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P. Kenta Bibi

Do you currently advertise on the Google Ads platform? If you do, chances are you are paying the “Google Stupidity Tax”, without even knowing it!

It’s not your fault either; the Google Platform is built as a self-serving ad platform, making it very easy and intuitive to be able to create and serve ads. This ease of use is both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing in that you can have your ads up and running in 15 minutes or less, a curse because, you can easily waste a huge chunk of your ad budget on what we call “The Google Ads Stupidity Tax” without even realising it.

This is usually caused by making avoidable mistakes (some of which admittedly, are not apparent to the untrained eye).

What is the Google Ads “stupidity” tax?

The phrase was coined to describe how advertisers can end up paying more for their Google Ads campaigns purely because they have not set them up in the most cost-effective way.

At Coast Digital, we audit hundreds of Google Ad accounts as part of an onboarding (and pitch) process. We find that most accounts make the same common mistakes, and they often end up paying the price for it.

Read on to find out what NOT to do when setting up, managing and optimising your Google Ads accounts.

Don’t neglect tracking or measuring conversions

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. You’d be surprised how many accounts that we look at, which have no goal conversions set up. If you don’t have tracking set up, you won’t know whether your advertising is working or not. Plus, the Google system works on a feedback loop which helps with optimisation.

By tracking & measuring conversions – i.e. tracking sales, phone calls, opt-ins, etc. and linking them back to your actual Google Ads clicks, you can cut out a lot of wasted spend, cut your costs, increase the value per visitor, and learn more about what ad groups and keywords are converting.
Agencies that charge you a percentage of your spend as their fees love it when you don’t track or measure outcomes!

Don’t only look at default Google reports

The standard reports you get from the Google Ads interface don’t tell you much. However, there are lots of insights to be had simply by digging a little deeper. By not running advanced reports and paying close attention to your actual results, you will end up paying the Google Ads Stupidity Tax. You need to know which search queries you are paying for, which sites your ads are showing up on, and where the users clicking on your ads are located. This brings me to my next point…

Don’t target every country in the world

Unless you are global conglomerate, you are unlikely to be able to serve customers all over the world. When creating your Google campaign, it very easy to target every country in the world, as it is the default and unless you specifically tell the system which country/countries to target, it will show your ads to the whole world.

Don’t accept Google defaults without questioning them

This is the number one ‘gotcha!’ that we see all the time. When setting up your campaigns, there are a lot of defaults (designed to make the campaign process seamless and easy), which will end costing you a lot of money in the form of “The Google Ads Stupidity Tax”. For example, the targeted and advanced location options (if you are careful, people in outer Mongolia could be seeing and clicking on your ads even though you are targeting users in London!)

Don’t target Search and Display Networks with the same campaign

The Google Search and Google Display Network (GDN) are very different kettles of fish and need different, tailored strategies to make them work. Also, what works for one does not necessarily work with the other. Targeting both networks with the same campaign often results in underperformance and wasted spend.

Don’t use phrase match keywords

Phrase match keywords are evil! They cause your ads to be shown for the most irrelevant searches than any other keyword match type. When your ads show up for search queries which are not very relevant to your business and users click on them, you end up paying the “Google Ads Stupidity Tax”.

Don’t avoid doing proper research

It is very east to set up a campaign and get them running, meaning it can be tempting to throw your campaigns together without doing enough research.

Here’s what you need to research to create a strong campaign:

  • Your target market demographics: interests, fears, desires, wants, language they speak etc.
  • Keywords: words and phrases that your target market type into the search engine when they are looking for a solution like yours.
  • Your competition: who is selling a similar product like you? How many of them are advertising with PPC? What claims are they making?

Without knowledge of these key aspects, you will end up paying money for the wrong kind of traffic from Google.

How we can help

Google Ads is an advertiser’s dream come true – easy to set up and run campaigns. It allows you to show your ads to the people who are likely to be interested in your products and services, while filtering out those who aren’t. You can track whether those people clicked your ads or not, as well as if they ultimately took the desired action on your website – like filling out a form or purchasing. However, if you are not careful, you can end up spending your advertising budget on the wrong kind of traffic, without evening knowing it.

Contact Coast to find out how we can cost-effectively deliver the right kind of clients to your business using Google Ads, without you having to pay the “Google Stupidity Tax”.

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