Your Google Ads account is under attack

Posted by Aaron WeinerGoogle Ads

There’s a war going on within your Google Ads account.

You don’t just have one enemy to defend against, you have many, and they’re attaching from all sides.

Some of you have given up and surrendered, while others are trying to press on.

Today, I’m going to outline five major threats that I regularly see within Google Ads, and I’ll show you how to defend against and defeat them.

#1: Targeting problems.

Targeting Problems within your Google Ads account

One of the main factors of a successful Google Ads account is the targeting.

I often see accounts that are too narrowly focused, which then limits their ability to hit their potential customers.

Alternatively, I see accounts that try a “spray and pray” approach, either intentionally or unintentionally, where they try everything in the hope that something will hit.

The problem with these two approaches are that both can waste money and opportunities.

If, for example, your keyword targeting is too tightly focused, you could be missing out on better keywords that you never thought of. Those keywords might even produce better results at a lower cost per click.

Maybe your location targeting is too broad, attracting clicks from people that cannot even purchase whatever it is that you are offering.

This is why you need to be more surgical about your targeting.

You should be regularly performing keyword research, as there are always new keyword opportunities out there.

Additionally, you need to purge poorly performing keywords, so that your targeting does not go astray.

And make sure that you’re regularly reviewing your location targeting.

This is a section of a campaign that’s often gets overlooked and can dramatically change from day to day.

One location might all of a sudden consume too much of a campaign’s overall budget, but not all locations produce the same results. A sudden swing in clicks and cost from one location to another, might get wasted on a location that doesn’t produce good results.

Being able to spot these issues as they arise will help you focus your targeting on what is working.

#2: Not providing the proper support.

Not providing proper support

You might be familiar with this situation.

You click on an enticing ad only to land on a web page that does not provide what you were looking for.

Or maybe the landing page does make sense but does not answer your obvious questions.

In those scenarios, I suspect that most people will click on the back button in their browser and try the next ad down.

Your competition celebrate when that happens to you.

And while it’s true that Google want people to click on your ads because it’s how they make almost all their money,¬†Google also need people to find what they were looking for.

In order to keep those off-target advertisers in line, Google will charge them more per click.

Simply put, give the people that clicked on your ads what they were looking for.

Obviously, you want to do this because why else would you pay for people to click on your ads?

So are you sending everyone to your home page, or do you have special landing pages that communicate exactly what you are offering?

Do your landing pages answer all the obvious questions?

Is it clear what you want people to do when they arrive on your landing page?

Addressing these questions should help you produce better results.

#3: Weak foundations.

Weak account structure is a recipe for disaster

I see this next issue all the time. Campaigns that have far too few ad groups, and that are stuffed with a wide range of keywords.

The whole point of the campaign — ad group — keyword — ad structure is to help you connect to the right people at the right time, in the right way.

When your keywords make a connection with your ads, and your ads make a connection with the landing pages, it’s the ideal situation. You’re giving people exactly what they wanted, at the precise moment that they’re looking for it.

This is what you should aim for when people click on your ads.

Imagine you’re selling various types of fruit. Having one ad group that contains a wide range of fruit would not be a good idea.

The optimal structure would be to have an ad group for each type of fruit that you sell. Then within each ad group, you have ads that communicate specifically about those particular fruit.

If I searched for apples, you would never want to show me an ad for oranges and send me to a landing page for grapefruit.

That wouldn’t be successful and will most likely lead to higher CPCs.

Alternatively, don’t get carried away with the creation of too many ad groups, because that’s also a problem.

For example, let’s say you’re selling online dating. There is no point in setting up an ad group for “find a date” and another ad group for “finding a date”, there will most likely be overlap between the two ad groups.

Also, having so many ad groups that are so closely related makes it more difficult to manage and optimize.

You need to strike the right balance.

#4: AWOL – absent without leave.

Leaving your Google Ads account to run itself can lead to disaster.

It’s possible that you’re a veteran Google Ads manager.

Maybe all of what I’ve been saying and suggesting isn’t anything new to you. Your Google Ads account was set up correctly. Your targeting is spot on, you’re using some great landing pages that have been tried and tested. Your account’s structure is ideal.

With that in mind, you might think you can let your Google Ads account run itself.

Google can watch over your account for you right?

Wrong!

You should never abandon your Google Ads account and let it run itself.

I have seen this so often. Parts of a Google Ads account work really well then one day they don’t.

Keywords that were producing great ROI all of a sudden no longer produce the same results.

Or phrases that worked really well in the past now have new meanings, and are currently attracting completely irrelevant clicks.

Google Ads is simply not one of those things that should be left to run itself.

#5: Letting the enemy direct you.

Always question Google's agenda.

Google is the enemy!

No, just kidding, they’re great. I love Google. They do no evil, right?

Joking aside, I don’t think Google is the enemy but I don’t think you should take them at their word either.

I’d go as far to say that I’m always suspicious of their agenda.

When considering any of their features or options, I’m always questioning what are they up to or what are they not telling me.

Even the Google Ads help documentation is in some cases misleading or deceptive.

Take, for example, one simple setting at the campaign-level called “Location options”.

You have three options to choose from:

People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations
People in or regularly in your targeted locations
People searching for your targeted locations

The first option is what Google recommends you should do and it’s the default option.

Probably most people reading this weren’t aware of this particular option because it’s hidden away deep within the campaign settings.

If you did as Google suggested (option 1) your ads could be clicked on by people in Iran, North Korea, or Syria.

Even if you explicitly target one small city in the United States, choosing that first option could show your ads to people located outside of your targeted locations.

That means right now, you could be wasting money on clicks from people that can’t even purchase whatever it is that you’re selling.

And this is just one example. Google Ads is littered with a multitude of options and suggestions that can be downright misleading and dangerous.

While there are many more potential threats to your Google Ads account, conquering these five should help achieve victory.

If you have any questions or need any help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Simply contact me using this form on our website and I will do my best to answer your questions or point you in the right direction.