10 Classic Mistakes Businesses Make In Google Ads


As the South’s leading Pay Per Click Experts and a certified Google Ads partner, we’ve seen a lot of Google Ads accounts that could be performing 100% better if only they made a few simple tweaks to the campaign settings. We take great satisfaction in helping small to medium sized businesses (turnovers from £30k to £2m) gain a foothold and compete against the big fish in the industry.

Biggest doesn’t mean best! Small businesses put a lot of time and effort into their products and services and offer deliver outstanding customer service, beyond what the larger corporations can deliver.

We love Google Ads and have seen how it can transform businesses. That’s why we are giving you valuable insider tips on how to instantly improve your Google Ads campaign… today.. for free! We’re not even asking for your contact details 🙂

The following steps are so simple, yet will transform how your account performs. They can take a medioka account to one that’s bringing in more return on investment, more leads, more sales, more traffic, all at a lower cost.


1. Don’t underestimate budget

Piggy Bank

Here’s why. People often say, I have £100, £500, £1,000 to spend on advertising each month. Why? How did you arrive at that figure? Just looking at the bank account? There it is, mistake number 1.

This is the highest cause of accounts failing to deliver and businesses losing faith in the power of Google Ads.

You need to change the way you are thinking about budget. Stop thinking, how much can I afford to spend and star thinking, how much should I be paying per lead. I’m going to repeat that as it’s more important than you realise.

Stop thinking, how much can I afford to spend and start thinking, how much should I be paying per lead.


Instead, think, how much can I pay per lead. You won’t be alone if you say “I have no idea” or “I don’t know, £5?”. You’ll have to do a little work here, but it’s worth it as this is a fundamental question when determining your marketing budget and it will transform how you carry out every single element of your marketing going forward, not just Google Ads.

Find out:


What percentage of leads do you receive that actually turn into clients/sales?

How much is each client worth (on average) over a 3-5 year period?

What are your costs per sale/customer?


From this, you can work out how much you should be paying per lead.

For example, I’m a hairdresser and for every 5 enquiries I receive, 1 becomes a client. I charge £30 on average per visit and I see clients on average, 4 times per year over a 3 year period. Each client spends £360 over a 3yr period, £120 over a 1 year period.
I make £20 profit on each client, each visit, so each client costs me £10 per visit, over 1 year each client costs me £40, over 3 years £120. So, if for every 5 enquiries where I gain 1 client, I should be prepared to pay:
Based on 1yr’s value:

£40 / 5 = £8 per lead

Based on 3yrs value:
£120/5 = £24 per lead

Key Point: If you get repeat customers, you should consider being prepared to break even to gain a new client in order to make the profit in the longer term.


Whether you base the cost per lead on the 1 year or 3 year value per client depends on the sort of customer you get and how long they generally stay with you. Once you know the true value and cost of each lead/customer you can apply this method to every element of your marketing strategy to see whether it is working or not. You may be surprised!


2. Bidding Strategies – Google Loves Data


Google algorithms are continually changing. Just a few years ago the optimum way to operate Google Ads was to have multiple campaigns, each targeting a different product or service.

The issue here is that your data is spread through numerous campaigns. Google’s algorithms now resemble Packman – they love data crunching but on a single path!

  • The more data you have in one campaign, the quicker and more in-depth the algorithms can learn how to serve your ads in order to return the best results. By splitting the campaigns, the volume of data coming into the account is diluted so you are restricted by which bidding strategies you can utilise. Here’s a summary of the bidding strategies:

    Maximise Clicks – great for a brand new campaign or brand awareness with no historic data for Google to work from. This strategy aims to show your ads to as many people to gain as may clicks as possible, irrespective of what you want the person to do once on your website. This is a good strategy for gaining data only but not necessarily conversion actions. This strategy can spend a lot with little return other than data for Google to learn from.

    Cost Per Click – entry level strategy after Maximise Clicks. You’ve got some data from the maximise clicks so now you tell Google how much you want to pay per click. You can give it a maximum amount where it can bid up to that amount or you can set it to a static amount. This is a good strategy for getting accounts started however it doesn’t utilise the amazing capabilities of artificial intelligent learning that the more advanced strategies deliver. Your account will never perform to its best capabilities on this bidding strategy. Never. It should only be used to gain more structured data (data that results in conversions) in order to move on to more sophisticated strategies.

    Here comes the automation……

    Maximise Conversions – an interesting bidding strategy that’s continually being developed by Google. It can be phenomenal on some accounts but on the majority it will spend the whole budget and not necessarily get the conversions. This strategy should be trialled for a few weeks only to see how it performs on individual accounts. From experience, this campaign works best when there are a minimum of 5-15 conversions in a 30 day period.

    Target Cost Per Conversion – One of our favourite strategies! Works best on lots of data. You tell Google how much you want to pay per conversion (lead/enquiry) and it uses the information it has learned and goes out to find those conversions at that cost. It automatically adjusts bids on devices, gender, locations, times of the day etc all based on what it has learned from your previous data. You can gradually decrease your Target until you reach the optimum number of conversions verses the cost per conversion. Use this strategy if you have a minimum of 15-20 conversions in a 30 day period. Note: Your daily budget needs to be at least 3x your Target CPA in order for this strategy to work.

    Return On Ad Spend – The ultimate for Ecommerce businesses. Ideal for businesses where the cost per purchase varies. You tell Google how much profit you want to make on each sale and it goes out and finds that for you.

    Key Point: Review your campaign structure, amalgamate where possible and review your bidding strategy monthly.

    3.Location, Location, Location!

