Have you ever wondered if having large gaps with your Google Ads campaigns might cost you a lot of money?

Google Ads (formerly called AdWords) is the world's most sophisticated and complex advertising platform.

There are so many buried features and hidden settings that can waste your money and prevent you from achieving the most profitable advertising campaigns.

That is why so many people and businesses struggle to be profitable with paid traffic.

Wouldn't it be helpful to know what the common mistakes are so that you could increase your ROI significantly?

In this article, we will be discussing the top mistakes that we see on a daily basis - and what you can do to fix them.

So let's get started.

Common PPC Advertising Mistakes

1. Set it and Forget it

It takes so much effort to set campaigns up properly - from keyword research to tracking, ad copy, landing pages, and much more.

Once you have your campaign running it can be very easy to think that your job is done. However, you have only just begun!

A multi-stage optimization process is needed to succeed.

There are, in fact, an almost unlimited number of different optimizations that can be done on your paid advertising campaigns.

The following are the 3 main areas you should focus on after your campaigns are launched:

Monitor on a Daily Basis

You should check every day to see if your campaigns have any major issues, including the following:

Large CPC (Cost Per Click) increases

Low converting campaigns

Low CTR's

Non-converting keywords

Irrelevant search terms

Big increases in clicks

It is necessary to do a checkup every day to make sure nothing strange is going on. After all, you are spending money every day.

Optimize Your Campaign Performance

A multi-stage approach should be taken to your campaign optimization, including the following:

Apply negative keywords to your ad groups to ensure that your most relevant ad is displayed

Create new ad copy for split testing.

Siphon converting keywords and putting them into their own ad groups in order to increase your CTR.

As you receive more data, you can do this on a weekly or daily basis.

Campaign Scaling and Strategy:

Every month you will be able to take a broader look at what is performing well and what isn't. This will allow you to make informed decisions regarding your strategy. The bigger budget that you have to work with the faster that can be done.  

Your campaigns should not be optimized to early, before there is enough data to review. However, you also don't want to keep spending money on non-performers.

When you are focusing on scaling, here are a couple of important things to consider:

Try out new bidding strategies and campaign types

Set new campaigns up based on performance

Expand your lists of keywords after you have a well-converting group

Using a multi-faceted approach will allow you to optimize your campaigns on a continuous basis after launching them.

2. Failing to Use Negative Keywords

It is very important to understand what the difference is between Search Terms and Keywords.

Keywords are words or sets of words that can be targeted using Google Ads.

However, when most people use search they usually don't just type in the keyword that you have bid on.

What most searchers do instead is type in long tail keywords, which means there are all different kinds of variations that might include the keywords you have bids on.

For example, your business might bid on the keyword phrase "Blue Widgets."

If you happen to sell blue widgets, that would be an excellent keyword for you to bid on, right?

Actually, someone may be typing in something like:

"Blue widget jobs" or "What can I take my old blue widgets to get rid of them?"

Those searches both contain your keywords. However, the user isn't not searching for blue widgets to buy.

Before you set up any campaigns, make sure to do research on irrelevant keywords and then add them to your negative keyword list even before you launch your campaign.

Negative Keyword Lists

Those keywords let Google know which searches you do not want your ads to show for. That way you won't waste your money on search terms that are irrelevant.

You can use your negative keyword list to help save money on unwanted clicks and improve your ad group relevancy.

You can use a free keyword research tool to find variations that can be added as negative keywords before launching your campaign.

We refer to this as pre-optimization and it is a critical step to take.

That can save you a lot of money even before you have started your campaigns.

3. Failing to Use the Search Term Report

You now are aware that people mainly search using long-tile phrases and many searches might be irrelevant.

But how can you tell which search terms are actually costing you money?

You can use the search term report.

Log into your Google Ads account, and then to go Campaigns -> Keywords -> Search Terms to get to your report.

