6 Common AdWords Mistakes that Run High on the Stupidity Quotient

Common AdWords Mistakes

Do you know about the common Google AdWords mistakes that are quietly costing you a hefty amount without bringing much in return? Stupid question really, otherwise, why would you come here looking for the same? (Google Adwords mistakes are just like the no man’s land as depicted in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise where you can reach with all your money, but, the major problem lies in “getting back”).

No, no, I’m not being blasphemous about your knowledge and certainly not making any false accusation on the supreme intelligence that you command in your respective niche, but, since I care for you a lot and don’t want you to miss out on any good money making opportunity, so, here’s an article that will not tell you otherwise.

High on the Stupidity Quotient

Let’s cut to the chase and discuss some of the most heinous mistakes that people are making with Google Adwords, and, what should be done to not do this anymore! (PS: Every living entity on this entire Earth perform mistakes, but, some of them are not to be ignored, just like the one mentioned below)

Yesterday, when I was scrolling through my Internet, there was this woman who used to sleep with her pet python every night. (Let’s call him Fluffy, coz it sounds less “pythonic” and more ironic maybe!). One day Fluffy stopped taking his regular meals and would make “python-faces” all the time. The woman got worried for her pet Fluffy’s health and took him to a vet; the doctors there told her some astonishing things about her pet, read on to find out..

Gotcha! Honestly, I’m not one of those Times of India or ScoopWhoop articles where you have to scroll through several ads and click through several links to hold onto your horses, but, whenever someone mentions Snakes, I hiss. (How’s that for a joke? Will it lend me a place in the Great Indian Laughter Challenge? We’ll see about that!)

So, coming back to the story, the doctors told her that her Python is fine and would take its next meal in upcoming days. She asked the doctors about the exact day and time to feed him. The doctors told her that she needs not to be worried as Fluffy would take his meal all by himself. She got confused and asked them about how is he going to do that? The doctors laughed and said, “Fluffy has been sizing you up all these nights and is planning to eat you as soon as he’s done with the measurements”!

The moral of the story is nothing really, until and unless you own one of such “exotic” animals! Just wanted to tell you about how strong my Google game really is, and, maybe about the gravity of human errors, commonly known as “mistakes”!

Let’s get on with the list of most common Google AdWords mistakes and how to fix them to make more people click your ad and, eventually become your potential customers.

1.) Not Grouping the Keywords Correctly

Grouping the Keywords Correctly

Imagine Apple using “buy Apple products” as their main keyword in every product that the company produces. Although, using Apple products is good enough for the people like us but, it doesn’t satisfy the ‘elite’ requirements, who are the actual targeted customers of the company. Their searches would tend to be something like, buy Macbook Pro, or, buy Apple iPhone 7.

Now, imagine Apple showing their Macbook pro ad to an iPhone customer or vice-versa! It would be like digging a hole for your own grave that too with the shovel that you bought from the market for this specific purpose only! Ironic, isn’t it?

So, it’s best for them to group their products into several categories as the closer the ad copy matches certain keywords, the better are the chances of conversion. (Everything legal around here mate, was not talking about the “religious conversions”! Ok, ok, will try to be more “exact” from now onwards).

religious conversions

So, where were we? No, not conversions, just before that! MacBook Pro, right? Let’s see a visual interpretation of what I’m trying to tell you;

MacBook Pro

The above result will work for every MacBook related queries; same goes for iPhones and iPads.

If this should happen, then one has to group his ad into several categories, and while doing that, it is not advisable to include more than 20 keywords in a particular group. If you stuff more than that, there are high chances for the onlooker getting frustrated while looking at the same ad even after using different keywords in searches. If I say that it’s bad for your business, wouldn’t that be something like addressing the Elephant in the room?

2.) Not Using the Right Keyword Matches

Right Keyword Matches

Basically, there are three types of keyword matches that you need to be worried about, namely,

  • Broad Match
  • Phrase Match
  • Exact Match

Let’s begin with broad match; this technique is simply used to get more clicks on a specific ad, almost 91% more than the other two. For example, if you are using Puma running shoes as your broad match keyword, then, your ad will be listed for the following searches: “Puma running shoes”, “Shoes Puma running”, “Where can I buy Puma running shoes”, etc. The broad match keyword can be included in your ad by navigating to the new ad button and pasting the keyword there without any quotations or brackets.

Now comes the phrase match; Going by the previous example of “Puma running shoes”, the phrase would get linked with the following keywords: “Puma running shoes” and “where can I buy Puma running shoes”. The order of words matter in this case, and you’ve got to use quotations to make it a phrase match.

As the name suggests, an exact match doesn’t beat around the bush; it simply hits the lead right where it hurts the most i.e. money. If you have [Puma running shoes] as your exact match keyword then, it won’t show up for “Puma running shoes for men”. The searches may be narrow, but the conversion rate is highest among all as the ad will show up only to the people who are really looking for your product.

“How will I figure each one out without expecting a negative impact on my marketing campaign”?

It’s pretty difficult to suggest which one of these strategies will work best in your case, as a strategy that has turned out to be pretty brilliant for one business may not be as effective for another one as well. So, “what do you suggest we should do”?

See, I have created a simple plan for the same; however, its success is not 100% guaranteed and, it comes with a “do at your own risk” clause hidden in its already hidden terms and conditions section.

