AdWords is sending you garbage clicks. What can you do?

Posted by Aaron WeinerEmergency, Google AdWords

You’ve reviewed all your AdWords data, and come to the conclusion that most of the clicks are garbage. A small number are doing exactly what you wanted them to do, but, simply put, the wrong people are clicking on your ads!

Garbage AdWords ClicksIt’s easy to jump to the conclusion that AdWords isn’t for you, but that might not be the right call.

It’s possible that you’ve configured things incorrectly, which is why you’re seeing such poor results.

I’ve laid out a list of possible issues that could be the cause of your problems.

This should hopefully help you improve your AdWords targeting and eliminate most of your wasteful spending.

Possible issue 1: The keywords you’re bidding on are not targeted.

I know, this sounds obvious, but it’s often overlooked.

Take a critical look at all of your keywords and ask yourself if they are directly related to your product or service.

If someone enters one of your keywords into Google and sees your ad in the results, will they really be interested in what you’re offering?

If not, that could be the problem.

Google needs people to find what they’re looking for.

If people are clicking on your ads but then going back to Google to click on your competitor’s ads, it sends a bad signal. You’re not being relevant. The more irrelevant you are, the higher your costs will be.

I would advise removing or pausing all keywords that are not directly related to your product or service.

Possible issue 2: Your keywords are too broad.

If you’re using a large number of broad match keywords, you’re most likely receiving clicks from people who are not interested in what you’re offering.

I’m not suggesting that you should never use broad match keywords, I’m simply saying that they need to be used sparingly and with caution.

Broad match keywords tend to attract clicks from people who aren’t necessarily interested in what you’re offering. This can ultimately lead to a higher cost per click.

Also, take a look at your keyword word count. If you are using single word keywords, you might want to consider removing them or adding some negative keywords. Regardless of the match type, single word keywords can attract unwanted clicks.

Possible issue 3: You’re not excluding enough.

If you’re not using any negatives or only a few, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll receive clicks from users who aren’t interested in what you’re offering.

For search campaigns, review the Search Terms report found on the dimensions tab. It will report all the actual searches that are resulting in clicks.

If you see any keywords that are not related, exclude them through negative keywords.

For display campaigns, review the Placement Performance report, also found on the dimensions tab. This report will help identify clicks that are coming in from websites that are off target or not producing desirable outcomes. You can exclude an entire domain or, in some cases, the actual page that displayed your ads.

If your ads are being displayed within mobile or tablet device apps, and those clicks are not performing well, you can exclude them. Simply find the apps and exclude them from the display network tab.

Possible issue 4: You need better keywords.

If it’s been a while since you last did any keyword research, you’ll want to revisit that as soon as possible. Google has stated that 15% of all queries it sees each day have never been seen before.

That means that you could be missing out on searches that are related to your product or service and that none of your competitors are targeting.

More keyword research could lead to better results at a lower cost per click.

Possible issue 5: You’re targeting the wrong devices.

By default, Google will display your ads on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. For most businesses, that’s a good idea, but for some it can be disastrous.

Sadly, you’re not in complete control. You can turn off mobile ad delivery, but you cannot turn off tablet ad delivery.

In order to stop mobile devices from displaying your ads, you can set a mobile device bid adjustment of -100%.

In order to minimize the display of your ads on tablet devices, you can add the following campaign-level negative placement adsenseformobileapps.com to any of your display network campaigns. You can also exclude the “GMob mobile app non-interstitial” category within display network campaigns.

For now, there is no way to completely block tablet devices from seeing your ads.

Possible issue 6: Watch your language.

AdWords allows you to target languages other than English. While this can be a great opportunity for some businesses, it can be a big problem for others.

If you don’t understand those other languages, it can be difficult to analyze your search terms reports.

Even if you’re only bidding on English terms, once you’ve selected languages other than English within your campaign’s targeting settings, Google will effectively translate some of your English keywords.

If that happens in a language that you don’t understand, it can make a real mess of your data.

Sadly, there is no report that can tell you how one language’s performance compares to another.

I would recommend that you review your search terms report to see if this is happening. If it is, you might want to invest in translation services.

Possible issue 7: You’re in the wrong location.

Back when you set up your campaign, you carefully selected the locations that you wanted to target—maybe a few countries or a couple of cities. If you’ve never reviewed your Location Targeting reports, you might be surprised by what you find.

To begin with, Google doesn’t distribute your ad impressions evenly across all your targeted locations. One location might be dominating all the others, and it might not be producing the best results.

Depending on how you configured your location targeting, your ads could even be displayed and clicked on by people who are outside of your target area—people who can’t purchase from you even if they wanted to.

I would recommend that you review your user locations reports on the dimensions tab. See if there are locations that are producing less-than-desirable results or locations that you never wanted to target.

If you find any, you can either exclude them or lessen their impact on your campaigns by using location-based bid adjustments.

Hopefully, these 7 possible solutions will have your account producing better results in no time at all. If not, drop me an email to see if I can help solve this problem.