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To make the most of your Google Ads campaign, you'll need to reimagine a few age-old approaches to brand visibility problems

Identifying and Avoiding The Biggest Google Ads Pitfalls

Phillip Reinhardt

These days, successful PPC campaigns are incredibly complex. As growing businesses face difficulties leveraging newly acquired funds and constantly shifting target audiences, established professionals are finding new challenges with widespread content needs and brand visibility strategies.

Customers, Clicks, and Leads: Google Marketing in 2020

Google Ads is booming, and your 2020 PPC campaign can reach astounding heights—if you utilize every Google tool available, that is.

While Google Ads is both the most accessible digital marketing tool available—as well as one of the most versatile—its existence isn’t without pitfalls. Google is today’s prime search location, existing as the most visited website. With over 62.19 billion visits in 2019 alone, it’s unsurprising that its utility as a lead generation resource is unmatched.

Startups, small businesses, and international corporations alike thrive beneath Google’s services: Gmail, Google Shopping, Google News and Google’s robust multimedia platform persist as all-in-one PPC platforms themselves. 7.2 percent of Google’s traffic—a hefty slice—simply comes from daily Internet-goers Googling the following term:


It’s a self-perpetuating advertisement environment, processing a hefty 40,000 search queries every second. This search growth rate is expected to continue growing by 10 percent every year, opening new opportunities for marketers every month.

While a Google Ads campaign might seem like a no-brainer for businesses, it shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. A PPC campaign on Google is a powerful weapon to wield in the modern age of search marketing saturation. But, as with all great tools, its successful use requires not only skill—but dedication in the face of intimidating barriers to entry.

But what are these barriers, exactly?

Spotting the Pits Before You Fall

Arguably, the best quality of Google Ads is also its biggest deterrent to unprepared marketers: Its ever-growing, massive suite of marketing tools.

Put simply: Today’s advertisers struggle to keep up with these rollouts. If one doesn’t keep up with the current trends of Google Ads, they’ll flop when facing established competitors. Even worse: They won’t be able to distinguish between cost-inefficient PPC avenues and cost-efficient investments.

To get your 2020 campaign off on the right foot, you’ll need to be on the lookout for the following pitfalls.

Pitfall One: Not Capitalizing on Discover Ads

Google Discover features an all-in-one Google Feed that caters to the individual user’s online behavior—dishing out healthy, plentiful servings of startlingly relevant content. In 2018, the platform garnered over 800 million users, meeting its expanding demand head-on—refining its feed with constant UI makeovers, swift features and numerous features.

Because Discover’s content is virtually flawless in its content arrangement—which takes form as topical cards for visual appeal—marketers shouldn’t pass up its capacity as a Google Ads companion by using Discovery Ads. Discovery Ads are Google-native ads that appear in many Discovery feed environments, bridging the gap between desktop-based and mobile-based users which are, otherwise, difficult to connect to.

The Takeaway:

Because Discovery Ads allows marketers to showcase multiple images, it exists as a comparable substitute for Facebook’s Carousel Ads. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t use both, however, as Facebook itself is an invaluable asset you shouldn’t pass up.

Pitfall Two: Not Knowing About Google’s Expanded Audience Segments

Growing your Google Ads audience takes time—and it takes even more time for marketers who fall behind current segmentation trends. Google devotes a lot of time to nurturing its Ad platform, itself—both giving businesses new ways to reach customers while creating an increasingly personalized experience for the same customers.

In October 2019, Google announced its newest addition to its segmentation tools for marketers utilizing Google Ads: “In-market” audiences and “affinity” audiences.

In-Market Audiences

This segment covers consumers who actively search for, research about, and compare products revolving around your brand. Google’s seasonal event segments prioritized these audiences—giving digital marketers a leg up in running timely advertisements through YouTube.

As a result, big brand fish like Toyota gained as much as a 67-percent conversion rate increase—also netting a massive 34-percent reduction in conversion costs over Black Friday and Christmas. With over 700 in-market audiences currently identified, Google’s proposal to companies dedicated to Ads is one that shouldn’t be passed up.

Affinity Audiences

Affinity Audiences, meanwhile, resulted in a whopping 250-percent conversion rate increase for Volkswagen. Affinity audiences are identified by their general browsing behavior—which is deceptively “old hat” in the realm of segmentation approaches.

What’s novel about affinity audiences, however, is their refined behavior identification metrics. Whereas demographics, product searches, time-of-day metrics, and social media usage defined segmentation algorithms in the past, affinity audiences prioritize consumers by more succinct categories. Among these are titles such as “convenience store shoppers,” “online grocery shoppers” and “cloud service power users.”

