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Julia Hammond
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AdWords SOS: How to Appease Common Errors and Save Your Campaign

Do you feel like your Google AdWords campaign is a bit of a flop? Are you finding that it’s significantly chewing into your ROI? Don’t give up just yet.

AdWords can be a bit of a fickle creature to tame, and it’s extremely common to make slip-ups when structuring your optimisation techniques. Without the guidance of a switched-on industry professional, the whole process can be daunting, time-consuming, and head-scratching.

Unfortunately, many people end up quitting their AdWords campaign before they give it a proper chance. Without those instant results, they feel it’s simply not the right marketing tool for their business niche.

However, there’s a strong likelihood their competitors are also using this platform, and successfully so – the only difference being that they are leveraging it effectively.

To turn your Google AdWords spend into a fruitful investment, we’re dissecting the most common reasons people tend to brush off this nifty tool. Read on to discover if you fit into any of the categories, and find out what you can do to make AdWords work for you.

COMMON ERROR #1: Planting all your focus on short-tail keywords


The number-one reason people quit AdWords is because they purchase one, two or three-word phrases that are way too generically broad. Simply put, this is a recipe for high cost, high risk and low conversions. Doing this exposes you to a mammoth amount of competition to battle and a diminished chance of pinpointing your target market.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Use keywords that are descriptive and narrowly-defined

Long-tail keywords are your friend when it comes to AdWords. Phrase matches are key – this way, you know your target audience is actively searching for the exact product you are offering, and are ready to buy from a reputable provider (i.e. a top-ranking website). For instance, consider the following variations of keywords:


“women’s shoes”

“women’s ASICS running shoes”

By implementing something along the lines of the final example, you have a much better chance of generating a conversion.


COMMON ERROR #2: Forgetting how far AdWords ROI extends

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Unlike traditional marketing channels such as television and radio, the beauty of advertising online is that there are analytics tools to help you identify, track and measure all your sales and leads. While this is great news, it can often lead to AdWords users focusing on the number of sales metrics garnered through this channel without considering what other actions it might have prompted their customers to take.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Investigate the behaviour of your AdWords customers post-sale

In order to shape a more accurate reflection of your AdWords success, you need to delve into the customer journey post-sale activity. Take a look at your returns calculations: maybe that customer has engaged in social sharing, which has triggered more sales? Perhaps he or she has made follow-on sales and become a loyal customer? Often, the total ROI from a single purchase via AdWords is greater than we give it credit for.


COMMON ERROR #3: Jumping in head-first without a game plan

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Marketers are frequently tempted by the idea of AdWords, hastily jumping aboard the bandwagon and splashing their cash on keywords. When it doesn’t produce the results they want, they soon ditch it. However, the truth of the matter is that AdWords is much more complex than many people care for, and by employing a carefully-considered strategy, you can actually reap rewards greater than you initially thought possible.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Build a strategy with the searcher’s intent at the forefront of your mind

Consider the categories/services/products you want to focus on. Think beyond baiting your audience’s attention, and deliberate how you will actually provide value to your searcher and trigger a conversion. At the crux of your strategy, keep three golden rules in mind:

  1. Get to know your searcher
  2. Understand what he/she is searching for
  3. Consider how you can solve his/her ‘problem’


COMMON ERROR #4: Offering up sloppy landing pages

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Speaking of solving problems, this is where your landing page becomes paramount to your AdWords campaign. No matter how fantastically compelling your ad may be, you’re pouring money down the drain if people are clicking on it but not converting when they arrive on your landing page. Visitors will bounce from websites for a number of reasons – whether due to the abundance of irrelevant information or the absence of call-to-actions – which is why marketers need to pay extra attention to their AdWords landing page.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Ensure your landing page is structured to convert

The vast number of errors people make with landing pages means there’s also a multitude of best-practice methods to implement here. These are our top tips:

  • Align your keywords with your landing page. Ask yourself if your page content truly matches your ad offering. If not, you will frustrate your users pretty quickly and send them bouncing, thereby costing you clicks.
  • Communicate your offering in three seconds (or less). Keep it succinct and visually-dynamic – digital users are privy to skimming content.
  • Clearly highlight the information your searcher wants. Place it at the top of your page and break it up into well-defined sections so your visitors aren’t wading through big blocks of text.
  • Give your visitor a simple next-step process. Guide your visitor towards making a conversion by providing multiple, easy-to-find call-to-actions.
  • Compare your landing page with your competitors. Make an honest critique of your own landing page and seek inspiration from your big-name competitors.

At the end of the day, a successful Google AdWords campaign requires you to keep your finger on the pulse of your customers’ behaviour (as well as your competitors). Yes, it’s a bit of an intricate web to navigate, but when you manage to ride your mistakes and implement winning strategies, you can start weaving patterns that generate a tangible ROI.


By Trish O'LoughlinJulia Hammond

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