Google AdWords™ Not Working For You? Maybe You're Not Treating It Right

It’s a common misconception that setting up a Google AdWords account and scribbling a few ads together suddenly creates website visitors beating a search-path directly to your door, generously purchasing your products and services. After all, using a tool like AdWords is simple, quick and leads to immediate success, right?

Wrong. Because in fact AdWords is not a tool. It’s a relationship.

Now that kind of terminology is bound to make some people race for the door, but I’ll explain what I mean by taking a look at three aspects of using AdWords where businesses sometimes come up short.

One: Make a good first impression with your AdWords text ads.
Your AdWords text ads are like a blind date for prospective customers: they’ll know immediately if they want the relationship to go any further. To build a relationship, create ads that specifically target their needs – rather than generic ads that attract large volumes of unqualified leads clicking through and costing you money.

Let’s say you run a meat delivery service. Which of the following examples of ad text do you think would bring in better, more interested customers who were ready to buy:

• Meat delivery – shipped right to your door.
• Tired of flowers? Send steaks, ribs and chops today!

While the first piece of text is vague and non-specific, the second addresses a more particular need that your customer may have – to find a unique alternative gift. The second statement also utilizes specific keywords to further advance your message.

And remember: Your AdWords campaign should be split into multiple ad groups, each with its own specific keywords. That way you’ll be more closely aligning the content of your ads with the specific needs of your customers. If you only have one ad group, you can’t possibly address all of your prospects’ various wants and desires.

Two: Your landing page tells a lot about the commitment you’d like to make.
Mark got into this in his last post (What is a Landing Page?), but it’s important enough that I’ll make a finer point of it here. A common mistake made by companies who misuse AdWords is that they’ll set up ads with lots of carefully-chosen keywords, but they’ll only link those ads to their website’s homepage. It happens like this: your customer reads something specific in your AdWords ad, and clicks on it believing that your site will immediately address a need they’ve got. But when they reach your website, all you give them is your homepage, where they have to search further to find what they want.

And then they leave. You’ve lost them because you didn’t commit to the relationship.

Link your ad to a landing page specifically created to address the promise you’ve made in your ad. And if you’re really trying to build a relationship, don’t use that landing page to immediately force a sale. Get to know them instead – gather their information through e-newsletter subscriptions or RSS feeds. And give something back, such as free downloadables, tips or resources. Take your time and cultivate the relationship. Your AdWords investment will pay off in a big way when you finally make a sale because you’ll have created trust and confidence instead of angling for a quickie payoff.

Three: The best relationships are in it for the long haul.
Too many businesses set up AdWords accounts and leave them alone, believing that the ads will work their consumer magic with little or no additional effort. The truth is, AdWords campaigns need attention. Your ad groups should be tested and revised as needed; keywords that aren’t performing should be eliminated and new ones brought in; you need to measure your landing page analytics to see where your new visitors are coming from, what they’ve searching for and what they do when they reach your website. If they’re not converting into paying customers, why aren’t they – and what can you do to fix the problem?

Your AdWords relationship can pay off big benefits for your business – but it can’t do it alone. You need to approach the creation of an AdWords campaign with a commitment to be involved. To listen. And to put in the necessary work to ensure a successful union of advertising and customer response.

Alan Lopuszynski
McBuzz Communications LLC

Comments: 10


You have shed some new light on what I need to be doing for my landing pages!

Thanks for your comment: “Link your ad to a landing page specifically created to address the promise you’ve made in your ad.”

Although that is a lot more work, I know as a consumer how frustrated I get when I don’t get what was advertised.

Can’t get lazy,

Sending adwords traffic to the main site as opposed to a landing page create specifically for the campaign is one of most common mistakes I see. I was working with a client who invested over a million dollar annually in PPC to send most of that traffic to the company’s main site. You would think someone would notice that traffic was not converting.

It is amazing that some companies operate like this, and there are many other examples of inattention to detail in an AdWords campaign costing thousands – or even tens of thousands – of dollars.

Many AdWords users don’t know they can use phrase match and exact match keywords. Nor do they how to use negative keywords. (Readers who don’t know what these are, give us a shout using the comment box below – or email.) This is a good topic for another post.

Hi Khalid,

Some times i wonder how much money can google make on people that “try” AdWords without actually knowing how it all works. I’m sure many could retire with that kind of earnings.

Anyhow, AdWords is a terrific tool to drive targetted traffic to any website, if you know how.

Regards, Pete

Hi Mark,

No wonder Google makes so much money when people are spending a Million a year on ads that are not optimised. They think that because they’re not converting they’d better pay more for better position and so the vicious cycle starts!

I described Adwords in an Answer recently as a Ferrari with the traction controls switched off:

It’s incredibly powerful, very sensitive to tiny adjustments, can bring you traffic very quickly but if you mis-use it you’ll crash and burn very quickly.

Thanks for the great info!


I totally agree. I would love to see some numbers regarding under optimized AdWords campaigns.

I don’t go so far as to taking a cynical view here. I think Google makes more money when a campaign is optimized than it does when it is not. But there really are far too many non- or under-optimized campaigns running at any given time.

Instead of just giving money to Google, businesses should make more for themselves – with help from Google – and/or an SEO (Professional Search Engine Optimization Company).

Big clients get special attention from Google. But there are too many small and mid-sized businesses using AdWords for Google to help them all.

Great insight into AdWords. I too am guilty of going for the sale right away vs. establishing the relationship. After reading this post that will change and from now on I will take the time to create a useful landing page to establish a strong, long lasting, relationship with the prospect.

Never used AdWords before. This post has given some light to the subject. Might start using it soon and with the suggestions made above. Very nice and thanks for the advice.

I have an google adwords campaign, it worked the first day, but since there, 4 days, not one impression has been realized.

I am not banned, nor is the ad banned, just no impressions and they are not charging me anything.

I tried to contact support but all I get is automated lists of possible reasons…the main one they keep resending is “Increase your bid”. While most of my keywords when I do a goodle seach, have NO advertisers at al…

I am about to pull my adwords campaign..near worthless.

Hi David,
Thanks for your comment. Sorry to ask the obvious question, but did you try increasing the amount on at least one keyword? You can also create an obscure keyword like “caffeine drink etc etc” and then do a search for “caffeine drink etc etc” to see if your ad shows.

I know things like this can be frustrating.

Have you tried the Google control panel that lets you test to see if your ads are showing? (As opposed to testing on an actual Google search?)

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