How to Use AdWords: Top Tips and Costly Mistakes to Avoid

As a digital marketer, you are always seeking out ways to connect with new customers online. Marketing is an increasingly results-driven field, where each of your campaigns should directly impact your business outcomes. If you're not continuously drawing high-quality leads into your funnel, it will be difficult to sustain or exceed your current revenue targets. Google AdWords is a highly effective lead generation tool that targets customers who are actively seeking a solution to a need or problem your company can solve. Adwords will also expand the reach of your brand, bolster your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, and support other performance advertising campaigns.

[bctt tweet="All #marketingcampaigns should directly impact business #outcomes, says @dwcordova" username="StartupInst"]

What is AdWords?

AdWords is Google’s online advertising service, which allows companies to connect with their target audience through web advertising. Each of these online ads are created through the platform and based on the use of strategic keywords, which you, as the marketer, select and bid on. Within the program, you have the power to establish your ad budget, choose who sees the ads, decide which websites the ads will be displayed on, and track metrics to assess how well your ad campaigns are performing.

For example, if your company offers web design services for small business owners in New York and Boston, you likely already have your target consumer audience in mind. With AdWords, you can create ads that will only appear for users in the target geographic area and/or who regularly visit websites that relate to your services. If you're just starting a career in marketing or want to improve the success of your advertising strategy, the following tips will help you get started and avoid some common mistakes.[bctt tweet="Tips to help you get started with #GoogleAdWords, from @dwcordova" username="StartupInst"]

How to Use AdWords: Don't make these costly mistakes

The great thing about AdWords is that you only pay for interactions with potential customers who are specifically interested in your product or services. This can be setup in one of four ways: by ad clicks, impressions (usually just used for display ads), conversions, or video views. As you set up your advertising campaigns, you establish the average amount you are willing to pay when someone shows interest in your ad and clicks the link. While this is great for generating business, you don't want to end up like the unfortunate 12-year-old trumpet player in Spain who amassed a $112,000 bill when he confused Google's advertising platform AdSense with AdWords, according to Fortune. Thankfully, Google canceled the bill due to an AdWords age limit.

While you hopefully won't make such a costly mistake, there are still a few ways you might not be using AdWords as effectively as you could be. Here are three common AdWords mistakes from Kissmetrics that are worth thinking about (and avoiding):

  1. Choosing the wrong keywords

The keywords you choose are the basis of your AdWords campaign. These phrases are the words you believe potential consumers are most likely to type into their search engine when they are seeking out services or products like yours. You’ll gain more clicks by choosing keywords that are relatable and not overly complex.

Using the previous example of the web design company, you could pair keywords with certain ads to reach specific audiences. As your company primarily works with small businesses, you can design ads that cater to this specific industry, along with relevant keywords, such as "web design for small businesses" or "affordable web designer."[bctt tweet="Get more @adwords #clicks by choosing simple + relatable #keywords, says @dwcordova " username="StartupInst"]

  1. Failing to use negative keywords

Using the right keywords is essential to your ad campaign's success. However, while you want to choose relevant words and phrases, you also want to make use of negative keywords. AdWords gives you the option to include negative keywords—to exclude certain words that will not be a good fit for your ad campaign and company.

In the case of the web design company, you may only want to target people who think good web design is only for companies with big budgets, or who are exploring do-it-yourself platforms. Therefore, in addition to using the keyword "web design for small businesses,"" you could test targeting things like “why is web design so expensive?” or “do-it-yourself website." This way, you target customers who are likely to buy via two different trains of thought: the direct “I need an affordable website” and those who think they can’t afford a professional web designer.[bctt tweet="Use #negativekeywords to target a 2nd #trainofthought in potential buyers, says @dwcordova" username="StartupInst"]

  1. Not trusting trust the numbers

Though you may love the ad you created, if you aren't evaluating how well it is performing, how will you know if your ad campaign is successful? Try testing out different ads to discover what copy, design, and keywords perform best. Then, iterate on your approach to gain better results. Never stop testing and use AdWords metric results to determine just how well your ads are performing.

Even for the most seasoned marketers, there is always more to learn about creating online advertising strategies and using platforms like Google AdWords. In the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape; it’s important to keep learning and expanding your skills if you want to succeed.

[bctt tweet="In the evolving #digitalmarketing landscape, you can't stop #learning, says @dwcordova" username="StartupInst"]

Photo credit: Christophe Benoit via Flickr cc