Search Term Report

The reason why they are referred to as search terms (or, alternatively, search queries) is because those are the things that individuals are searching for that trigger your ad to show.

The hidden report will show you all of the things that people are searching for that you are actually paying for whenever they click on one of your ads.

For example, you may find a lot of good keywords that you can take out and put into their own ad groups or you could discover keywords that should be eliminated since they are costing you a lot of money.

For example, if you were to bid on your business name, you may find that people are looking for careers or jobs.

That's great since you want to be seen as a great place to work. However, that might not be what the intent of your ad is.

You may be running your ad to get new customers and searches made by people who are looking for a job will probably not lead to them making a purchase, so those keywords should be excluded.  

Your report also will provide you with insight that helps you understand your audience better, keywords that will serve them best, and how to cater your landing pages and ad copy for them.    

4. Sub-Optimal Bidding Strategies

You might have set your campaign up using an automated bidding strategy.

That is because it is the default setting on Google's advertising platform. This is how they make money after all.

However, the problem with that is it allows Google to bid whatever amount it wants to on your targeted keywords.

To find out if your campaign is set up as manual or automated, follow these simple steps.

Go to Google Ads and log into your account

Click on the campaign you want to check

In the left column, click on Settings

Find the section called "Bidding"

Set Bidding Strategy

In the long run, using the automated bidding strategy is a mistake that could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It takes only about 5 to 19 minutes this inside of your ads campaign.

5. Using too Many Keywords in Your Ad Groups

When too many keywords are used in an ad group, it means your ads cannot be specific enough to achieve good click-through rates.

For example, let's return to our blue widget example.

If a high number of keywords related to blue widgets are put into one ad group, all of the searches would be targeted using the same ads:

durable blue widgets

small blue widgets

big blue widgets

high-quality blue widgets

blue widgets reviews

What you want to do instead is to break them up into smaller groups of keywords and use new ad copy in each of them.

When you do that you will be able to match the intent of the searcher with the right ad and then get them over to the right landing page.

6. Failing to Use Landing Pages

What kind of experience does a searcher have after they click on your ad?

Many people just drive traffic directly to their homepage. However, the problem with that is often that page:

Has a lot of distractions

Is not laser-focused on one specific action

Does not exactly match what a user was expecting from your ad

All of that can result in very low conversion rates and very expensive costs.

So what is the solution?

Landing pages!

Having a laser-focused landing page will eliminate distractions and also significantly increase conversions.

It is not hard to build a landing page any longer and you don't need to be a technical wizard or know how to use code.  

Software like Instapage or ClickFunnels can be used to build your landing pages quickly and easily.

Ensure that each of your landing pages:

Matches the specific ad you are running

Focuses on just one action the user should take

Features a simple design

Your landing pages should not be fancy. Keep everything simple. You will achieve much higher conversions if you do.

7. Failing to Have Landing Page, Ad, and Keyword Consistency

If there is no consistency between your landing pages, ads, and keywords, people won't click on our ads or will bounce off of your landing page immediately.  

Many advertisers miss this and it ends up costing more money than they earn.

To check to see if your campaigns are consistent, ask yourself the following questions:

Does the intent of the key term match what I have to sell?

Dos my ad copy include my keywords?

Do I use the same keywords and similar verbiage on my landing page that are in my ad copy?

If you answered No to any of the questions, then I strongly recommend that you go make the necessary changes ASAP.

Doing this will help to increase CTR (Click Thru Rates), increase relevance, and decrease CPS (Cost Per Click).

You might be surprised how that can transform your campaign from a failing one to one that is highly profitable.


The above are some of the most common mistakes that are made by people with their Google Ads campaigns.

If you fix them, you could turn your money-losers into highly profitable campaigns. However, this is only when you have a multi-faceted, well-defined strategy.

If you would like some assistance with your paid traffic campaigns, you may be interested in our brand new SerpSpace Agency services where you can have our expert team manage your ad campaigns for you!