So, according to me, if you are getting quite a big volume of searches for your domain then, go with the exact/phrase match keyword as the onlookers will be more specific with their needs! Whereas, if your niche is quite new then, first collect enough impressions of your brand using broad search, then only you can use phrase/exact match. You can always revert to any one of them if you are not getting enough searches or return on investment (ROI) for your keyword.

ROI: It’s a small factor which helps to determine the success of your ad campaign. The formula to calculate ROI is: (Net Profit /Total Investment) x 100.

For the Google AdWords, this formula gets a little tweaked:

[(RPC x Margin) x clicks] – (CPC x clicks)
Total Cost


RPC: Revenue per Click
CPC: Cost per Click

Let’s put some numbers there for better understanding.

CPC: 1.00$   RPC: 11.00$   Profit Margin: 0.2

Clicks: 1000   Total Cost: 1000$   ROI: 120%

As the name suggests, you need to have highest possible ROI to ensure the smooth running of your business. In case you’re not getting enough returns on your investment, then you need to change your strategy.

3.) Not Using Negative Keywords

This world is beaming up with negativity, so, why wouldn’t you follow up with the trend?

Using Negative Keywords

Most people are afraid of this word i.e. negative. Though, this time it can help you in many ways. Suppose, you’re selling designer women’s shoes, then, you wouldn’t want your ad to show up on searches for “women’s running shoes”, as it will look irrelevant to the onlooker. But, “women’s shoes” is bae, so, what do you do to get listed for the latter, only?

Here comes the use of negative keywords! You can add “running” to your negative keywords list! With this done, your ad won’t show up for searches related to the keyword running. Google processes millions of keywords every day and, almost 15% of them aren’t registered yet. These high-quality keywords are easily available to bid while others being too costly or irrelevant for your business.

By including the remaining ones in your negative keywords list, you are bound to get fewer clicks on your ad (qualified leads only), thus, lowering your cost while improving your revenue and quality score up to a significant extent.


Suppose, you’re running a campaign for engineering careers, technical careers, then, including jobs in your negative keywords list would be very efficient as the keyword is very “omnipresent” and the people looking for jobs might be looking for a short-term fix instead of a long haul.

Make sure to use not too many negative keywords as their tracking process might get hefty. You are suggested to decide between the negative keywords efficiently and make a spreadsheet to keep the record of the same. As a first, you can use free, cheap, average, porn, etc. in your negative keywords list as they generate a “substandard” impression of your business in your reader’s’ mindset. (In case you are a food blogger and tend to believe in the silliness of food porn, then, the last one can be omitted)

4.) Not Bidding on Your Own Brand

Bidding on Your Own Brand

Bidding on your brand name is quite easy and cheap, no, not cheap! Affordable! See the difference?

E.g. If I search for Arpit Toshniwal blog in the keyword ideas section of Google Adwords Planner, then, I would see two particular things that are far important to me than anything else, namely, low competition and obviously lower number of searches. (Why stating the obvious? That’s rude, man!)

By bidding on your brand name, you’re preventing your competitors from hackling with your brand! Also, the searches using the brand keywords show your customer’s faith in your business. (Looking for a detailed guide to make a brand out of your business?)

You must have some reasonable doubts such as my brand keyword doesn’t get many searches, or, is the idea deserves to be thought upon, etc.

Dude, all of this doesn’t matter! The key lies in how well do you “pitch” yourself to your audience!

Brand keywords tend to nourish your revenues as well. According to Forbes, more than 80% of the company’s revenue gets generated by not more than mere 20% of the loyal customers to the company.

Astonished? Not much I believe!

5.) Not Knowing the Average Lifetime Value of Your Customer (LTV/ CLV)

This is the most common mistake that many “aspiring digital marketers” make i.e. not knowing how much to spend on a customer!

(Also read: Tips to build a successful marketing campaign for your business)

Well, in case you know that figure then, how would you judge whether you’re doing this the right way or not? Don’t worry, it’s simple Math! You just need to ensure that the difference between the total spends by a customer and total spend on that customer must be positive. And, improving that margin should be your top priority.

E.g. If your customer is making you an overall profit of 10$ by the goods he bought from you and, you paid 6$ to get him to do so, then it’s good! Otherwise, you’ve bought yourself a problem bro!

6.) Placing the Ads without determining their Optimal Position

“Don’t I have anything better to do rather than measuring the screen inch by inch and gather the data for A/B testing of the ads too”? (Besides, placement is a superficial term that should be reserved for the Engineers only.)

A/B testing

Well, technically, yes! From writing a good headline to a compelling copy of the ad to its position on the screen, everything matters!

When all of them are done in the right way, then the food becomes a feast for the eyes of the user. Otherwise, you already know that every year many people die due to food poisoning in India.

Ad rank can be calculated by using this formula:

Ad Rank = Quality Score X CPC Bid

Also, you don’t need to be always on the top to get clicked! (Being an average student has its own perks, doesn’t it?)

Recommendation: Aim for a decent position like 3rd or 4th by increasing your quality score, not the CPC. (It doesn’t work like life, where you always have to finish first!)

The Conclusion

I’ll try to skimp it down in the following points:

  • Do not run mad for the quality clicks! Instead, play in the long haul, and, to make it happen, start analyzing your customer’s lifetime value in a better way.
  • Try to keep the customer acquisition amount to the lowest possible number.
  • Upgrade your campaigns in regular intervals to drive more qualified traffic to your products page.
  • Lastly, group your keywords smartly while using the negative keywords in an efficient manner.

Think I missed out on some of the mistakes? Enlighten me in the comment section below.

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