How to Avoid These 7 Money-wasting Google Ads mistakes

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As a business owner, you may have heard about the illustrious well of potential called Google ads. You might have even signed up for an account and tried to run a campaign yourself. Maybe you saw a bit of success or maybe you bombed it completely. It’s no secret Google ads can be a powerhouse for your business. So why is it so hard for some businesses to turn a profit while others find success and easily scale their budgets? 

Let me ask you a question… 

Would you fly a space shuttle into orbit just because the rockets have enough fuel to get you there? 

Or, would you rather have a trained astronaut take you into space and bring you back safely? 

I’m not sure about you but I would rather fly with the astronaut. 

There are a million things that could go wrong in a launch and just in case something did go wrong, you may want someone with experience to help you out.

And if you had no choice but to fly the ship yourself then it would probably make sense to enroll in the space program to discover how to fly it properly first. 


Unfortunately, that takes time and time is a luxury you might not have. 

So why am I asking you this?

Well, Google Ads is that spaceship, it can take your business to the moon and back. 

But only if you know what you are doing. 

That’s why I’m here to help! 

Now, I can’t make you a Google Adstronaut in a day but I can help you avoid a few common mistakes that will surely decommission your ROI. 

Let’s begin.

Google Ads won’t sell your product for you

Before we even jump into the technical mistakes you could be making with your campaign, let’s start off with a fundamental truth. 

Google ads alone don’t sell anything; it just leads prospects to a page they may be interested in based on what they are searching for. 

Which means at the very least, all a well managed Google ads campaign can do is send qualified traffic to your site or landing page

It’s not Google’s job to sell your product, present your value proposition, or answer objections. 

That’s your job. 

If you send your ad traffic to a poorly designed destination, product, or service page that has no value, then there is no magic you can use to get prospects to buy your product or sign-up to your list. 

You’d be surprised at how many high level executives don’t understand this at the start of their campaigns. They think the more money they dump into it; the more profit they get out.

Sorry… it doesn’t work that way.  

If you don’t have a product or service that is relevant to the market or a good sales funnel, no amount of money will make your prospects convert for profitable campaigns. 

Also, there is a general misconception that your budget is the main factor in how much you can scale. 

This is also not entirely true, your budget may dictate how much money you want to spend but it doesn’t dictate the size of your market and how many people are actively searching for it. 

Increasing your budget alone will not increase the demand. 

Remember, money into Google Ads doesn’t mean a guaranteed ROI coming out. 

So, make sure you have a decent sales funnel and landing page in place before you start sending traffic to your site. Check out these 7 best practices for improving your landing page as well.

Lack of keyword research 

Keywords are the lifeblood of your campaigns; it’s your spark plug that gets the engine started. 

And if you have a faulty start plug, you won’t get far no matter what you do. 

It’s important you do your research before you set up your campaign.

You’ll want to know how people search for your products, what type of words they use, etc. 

Also, you want to know what type of questions they ask and what features and benefits are important to your prospects. 

You don’t want to skip this contextual research as it tells you a good bit about your market, the level of intent of a keyword, and what questions you may want to answer on your landing or product page. 

A great tool for contextual research is Answer The Public!

And you can even use the prefilled queries you get when you attempt to find your product and or service category.  

The next part of the research is quantitative. 

This is where you should research some metrics involving your seed keywords you’ll start your campaigns with. 

When conducting quantitative keyword research, you should look for things like keyword density, competitiveness, average CPC bid, and volumes. 

Keyword planner in Google Ads is a good tool to start with. 

This will help you decide which keywords may or may not be easy to win in an auction, how much you might want to start your initial bid at, and how much traffic the keyword is likely exposed to. 

All too often, business owners decide to breeze over these steps which cost them substantial net profit in the end. 

You don’t understand match types or how they work

Match types are like a doorway to your traffic. You can have them all the way open to match anything that is remotely related to your keyword or closed to only those keywords that exactly match. 

How open or closed your traffic is for any given keyword is strongly correlated with your match type. 

There are 4 match types: 

  1. Broad Match 
  2. Modified Broad Match 
  3. Phrase Match 
  4. Exact Match 

You need to understand what each match triggers for each keyword. 

Here is a graph to demonstrate how they work. 

Each keyword and match type may convert differently and have different levels of intent. 

Which is why it’s so important to know how to use them. 

