November 30, 2020

Ad Performance

Business Owners spend billions of dollars on advertising each year.

On the one hand, some turn their investments into huge profits with amazing ROIs, raking in millions.

But on the other hand? Many end up with huge losses, scratching their head wondering what went wrong.

What was being done differently?

What mistakes were being made that caused those business owners to lose money on an advertising platform that has made countless entrepreneurs into self made millionaires?

Today we will dive into some of the most common mistakes people make when running Google ads and what you can do to fix these mistakes so you can run a more successful and profitable ad campaign.

1) Incorrect Keywords

One of the most common mistakes I've seen when auditing google ad campaigns is incorrect usage of keywords. From adding too many keywords (even if they’re relating to your industry and product) to using the wrong types of keywords.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that adding in as many keywords that relate to your product will show your ads to people that are ready to buy your product… but that’s almost never the case!

What You Can Do:

When researching into the type of keywords you need to use in your campaign, always ask the following questions:

1. What is the objective of my landing page?

After someone clicks on your ad, what do you want them to do on your landing page? Are you trying to get them to buy your product right away? Get them to subscribe to a newsletter or offer? Give them more information?

Understanding your objective will give you insight into the type of keywords you will want to be targeting.

2. Is the objective in line with the intent of the keywords being used?

Everyone has a reason for searching something. Some are searching to buy something right away, others want more information. The words people use in a search reveal their intent.

Example) If you’re a professional house painter trying to sell your services, you don’t want to target people who search “how to paint a house” or “DIY house painting” because these people want to learn how to paint themselves, not hire a professional!

This barely touches the surface on proper keyword research, however just asking these simple questions can give you a lot of insight that will greatly increase your conversion rates and save you a ton of money in the long run!

2) Not Using Proper Keyword Matches

Even if you’ve chosen the keywords best suited to the objective of your ad campaign, that’s still not enough. Google gives you three categories of Keyword Matches you should always take into consideration if you want to optimize your ad campaigns. 

1. Broad Match Keywords

With Broad match keywords, your ad will show if a search contains any of your keywords in the search term, allowing word variations and in any order. Google defaults to this and is by far the most common set up I see in ad accounts.

Example) Using the keyword house painting, search terms such as “painting your own home”, “DIY House Painting”, “professional house painting” will show your ad. Variations such as “home” instead of “house”, or “painter” instead of “painting” will still show your ad.

2. Phrase Match Keywords

With phrase match keywords, your ad will only show if their search contains your keywords in the exact same order. Your ad will still show even if there are other words in the search. Still allows for word variations.

Example) Using the keyword house painting, search terms such as “professional house painting” or “DIY House painting” will show because the search still contains the keywords “house painting” in the same order. Your ad will not show if someone searches “how to paint your house” because the keywords are not in the same order.

3. Exact Match Keywords

With exact match keywords, your ad will only display when the exact keyword is typed in, in the exact same order. No extra words can be included for your ad to show.

What You Can Do:

In my experience you should steer away from using broad match keywords. Exact match can be good as well but can be too restrictive, especially when you need to see results right away. I highly recommend using phrase match because it gives you the best balance of narrowing down the audience you want to target without being too restrictive.

3) Not Using Negative Keywords

Over the years I’ve seen hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted because of ad managers not taking the time to add in negative keywords. An easy mistake to make, but by far one of the most costly.

Negative Keywords

As long as a search term contains that negative keyword, your ad will not show.

Example) If you’re a professional house painter and you’re targeting people who search ”House Painting” and you have the negative keyword “DIY” or “How to” then searches such as “How to paint your house” or “DIY house painting” will not show your ad.

As you can see with the example, negative keywords are a great way to narrow down your audience so that your ad is being shown only to people who have the intention of purchasing your product or services. Not someone who is interested in learning how to do something.

What You Can Do:

As the ads run and you gather more data, you can make a more informed decision on what keywords have higher conversion rates, and which ones should be excluded and added to negative keywords.

Alternatively, if you’ve just started running your campaign and have no data to go off of:

  • If you’re selling a product, keywords such as “DIY” or “How to” should be added to negative keywords. Keywords such as "buy", "deals" or "sale" should be used if you're targeting people who want to buy your product.
  • If you want visitors to view articles and subscribe to your mailing list, you should instead target keywords containing “information” or “how to”.

4) Poorly Written Ads

What you put in your headline and body text as well as how you word it will determine if potential leads decide to click on your ad.

Even if you pick the perfect keywords so that your ad is shown to the ideal audience you’re trying to target… it won’t mean anything if the words on your ad don’t speak to them.

What You Can Do:

Having a deep understanding of your prospect and the product you're selling is key. I recommend consulting with a copywriter, but asking yourself these two simple questions will point you in the right direction when creating your headline and body copy:

  1.  Why does this person even want what I’m offering in the first place? People always have a reason for buying a product or service. What are they expecting to get from it? Do they have a problem they’re trying to solve? Maybe there’s a desire they’re trying to fulfill?

    Understanding what this is and incorporating it into the headline and body copy is a great way to speak to your prospect and get them to click your ad.
  2. How do I catch the attention of my prospect? What makes your ad stand out from all the others? Maybe you’ve got a limited time offer or there’s something unique about your product? You need something that grabs their attention and separates you from the competition.

5) Unoptimized Landing Page

Another huge bottleneck in the success of advertising campaigns lie in the page the person ‘lands’ on after clicking your ad. The Landing Page.

Your landing page should always be designed with the intention of moving the visitor towards completing the objective of your page.

Always keep in mind that you only have so many seconds to hold the attention of the visitor and 'speak' to them through your website and encourage them to take action.

So if someone needs to sift through multiple pages or paragraphs to find something or if your website isn't designed in a way that builds trust with the visitor or speaks to what they desire, then that person is going to back out of your site!

What You Can Do:

In order to optimize your landing page, doing the following is recommended:

  1.  Rigorous A/B Split Testing - By far the most reliable way to improve your landing page and ad campaigns. Test different discounts and offers, headlines, pictures, testimonials, changing the position of opt-in forms and call to actions. Improve on what works, cut out what doesn’t.
  2.  Your Ad Messaging is in line with your Landing Page – You need to make sure what you offer on your ad is the same as what’s offered on the landing page. Your landing page should be a continuation of what was said in your ad or you’re going to lose that prospect!


In the field of pay-per-click Google Ads, the platform can be very cutthroat. Having to pay for every single click, you need to make sure every person that clicks on your ad is as qualified a lead as possible.

With the use of proper keyword targeting and negative keywords, you can narrow down the audience you’re looking for which increases the quality of your leads.

Then by making sure your ad speaks to your prospect and the landing page is optimized to convert those prospects, running a successful and profitable ad campaign becomes much more likely.

Hopefully this article has given you a deeper understanding of how to properly run Google Ads. In the future I will be going over more ways you can further optimize performance with your ad campaigns so stay tuned!

Justin Salve

Justin specializes in ad lead generation and generating revenue through sales funnels. His journey into Digital Marketing began with Lean On Meals and STC Barbershop, first developing his skills in content marketing and paid advertising. He has then gone on to have great success with a variety of small businesses, implementing marketing strategies to generate leads and revenue for many of our clients.