“Google AdWords is an unnecessary, expensive tool and one should never even think about using Google AdWords for growing their business. What’s the point of spending so much  money, competing with 100 other brands, getting into a bidding war, increasing your CPCs and ultimately helping just Google to grow! There are so many amazing platforms out there which work really well and help in achieving business objectives with proper return on investments!”

If you are thinking this blog disses Google AdWords, you’ve come to the wrong place! But, if you are facing the above problems and want to save money on your ad spend; or let me put it other way around – if you want to ensure thatevery penny of yours counts and brings you returns then do read on! You won’t regret spending these 10 minutes.

I have tried to cover some of the basic AdWords mistakes that every marketer makes here, and if these pointers are taken care of, you would definitely see a marked improvement in your campaign performance.

P.S. These mistakes have been compiled after auditing multiple accounts that are spending in millions every year, so don’t take these lightly!

Too many keywords

Let me give you some stats to start with. No matter what industry your account belongs to, if you have tried to cover more and more keywords into your campaign then just 6% of them would actually bring you conversions. Rest of the 94% would just spend around 76% of your total ad spend and not convert.

Too many ad copies – trust numbers and not creativity

I know what you are thinking right now! We are marketers and we are supposed to be creative while building ad copies. Agreed, but try not to bombard your adgroups with 6-8 ad copies!

If you are thinking more ads will bring you more clicks at a lower CPC, you are wrong. If you think Google will automatically pick up the ad copy relevant to the keywords in your ad group, you are wrong. If you are thinking your quality score will improve by having more ad copies, I apologise but you are wrong!

Try and have only up to 3 ad copies in your adgroup. Google AdWords has this beautiful feature of A/B testing wherein you can decide the percentage of traffic/impressions that you want for each of your ad copies. Run this experiment for 7-15 days and analyse the results and you are likely to be amazed. You might get a completely new perspective!

Therefore, trust your numbers and not just the creativity.

Using negative keywords

Let me start with an example. Let’s say you own an online store for women’s designer shoes and you don’t offer any products in the trekking category. Now you would want to show up on searches like ‘women shoes’ but you definitely don’t want to show up on searches for ‘women’s trekking shoes’. In this situation, you can add ‘trekking’ as a negative keyword. This will ensure that you don’t spend a penny for a click that you know for a fact is not going to bring any revenue.

Negative keywords can be added at campaign and ad group levels. Take a call based on your campaign structure and start saving money now!


  • Don’t just copy paste the negative keywords across the campaigns, customize them based on targeted keywords
  • Don’t be aggressive while adding negative keywords, you might lose out on a lot of potential traffic
  • Maintain a separate spreadsheet to keep track of your negative traffic, this would ensure that no relevant keywords have been marked as negative by mistake

Amazon here should ideally negate the keyword ‘free’:


Not analysing search terms

Now that we know how to use negative keywords, how do we find them? I am sure at the time of creating campaigns we tend to miss out on adding negative terms, as we are not sure which kind of search terms would get triggered basis the keywords that we have used in our campaigns.

Best approach here is to look at the search terms data from AdWords post 7 days of starting the campaigns. Go to the keywords tab and hit the ‘Search terms’ tab.


This will give you data on all the search terms that users are entering into Google to find your products or services. Sort them via ‘number of clicks’ and go through each of them. See which ones are relevant and which aren’t. Start negating the irrelevant ones as required. It can be negated either at the adgroup level, or at a campaign level.

Now, there is one more use of completing this analysis. While glancing at the search terms, you would realize that there are couple of search terms which are actually helping you drive more conversions. What to do with them? Add them in your keyword portfolio and start bidding heavily for these set of keywords.

Not using proper match types

Every Google advertiser should be familiar with the keyword match types that are being offered in AdWords. This helps in creating a robust campaign structure in the account, and in turn helps you grow your business.

There are 3 match types for keywords include Broad, Phrase and Exact.

Although we are using the keywords in proper ad groups, we miss out on negating the same from corresponding match types. For example, If we are using a keyword ‘buy insurance online’ in exact match in exact adgroup, then the same should be negated from the phrase match ad group in exact match type. Confused?

Exact keywords are negated from the phrase ad group, and phrase is negated from the broad adgroups. No internal competition now and you have full control over how much to bid on each set of keywords. Simple!

Here we finish a few of the key mistakes that one should avoid on AdWords. If you can keep a tab on this, you can actually start saving and growing your money via Google AdWords!

Are you facing such challenges in your account? Run a free audit of your GMC and AdWords accounts here to know how you benchmark against the rest of the industry, along with how to improve your account health substantially.

Mahin Sherashia

Authored by: Mahin Sherashia | Sr. Manager – Business Strategy