How to Identify and Fix Floundering Google Ad Campaigns

Nobody likes burning cash: especially, on advertising.

You're dumping too much money into advertising for pitiful returns but what's the problem? Are your competitors doing the same or have they eliminated the issues you're stumbling over?

If you don't have experts managing your campaigns or you're trying to become one, these are the causes to some of the biggest problems you're probably facing and how to fix them.

Let's assume you're:

Low Ad Conversion: Causes & Solutions

Your Landing Page Isn't Mobile-Friendly

Mobile-friendly doesn't just mean responsive, it means user-friendly. Your website should do more than rearrange content to fit varying screen sizes.

Open your landing page on your phone.

  • What does it look like?
  • Would you want to land on a page like this if you were on the hunt for your own product/service?
  • Does everything fit nicely on the page without side-to-side scrolling?
  • Is the page legible?
  • Is it missing information that appears on the desktop version of your page?

Be honest and critical of your site. Get a friend or colleague who's not afraid to give genuine feedback to take a look.

You should also use a tool like Screenfly to view your landing page across multiple screen sizes. What looks good on your device, might not look so great on a smaller or larger phone.

Solution                                                                                                                      

If your page isn't mobile-optimized and you're running ads that appear on mobile devices, it's time to redesign your landing page.

You're Getting Irrelevant Search Term Clicks

Open Google AdWords and click on the Keywords tab for an ad group or the whole campaign. Then, choose the option 'Search terms' to view a list of the phrases people who clicked on your ad used.

AdWords-Keyword-Search-Terms.png#asset:188

Solution

If the keyword phrases aren't relevant, you need to revamp your keyword targeting and add some negative keywords to your campaign.

Try using more specific keywords in your advertising, take advantage of the broad match modifier keyword type, and focus on long-tail keyword phrases.

Your Target Locations Are Too Broad

It's always a good idea to narrowly define your geographic target: especially, when you operate within a defined region. Even if you're serving customers globally, ads should be region and language specific.

To find out if you're getting an abundance of clicks from irrelevant countries/areas, start looking into your website analytics.

Solution

If you're using Google Analytics, define an audience segment that only includes Paid Traffic from Google and check Audience > Geo > Location. You'll see a list of all the countries where you've received paid clicks.

Look at the stats of each country that appears in the list:

  • Is the bounce rate higher than normal?
  • Is time on page ridiculously low (close to zero)?
  • Have you received any conversions?

If the answers to all of those questions is negative, you need to manually exclude regions from your location targeting. If some stats are good and others are bad for a specific country, you should still exclude them from you existing campaign but consider creating a new campaign that better addresses the country's needs.

Google AdWords can be a little deceiving when it comes to location exclusion–it's a two part change you'll need to make in order for changes to take effect.

Head into your Campaign/Ad Group settings and look for the section that contains 'Locations.'

Under Locations, Targeted Locations:, you'll want to edit the list by searching for countries/regions you want to exclude. When the name appears, choose the option for 'Exclude'. Do this for as many places as you'd like to stop showing ads and save the changes when you're done.

Then, open the Advanced Location Options through the Location options (advanced) link. Edit the Exclude option to 'People in my excluded location' and save changes.

You want to exclude by physical location only because the Google (recommended) option could potentially exclude customers within your targeted locations.

Your Ad Copy is Confusing or Off-Topic

Have someone, who's never seen your landing page, read through your ad copy and ask them what they'd expect to see after clicking on your ad.

It's important to get outside feedback on this one. Do their expectations match what your landing page delivers? You've got a problem if they don't.

Solution

Revise your ad copy. Clearly express your purpose, offer, or service and drive clicks with an attention-grabbing (and relevant) call-to-action.

Your Landing Page Is Confusing, Irrelevant, or Difficult to Navigate

Here's another area where you could use outside perspective. Ask a few people–outside of your industry–to take a look at your landing page. Give them a few seconds to glance at it and ask them:

  • what they think you're offering,
  • what they think your goals are,
  • what they should be expected to do,
  • and how difficult it was to come to their conclusions.

Stay focused on gleaning first impression information and don't let your outside friends spend too long on the page. Remember, your paid clickers only need fractions of a second before forming an opinion of your page.

Solution

Not receiving the feedback you expected? Spend some time updating your landing page:

  • Prominently express what you're selling or trying to accomplish. This should be the first, concise thing someone reads when they land on your page.
  • Arrange content in a manner that's easy to follow and logically flows from topic to topic.
  • Avoid irrelevant text, images, and other non-essential fluff (social feeds, off-topic testimonials, related content).
  • Make accomplishing your goal simple. If you want someone to fill out a form, give them a big button that scrolls to the form. If you're trying to sell shoes, make the buy button obvious.
  • Eliminate landing page escape routes.

Your Landing Page is Broken (Seriously. It Happens More Often Than You'd Think)

When's the last time you went through your own landing page, clicked on the links, opened it on your phone, filled out the form, or purchased the product you're selling? If you've never done it, it's time to change that habit.

So, go ahead and check your landing page right now. Does everything work as expected?

Websites can be sensitive...an update to your main site could cause the form on your landing page to break. On the surface everything looks fine, but once you hit submit on your form, the page crashes.

Solution

Diagnose and fix the problem asap. While you're hunting for the fix, pause your ad campaigns. No point in wasting any more money on clicks sent to a broken page.

Stay Vigilant and Monitor Your Ads Often

Advertising isn't a 'set it and forget it' task. In order to get the most out of your advertising (and spend less per conversion), make monitoring and improving Google AdWords routine.

Test new ad copy, add keywords, eliminate low performing search terms and check your landing page for errors often. 

Want advice for improving your landing pages? Let us know and we'll share some free advice.

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