The Takeaway:

Digital marketers, likely, won’t stand a chance as 2020 comes to a close if they haven’t made these audience segmentation implementations into serious consideration. So, whether you’re a fledgling business owner intending to make a splash or are simply keen on maintaining an already successful Ads strategy, it might be time to include them in your strategy mix.

Sometimes, the best way to avoid digital marketing disasters is to identify emergent tools of opportunity.

Pitfall Three: Use Broad Match Keywords Wisely

While SEO tends to be a nailed-down marketing practice for most, plenty of digital advertisers don’t brush up on their annual keyword-matching knowledge.

Yes, this knowledge is something to be revisited every year—particularly through Google’s current keyword category updates. You’re probably familiar with the staple trio of said categories utilized by Google Ads: broad match keywords, phrase match keywords, and exact match keywords.

What you might not be familiar with, however, are the fine lines between these categories. Because Google allows ad runs beneath any match with relatively loose oversight, it’s all too easy to cross these lines when one shouldn’t—or shy away from them when one should.

Broad match keywords, for example, shouldn’t be used liberally—as their semantic usages and organization are pre-packaged inclusions. Creating a keyword phrase such as “slim fit jeans,” for example, will result in ad presentations for “jeans slim fit,” “slim fitting jeans,” “buy jeans slim fit,” and so on.

The Takeaway:

Using broad match keywords, sparingly, is a solid strategy: In the health and wellness industry, you can even generate up to 94 percent more clicks. If you overuse this keyword archetype, however, you risk overburdening your SEO pool, at best—and raising a red flag to Google’s keyword quality evaluation metrics, at worst.

Pitfall Four: Not Implementing Negative Keywords

This pitfall is common. Google processes, on average, about six million keywords every day. Of these, only 15 percent reach the 100-percent landmark of “completely new.” These “completely new” keywords are keywords that Google hasn’t yet registered. Some, understandably, are of a low quality. Yet some hold incredible value.

To sidestep the pitfall of either failing to craft novel keywords or succeeding to create new SEO strings of poor value, you should consider taking advantage of negative keywords. These keywords also referred to as “negative matches,” are individual words and phrases which prevent ad exposure.

It’s easy to see why Google Ads marketers skip this feature, as they assume it’s automatically counterintuitive to reaching as many consumers as possible. Using negative keywords wisely, however, can weed out phrases that aren’t doing your brand any favors.

It’s possible to accidentally stumble into an oversaturated keyword pool—then competing against well-established brands who dominate Google’s first page. It’s likely that one who fails to implement a negative keyword list will spend more than they should—ultimately losing conversion value.

The Takeaway:

Using negative keywords is one of the easiest ways to boost your Google Ads ROI. It’s also, arguably, one of the best ways to generate higher click-through rates. If your keyword pool is of high quality, it’ll earn a better score with Google. As its score goes up, it’ll rise through the search page ranks.

And, of course, highly visible keywords are those which result in powerful conversion rates.

Pitfall Five: Not Using Every Inch of Ad Text

Many marketers tout a golden rule of online PPC campaigns: Make the message quick.

In 2020, however, being too succinct can be a costly mistake. Consider, for a moment, the average advertisement sitting in Google’s number-one spot in any given product search. Sure, it is in the first place—but, as you’re likely noticing, its text is much shorter than those which follow.

It’s possible to reach a high Google search rank and still fail the conversion game. As more big-name brands liquidate their brick-and-mortars (Gap will close over 200 stores in the coming years; Best Buy is closing numerous locations), online shoppers are turning to e-commerce-only providers for answers.

As such, industry newcomers need to make their products known. Specifically, they need to still deliver information quickly while also delivering information that’s informative. Three headlines and two descriptions, a common ad standard, simply isn’t enough.

The Takeaway:

Rather than crafting text ads which are short, sweet, and to-the-point-of-purchase, it’s wise to take advantage of every inch of available space. Maximize the value of text real estate you have, and give customers the information they not only want—but deserve.

Hitting a Home Run In 2020

Landing a successful footstep in the modern Google Ads environment is tough. By implementing this year's latest tips and most useful tools, however, you can create a campaign built for visibility.

If you can implement a solid SEO keyword pool and make the most of your available ad displays, you’ll avoid running into the emergent problems a lot of marketers are currently discovering.

Additionally, it’s important to maintain a constant educational mindset about Google’s newly introduced tools—especially if they aren’t yet well-known among other marketers. Google Partners is one such tool, one which is surprisingly valuable as a Google Maps connection tool for maximizing ad visibility.

If you implement novel approaches to old Google Ads problems, you’ll make headway in your next PPC campaign. If you implement these strategies with a healthy helping of good, old-fashioned elbow grease, you just might find your branded website hitting a number-one product search spot before you know it.