10 Reasons Your Google Adwords Campaigns are Underperforming

You have been running your Adwords campaign for a while now. Your budget is dwindling, but the numbers are just not improving! Before you start having a mental breakdown, take a deep breath, and exhale. Now let’s put on our nerd glasses and examine why that campaign isn’t performing as it should.

Underperforming campaigns are usually due to a poor Quality Score. However, this isn’t the only factor! There are several other reasons for an underperforming campaign that are unrelated to your Quality Score, and these will be explored from point number 5 onwards.

So here are 10 reasons why your campaign is underperforming, and solutions to fix the issue:

#1 Irrelevant Landing Page

Say you are craving an apple pie. You click on an ad called “Delicious Apple Pies – Pie Say’s Shop”, and you end up on a page selling chicken pies instead. Isn’t that annoying? Landing pages that are not directly relevant to your ad copies and keywords will give your ads a lower Quality Score.

What is a Quality Score again?

To refresh your memory, the Quality Score of your ads determines its frequency, position and cost per click on Google’s search network. Quality Scores depend on the following things:

  • Click-Through Rate
  • Relevance of keywords to the ad group
  • Relevance and quality of landing page
  • Relevance of ad text
  • Historical Adwords account performance.

Ads with a good quality score will appear more often at a better cost per click, while ads with poor quality scores are more costly and may not even appear at all.

How can I fix this?

Ensure that the landing pages your ads are directed to are highly relevant, and contain the keywords you used for the ad. Create ad groups for highly relevant keywords, then direct the ads from this ad group to the relevant landing page. See how we boosted our client’s conversion rate by doing just this!

#2 Poor Landing Page Experiences

Don’t just focus on your ad copies! The quality of your landing page is just as important as your ads as it is included in your Quality Score. Is your landing page mobile optimised? Is it clear organised? Does it have clear call to actions? Last but not least, does your landing page take an eternity to load?

How can I fix this?

Vet through the content of your landing page, and ensure that it is clear and coherent. Not the artistic type? Hiring a professional designer to create beautiful, compelling and user-friendly landing pages can really go a long way. Don’t forget to optimise your page for mobile views and ensure it loads quickly.

#3 Directing to the Wrong Pages

You still want your apple pie. So you click on that ad that says “Delicious Apple Pies – Pie Say’s Shop”, but this time you are directed to the home page of Pie Say’s Shop. Many e-commerce businesses make this same mistake. The home page is not directly relevant to your ads, thus your quality score will suffer.

How can I fix this?

If your ad text says to purchase a certain product, the link to the ad should be to the web page to purchase the product immediately. You should always direct your traffic to the page that is directly relevant to your ads.

#4 Neglecting Negative Keywords

Now you’re looking for iPhones. You search for Apple iPhones online, but you see that annoying ad “Delicious Apple Pies – Pie Say’s Shop” again! Many digital marketers make the same embarrassing mistake as Pie Say’s Shop – not adding negative keywords. This is bad news for your quality score, as your ads are perceived as less relevant.

How can I fix this?

Add negative keywords for your ad group or campaign. In this example, Pie Say’s Shop could add ‘iPhones’ as a negative keyword.

#5 Not Testing Ad Copies

So you have just created a series of creative ads that you are really proud of. However, these ads may not perform as well as you think. Many digital marketers make the mistake of not testing different ad copies.

How can I fix this?

Create different variations of the same ads – you can create two ads with the same titles, but different body texts. Once your ads receive between 20-40 clicks, remember to pause those ads that are not performing as well. Be prepared to let go of that awesome ad if it is not performing as well!

#6 Ineffective Keywords

Have you checked your keywords? Keywords that are irrelevant can affect your quality score, and insufficient keywords or keywords with a low search volume will reduce the chances of your ads getting featured at all.

How can I fix this?

Use Keyword Planner to find keywords with high search volumes, but do not add more than 20 keywords per ad group (having more than 20 keywords is a sign that your ad copy may not be matching your keywords!). Also, use proper keyword matches for your ads – broad match can help you generate more impressions, while phrase and exact matches will help generate more conversions.

#7 Neglecting Extensions

Ad extensions are not just useful for directing your potential leads to take action. It allows your ad to take up more real estate in the search page. The bigger your ad is, the more prominent it is, the higher the chances of your ad getting clicked are.

How can I fix this?

Add call, site-link, callout, location extensions and more, depending on your business. Basically, the bigger you can make your ad, the better.

#8 Not Bidding Your Own Brand

Creating an ad group with your own brand as keywords may seem unnecessary, but this a terrible mistake that can give your competitors an edge! Your competitors can create an ad group for your brand, so when your brand name gets searches, their ad may appear before yours!

How can I fix this?

Get started on an ad group using your brand name as keywords!

#9 Not Using Targeting

Another thing many digital marketers neglect is targeting. Targeting strategies help to refine your audiences, so you do not pay for clicks that are less likely to lead to conversions. For example, location targeting is important so you do not pay for clicks from people who cannot receive your services.

How can I fix this?

For the search network, use location, audience (remarketing) and device targeting to narrow down your audiences. Your targeting strategy depends on your business. For example, certain industries would perform better for mobile targeting compared to desktop targeting, so you can increase your bids for mobile views instead.

#10 Not Testing Optimal Ad Positions

Everyone wants to bop to the top, but being first could be worse! If your goal is to improve branding, then being at the top is great for generating awareness. However, if the goal is to drive conversions, the optimal position should be the 3rd to 5th positions!

How can I fix this?

You can test for the optimal position by adjusting your Cost Per Click (CPC) bids. An ad that costs just $1 could perform better than another that costs $5!

In a nutshell…

It all boils down to these 3 key takeaways:

1. Organisation is key! Create ad groups for highly relevant keywords, and link to suitable landing pages

2. Make use of Adwords’ features! Google Adwords has a myriad of tools to help you achieve your goals, such as targeting strategies and ad extensions.

3. Be clear about your campaign’s goals so that you do not incur unnecessary costs. Are you improving awareness, or driving conversions? Who are your desired audiences?

Happy Adword-ing! Or why not get a professional to do all the heavy lifting for you?

Written By

Jackie Yeo is the co-founder of Ladyboss. She is an internet marketing specialist who focuses on helping clients build and manage their online presence. Jackie is also a strong advocate of women's rights and is keen to promote entrepreneurship among women. Outside work, she's a self-professed foodie and an avid dancer.

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