Are You Getting The Most From Your Google AdWords Budget?

Every week I talk to business owners and corporate marketing directors with questions about their search engine marketing strategies and tactics.

Every time we do a new AdWords audit, we see the same mistakes, over and over again, resulting in too many junk clicks and a low ROI. This is why many business owners feel that Google AdWords is “too expensive” or “doesn’t work.”

Google (aka Alphabet) is a $500 billion dollar company by market capitalization value and is one of the most successful companies in the history of capitalism. Although it may be hard to believe, more than 90 percent of the company’s revenues are derived from their AdWords platform. Trust me when I say AdWords works – when you do it right.


There are three main reasons why businesses take a hit on PPC advertising, and all parties involved share responsibility:

Agency Fail. If you use an agency, it is likely paid a percentage of your overall AdWords spend. In other words, the more you spend, the more the agency gets paid. This inherently knocks your interests out of alignment, and there is actually more incentive for a PPC agency to run a campaign with a marginal ROI. Further, PPC agencies often create intentionally complex campaigns, making it difficult for you to stop using them.

Google Fail. Google competes against PPC agencies to some degree by offering direct support. Yet, there is an inherent conflict of interest when you ask Google for help with an AdWords campaign strategy or setting a budget. AdWords expert Perry Marshall likens this to letting a German Shepard guard the ham sandwiches. While Google does offer great AdWords support, it seems like their suggestions usually lead to an increased budget. While the quality and intention of Google AdWords support may be up for debate, the time you need to implement their optimization can be significant.

In-House Fail. Many businesses go sour on AdWords because they try to set it up in-house and end up seeing big credit card charges and relatively few quality leads. Most business owners do not have the time or resources in house to optimize an AdWords campaign or keep up with the seemingly endless platform updates.


Here are a few of the core tips we implement that can often turn a marketing AdWords campaign into a rainmaker:

> If you have a local campaign, set your campaign “people in my targeted location” instead of the default “people in, searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location.”

> Use Sitelinks, Call, Callout and Review extensions.

> Check the Dimensions tab in your campaign settings and view by “search terms”—this is how you can see the actual words you are paying for. With this data, you can also significantly hone your campaign by adding negative keywords to stop your ad from showing for the wrong phrases. Few people realize this list exists (Google doesn’t make it easy to find).

> Be sure website tracking and phone conversion tracking are implemented on your site so you know which clicks results in phone calls, email form inquiries and online sales. I have developed a WordPress plugin that enables you to easily drop in AdWords website tracking code, which you can download here.

> Beware of broad match keywords that tend to serve ads for searches with lower quality commercial intent. There are some great keyword strategies within AdWords that enable you to choose exact match phrases and phrase matches, and even dynamic keyword insertion that enables you to drastically improve the targeting and click-through-rate of your ads.

> Set bid adjustments to increase or decrease your bids for mobile devices and specific locations. For example, we have many clients who will increase their bid amount by a percentage for mobile searches, or for those located in a specific county or zip code.