On October 23, 2000, the advertising world changed forever. Google released its self-service advertising platform, the first-ever of its kind that gave businesses the ability to create, place, target, and monitor their advertising – all by themselves!

But, what happens when you put that kind of power in the hands of anyone, trained advertiser or not? The results are mixed. 

Some businesses have been built on Google Ads. 

Some have wasted millions and millions of dollars on crappily performing ads. 

Are you one of the losers? The business owner or do-it-yourself marketer who took the simplicity of Google Ads and thought you could build a successful empire with a few clicks? If your ads are underperforming and not getting you a clear ROI, we’ve got some reasons on why your Google Ads probably suck. 

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You took the easy route.  

Yes, Google Ads can appear easy. They’ve got tutorials and a platform that walks you through the ad creation process. Technically, anyone with a credit card can create an account and have ads live within minutes. But, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. 

There are tons of features, segmentation, and options within Google Ads that you’ll completely overlook if you are not skilled in using the platform. Take your time. Quickly getting ads live hurts your marketing spend in the long run.

You aren’t creative.  

One of the biggest opportunities in Google Ads resides in the targeting. It’s also where you have to be creative to get the best results for your budget. 

Let’s say you are a financial planner. Sure, you could target people actively searching “financial planner near me,” but because Google Ads are based on an auction-style bidding system, you are competing against the giants like Edward Jones who are most likely out-bidding you for those obvious keywords. 

Google Ads perform better if you get detailed. Dig into the minds of your target audience and pivot to other less expensive, more creative search terms.  Target people reading popular blogs for financial beginners. Uncover what other specific topics your target audience might be searching for such as “how to save for retirement”, then direct them to a landing page designed about saving for retirement and how your financial planning services can help. 

There’s this super handy, yet deceitful tool when you’re setting up Google Ads – the keyword suggestions. It easily allows you to make a few clicks and it recommends keywords. You might think that if you just click all of those and add every applicable keyword that you’re being smart. Covering all your bases. When in reality, all you are doing is spreading your budget too thin. 

Selecting all the recommended keywords is like being the child that presses all the floor buttons in an elevator. Don’t be that kid. 

Spend time researching your keywords. You can use Google’s free keyword planner tool, just don’t mindlessly add every keyword suggested without contemplating if it makes sense for your money.

Always remember: clicks do not matter if they are the wrong clicks. That’s just expensive, garbage traffic. You want the RIGHT clicks. Meaning the clicks that convert. 

You lazily direct leads to your homepage. 

The key to getting creative with your ads is having them direct to specialized landing pages. If you get someone interested in your business or product with an ad and then just send them to your homepage, they may not know where to look. Or what to do. Resulting in money wasted on a useless home page visit. 

Landing pages are your best friend in digital advertising. If Google Ads are peanut butter, then landing pages are jelly. You really shouldn’t have one without the other. And if you do, then expect disappointment, in both your ads and your bland sandwich. 

Your landing pages should match your ads in topic, design, and voice. They should create a seamless and sensical customer path so the interest built from the ads is carried through and your desired action is taken. And absolutely under no circumstance, should your landing page be missing a clear call-to-action. Then, make sure you track that call to action. More on that…

You aren’t tracking properly. 

If you flew through your ad setup and didn’t set up detailed conversions, then you’re missing out on the ability to know your ROI and the opportunity to improve your ads. 

If you are simply looking at your results as how many clicks you received, then you’re completely missing out on true insight. You should know your conversion goals and have the pathway defined. If you collect money for anything on your site, you should have e-commerce tracking set up so that you can see the actual ROI of every transaction and understand the pathway each customer took that led to a purchase. 

Between Google Analytics and Google Ads, the ability to track every action and every dollar spent exists, you just need to take the time to set it up and monitor it. 

Conversion tracking. Goals. E-commerce tracking. Analytics. 

These things should be your absolute BFF’s in Google Ads. Dive deep into them and take the time to set them up properly. 

You grouped Search and Display. 

When you’re setting up Google Ads, the default setting has both search and display selected. So, you may think that’s the smart choice, why would Google default to it if it wasn’t? In most circumstances though, it’s not smart.  

Your strategy should most likely be different for search and display ads. Search is based on what people are actively searching for, while display works best by targeting people’s online actions and websites frequently visited. Display can also target what people are actively searching for, but the strategy should still be a little different. 

The best practice here is to set up two sets of ads. Search as one. Display as another. This way you can accurately track each strategy and figure out which one converts best. 

Depending on what you’re advertising, you should also consider expanding outside of Google Search and Display. There’s also shopping, video, and app ads that can perform extremely well. 

If you sell any consumer product online, Google Shopping Ads is something to dive into. It can target people shopping for specific items like “red basketball shorts” in real-time and direct them straight to your products and showcase the price. In the below example, Google Shopping Ads can get little known companies like Epic Sports and Clothing Shop to be displayed right along with major brands like Under Armour and Nike. And because those vendors are winning on price, they are guaranteed to generate sales from these shopping ads.

Your ads just plain suck. 

Have you detailed and tracked your conversions? Spent hours digging into keyword research? Checked every option and detail. Built and tested your landing pages and still…nothing? The problem might be your actual ads. 

If your visuals are unappealing, your ads might suck. 

If your words don’t incite action, your ads might suck. 

With limited characters and display space, the actual words and visuals used for your ads have a huge impact on if your ads perform or not. Test multiple variations to see what works, you might be surprised that a visual or wording you didn’t love gets better results than your favorite options. You can also check the readability of your text using a tool like a readability calculator. 

Make sure you’ve reviewed and followed Google’s resources on writing and designing successful ads. 

PRO TIP: A study by Wordstream found that the most influential call-to-action word is not “buy” or “purchase” or “click here,” but “get.” Words matter. 

You didn’t ask for help. 

You may think the most affordable option for Google Ads is to do-it-yourself. But, that’s one of the biggest mistakes we see companies make. 

If you waste $1,000 on bad digital advertising and make zero money from it, you’re out $1,000. 

Or, let’s say you work with a professional and your ads and management cost $2,000 a month. Yes, you’ve doubled your spending. But, your ad partner optimizes your ads, segments your audiences properly, and sets up conversion tracking so you can pinpoint $10,000 in revenue directly attributed to your Facebook ads. 

That $2,000 would be much better spent than the $1,000. 

Google advertising help is more affordable and accessible than you might think. There’s a reason our clients have trusted us with more than $3 million in advertising spend. 

If you’d like a free quote and consultation on how we can turn your advertising spend into guaranteed, proven, and trackable income, please contact us.