    Check your location settings. You may have set these to target UK only or 50 mile radius of BH23 but if you haven’t ticked the box “people located in my target areas”, your ads will be showing to people “interested” in your target locations. This could be anyone anywhere in the world!

Google Ads Location Settings

4. Display Campaigns – Check The Placement


The default setting for display campaigns is to show on all domains, no matter their content. As a general rule, we exclude 7 placement types which generally do not perform well and aren’t suitable viewing platforms for most businesses:

Google Ads placement settings

5. Remarketing – Don’t lose that initial click


People click on your ad – great! Then what? If they make a sale or enquiry, fantastic! If they don’t, you’ve paid anything from 30p to £3 for that click. You know it’s a warm lead so it makes no sense to let them go without trying again.

Have you ever been to a website and then later that day seen an ad that is selling that product or a similar one? That’s remarketing! It’s a fantastic way to keep in touch with people who have viewed your product but who weren’t quite ready to act on it or perhaps they got distracted or ran out of time during their lunch break. It’s your way of saying “hey, remember you were interested in this….take another look…”.

Fishing Rod

Remarketing campaigns are often half the cost per click of search campaigns so it’s a great way to help secure that investment you’ve already made.

You can set up display ads or if you’re a company who receives a very limited number of clicks, you can set up Remarketing Lists For Search Ads (RLSA) which tell Google to prioritise showing ads to people who have visited your website before and who are searching for your products/services again.


6. Keyword Match Types


Possibly one the most important aspects of any PPC campaign that dictates how your ads will show. If you want as much exposure as possible, use Broad Match Modifier and Exact Match versions of every keyword. Google has recently changed how it interprets when to serve ads for keyword match types.

Historically, a search term had to include the actual keyword for most match types but recently it has learned how to interpret the searchers intent.

Google match types

Broad Match: should be avoided as it is too wide a catchment. For example, a broad match keyword for boys shoes would show ads for searches like trainers for kids. This match type will spend your budget but not necessarily bring in high intent clicks.

Broad Match Modifier (BMM) : Should be used instead of Broad Match. it simply adds a “+” before each word which means the search term must include each word. So, +boys +shoes will only bring up searches that include the words “boys” and “shoes”. Ensure the + sign appears before every keyword.

Phrase Match – this is largely redundant now as it is picked up by (BMM).

Phrase Match – this is largely redundant now as it is picked up by (BMM).

Exact Match : Tells Google to only show ads when the exact phrase is used. This is signified by closed square brackets. [….]. Recent changes mean Google no longer sticks to this exact rule and it is now including “close match” search terms.


Key Point: BMM and Exact match variations of each keyword should be used to maximise exposure and reduce unwanted clicks from irrelevant search terms.


7. Ads


There are many factors that determine whether your ads are served or not. One of these is Ad Rank. Ad Rank is a little like a cake, made of many ingredients. If one is missing or falls a little short, the overall cake suffers. Three easy ways to improve ad rank is to make sure you have 3 ads per ad group, include the keyword in the headline and ensure you are utilizing the new added features in every ad. These include 3 headlines and 2 descriptions. These also give a much more impressive appearance to searchers so increase the click through rate (which also improves ad rank by the way!)

If your ads are in the old format of 1 headline and 1 description, your Ad Rank will be suffering and your ads will be showing less than they could be plus you will be paying more for each click.

Here’s what the new ad style looks like:

Google Ad example

8. Check You Are Tracking Conversions


Google works best on data. You tell Google what you want your clicks to result in and it learns from experience how to get more of those “conversions”. If your conversion tracking is not set up correctly, Google will have no idea what goals you have let alone how to reach them.

Diagram of goals

Goals to consider setting up are:

Tracking phone calls (Google can only track one call so if you have multiple numbers on your website, consider changing this to one central number). Make sure your telephone numbers are clickable on mobile phones.

Tracking email clicks (make sure your website allows people to click on email links)

For Ecommerce businesses, make sure your tracking code is amended to record sales values. This will enable you to move onto the ultimate ROAS bidding strategy mentioned earlier.

Make sure any form fills take you to a “thank you page” so the “thank you” url can be monitored as a conversion.


9. Check Your Landing Page Is Up To The Job


It’s all very well getting lots of clicks but if the page you are sending clicks to doesn’t tell the viewer exactly what you want them to do, chances are, they won’t do it.

Make sure you have a very clear and regular Call To Action, telling them exactly what you want them to do i.e. call, sign up, buy now etc.

Have you looked at your website on a mobile or tablet? How does it look? Is it easy to navigate? Is it obvious what action you want people to take? How fast is it to load? More and more people are searching on mobile devices. If your website is not responsive, slow, hard to read, you will be losing customers. Enter your domain here to find out how mobile friendly your website is and gain valuable insight on how to improve it: Google Mobile Friendly Test

Mobile friendly test example

10. Offer Something Special


When someone has clicked on your ad but doesn’t take action on your website, to entice them back in your remarketing campaign, offer them an incentive in your remarketing ads. This could be a discount, a free product, a free book or guide.. literally anything that brings added value to entice them to revisit your website.

You can set up a dedicated landing page for your remarketing campaign which specifies the particular offer with a very strong call to action to ensure they take the action you want them to take.


Consider a remarketing campaign on Facebook – not just for remarketing as it is the largest social platform with unparalleled targeting capabilities. Did you know, you can target people with an anniversary coming up within the next 30 days for example? That’s what we call targeting!


We hope you have found this guide useful and that you take on board even some of the advice given. For further help and advice, please feel free to contact us.

Good luck and happy bidding!