How to Waste Money on AdWords (or Not)

Do you love to waste money? Going by a glance at most businesses’ AdWords accounts, you’d be forgiven for thinking that wasting money was the goal. Personally, we don’t recommend wasting money, but if you really want to waste a ton of money on Google AdWords, here’s a great way to do it. (Okay, we’re being cheeky. But in all seriousness, here are the top mistakes we see people make with Google AdWords that really do result in a ton of wasted dough.)

Not Using Negative Keywords

When you set up Google AdWords, you populate your list of keywords and you’re done, right? Easy peasy. But wait. Those aren’t the only keywords you can enter. That default list is just your positive keywords. It can be just as important to enter in negative keywords. These are keywords that you want to tell Google to avoid including in your search results. For instance, if you own a food truck, you obviously want to include the words “food” and “truck” in your keywords list. But you probably don’t want people who are searching for the most awarded pick-up truck, or where to buy a used garbage truck. So, go ahead and include the words “pick-up” and “garbage” in your negative keywords list.

Using the Default “Broad Match”

Google’s default settings are designed to get you maximum clicks. When you’re paying per click though, that’s a recipe for money down the drain. You don’t just want a high quantity of clicks, you want high quality. In other words, people who are actually likely to want your business to come up in their search results. One default setting to tweak is “broad match.” Broad match basically counts any search that hits any of the words in your keyword term. You can change this setting to “modified broad match” and put a plus-sign (+) next to a word to tell Google that word has to be included in the search no matter what. You can also tell adwords to have Google match an exact word or phrase.

Not Tracking Conversions

This seems like a no-brainer, but if you only track clicks and don’t track conversions, you really won’t have any way of knowing what money is being wasted and what money is being used well. Pro tip: You can set an alert to notify you of any keywords you have that are pulling in zero conversions. Those keywords are easy targets for trimming the fat.

Using Expensive Generic Keywords

Some keywords are going to seem really obvious to include in your list. The problem is, if the keyword is too generic, that means it’s going to appear in everybody’s list, and the price for it is going to be artificially high, and not necessarily return the best quality results. That’s not a great combo.

Not Managing Bids Properly

You can adjust your bidding using metrics like location, time of search and device type. These adjustments should help you to narrow your search results to the best audience for where you are, where they are, and when you want people clicking through to your site.

These adjustments, along with other budget settings, are not set-it-and-forget-it. Google AdWords is something you have to continually work at and adjust based on what is working, and what’s not. It’s important to have patience and reasonable expectations when it comes to your AdWords account, and to give yourself enough of a budget to be able to play around and find the best strategies.

Need help managing your marketing strategy with Google Adwords? Contact 10twelve today!