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April 25, 2014

The cardinal sins of AdWords

PPC ads are a great way of driving traffic to your site and ultimately increasing conversion. However, getting them right first time can be difficult, particularly if you’re new to the AdWords platform. If your ads’ performance isn’t quite up to scratch, you might be committing one (or more) of these cardinal sins‚Ķ

Directing all ads to your homepage

If you have an ecommerce site, its best practice to direct users to a relevant category or product page based on their search query. For example, if a user searches ‚Äòred cocktail dress’, it would be ideal for your ad to direct them to a category page on your site featuring just red cocktail dresses. If a user lands on your homepage, they may not want to spend time navigating your site in search of the product they’re looking for.

Not using negative keywords

Regularly forgotten, negative keywords can provide a vital barrier against your ads showing for irrelevant searches. If you sell musical keyboards, for example, you may choose to exclude searches featuring words such as ‚Äòcomputer’ or ‚ÄòPC’, as well as popular computer keyboard brands such as Logitech. Without negative keywords, your ads are at risk of appearing for completely irrelevant searches.

Ignoring keyword match types

Another way to avoid featuring in irrelevant searches is to use appropriate keyword match types. We rarely recommend using broad match keywords, as they use up a lot of your campaign’s budget and run the highest risk of showing for irrelevant searches. Instead, make use of phrase, exact and broad match modifier keywords. Although these may lead to fewer impressions, your ads are likely to show for much more relevant searches.

No experimentation

Its best practice to run at least two ads per ad group. Experiment with headlines, use assorted words and phrases, and highlight different USPs in each ad. Something as small as using the phrase ‚ÄòFree P+P’ instead of ‚ÄòFree Delivery’ could earn you more conversions. By using at least two ads, over time you’ll discover which one performs best. Remove the worst performing ad and replace it with a variation of the best performing ad, and so on, and so on, and so on‚Ķ which leads me nicely to my final point.

Lack of regular campaign maintenance

Any AdWords campaign is always a work in progress. Constantly monitoring and tweaking is the best way to ensure your campaigns are as efficient and cost-effective as possible. Use AdWords data to regularly adjust bids and budgets, and make changes to your keywords and ad text. Creating a campaign and just leaving it to run is a disaster waiting to happen!


There you have it! Eliminating these five cardinal sins from your campaigns will hugely increase your chances of AdWords success.

As a specialist ecommerce agency, we’re experts in PPC for ecommerce, and we’re also AdWords Accredited. If you’re having trouble with PPC ads, or simply need a helping hand, get in touch with us today to discover how we could help your ecommerce business.

By Joanna Roberts, Digital Marketing Executive at Space 48.