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    Every one of us once started our first job and was totally green at a given position. Over time, however, we absorbed new knowledge and became better and better at what we do, but that doesn’t mean that mistakes didn’t happen. It is said that a person learns all his life, and when it comes to many industries, including digital marketing, I can subscribe to this statement with my hands and feet 🙂 If you are just at the beginning of your career path and just starting to advertise your products or services, or starting to work with Google Ads system, then this post will be for you. Learn what are the initial mistakes of advertisers and how not to make them.

    beginner advertiser mistakes

    Problem with keywords

    It doesn’t only affect novice advertisers, because even those who have been running campaigns for several years can often struggle to grasp the correct keyword structure. What are the most common challenges in this regard?

    1. Wrongly tailored or overly general keywords. For example, if you have an online store selling natural cosmetics for face, body, makeup, etc., then advertising on the keyword “natural cosmetics” will not be the best choice. It is not a bad word, of course, but it is too general. There will also be much more competition for the slogan “natural cosmetics” and if you don’t stand out with your ad among other advertisers, you may be left out in the depths of the search engine. In this case, slogans related to your brand, such as “XYZ natural cosmetics” or specific product categories like “natural facial cosmetics” will be a much better choice. It’s a small change, but you’ll see that it can make a big difference in practice. 

    Of course, there is no categorically wrong solution here, and I always encourage you to test different solutions, especially when your products or services are niche. Then general slogans can also bring positive results. Test and observe.

    Also, pay attention that the keywords you advertise for are actually in line with what you offer. If you have a bicycle store that only carries bicycles and bicycle accessories, then the phrases for you will be related to that, rather than bicycle clothing, for example. 

    The phrases for you will be related to that, rather than bicycle clothing.

    1. Wrong types of keyword matches. This is another common mistake. Often we see limitations appearing in the Google Ads panel due to impressions, and it may be due to, among other things, keyword matching that is too limiting. If you see such messages at your site or notice that your campaigns are having trouble getting off the ground, check to see if you’re using words in close match. Currently, the Google Ads algorithm is already working so well that phrase matching or even approximate matching, which until recently was highly problematic, is most often used. I still urge you to regularly monitor your search terms, especially at the beginning of a campaign for words in approximate matching, but overall in most cases this matching works quite well and does not limit traffic. 


    Whenever you launch a new campaign, I recommend adding some exclusionary search terms like “free,” “terms and conditions,” “worst,” etc. right away. Put into such a list all the phrases for which you know you don’t want your ads displayed. On the other hand, once your campaigns are up and running, it’s very important to review the search term report very regularly for the first few weeks, and make exclusions on a regular basis (especially if you use approximate matching!). With time, your campaigns will already learn to work properly and you will be able to do exclusions less often, but at the very beginning it’s very important to avoid messing up your account, which you often have to clean up later for several days 🙂 

    Search network, and advertising network.

    When creating a search network campaign, Google immediately tells us to still include an ad network. This is not recommended (unless you have a specific strategy for it, in which case go ahead and test it), as you may find that the ad network will pull most of your budget and there will be almost nothing left for the search network, which can de facto bring better conversions. After creating a campaign, I recommend still going into the campaign settings, because Google often even if you uncheck the ad network, it adds it again, so it’s worth checking this before closing the Google Ads panel. 

    Directing ads to an inappropriate landing page.

    This point definitely ranks among the “7 Deadly Sins of Advertisers”! When you advertise on Google Ads, the most important rule you should follow is the principle of consistency between keywords, ads and landing page. If you talk about mayonnaise in your ad, and the user, after clicking on the ad, sees a page dedicated to ketchup, he will sooner leave the page than make a conversion. And you will pay for that click and be well on your way to burning through your budget. 

    Lack of conversion tracking or badly configured conversions.

    The second biggest mistake in Google Ads accounts after the previous point. Conversion setup sometimes requires more work and a bit of technical knowledge, but by using Google Tag Manager, you can set up conversions without the help of developers! This is cosmically important, because without properly configured conversions in your Google Ads account, your campaigns will provide you with erroneous results, which will ultimately influence bad business decisions based on faulty data.

