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It is no doubt that AdWords is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools out there. It’s a wonderful channel for customer acquisition that allows you to measure the success of your marketing efforts.

Unfortunately, too often marketers and small businesses set up an AdWords account only to give up on them not long after as it’s “not working” for them, without thinking about the reasons why it’s not working or giving it a chance to prove that it’s worth keeping.

While running an AdWords account may seem rather confusing and intimidating at first, getting a higher return on investment on AdWords is only possible if you are willing to put time and effort into it.

Let’s go through some common reasons why your AdWords account may not performing as expected.

YOU NEED AN ADWORDS PLAN

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Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”

More often than not, marketers who say AdWords isn’t working for them jumped into AdWords without having a solid plan.

Diving into AdWords head-first is like chopping down a tree with a blunt axe.

Without first researching how AdWords can be beneficial for your business and having clear goals and expectations, AdWords can be a slippery slope to budget wastage.

Thoroughly researching the best keywords and building marketing personas will greatly help in reducing the risk of overspending your budget. Some tools that you can start with for keyword research are:

These tools should be sufficient in helping you identify keywords that are relevant to your products or services.

Having clear goals and a structured plan on which keywords to focus on based on your research is a great first step to ensure that you are maximising your marketing budget.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the second reason why AdWords could still not ‘work’ despite all the research and planning.

GET YOUR ACCOUNT STRUCTURE NEAT AND TIDY

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Account structure is the backbone of an account. Hence, having a well-organised account structure is imperative to the success of any AdWords account.

If your account structure is not well thought-out, again, you risk wasting your time trying to optimise the account and also potentially wasting your budget away.

A clear, cohesive and tightly-themed account structure helps Google understand your account and the relationship between your campaigns, ad groups and ads.

Unfortunately, many accounts often only have several, broad campaigns with ad groups that contain way too many keywords, and only 1 generic ad that leads the user to the homepage.

This is something that Google considers as bad user experience. When the users click on the ad directed to the generic home page, they have to take the extra steps of exploring your website to get to what they are looking for in the first place.

Having multiple keywords and only 1 ad per ad group is also not ideal, as it means that while you may be targeting the right keywords, your ads aren’t as tailored as they should and could be.

What you can do to improve this is to make your account more granular, so you could serve the most relevant ads to your potential customers.

You could consider breaking up your ad groups so it only contains one keyword per ad group.

This would give you the most control and helps in boosting your keywords’ quality scores, as you’ll be able to tailor your ads specifically to the keyword in each ad group.

Also, don’t forget to create at least 3 quality ads per ad group so that Google could effectively optimise your performance and ultimately deliver the best performing ads to your target audience.

PLUG THOSE CONVERSION TRACKING GAPS

Just like account structure, conversion tracking that wasn’t done properly is one of the most common reasons why marketers are not seeing the returns from their investment in AdWords.

Not knowing which campaigns or keywords are bringing in the leads makes it extremely difficult to measure the success of your AdWords campaigns.

To start with, you should identify all the conversion touchpoints on your website and ensure that you’re not missing out on anything that may lead to valuable customer actions.

You need to think about which conversions are more important to your business goals. This can be lead-generation focused, such as a contact form submissions and phone calls, or perhaps focusing on transactions if your business is in the eCommerce space.

It is also advisable that you link your Google Analytics and Google AdWords account together so you can get better insights on your ads and audiences through Google Analytics.

With proper conversion tracking in place, you should be able to create and tweak strategies to distribute your budget across AdWords more efficiently, leading to higher conversion rates. Success!

OPTIMISE, OPTIMISE, OPTIMISE!

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It’s also important to keep in mind that while AdWords is a powerful marketing tool, it won’t bring you many returns even if you have made sure you have got all the above covered if you rarely log into your account to check and optimise your campaigns.

Going into the account frequently enables you to understand the patterns in the account performance. If you rarely check your account, chances are you may think that it’s not performing well when in actual fact it could just be a seasonal trend or even an increase in competition on AdWords, which can be seen through auction insights report and by monitoring the estimated top position bids for your keywords.

Constant monitoring of campaigns, keywords, and overall account performance would give you insights into what aspect of your account you should focus on and what strategies you need to employ to maintain an edge over your competitors on Google.

A few optimisations that you can do for your accounts are:

Making campaigns more effective by negating irrelevant search terms could mean the difference between generating a conversion at $30 or at $100.

Dedicating a time for account optimisation at least once a week could easily prevent this from happening. Giving your account a week to run after making changes would also allow you to see how these changes impact the performance of your account.

IN CONCLUSION

It’s easy to dismiss AdWords as a failed investment when you see your account performance gradually dipping and your budget falling into the abyss day after day, leaving you with a negative ROI.

However, taking the time to understand the reasons behind this is a step in the right direction, because when you think that your AdWords account isn’t ‘working’, it’s probably a good indicator that it’s time to give your account a thorough audit.

With a little work, patience and dedication, you’ll be well on your way to make more bang for your buck on AdWords. It’ll be worth it, too, because this digital marketing channel can radically transform your sales and revenue when used to full effect.

Are you ready to give AdWords a second chance?

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