It's a Trap! Watch Out for These Common Advertising Mistakes Simple mistakes can significantly damage your advertising strategy, hurting your reach and budget. Avoiding these common traps can help sharpen ad performance and maximize your approach.

By Adam Petrilli

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With most shopping happening on the Internet, online advertising has become crucial to any successful business. Google Ads can generate immense traffic to your product — if done correctly. Whether you're just getting familiar with your Google Ads account or have a history with Google Ads campaigns, avoid the following mistakes to optimize your returns.

Mistake #1: Using the wrong keyword match types

One of the most critical areas of Google Ads is keywords, which are the search words or phrases that match up with your ads. There are three subcategories of keyword match types: broad, phrase, and exact.

Many advertisers only use broad match keywords, which means your ads will show up on searches that relate to your keyword in any order. This is an easy way for your ad to garner a lot of impressions, but it doesn't guarantee conversion — because how likely is it that each person searching that keyword is a potential customer?

Related: 3 Questions to Answer Before Investing More Into Your Marketing Budget

You'll want to ensure you're also utilizing phrase and exact match keywords, which are progressively more specific. Though your overall impressions will be lower, you'll have a better chance at customer conversion. Pick broad match keywords based on which phrases or words have demonstrated strong conversion. Otherwise, you're just reaching a large audience who isn't interested in your product.

Mistake #2: Running ad copy without testing it

Whether you've got one set of copy per ad group or dozens of variations, it's crucial to compare what copy works and what doesn't. Google Ads allows you to do this directly in a campaign's "Experiments" section. You can quickly run numerous variations of an ad simultaneously for several weeks and then compare the results.

Over time, you'll know what phrases and setups provide concrete results, and you can replicate this for future campaigns. Google Ads makes it easy to duplicate ads and input essential details under the "ad extensions" tab. You can add reviews, location, phone numbers and more to your campaigns.

Related: Here's How to Conduct Better Lead Generation Experiments

Mistake #3: Letting Google take the reins

Google Ads can be intimidating, and a lot of great automation would seemingly simplify navigating your account. But often, handing control over to Google can cost you.

For instance, relying on automated bidding may overlook specifics that could help you reach an intended audience or target devices more likely to lead to conversion. It's helpful to test your bidding strategies to determine what makes the most sense for your specific business. Google Ads also offers automation, such as ad schedule bid modifiers, which can fluctuate over time and cause you to miss out on a lower bid.

Similarly, Google Ads will make recommendations that could clog your campaign rather than optimize the process. Not every "best practice" will apply to your specific product, so while it's helpful to look into the suggestions that Google Ads makes, you don't want to give Google free rein on what should be carefully crafted campaigns.

Related: Is Your Digital Marketing Strategy Missing the Mark? Here's How to Tell

Mistake #4: Ignoring negative keywords

Just as it's essential to add relevant keywords to your business, you also want to add negative keywords to your campaigns. These are words or phrases that, when searched, will exclude your ad from showing up in the results — a crucial way of protecting your brand reputation and curating customer conversions.

Expanding your negative keyword list will help filter out customers you know aren't a match for your product, giving you a better return on the ads you run. Negative keywords are also a great place to add keywords you've tried and tested in earlier campaigns and know don't perform.

Mistake #5: Overlooking your audience

Google Ads gives you plenty of tools to create and target audiences, but are you utilizing these correctly? Just as it's essential to test ad copy and keywords, you should be trying different audiences to see how they respond to your campaigns. You may discover new demographics who deserve more investment or that certain types of ads work best in specific regions or age groups — valuable information that will reduce your ad budget.

Related: The Surprising Secret to Getting More Eyes On Your Ads

Beyond basics like age, gender and location, you can zero in on interests and past behaviors when creating audiences. When geotargeting audiences, pay attention to the options, as you'll need to manually specify a specific location (otherwise, it will broadly target people who have an "interest" in that location). It would help if you targeted audiences who have engaged with your business.

Google Ads also provides an "observation" setting so that you can monitor a campaign's performance as it's happening and adjust your bids based on this data. As with any ongoing tests, experimenting with targeting and the observation feature can impact your return over time.

Adam Petrilli

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO & Founder,

Adam Petrilli develops and executes winning strategies while inspiring teams to embrace change to promote business excellence. He thrives during challenging situations and in making high-risk decisions with a strategic revenue-focused perspective to generate growth.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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