9 Google Ads Set Up Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Correctly setting up your Google Ads campaigns doesn’t only help you get the most out of your investment, but it also helps you optimize your campaigns smartly.

In this blog post, I am going to explain the 9 Google Ads set up mistakes that many new/inexperienced PPC managers and business owners make and how to avoid them.

Let’s get started!

Google Ads Set Up Mistake #1 – Not adding negative keywords

Google has always been changing their algorithm to show your ads on terms closely related to your keywords. As a result, your ads may show up on terms which are not relevant to your business and you end up losing a lot of money. To prevent that from happening, you must add negative keywords.

Negative keywords should be added right when you launch your campaign and should be added regularly as long as your campaigns are running.

How and where to find negative keywords:

1. While doing keyword research

2. Search terms report

We did a detailed blog post discussing how to find negative keywords.

Google Ads Set Up Mistake #2 – Using automated bidding with no historical data

If it’s been only a while after launching your campaigns or you are just launching them, don’t go with automated bidding and stick with manual bidding instead. Why? Because manual bidding offers more control.

It is all the more important when you have a small budget and want to generate leads or want to learn whether Google Ads will work for you or not.

I am not saying automated bidding strategies are all bad. In fact, Target CPA and Target ROAS are great when you have months or years of accurate historical data for your campaigns. In such a scenario, automated bidding can actually save your time while maximizing your conversions.

However, when your campaigns are new and there’s not enough data for Google’s algorithms to decide which keyword/ad is good or which is bad, there are high chances that you will get low to no returns if you choose automated bidding.

Google Ads Set Up Mistake #3 – Always targeting the first position

First position doesn’t always mean more conversions. It may appear like that sweet spot where you can get the most exposure and clicks. However, more clicks don’t mean more conversions.

In fact, in many scenarios, your conversions don’t increase at the same rate at which your clicks increase and that ultimately increases your CPA.

What happens with the first position is you get a lot of clicks but a big percentage of those visitors bounce off. So you should adjust your bids to try different ad positions and not just the first one.

If your ads are appearing at one of the top 4 positions most of the times (90% or more), then you are at a good point.

Tip: The column “Impr (Abs. Top) %” shows how often your ads appear at the first position. Adjust your bids to increase or decrease this percentage. Your ad quality also impacts this metric.

Google Ads Set Up Mistake #4 – Adding too many keywords

If you have a big budget and are looking to scale up your campaigns and spend more, there’s no problem in running any number of keywords.

However, when you are just starting with Google Ads, you should start with a small budget and hence small number of keywords. In general, when you don’t have a big budget, you should focus only on your best keywords (the ones which are bringing conversions or can bring conversions).

Adding too many keywords not just limits your budget, but it is also difficult to manage them. In fact, you should pause the keywords which perform poorly for a long period of time.

Google Ads Set Up Mistake #5 – Using broad match to reach a larger audience

New advertisers especially business owners who want to try Google Ads on their own make this mistake. You can target a keyword in 4 ways – broad match, +modified +broad +match, “phrase match”, and [exact match].

While you can definitely reach a large audience with broad match keywords, you should handle them very carefully. It’s because your ads will appear on almost anything (any term) broadly related to your keywords. And every term may not be relevant to your business. Hence you will lose money.

Exact and phrase matches are your best bet when you are just launching your first campaign. If you want to use broad match, use modified broad match which is better than broad match as it provides more control.

Most of the campaigns that we are running have modified broad match except those where we have long tail keywords.

Google Ads Set Up Mistake #6 – Enabling display network in search campaigns

Google uses 2 networks to show ads – Search and Display; and these networks target users in complete different ways.

Targeting in search network campaigns is primarily defined by keywords while in display network campaigns, it is defined by keywords, audiences, website topics, and placements.

Google allows enabling display network in search campaigns. However, it is best to keep them separate.

Why? It’s because your data will get skewed and you might make wrong decisions. For example, display campaigns almost always have much low CTRs and CPCs compared to search campaigns. Hence, you will get confused into which keywords/ads are working better and which are not.

Google Ads Set Up Mistake #7 – Not setting up conversion tracking

As basic as it sounds, make sure that you set up conversion tracking (both website and call conversions). You might be tracking your leads manually based on the email notifications and calls. However, tracking those conversions in Google helps you optimize your campaigns better.

By enabling conversion tracking, you get details about which keywords and ads are bringing conversions and which are not. Based on this data, you can make necessary changes in your campaigns.

Conversion tracking data also helps when you want to switch to automated bidding in future because automated bidding like Target CPA uses your historical performance to make bidding decisions.

Google Ads Set Up Mistake #8 – Using same ad and landing page for all your keywords

The more relevant your ads and landing pages are to your keywords, the better your campaigns will perform.

How? Relevant ads and landing pages result in high CTR and conversion rate >> high CTR results in high Quality Score >> high Quality Score results in lower costs (CPCs and CPAs).

Example: If your software or technology helps solve 2 different problems; creating 2 separate pages for the 2 problems is better than creating 1 page highlighting how your software solves those 2 problems.

Another example: If you offer multiple compliance services, creating separate landing pages for different types of compliances is better than creating 1 page detailing different compliances.

The point that I want to make is avoid using same landing page for all your keywords. Similarly, you should write ads according to different keywords and not use one ad for all of them.

Google Ads Set Up Mistake #9 – Not using ad extensions

With so many things to take care of, ad extensions often go unnoticed.

Ad extensions are great to show additional information that you could not include in your ads. Another important benefit of ad extensions is that they help improve CTR.

There are different types of ad extensions for example sitelinks, callouts, call, location, structured snippets, etc.

No matter what your offer is, there’s definitely a type of extension that you can use in your campaigns. For example, if you are a property manager or plumber, call extensions can bring you real-time leads right over a call. So add all types of ad extensions along with your ads.