When we received the Yellow Pages book delivered to our offices last year, it didn’t even get taken out of its plastic wrap. Most people that I ask binned it immediately, but in our office we put it on the bookshelf – but not so we can use it! Instead the Yellow Pages books are lined up beside ones from previous years, as a striking comparison of Jenny Craig-like change, with the current Yellow Pages being a shadow of its former self.
The collection of Yellow Pages sit there as a reminder of how people used to find businesses in yesteryear. But nowadays Google is of course where people turn to.
Businesses spend thousands every year on Google Ads – with some larger businesses spending hundreds of thousands, or even millions, through the ads network.
While Google Ads are incredibly powerful and can be hugely beneficial when done right, there are minefields of mistakes that can be made that can easily cost your company thousands in wasted ad spend.
Google Ads has become incredibly complex and fast moving, and you can’t be an expert at everything – so what key things should you keep an eye on?
If you have a Google Ads agency working for you, as the client there is one key mistake that you should avoid, to make sure your agency is not wasting your ad spend.
The big mistake I often see is companies not checking the search terms from their campaigns. In Google Ads there are “keywords” and “search terms”. “Keywords” are the words that your agency set to trigger your ads. Whereas “search terms” are the actual phrases that users typed into Google.
For example, if you have the keyword “lawyers” setup in Google Ads, the search term that the user actually typed might have been “divorce lawyers Hamilton”. If your Hamilton firm works in family law this sounds like a great term to have your ad show for. But alternatively, the search term the user typed might have actually been “lawyers jobs in Hamilton”, or “lawyers Auckland” (searched by a person in Hamilton). You won’t want your ad showing up for these last two search terms, because you’ll be wasting your money if they click it.
As an agency client, you should check the list of top search terms from your campaigns every month. This list can often reveal spend that is going on keywords that are not ideal.
When we audited the Google Ads account for a large nationwide company, they were horrified to learn that they had paid over $26 for some clicks, that were for very generic search terms. Thousands of dollars had been wasted by their agency on search terms only loosely related to their product offering.
The best practice is to make sure you receive a report with the top search terms each month and give them a quick review. If you have a good agency they’ll already be reviewing these search terms regularly, but you still might spot some search terms that you don’t want your ads displaying for. If you see any, simply let your agency know and they can block those search terms. This simple check helps you know your ad spend is going to the right place and can save you thousands of dollars over time.