3 Google Ads Mistakes to Stop Making Today

Google Ads still sit at the forefront of nearly every digital marketing campaign. SEO, content marketing, and viral marketing take a while to implement, but Google Ads can start producing results now. 

They can generate revenue immediately, albeit at lower margins than more organic digital strategies, but more importantly, they can generate data — allow you to test assumptions, prove hypotheses, and fail fast so you don’t pour money into a bad long-term strategy.

With nearly two decades running Google Ads for myself and others, I have developed a definite list of “do’s” and “don’ts.” Here are three of the biggest Google Ads “don’ts” to avoid at all costs. 

1. Don’t Try to Get Everyone to Click

It’s counterintuitive. Don’t you want to cast as wide a net as possible? That way, you have the most potential customers … right?

Here’s a dirty secret — as a digital marketer, I spend less time thinking about how to get people to click on my Google Ads than I spend thinking about how to get people not to click on my ads.

Remember, Google Ads are “pay-per-click” (PPC) — meaning you are paying for every person that clicks on your ad. What if they aren’t a qualified prospect? You won’t convert them — but you still pay for the click. 

Suppose you sell customized design desks, and your lowest-ticket product is $2,000. Any click from a person who doesn’t have $5,000 to drop on a design desk is a waste of your money. You should strongly consider putting “Prices starting at $2,000” in the ad copy. Yes, you will get less traffic … but if that traffic couldn’t afford you anyway, that’s a good thing. 

2. Forgetting to Put Keywords in the Copy

Google Ads target keywords, but it blows my mind how many brands meticulously target their “branded” words … and then forget to put the keywords that someone is search for in the ad copy.

Yes, the campaign keywords determine whether or not your ad will get an impression for a search query of that keyword, but the Google algorithm also favors ads with the keyword in the copy. Bottom line — you will get more impressions for your ad if you don’t make this mistake.

3. Don’t Neglect the Negative Keywords

Many brands pore over which keywords to target, but they spend precious little time thinking about which keywords not to target. A negative keyword in the campaign will make sure that your ad will not display for certain key term searches.

Suppose you run a cannabis shop in a state where marijuana is currently illegal. You don’t want your ad to display for someone looking for marijuana — you have nothing to sell to that person (legally).

You can use negative keywords to make sure that your ad doesn’t appear when the search query includes marijuana. You don’t need to be paying for those clicks — only the clicks of people who actually want what you are selling.


Anyone can throw together a basic Google Ads campaign fairly easily and quickly. To maximize the ROI of that campaign takes meticulous attention to detail — and knowledge of the pitfalls.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more Google Ads “do’s” and “don’ts.”

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