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The world of paid search marketing is dominated by Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) followed distantly by Bing and Yahoo.[1] Here are 6 common mistakes we’re finding that organizations make with their Google Ads accounts, and how to fix them:

These tips are for beginner to intermediate Google Ad users, or leaders managing an agency or consultant.

1: Ignoring Account Structure – We need order, people! 

A common mistake is *not* using the AdWords structure as intended. Ad groups should be used to group messages by the audience you are targeting for your nonprofit or business.

For example, an affordable housing nonprofit may have ad groups for senior housing, affordable housing, and housing assistance under a ‘tenants’ campaign and ad groups for nonprofits, homelessness, and housing crisis under a ‘partners’ campaign.

It’s important that the keywords in each ad group are similar to the language used in your ads to increase their effectiveness and deliverability.

2: Leaving Landing Pages on the Loose

To increase the quality of your ads, the landing pages that they link to should also use as much as possible the same language as your ad. In addition, know that if your website is not mobile responsive your ads will not be served to those visiting from a mobile device – you could be missing out on reaching half of your audience![2]

3: Not Using All Relevant Ad Extensions

Ad extensions give us another chance to increase your Ad Rank. There are different types of ad extensions such as Call, Location, Sitelink, and Callout — they all allow you to put additional sections of information on your ad. Sitelink extensions for example (pictured above) appear as links to your internal web pages, and may increase your click-through rate (CTR), which factors into Google’s overall willingness to show your ad. After all, for cost-per-click (CPC) bidding Google only gets paid when your ads are clicked on.

4: Not Taking Advantage of Split Testing

Having three slight variations of an ad in each ad group will quickly help you see ads perform the best. Google will automatically prioritize the best performing ad, but do remember to remove the weakest links and try new copy from time to time.

5: Letting your Keywords Languish

Ongoing Keyword Maintenance is commonly overlooked. Poor performing keywords should be trimmed – you can look at their Quality Score related to the clickthrough rate (CTR), Cost, and Average Position to weed out the bad performers. Using the Search Terms Report will help you decide if:

  • any negative keywords are needed;
  • there are any commonly searched words/phrases that you can add as keywords
  • you can upgrade any broad match types to phrase or exact match.

6: Missing the Link:  AdWords and Analytics

In your website’s Google Analytics, set up ‘goals’ for more in-depth conversion tracking. For example, instead of seeing which ads get clicks, see which ads are getting visitors to stay on your site for more than 20 seconds, or visit multiple pages. These are your true customers.

What? You say don’t have Analytics set up or you don’t have access to your Analytics?! Call us today!

BONUS BLOOPER: Not applying for Google Ad Grants if you are a nonprofit:

For our nonprofit clients, we suggest Google Ad Grants which is a fantastic Google initiative that allows eligible nonprofits to run up to search ads for free – up to $10,000 value per month!

Need help getting Google Ads up and running for your organization? Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation. Public Relations, Digital Marketing, Press Events and more – we can help you implement a strategy for engagement and growth.



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