    Are your Google Ads conversions set up correctly?

    If you’re not sure about it, the data doesn’t match or you can’t manage to connect GA4 correctly, contact us, we’ll help you!

    Let’s talk!

    No CTA in ads.

    If you already take the time to create a great ad, please don’t forget to add a minimum of one call to action in it. Contrary to appearances, users sometimes read what is written in an ad, and in the rush of today’s world, we don’t have time to think about what the author meant. If you want users to contact you through a form, call your company, or browse your latest clothing collection, tell them so. Additionally, when creating an ad in Google Ads, note that when you add Call To Action in your headlines and ad text, you will fill in the circle responsible for distinctive headlines and thus, improve the effectiveness of your ad.

    No extensions to ads.

    Frequently we forget about them, and they can be added right from the ad creation level in Google Ads. In addition, they have a positive effect on CTR. So it is worth using any type of extensions that fits our type of business. This is very important, because sometimes we can add extensions “blindly” and it may turn out that a phone extension active 7 days a week doesn’t make sense, because our customer service works Monday through Friday. Or having an online store, we won’t add price extensions. There are many, and it’s worth taking the time to think about what will work best for us.

    Campaign structure clutter.

    To avoid this, I recommend that before you start creating a Google Ads campaign, you take a piece of paper and draw out the structure for yourself. How many products or services do we have that we want to advertise? Can there be several groups of ads in a given campaign, or do we not have enough budget for that? Are we able to combine keywords into categories and structure the ad groups this way? For example, – you have an online sports shoe store, within which you sell sports shoes for women, men and children. What could your account structure look like? Campaign: sports shoes. Ad groups: sports shoes for women, sports shoes for men and sports shoes for children. You can easily match keywords to such grouped ads and keep your account organized.

    No campaign splitting by device or more-detailed-locations.

    Statistics on what devices most of our audiences are using are easily available whether in Google Ads or in the Google Analytics 4 panel Review them regularly and tailor your actions and messages to your audience on specific devices. If, on the other hand, you are advertising for the entire country, it is a good practice to divide the country into individual provinces. This way, you will be able to optimize your rates for specific regions without the slightest problem and, by the way, you will draw conclusions that, for example, for a particular province there is no point in advertising, because my audience is not there, while some other region of the country brings a lot of valuable conversions and it is worth taking a little more interest in nothing. I recommend such a solution also for advertising for foreign countries, especially for countries where there is a very uneven distribution of inhabitants.

    Not testing.

    How are you supposed to know if an ad with message A or an ad with message B will perform better? Or different rate-setting strategies? In marketing, it’s no good basing your marketing on what you think, especially since it’s easy for users to give you feedback on what works better for them. And remember that your ads and your landing page are not for you, but for your potential customers, and therefore it’s worth checking what will work best for them.

    Unconsidered use of recommendations

    A big mistake especially for novice advertisers. Google prepares these recommendations in such a way that they seem logical and appropriate to us every time, but as is usually the case, in practice “it depends”. Before you click “Apply,” read a given recommendation carefully and think calmly about whether it’s calculating for you to make the change Google proposes, because you could make a big mess of your account, the cleanup of which drags on for weeks later. Some of these recommendations are often sensible, but I would especially like to sensitize you to stay away from recommendations that want you to add keywords to your campaigns yourself. Always let it be your decision and not Google’s, take my word for it, I know what I’m saying 🙂

    As a novice advertiser, you may often make basic mistakes, which is completely understandable, but it is important to learn quickly from these mistakes and learn from them. Consult your doubts with people from your team, company, industry or with specialists from digital agencies Don’t be afraid to click, test, observe changes, learn lessons and optimize. Good luck!

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    Dominika Andrejko
    Dominika Andrejko

    Hi, my name is Dominika Andrejko, and in the digital marketing industry I work in Google Ads and analytics. At UpMore, I joined the SEM team and would be happy to explain the intricacies of the latest GA4 and run campaigns on Google.