Why don’t Google Ads work? The most common mistakes
Google Ads is a great way to advertise online, but the mistakes you can make when using this system can dramatically reduce the profitability of your efforts. Want to find out what to avoid and how to protect yourself against mistakes? Be sure to read our guide.
Google itself advertises its system with the slogan “Achieve the results you care about” and “You only pay for results”. Sounds great, right? What then can go wrong? Well, a lot! We will outline the most important and common problems with the performance of Google Ads.
Lack of a target translated into the language of the advertising system
You have surely come across the term conversion. Its definition is as follows:
An action that is counted when someone interacts with an ad (for example, clicks on a text ad or watches a video ad) and then performs an action that has been identified as valuable to the company, such as completing an online purchase or calling the company from a mobile phone.
Conversions are the key to success and without properly defining and measuring them, there will be no good results from our advertising efforts. Every business wants to earn more, but if Google Ads is to help us do this, we need to determine what actions taken by users on our website or in our online shop will provide us with this increase in earnings.
In an online shop, it is usually simpler to set goals, which can then be translated into the language of the advertising system – we want to sell more products, we want the cost of acquiring a transaction to be as low as possible, we want every zloty spent on advertising to bring the highest possible return. These are all goals that can be accurately translated into the language of an advertising system.
In the case of businesses or projects that do not sell finished products, we will usually be interested in acquiring contacts from our potential customers. Such contact is called a lead, and these leads have a measurable impact on our earnings. Such interactions usually occur when users send an enquiry via the contact form, write an e-mail to us, make a phone call, download a file with our offer or price list, etc. We can successfully translate these types of activities into the language of an advertising system and thus measure them effectively.
So what does it take to measure conversions and provide valuable data for the advertising system algorithms? All you need to do is make use of a number of tools provided by Google (Google Ads, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager) and make some changes to your website/online shop (access to an FTP server, changes to the source code, installation of plug-ins and add-ons, verification of the site in individual services). Without this, the adverts that the advertising system will broadcast for us will be somewhat blind and deaf, and thus much less or completely ineffective.
Conclusion – avoid running your advertising activities on the Google Ads system without a good strategy and without a properly prepared technical background. If you can’t do it yourself – order a professional strategy and put the running of the activities in the hands of specialists.
Lack of continuity of actions
The Google Ads advertising system has been on the market for almost 25 years and has been changing all the time to make increasing use of the advances in state-of-the-art technology. For some time now, it has been clear that the system is moving towards more and more automation based on algorithms, machine learning and artificial intelligence. A system structured in this way needs to be fed with valuable data from users so that it can continually optimise processes and increasingly achieve the goals and tasks we set for it.
Processes that use automation require continuity and stability of operations in order to operate effectively. Any major configuration change or any stoppage of the Google Ads system results in a kind of reset and the need for these automations to re-deploy themselves. In addition, in order to maintain a certain level of effectiveness, the system needs to deliver a certain number of conversions (usually between 30 and 50) in specific units of time (e.g. per month). Such quantitative thresholds translate into specific needs in terms of advertising budget – in order to be able to deliver 30 or 50 conversions per month and fully benefit from the advantages of automation, one has to reckon with incurring fixed investments in advertising activities, which only at the next stage translate into increased revenues and profits.
This does not mean that below this level it is not possible to use the Google Ads advertising system effectively and efficiently. It is possible, but it requires a different approach and strategy. In this context, it will be very important to properly configure and prepare your Google Ads account to operate under these conditions.
Continuity of advertising activities also means being able to track user behaviour over time, collecting historical data, which is a valuable source of information and a basis for account optimisation. Advertising activities carried out systematically over a longer period of time give the advertising system the opportunity to react better to changing trends. There are naturally better and worse periods in which selling our products or services may be easier or more difficult, cheaper or more expensive. By ensuring our reach, visibility and presence in the advertising system in a continuous, sustainable way, we increase our chances of achieving results during those periods that will be more profitable for us.
Conclusion – plan your activities in the Google Ads system in advance and for longer periods of time. Avoid high volatility, switching on and off activities, reacting nervously during periods of changing economic conditions. Take care to be present at all times and to fill your customer’s purchase path as much as possible with your own messages. Order a professional Google Ads strategy and reap the benefits for a long time.
