5 Adwords DIY Mistakes that Drain your Budget

Mistakes that draining your budget!

Are you trying to manage your business’s Adwords on your own? That’s really good. Although Adwords is kinda complicated and needs time and effort to worth the time and spend. We will briefly point out some common pitfalls to avoid while you are doing Adwords.

You are tight on budget. Or you tried using an agency and they failed. I get it.

Small business owners have the best of intentions when they take over on Adwords without any professional to help them.

And to be honest there are tons of videos, tutorials and how to’s out there that can help you out. I.e. check Neil’s step-by-step guide.

Following tutorials and Google’s best practices is essential for success. Everyone –professional manager or DIY business owner- should keep reading, learning and testing things in Adwords.

I’m sure you, as a self-taught business owner, have found some success with Adwords.

But you also have your business to run. Your day jobs. And that’s where it gets tricky to stay up-to-date with new features, trends and strategies that will optimise your account.

So… adding Adwords management in your –already full- task list could make you fall in common pitfalls. Let’s see some below.

You don’t track conversions

Conversion Tracking through Adwords

When I am having a chat with a client about taking over their account the first thing I ask is: Do you track conversions through Adwords and Analytics?

Surprisingly most of them are not. Which is a major mistake when it comes to Performance Marketing.

What is your No1 goal? Increase sales and revenue.

As you setup an Adwords campaign to increase your revenue you want to find out whether this gives you a positive ROI. Also you want to know which keywords work for your and which are not!

All you have to do is installing some code on your website (I’d say Google Tag Manager, it will make future steps a lot easier).

There is enough help from Adwords team regarding conversion tracking. I.e. check the video below:

Usually you want to track Completed Transactions, Phone calls, E-mail enquiries and maybe Sign-ups in some kind of e-mail list. You can also import custom conversions from Google Analytics (you need to link Adwords with Analytics).

Trying to do much in one adgroup

Single keyword ad groups

Each ad group should have one job. One focus. A common mistake is to add keywords that are not really relevant to the Adgroup’s job.

Don’t simple add EVERY keyword suggested by Google. Doesn’t work like that.

Having a focused adgroup will allow you to tailor the Ads that are served for the key-terms and make them more relevant to your audience.

I’d recommend to try using Single Keyword AdGroups. What is a SKAG?

Let’s say that you are selling Nike shoes. And a search term you are interested in bidding is “buy Nike lunarglide 5”.

The ideal setup would be:

One Adgroup with Tailored AdText bidding for the following keywords

[buy nike lunarglide 5]

“buy nike lunarglide 5”

+buy +nike +lunarglide +5

In this case you secure that your ad will be tailored and shown only in highly-relevant search terms. How?

Headline: Include Keyword in headline
Description: Talk about USPs and Benefits. Call to action!
Display URL: youdomain.co.uk/keyword


The keyword for this SKAG is “nutella crepe recipes”

The more targeted you are the more sales you will have.

Broad match types

Another BIG mistake that will drain your budget is broad match keywords. Sadly I see many accounts using broad match keywords.

Check this image and you will see my point.

Use of Broad match Keywords

Why people use Broad Match? Well… I guess because it is easy and you don’t need to spend ages creating SKAGs. But…

Using board match keywords will guarantee one thing. Your budget will be drained in irrelevant key-terms.

In fact –if you use conversion tracking- you will be impressed by the keywords that ACTUALLY converted a visitor. Hint: less than 1 in 10 keywords will have a conversion.

It’s a fact. Exact match keywords convert way better than broad and phrase matches.

You will feel disappointed and believe that Adwords is not for your business!

Which is not true.

Key takeaway: Create separate adgroups for keyword sets that match exactly what the user search for. It will keep your Quality Score up and reduce your total Cost Per Click.

Poor landing page experience

Bad landing pagesOk to be fair that’s more of a Landing Page Optimisation issue rather than Adwords. But still … there is enough help from Adwords itself.

But when you are paying for a visit, you want to provide the best possible experience to the visitor. So he likes you and buy from you.

Truth to be told, nearly 90% of small businesses have a poor landing page strategy.

Getting clicks – even the right sort of clicks – to your site is not enough to make a campaign effective. It’s just the beginning.

A research has shown that a poor landing page experience can kill up to 75% of your sales. Up to 75%!

If you want to make money with Adwords you must provide the best possible experience from the AdCopy to landing page.

I understand that for small businesses it is hard to create compelling landing pages cause you don’t have the resources.

Although you can definitely use WordPress and a ready-made theme that will make your landing page way better!

You can also check this and this in order to try some DIY landing page optimisation.

You don’t keep up with new innovations

As said before it is really hard to stay-up-to-date with every feature and trend that comes up. For example a new feature is Message extensions.

New Adwords Features

Adwords is truly a full-time job. Especially when we are talking about ad spend over 5.000 per month.

So when you already have a full-time job it’s really hard to do adwords too.

What does this mean? It means that you can miss out on big opportunities. Oportunities like Message Extensions could up the sales by 20%. Or they could make you outrank your competition.

To be honest, a big part of my job is to keep-up with the updates. Platforms like Adwords launch new features quite often.

So I have to inherit them to the accounts I manage. Then track the performance and optimize along every other day-to-day task.

If you are a DIYer, remember that if you take a couple weeks off Adwords you might come back to few new Adwords features that now you have to learn and implement.


We’ve just outlined a few pitfalls. (1) Not using Conversion Tracking. (2) Trying to do much in a single adgroup while you have to use SKAQs. (3) The use of Broad Match keywords that will FOR SURE drain your budget in irrelevant searches. (4) Poor landing page experience that relies to Landing Page Optimization but it is essential for paid search. And (5) not be able to stay-up-to-date with the latest features and trends.

It might sound self-promoting but in my opinion, businesses that want to remain competitive in the SERPs and make good money from Adwords should always consider hiring a professional to manage their account.

If, finally, you are a DIYer and would like to stay like that, make sure that you stay away from the above mentioned mistakes and read more about Adwords and how to optimize your account!

Try these:



My name is Pantelis Karvounopoulos and I am a London based Search Marketer who has been doing this for more than 10 years. In this time I have gained extensive knowledge in PPC and SEO and have built up a wealth of experience in many different niches.

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