Despite AdWords’ superb granularity and continual upgrades to the user experience, advertisers often fail to take advantage of everything the platform has to offer. If you’re a marketer who spends time in AdWords every day, this list might seem elementary. If you’re new to AdWords or just need a quick guide to running audits, this will help.
I spend countless hours working on Adwords for lawyers, and here are the six most common errors I encounter when auditing a client’s paid search account.
Double Check Your Location Targeting
I mentioned lawyers specifically in the previous paragraph, and that’s because law firms (or the agencies running their accounts) are commonly hurt by this mistake. It also applies to any geo-specific business.
Attorneys can only practice law in states in which they are licensed; if you’re a Dallas personal injury lawyer, for instance, showing ads in Mississippi or Pennsylvania will waste your budget and land you unqualified leads.
The other reason I’m picking on lawyers so much: each click costs a fortune. For instance, I recently set a bid at $130 for a client for a niche law term—only to see my ad show six pages deep. Those are some expensive clicks.
No imagine bidding over $100 for just one click, only for someone searching for “injury lawyer” in an unqualified state to click on your ad? That’s $100 down the drain. And it happens all the time.
To fix: all you have to do is visit the “location” settings within each campaign. Make sure you’re only targeting the township, city, or state that meets your criteria.
Where are your Display Ads Showing?
Were you lured into setting up a display campaign because the clicks range from $.50-$2.00? Cheap clicks are enticing, but display campaigns can easily have a lower ROI than search campaigns. Here’s why:
I recently created a display campaign for a workers compensation lawyer in the Philadelphia area. For the first couple of days, I was astounded to see a $20 cost per lead (cpl) for calls to the business (that’s an incredible low CPL for law firms).
Well, while I was in the display campaign in AdWords, I clicks into the “Placements” tab. I hadn’t set any exact placements when I launched the campaign, so I clicked into the “where my ads showed” button.
Guess where those conversions had come from? Apps, like Facebook Messenger, flashlight applications, and popular podcasts. That’s a bad sign.
Google will use up all of your budget on mobile apps if you don’t stop them, and people who “convert” while clicking on your ad in their flashlight app are probably calling you by mistake. To preserve the integrity of your leads, you’ll usually need to exclude apps altogether by following these steps:
1. Navigate to the “placements” section of your display campaign.
2. Then click “exclusions.”
3. Add this url as and exclusion: adsenseformobileapps.com
And you’re good to go! Your ads will no longer show on apps, and your phone calls will probably be legitimate.
Are You Testing New Ad Copy?
A Key Component to any AdWords audit is the copy you use on your ads; the language you use can have a huge psychology impact your potential customers.
The mistake I see so often is a company creating only one ad and letting it run indefinitely. By doing so, marketers are missing out on the ability to run A/B tests.
Let me show you an example from Critter Sitters, and Atlanta Dog Sitting Service I’ve worked with:
Traditional wisdom would tell you that the more conversational ad (the 2nd one) would have better click-through-rate (CTR), but the numbers tell an entirely different story. The first ad has a 6.35% CTR compared to 2.22% from the “conversational” one.
The moral of this story is that you can almost never predict how users will react to your ads, so you must keep churning out new ad copy. Will they click on an add with pricing? The name of the town? A question mark?
You’ve got to test to find out.
Are You Maxing Out Your Extensions?
Guess how I dramatically increased CTR for a client selling used cars in South Jersey; that’s right, I implemented a bunch of extensions. It was quick, easy, and led to almost immediate results.
Firstly, you must add a call extension if you’re targeting a local audience. A surprising amount of mobile users will click the call extension rather than clicking through to your website.
Secondly, set up a Google My Business account and use that to add a “location” extension to your ads. CTRs for these extensions are very high (I’ve seen them as high as 6%), and people who click on a location extension and view your business in Google Maps are very likely to make a purchase or visit your brick and mortar location.
These are easy to implement: while in your AdWords account, navigate to “ads and extension” and click the “+”. Just follow the instructions from there.
Scroll through all of the extension options in the AdWords interface—there are sitelinks, promos, and more, and you can have them all up and running at once.
Are You Tracking Conversions?
My last example comes from—you guessed it—a personal injury lawyer in Arkansas. I took over an Adwords account with the client claiming that it wasn’t productive. After a cursory examination however, I noticed that their account may have been producing worthwhile leads the whole time; it’s just that they weren’t tracking conversions properly.
The first step is to link your AdWords account with Google Analytics. Once that’s taken care of, you can simply import your conversion actions from Analytics into AdWords.
If you’re brand new to this, follow the steps for adding the Analytics tag to your website. And for call tracking, simply check the box in your call extensions that says “count calls as conversions.”
If you have any questions about setting up Adwords, or if you’re concerned that you’re wasting spend and need some help, please don’t hesitate to write a comment below! I’d love to give you a hand and set you on a path towards success.