When you setup your very first Google AdWords campaign, you’ll probably get a phone call from a Google employee offering to help you to setup your campaign. If you don’t know any better, you’ll listen to them. But here’s why you should tell them “thanks, but no thanks“!

AdWords Logo

Bad Keywords

Using broad match keywords, as is often suggested by the “experts” at Google, can be a costly mistake. This is because using broad match keywords means that you won’t know the exact search terms that those navigating to your site via AdWords are using. Moreover, broad match keywords cost more than other types.

Match types in Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Instead of taking Google’s advice of dumping a bunch of broad match keywords into your campaign, you should use broad modified, or even better: phrase match or exact match keywords. These match types usually have a much better Click Through Rates (CTRs) than broad keywords — because you can create advertisements that are targeted more directly to those searching with the specific keyword — and they’re also cheaper. In some circumstances, it’s most cost-effective to include all match types for a given keyword.

Ignoring Negative Keywords

It’s important to spend time focusing on negative keywords. Google will tell you all about the positive keywords that you can use when they call you – keywords that drive traffic to your site – but they won’t give much (or any) direction on negative keywords, which could be very costly to you. Negative keywords instruct AdWords not to display your adverts for people searching using the negative keyword you’ve defined.

Thumbs down to no negative keywords

You may want to stop people looking for free products from visiting your site by adding negative keywords, such as ‘free’ or ‘freeware’, to your list. This is because every time someone uses a negative keyword to find you, they’re making you pay a fee to Google by clicking on your ad but they’re not planning on buying anything, meaning that their click is a waste of your money.

No A/B Testing

Even the biggest marketing experts don’t get their adverts right the first time round. Think about it – when you run an ad, the chances are that it will not be the best ad possible. That’s why every single AdWords campaign you run should have a considerable testing process attached to it, and by that we mean: A/B testing your ads.

If you run two different ads side by side, you can compare their effectiveness to each other. Once you’ve decided on a winner, create a new ad to compare the winner to. And so on and so forth, until you find a super-optimal ad that not only gives you lots of clicks but also lots of conversions! This process can take months, but it’s essential to running an efficient, cost-effective AdWords campaign.

Retiring Ads Without Testing

To A/B test properly, you should always ensure that the Ads Delivery option in your campaign settings is set to ‘Rotate: show ads evenly‘.

AdWords rotation setting

Checking this option means that Google will not show better performing ads more often. This might be a strange concept, but think about it: if you are testing your ads, then as soon as one starts performing well, it will get preferential treatment. This will mean that the results of the test are skewed and that you don’t necessarily get the best ad at the end of it. Instead, you should allow all of the ads a fair chance and then manually retire the worst ones after you have enough statistically significant data.


There is no doubting that Google AdWords is a highly effective tool for all looking to advertise their business to a large section of society. The problem is though that, as many people forget, Google is a business and they want you to use AdWords in a certain way so that they make more money. However, by following the instructions on this page, you should save significant amounts on the money you were previously spending on your AdWords campaign.

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