When starting off your campaign you may even want to try a technique called Cascading bids

The more you understand match types the more control you have over your campaigns and your profitability…

You don’t have an extensive negative keyword list

Think of your negative keyword list as your bug zapper. 

It stops annoying irrelevant searches from sucking the life out of your budget without providing value. 

Negative keyword lists are the simplest route to reach your highest intent customers, reduce your costs and boost your ROAS.

It also helps you increase your Google Ads quality score. For example, Search Scientists increased their client’s quality score by 60.1% and decreased CPC by 24.6% according to Neil Patel. 

Imagine trying to run a campaign for fine wine and users are searching for “cheap wine” or “wine recipes” etc… 

It’s likely these people don’t want to pay for fine wine so to spend your money on a search that has cheap wines would be wasteful. And you don’t want your brand to interact or associate with these users.

This is where negative keywords come in. 

They are a set of keywords that you tell Google to not bid for in its auction. 

That’s why your negative keyword list is just as important as your keyword list.

They help improve your campaign’s efficiency. 

You’ll want to start with a good negative keyword list however you’ll want to keep expanding it as your campaign goes on. 

So don’t just set it and forget it either. 

You can check out the Search Term Report in Google ads to see what searches your keywords are triggering. 

If you notice a search your keyword triggers with negative intent, you can add it to your negative keyword list. 

Pro tip: You can use the same match types for your negative keywords as you can for your normal keywords. Instead of expanding your targeting match types, negative keywords match types define how restrictive they are.  

You’re not tracking your conversions

If you’re not tracking your conversions in Google ads, you might as well invest your money into the Hobo Homeowners Association because your investment will be that pointless.

After you figure out how to optimize your campaigns for leads or sales, you should think about how to track those conversions. 

Conversion tracking lets you know how profitable a keyword may be and what is working and what is not in your campaign. 

You can track phone calls, website conversions, offline conversions, and even app conversions.

Tracking conversions is an absolute must-have ability to optimize your campaigns. 

If you can’t keep a record of what is working, how are you ever going to optimize it?

However, even though conversion tracking can be great, you should still have another system of record to double check what Google tells you. 

No matter how smart the people that work on these DSP are, they aren’t gods creating machines that never make mistakes. 

When you cash in a $100 bill for something that cost $47.99, do you count the change or just assume you got the correct amount? 

You count that change! 

Am I right? 


So when Google tells you sold 15 new products or captured 30 new leads, trust but verify. 

Even still, you need to track your conversions in Google. 

If you ever want to leverage the power of Google’s machine learning algorithms and bid types, then you need to tell Google what’s happening with your business. 

Conversion tracking is one of the ways to do that and also an integral part in having the ability to track your progress.  

You don’t know your profit margins. 

Now if you’re a savvy digital marketer, you probably know how to scale a profitable campaign once you know your net profit or LTV. 

But you’ll be surprised at how many business owners try to start off a campaign without this much needed data. 

If you want to have a return on your ad spend, then you need to know how much you can spend to generate a conversion. 

Be precise on how much you can afford to pay for a sale or lead and understand the percentage of leads that your team converts to sales.

This is key to calculating a max cpc bid, target CPA, or target ROAS. 

Once you know your profit margins, you can use bidding strategies and work towards achieving your desired outcomes in Google Ads.


Now, that’s a sexy word!

You don’t use your bid modifiers 

Not every cohort is created equal. Bid modifiers allow you to adjust your bids according to demographics, psychographics, audiences, and more.

This is incredibly useful when different people could convert differently or represent varying amounts of value to your business. 

Bid modifiers help you solve for a few variables that keywords alone can’t. 

For instance are people more likely to convert on mobile or desktop? Texas or Virginia? in the age group of 18 – 24 or 25 – 34? 

Stuff like this matters and your wallet is going to care even if you think you don’t. 

These are all variables that you can adjust for and it can save you a mountain in value. 

You can even bid more for a returning user vs new users if the data suggest returning visitors are more likely to convert. 

Pro tip: Install and enable Google remarketing pixels into your website. 

All in all there are probably more than seven mistakes that can eat up your profits. 

However, the good news is now it’s seven less. 

If this still confuses you and you rather just pay someone like me to 10x your profits, then just work with us instead. 

It’s that simple…

Until next time, M8! 



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John Mullinix

John Mullinix

I'm a father and Digital Marketing Fanatic. I enjoy helping brands grow and reach their sales goals by using copywriting, data driven marketing & conversion architecture.

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