Top 5 Google Ads Mistakes to Avoid

By Keaton


1. Not Removing the "Unknowns" From Age, Gender, and Household Income

One of the most frustrating experiences with Google Ads is paying for what essentially amounts to bot visits to your site. Despite recent advances with AI, bots do not buy products. Every single bot that visits your site from a Google Ad is wasted ad spend. There is a very easy way to mitigate and filter out a lot of bot traffic. 


Removing the “Unknown” category from Age, Gender, and Income makes a huge difference filtering out bots. Bots are much less likely to have recorded demographic information by Google so removing the “Unknown” category for every demographic option will go a long way towards filtering out bots.

google ads age exlcusion
google ads gender selection
google ads house hold income

2. Not Excluding Mobile From Non-Mobile Optimized Sites

Your site should be mobile-friendly and optimized for mobile. You know this. You also may not have done it yet. If your site is not mobile-friendly and optimized for mobile, you should not be driving mobile traffic towards it. An increasing share of traffic is mobile (often campaigns will run 60% or more mobile). You do not want the majority of the visitors from your Google Ads having a sub-optimal experience. You can easily check if this is the case by seeing if your mobile conversion rates are lower than your desktop conversion rates per dollar spent. Often however, you won’t have enough data from the campaign to determine this. In these cases, you should probably just exclude mobile traffic from non-mobile optimized sites.

google ads device selection

3. Not Adjusting Locations in Google Ads

Locations can make or break your campaigns. Sometimes a default of including every location will cause you to have a huge volume of traffic from locations with low purchasing power like India or China which won’t convert well for most products. Every single location offers different opportunities and risks. I would start with just the United States and then add countries based on their cost per click, English speaking population percentage, and GDP per capita (which gives you a rough idea of the average purchasing power per person). Luckily you don’t have to do this yourself since we’ve already provided a breakdown here: 

Which Countries to Select for Google Ads

googe ads country selection

4. Not Utilizing Responsive Search Ads to Their Full Potential

There was a quantum leap in ad technology and you would be a fool not to take advantage of it. I’m talking about responsive search ads. With Google Ads, you used to have to dynamically test different ad copy yourself. This meant making a ton of different Ads manually and running them against each other and seeing which ads convert. This also meant a lot of wasted ad spend just to test copy and a lot of wasted time tweaking and creating different ads. With responsive ads, you just put in all the copy and Google does this for you. The caveat being you must max out every single headline and description so that Google has enough copy to test. You should always tweak your ad until you reach an “Excellent” rating as well.

google ads key words
google ads key words additional
google ads ad strength

5. Not Sub-Grouping Your Keywords, Landing Pages, and Ads

The final mistake, and hardest to fix, is not customizing your keywords, landing pages, and ads. Many people only have one big group of keywords, one landing page, and one ad. This is the cardinal sin of Google Ads. The most important ranking factor of your keywords is Quality Score. Quality Score is an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing pages are to a person who sees your ad. Higher Quality Scores typically lead to lower costs and better ad positions. Quality Score is a ranking made up of three different ratings: landing page experience, ad relevance, and expected click through rate.

Landing page experience estimates how relevant and useful your landing page is to people who click your ad. It takes into account factors such as how well your landing page content matches a person’s search term, and how easy it is for people to navigate your page.

Ad relevance measures how closely your keyword matches the message in your ads. A below average score may mean that your ads are too general or specific to answer the user’s query, or that this keyword isn’t relevant to your business.

Expected CTR measures how likely it is that your ad will be clicked when shown. This score is based on the past clickthrough performance of your ads.

The way to improve these measures is have your landing pages and ads include, and be relevant to, your keywords. This means breaking up your keywords into tight groupings and matching each of these groupings to their own landing page and ad. Some people take this to an extreme and make landing page and ad for every keyword. This is the most effective method, but also the most time-intensive. It is up to you to decide how tightly to group your keywords with your landing pages and ads since it is just a tradeoff between time taken customizing and ad effectiveness.

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