truth is – unless you’re well trained in the use of these tools – chances are you’ll make lots of mistakes that create inefficiencies that hit your bottom-line adversely and hard.
So what mistakes should you guard against? First let’s look at a key concept – Quality Scores. Just what’s a Quality Score in Adwords?
A Quality Score of 1-10 is reported by Google for each keyword in your Adwords account and is an estimate of the quality of your ads and landing pages triggered by that keyword. Having a high Quality Score means that Google or Bing think your ads and landing pages are relevant and useful to someone looking at your ad.
Why do they matter?
Google and Bing use quality scored to determine ad placement and things like cost-per-click.
Now let’s get back to mistakes to avoid…
Here are just a few:
- Not Grouping Keywords Correctly… Many new to Adwords set up a campaign and then cram all of their keywords into one ad group. This tactic will kill your “quality scores” and decimate a budget. Use ad groups well and try not to use more than 20 keywords per ad group.
- Not Using the Right Keyword Matches… The next biggest mistake people make is not using the right broad match, phrase match, or exact match keywords. One approach is to start with exact matches and then expand to phrase and broad keyword matches as needed. If you aren’t getting enough impressions and conversions with exact matches, then you can add the terms as a phrase match and eventually as a broad match.
- Not Using Negative Keywords… Another mistake people make is not using negative keywords. AdWords allows you to use negative keywords as a way to exclude keywords that are not a good match for your product.
- Not Trusting Numbers More than Your Creativity… Falling in love with your ad copy can be a problem. You may write some copy and think, “I love this ad!” That’s fine, unless the numbers tell you otherwise. Look at your data and make sure every decision is based on empirical evidence and not an author’s pride.
- Not Bidding on Your Own Brand… A lot of people make the mistake of not bidding on their own brand. They assume that since they already rank for their own brand, they don’t need to advertise for it. That’s a mistake and will hurt your overall quality scores.
- (Specifically for E-commerce Businesses), Not Directing Visitors to the Appropriate Product or Category Page… This one is a doozy. Perhaps, the biggest mistake (and most expensive) of all that people make with AdWords is not directing customers to an appropriate product or category page. Instead, they direct everyone to their homepage.
- Expecting Too Much from AdWords… If you have a tiny budget – perhaps you should consider Facebook ads – or waiting until you have more money to spend. Always start with a budget large enough to allow you to drive a significant amount of traffic and give you time to tweak and optimize your campaigns.
- Not testing the optimal ad position… If you’re goal is to improve branding, then it’s a good idea to be in one of the top two ad positions, but if you’re goal is to get the best results, sometimes it’s far better to be in position 3-5.
If you are thinking about using Adwords – do yourself a huge favor. Be sure you know how to use it. And if you don’t have time to learn – do yourself an immense favor. Have someone who does understand Adwords set up and run your campaigns. It will save you time and money and bring you far better results.