4 Factors That Cause Google Ads Campaigns to Fail

Google Ads campaigns can be a very effective way to generate leads if you know what you’re doing. The problem is that many people jump into Google Ads blindly. They figure Google will lead them through the steps and instantly, they will start getting sales and phone calls.

google ads campaigns
Creative Commons license. | Credit: Pixabay by lukasbieri

Google Ads campaigns can be a very effective way to generate leads if you know what you’re doing. The problem is that many people jump into Google Ads blindly. They figure Google will lead them through the steps and instantly, they will start getting sales and phone calls.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Google Ads can be a lot like riding a bull. You jump on the bull, and you think you got it. But all of sudden, it starts jerking around, and you immediately see that it really isn’t as easy as it looked at on TV. After a few close calls, the bull flings you off and you hit the ground. All you can do is look up at the bull and think, “What just happened?”

Some businesses spend thousands of dollars on Google Ads every single month and don’t see nearly enough return on investment. Many businesses vow to never use Google Ads again because it’s “a waste of money.” The reality? Often the campaign failed because of common mistakes many beginners make.

Knowing what factors contribute to failing campaigns is important for success. Learn them now, so you can get back on the bull, and take it by the horns next time.

1. Using Too Many Keywords

Don’t get greedy with keywords. You only need the ones that will reach your target audience interested in your products and services. Adding other keywords will not lead to more business, but instead, drain your budget.

Some key takeaways here are:

  • Focus on “buying-intent” keywords, not “research-intent” keywords. Ask yourself, is the person more likely to be searching this keyword in order to make a purchase or to do research?
  • Use Phrase and Exact match keywords. By default, Google will use Broad match keywords which means your ads will show for any search Google thinks is related to your keyword. Don’t let Google decide how to spend your money!
  • Let your conversion data guide your bidding decisions. Bid more aggressively on the keywords that are driving leads and sales and lower bids on keywords that are not converting.

2. Bad Ad Copy

Once you’re targeting the right keywords, then the next area to focus is your ads. People have limited attention spans, and if those ads don’t spark their attention, they will move on. As Seth Godin would say, “Be Remarkable!”

Plus, focus on benefits. People always want to know how something will benefit them. So, ask yourself: How does my product or service benefit customers? It’s the benefit that you want to market — not the product or service.

Lastly, make your ads congruent with the keywords and website landing page. Ultimately, this means you’ll need different ads for all the different keyword phrases you want to target. If your ads are not congruent, or relevant, then your prospective customers are not likely to click. Even worse, if your ads are not congruent with your landing page, then the prospective customers who do click are going to quickly leave, because the message on the website doesn’t match the message in the ads.

3. Insufficient Ad Budget

With Google Ads, there is no minimum budget. However, depending on your industry and the keywords you want to target, the cost per click for your ads can vary from $1 to $10 or even $50 or more. If the cost per click for your keywords is on the lower end at $2, then you can generate 500 clicks for $1,000 per month. But if your keywords cost $20, then that same $1,000 budget will only generate 50 clicks per month.

Fifty clicks are not going to give you much data to work with in order to optimize your campaign month after month.

Another way to look at this is to calculate your daily budget. If your monthly budget is $1,000 and you want your ads to display every day of the week, then your daily budget is about $33. Again, if your keywords cost $20 per click, then you would only be able to generate one click per day! That’s just not enough; you’ll need to increase your budget and/or limit the days your ads will run during the month.

4. Not Spending Enough Time Managing the Campaigns

Google Ads campaigns aren’t like Crockpot meals. You can’t set it and forget it.

Your campaigns need attention. They need nurturing. This is true whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran.

A lot can change in just a day or two. New competitors can start advertising and increase the cost per click of your keywords and steal impression share. Alternatively, competitors may leave or run out of budget, which gives you an opportunity to lower your bids to get the same amount of traffic for less! Unless you’re closely monitoring, you’ll miss these important changes that affect the profitability of your campaigns.


OK, let’s review what we’ve learned here.

Don’t try to attack every keyword you can find for your campaigns. Instead, use the best buying-intent keywords for your target audience. When you create ads, be sure to highlight the benefits of your products and services. Don’t over-promise anything, and match the message of the ad to the keyword and the message of the landing page. Make sure to test out different times to run your ads, as well, if you don’t have enough of a budget to run them all day and night. Finally, manage your campaigns by paying close attention to what works, what doesn’t work and the moves of your competition.

Use Google Trends to Improve Google Ads Performance

Google Trends can help brands find additional keywords to target popular promotional ideas. Plus, marketers can use seasonal trends to maximize their ad budgets throughout the year.

Have you ever wanted to know in which months your prospects are more likely to be searching for something you sell? Or did you ever wish you could capitalize on recent trends to promote your brand?

Then you need to get familiar with the Google Trends tool.

Imagine you’re a sports medicine practice. You want to set up a campaign that coincides with sports injuries throughout the year. Sure, you could look at your own patient data, but that may not align accurately with when prospective patients are searching online.

How to Find When and Where People Are Searching

By using Google Trends, you can take a peek at the search terms being used throughout the year for your specialty. This way, you can create ads and target specific keywords when there’s a high likelihood people will be searching for them.

By entering “sports injuries” into Google Trends, we receive these results:

As we can see, people search for sports injuries much more from about February to April. Then there’s a huge dip until people start searching more in September until the holidays. To capitalize on this trend, you’ll want to allocate more of your ad budget from February to April and from September to November vs. May to August and December to January, when there will be fewer searches.

Google Trends will also show you a longer timeframe, like the last five years, so you can see if the trend consistently repeats every year and if more or fewer people are searching each year.

The graph above shows us that the same dip in search popularity for “sports injuries” occurs consistently every year in the summer.

Capitalizing on Trending Topics

Discovering what is popular now will help you see if you have a chance to capitalize on it before it fizzles out.

For instance, at the time of writing this article, the fifth-most trending search was related to sports and one of the popular articles was “What really works when it comes to sports recovery?”

That tells us there’s currently a lot of interest in the topic of sports recovery, which could be a good angle for an ad campaign.

Anticipate Trends

By studying Google Trends, you can spot early trends. While this takes much more effort, experience and knowledge to get it right, it can be quite effective, if done correctly.

Because you’ll be way ahead of those who haven’t anticipated the trend, you’ll have a nice competitive advantage.

Using Related Search Queries

You can use the related search queries in Google Trends to get additional ideas for ad campaigns. For instance, if you search for trending information on “hats,” you’ll see the following related trending searches.

If your business sells hats, then you’ll immediately see an opportunity to promote Kentucky derby hats, because that is the No. 1 related keyword that is trending right now.

Getting to Know Google Trends

Google Trends holds a lot of important information you can use for your Google Ads campaigns. Take some time to research the trends, learn how trends happen (usually when breaking news hits), and how you can jump on short-living trends, as well as the seasonal ones. And don’t forget about looking into those related queries to find additional ideas for ad campaigns.

Want more Google Ads tips to improve your performance? Click here to grab a copy of our “Ultimate Google Ads Checklist.”