Top 5 Most Common Google Ads  Mistakes and How to Fix Them

google ads mistakes

If you’re new to the world of Google Ads, it can be tricky to wrap your head around strategies and metrics to figure out what’s working. It’s only natural to make a few mistakes when optimizing your campaigns for maximum success. Here are the top 5 most common Google Ads mistakes we see at Beanstalk and our best advice for fixing them.

1. You’ve Targeted Relevant Keywords But Forgotten to Specify Negative Keywords

The Google Ads interface makes it super simple to create targeted ads for specific keywords. For example, if you run a bakery, you can create Ad Groups for cookies, cakes, and brownies before developing ads to match those searches and keywords. What people often forget about is that for every relevant keyword, there could be several irrelevant keywords that show your ads if you haven’t specified them as negatives. Irrelevant keywords like “cooking classes,” “recipes,” and more need to be added as negative keywords to your campaigns so that you don’t pay for clicks that aren’t searching for what you’re selling.

A great place to start when searching for negative keywords is in the search terms section of Google Ads. This will show you all of the phrases people who have clicked on your ads have searched. From there, you can add the irrelevant ones directly to your negative keyword list. For many businesses, we recommend adding things like “free” and “do it yourself” as negatives, to weed out users who aren’t looking to make a purchase.

2. You’re Running Ads All the Time

Every Google Ads campaign should have a goal in mind. Do you want a user to fill out a form, make a phone call, or send an email? These goals are your conversions. If you have a conversion in mind like a phone call or an in-store visit, then running ads when you’re not actually there to pick up the phone or when your store is open is wasting your money. 

Take the time to think about your Google Ads goals and create a schedule that works within those goals. For certain types of business goals, like e-commerce sales, running ads all the time can be useful, but for many, it’s a waste. If you have a limited budget for ad spend, try running ads at the times when people are most likely to convert in order to maximize conversions.

3. You Aren’t Using Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are like free space to flesh out your ads. They don’t cost any extra money. And, they can literally double or triple the space that your ad takes up on a search results page. Extensions allow you to link to relevant pages of your website, add a clickable phone number to mobile ads, promote your business’s sales, and much more – without taking up valuable headline or description space. If you write all of your ads and don’t quite have the space to squeeze everything in, then extensions are a perfect way to add in those extra selling points.

It’s best to use as many ad extensions as possible. They can help boost your Ad Rank, clickthrough rates, and conversions. Plus, they make a much larger visual impact to potential users.

4. You Don’t Have Enough Variation in Your Ads

Some Google Ads users write only one or two ads for each ad group, then leave them forever to be successful or unsuccessful. This is a big mistake. In order for your Google Ads to perform their best, you need a bit of variation to see what copy is working and what isn’t. 

It’s best to write 3-5 unique ads per ad group. Make sure to include a responsive ad, too. This is a special ad type that lets you instantly test several headlines and descriptions to determine which perform best. Each month set aside some time to assess the performance of each ad and swap out the lowest-performing ads with new copy to ensure that you are always optimizing for success. You can even use the experiments tool to quickly and easily run A/B tests and keep only the top-performing results.

5. You Aren’t Tracking Everything You Possibly Can

When you started Google Ads, you made an investment. The only way you’ll know if that investment paid off is if you track everything you can. For some businesses, like online stores, ROI, can be tracked to the dollar amount. For other businesses, it can be a bit trickier, especially if the conversion doesn’t necessarily correlate with a sale. Either way, it’s important to track everything you can. Set up conversions within Google Ads and compare them to conversions you set up in Google Analytics. Create UTM codes for each ad. These allow you to nail down the effectiveness of each ad down to a specific conversion. Give values to specific conversions – for example, if a phone call is much more important to you than a form fill, make note of that value in Google Ads.

The Google Ads interface offers granular insights into every component of your campaign, from broad, account-level data to tiny insights into which keywords are the most effective. Use these insights to calculate your ROI. Find areas for improvement to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. It might even be useful to create a custom dashboard where you can visualize the metrics that are most important to you, all in the same place.


There is a lot to keep track of when it comes to creating a successful Google Ads campaign. Even if you have a great campaign, you can’t expect it to stay that way forever. If something isn’t working, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to optimize. 

If you are having trouble nailing down the perfect strategy for Google Ads or you’ve tried several things that haven’t worked, give us a call. We specialize in Google Ads campaigns that generate valuable leads quickly.