Failure to optimise your advertising account
The Google Ads system aims to make it easy for anyone to use. The entry threshold is relatively low, the operation of the ad account is simple and Google provides extensive support on many levels. So much for the theory. In practice, it is much more complicated and time-consuming. Indeed, it is the case that more and more solutions are appearing in this system that do not require our intervention. Certain things happen by themselves and yet it works well and sometimes even very well. In our opinion, however, there are as many advantages as disadvantages. The disadvantages certainly include a lack of control and influence over many elements that can generate large costs for us without much chance of profit or revenue.
Without proper care, the Google Ads system can change the settings of our advertising campaigns on its own, and this can often spoil the effectiveness of our actions (vide: automatically applied recommendations in the advertising account). The Google Ads system will publish our ads (especially graphic ads) in an advertising network, many elements of which have very low or even zero effectiveness (vide: display ads in mobile applications). The Google Ads system will encourage us to use the express advertising account, which is designed to run so-called intelligent campaigns, and you would be hard pressed to find a person or project that has used this form of advertising and been satisfied with it.
There are many more examples of such situations and solutions. They relate to general and strategic settings as well as small, detailed optimisation solutions. In order to be able to control all this and maximise the chances of increasing efficiency, you need to spend a lot of time and be really up to date with all the technicalities involved in the operation of the Google Ads system.
Conclusion – don’t trust every solution Google will offer you. Remember that the ad system was created primarily so that Google could make money from it… that’s right – Google, not you. Of course, you too can get good results using this system, but you need to give it enough attention and work. If you don’t feel up to it, it’s better to have someone do it on your behalf. In this way, you will increase the likelihood of success and gains and minimise the risks and possible losses. Order a professional strategy that tells you what to do and how to do it to make your Google Ads account work as much in your favour as possible.
If Google Ads in your case hasn’t worked, hasn’t brought you the benefits you expected, then start by checking these 3 elements:
- whether you had/have correctly defined and technically configured conversions,
- that you have been running Google Ads continuously for a sufficiently long period of time,
- was your Google Ads account correctly optimised and taken care of, and did technical issues reduce the effectiveness of your actions?
This is obviously not a closed set of the most important problems with the Google Ads system. In our experience, shortcomings in these areas are most often and to the greatest extent responsible for lower effectiveness of activities than one might expect. Each project, each advertiser is an individual case and it is best to lean into the project in question and analyse it in depth. We are convinced that it is possible to carry out effective and efficient activities in the Google Ads advertising system. Numerous case studies from our clients attest to this. The starting point for us is always a well-prepared and well-thought-out action strategy. If you share our philosophy and our way of thinking about online advertising, get in touch – we’d be happy to talk to you about your business.
FAQ – Questions and answers
What is the biggest mistake you can make when using the Google Ads system?
There are many mistakes that can be made by mishandling the Google Ads system, but the biggest by far is the lack of conversion tracking. Without proper conversion tracking, no Google Ads account will work effectively in the long run.
Do Google Ads work automatically?
No – despite the many conveniences, simplifications and solutions that make it easy to start the process of advertising on Google, it cannot be said that Google Ads will work on its own, without our help. If we care about the effectiveness and quality of our activities and maintain at least partial control over spending, it is imperative that we take constant care and supervision of our advertising campaigns in the Google Ads system.
What influences the effectiveness of my Google Ads?
Many factors influence the effectiveness of our Google Ads, but among the most important are: good matching of ads to topic and audience, high quality of the landing page and the product we are promoting, provision of valuable data on user behaviour to the advertising system, running advertising activities in a continuous and planned manner.
Do I have to use all the options and possibilities of the Google Ads system?
Yes – failing to use the full potential of your advertising account and individual ad units, despite having this option, is a big mistake that will definitely limit our effectiveness and efficiency. Also, failing to ensure that we reach our potential customer along the entire path to purchase or decision-making with differentiated advertising messages is a factor that will make it difficult for us to achieve good results.
Does my website / my product influence my advertising on Google?
Definitely yes! What is more, the quality of our landing page or the match between our product and the customer’s expectations and needs are factors that increasingly determine whether or not our advertising efforts will be effective. Today, in the Google Ads system, those factors that lie on our side and are not hidden in the very technicalities associated with this advertising system are far more important. In other words – it is more likely that a mediocre advertisement for an excellent product will be more effective than an excellent advertisement for an average product.
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