Rakuten Marketing Blog

The 6 Most Common Mistakes in Google Adwords

Posted on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 @ 09:09 AM by Jessica Henry

Why fix something, if it isn’t broken?  Well, what if you didn’t know it was broken. Keep reading to learn the most common mistakes and make sure your AdWords account isn’t missing the mark. 

201509-RS-Blog-6-Adwords-MistakesI have been on both sides-agency and client, and understand how much time, thought, dedication & lack of sleep go into managing paid search accounts.  In the constant, ever-evolving industry, never has it been more important to know what is going on “under the hood” of your paid search program. While auditing accounts for new business, I have learned that every account isn’t the same, but at the same time, they aren’t that different.  There are common mistakes consistently seen across accounts that negatively impact performance and efficiency.

1. Brand & non-brand keywords in the same ad groups and/or campaigns

Budget  control. Quality score. Relevancy- these are only three of the many reasons to separate brand and non-brand or generic keywords.   Make sure you have enough budget allocated to cover 100% of your brand impressions as they are the most qualified consumers, who are more likely to purchase.  Ad groups should contain tightly themed keywords, so the ad copy triggered will be as relevant as possible.  If you have “winter coat”, “brand xyz” and “spring 2016 look book” in the same ad group, what landing page will you send the consumer? If you don’t have the proper structure in place, not just from a budget & ad group/campaign standpoint, your performance will significantly suffer. 

2. Google Shopping campaign contains single ‘all products’ grouping

Are all of your products priced the same? Probably not.  So why would you bid the same amount for each product?  Ensure that your shopping campaign structure takes into consideration performance, margin, your goal, top sellers and best practices.

3. Not using all keyword match types

All keyword are not created equal- it is as simple and as complicated as that.  Broad, modified broad, phrase & exact all have their respective benefits as they can reach consumers in different phases of the purchase cycle.  By leveraging multiple match types, you have an opportunity to prevent overpaying for traffic -which will help to maximize your budget.

4. One ad variation = no ad copy testing

How will you know what call to action or messaging resonates best with customers if you aren’t testing it? Search provides great testing opportunities with almost immediate results. Identify your top performing ad variation, then test one to two other variations.  This will also prevent your customers from being conditioned to viewing the same ad.   Don’t forget that ad copy helps to prequalify the traffic and can feature promotions, such as ‘20% Off’ or ‘Free Shipping’.  You want to stand-out from the competition, get your brand message across and be as relevant as possible.

5. Poor ad extensions strategy


Who doesn’t want to push competitors further down the page, while highlighting the great products/services they have to offer?  These are just two of the benefits from ad extensions- so why wouldn’t you use them. Sitelinks deep-link users further into your site and callout extensions are used to highlight unique offers, benefits or promotions.  Ad extensions should be tailored at the campaign level, even ad group level, depending on your overall strategy and account structure.  Again, you want to focus on relevancy and capturing consumer attention. The example below contains expanded Sitelinks, callout extensions as well as review & location extensions- which will significantly push the competitor further down the page than just ad copy.  

6. No mobile bid adjustments or mobile ad copy

By now, everyone knows mobile is important and plays a crucial role in the purchase journey.  But are you paying too much for mobile traffic and if you are showing, is it a positive consumer experience?  Review and analyze your device performance and adjust your bids accordingly to maximize your investment.  Keep in mind even if mobile has a lower overall conversion rate, it doesn’t mean consumers are not influenced by the channel.  Mobile specific ad copy is a great way to engage consumers with tailored messaging and shorter ad copy.  Google has been known to remove the second description line in favor of ad extensions, so make sure your message is concise, and any promotions featured in the headline or first description line.  If you don’t have both mobile bid adjustments & mobile ad copy in place, not only are your CPCs potentially higher than necessary, but the customer experience isn’t as seamless as it could be. 

Take a look ‘under the hood’ of your paid search program, whether it’s managed in-house or by an agency, and review structure, ad copy & keyword coverage, to ensure your strategy is working for you.  

Jessica Henry, Director of Strategy Development

Jessica Henry
Director of Strategy Development
Rakuten Search


The Rakuten Search team also provides Free Adwords Account Audits, that focus on uncovering the potential for more revenue, a higher ROI, or increased conversion rates. We've helped advertisers deliver millions of dollars in additional revenue through these audits. How much can we discover for you? Find out for yourself, it's completely free – the only investment is granting us temporary access to your AdWords Account (to perform the audit) and your time (to present the audit's findings). Click on the banner below, or here to get started! 


Tags: keyword, PLAs, testing, strategy, google, PLA, PPC, brand, adwords, google shopping, ad extensions,, google adwords,, non-brand bidding, match types, ad copy, ad variation

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