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  • Writer's pictureMike

20 Ways To Kill Your Google Ads Performance

Updated: May 30

Want expert Google Ads management from a UK PPC agency that doesn't cost the earth? As a leading PPC agency in North Wales, Beyond Goat Digital has seen countless errors that severely damage campaigns. 

Read this guide to learn the 20 biggest Google Ads mistakes to avoid.


When set up correctly, Google Ads delivers strong results. However, we frequently encounter UK accounts hindered by common issues. Typically, fixing a few key problems ignites major performance improvements.

This article explains the most damaging Google Ads mistakes to sidestep. Understanding and preventing these pitfalls allows tremendously better outcomes for your Google Ads UK spending. Consider it your guide to navigating the deadliest hazards on Google.

First, let's summarise the core focus areas:

Main Mistakes Covered

  • Research mistakes

  • Structural mistakes

  • Optimisation mistakes

  • Tracking mistakes

  • Goal setting mistakes

  • Targeting mistakes

  • Expansion mistakes

  • Asset mistakes

Correcting weaknesses in these areas kicks off the path to Google Ads success. Now, let's explore the top 20 performance killers to avoid.

Conducting Weak Keyword Research

Limited keyword research fails to uncover optimal terms aligned with demand and conversion potential. This shrinks volume possibilities while wasting spend bidding on the wrong UK Google Ads queries.

Undertake exhaustive UK Google Ads keyword discovery focused on actual search trends, industry data, and mining existing accounts. Build expansive targeted keyword lists guiding campaign targeting.

Utilising Poor Account Structures

Disorganised account setups with scattered tracking, keywords, and ads for different offerings clashing together is an all too common scenario.

Precise structure around products, services, customer types, and goals enables properly managed segmentation. Invest time in thoughtfully organising accounts and revisit as needs change.

Failing to Optimise Search Terms

Not analysing search queries creates waste on irrelevant terms. Regularly review search terms reports and tighten targeting around high-performing keywords.

You can "opt in" or "opt out" of queries at campaign and ad group levels based on performance. Organise keywords around conversion data for maximum spend efficiency, and add them to your negative keyword list for those that don't perform or aren't relevant.

Misaligned Strategies and Goals

Trying an upper-funnel brand awareness strategy while demanding direct response conversions confuses Google's systems. Clearly define desired impact depth versus volume when setting objectives.

Strategies must sync with reasonable outcome expectations. Mismatching combinations send campaigns moving in the wrong direction even if hitting preset goals.

Using Faulty Conversion Tracking

When tracking is misconfigured or lacks key data, Google can't optimise towards real goals. This massively limits performance versus properly set-up tracking.

Carefully plan required tracking to capture metrics as per targets. Watch for data gaps limiting the ability to gauge success and address underperforming facets.

Not Setting Conversion Values

If pursuing ROAS, leaving out conversion values keeps Google shooting blind as it lacks revenue data to shape strategy and bids.

Feed accurate conversion value data at a granular, product level across your catalogue. ROAS and automated bidding demands real-time values for efficiency.

Lacking Patience

Google Ads success is a gradual process, not an overnight fix. True optimisation takes months as volume builds, data accrues and constant learning refines targeting.

Commit to long-term development, not reactionary changes. Persist with strategies as they gain traction through continually improved keyword and ad relevance.

Setting Unreasonable Targets

Whether ROAS, CPL or other benchmarks, targets must reflect business realities. Stretch goals incentivise improvement, but fantasy expectations help no one.

Base targets on history, margins, and vertical averages, then increase them as proven feasible through demonstrable optimisation.

Don't solely rely on hopes and wishes.

Using Inadequate Budgets

Optimised Google Ads campaigns need ample budget to dial in messaging and targeting. Severely limited funds spread widely over too many objectives hampers performance.

Determine what spend levels can realistically achieve desired outcomes based on past costs per lead/sale in your niche. Set appropriate minimum matching goals and timelines to properly test validity.

Failing to Upload Ad Assets

Ads devoid of visuals see much lower engagement versus those with eye-catching images or video. Never settle for text-only when visual assets could capture attention.

Develop display banners tailored to ad groups. Shoot YouTube and website video to boost interest. Dynamic assets outperform static text.

Enabling Display Network Ads

As with Search Partners, poorly applied display network targeting tanks efficiency. Only enable placements conclusively driving target actions after rigorous testing.

Confirm each audience and site drives converting users before expanding.

Don't spray budgets and pray - measure aggressively and cut unprofitable elements.

Using Search Partner Websites

Opening ads to content sites like Wikipedia grabs random traffic unfamiliar with your brand and offerings, leading to astronomical costs and little payoff.

Keep search partners disabled except where you've specifically vetted value-adding sites sending conversions. Monitor closely to validate the assumed value.

Misunderstanding Lifetime Value

Acquiring unprofitable short-term customers makes sense if you account for customer lifetime value (LTV). This estimates the full upside beyond initial sales.

Consider ongoing margin contributions from repeat business and referrals. In light of LTV, loss leaders become wise long-term plays. Ignoring LTV destroys sustainability.

Disregarding Margins

Every vertical and product has an average order value to CPL ratio that is based on margins. Bidding £50 CPL when your profits only allow £30 quickly drains budgets.

Incorporate real net margins into target modelling. How much do you clear per sale after operating expenses? Build targets around viable ratios to prevent waste.

Chasing Vanity Metrics

Superficial metrics like clicks and impressions rarely directly connect to business value. You may run millions of cheap ads with few sales or carefully target just high-quality leads.

Strictly gauge what matters most per your true KPIs - be that pipeline generated, deal size for enterprise advertisers, phone calls for local firms. Cut through the noise to isolate the signal.

Tracking Irrelevant KPIs

Measuring secondary metrics obscures actual performance. Vanity metrics like clicks are misdirected as more important indicators of quality buyer activity get ignored.

Carefully identify key performance indicators per your model and aims. Custom reporting around these "signal" benchmarks reveals campaign effectiveness and shapes optimisation.

Sloppy Targeting

After budget misuse, sloppy targeting destroys more Google Ads accounts than anything. Many businesses spray budgets at the wrong searches altogether. Two targeting methods cause special damage...

Location Targeting

We often see advertisers targeting whole UK regions while only able to service certain areas. This torches cash in locations where you can't realistically convert traffic.

Be strict with geography - only target areas you can serve. Incorrect locations or languages waste spending with little sales possibility to offset costs.

Interest Targeting

Many assume those searching interests will convert because it generally aligns with their business. Expect low relevancy and exponentially higher costs.

For instance, targeting "real estate" captures wide ranges of untargeted traffic, immediately multiplying spend requirements. Use interest targeting sparingly and only where exceedingly relevant.

Sending Traffic To Homepages

A prevalent site architecture flaw is sending visitors to general homepages instead of targeted landing pages. This causes confusion, distraction from intended goals, and departure.

Guide traffic to specific landing pages with clear calls-to-action matching focuses. Eliminate hollow company homepages, causing new visitors to stumble aimlessly around site structures.


There you have an exhaustive guide to the 20 most harmful Google Ads account mistakes! Avoid these hazards through tight management per core goals to unlock tremendous PPC success.

If you need more expertise or bandwidth, Beyond Goat Digital, as your PPC agency in North Wales, can get UK accounts audited against proven best practices fine-tuned around your niche, offerings, margins, and targets. 

Contact us to discuss maximising returns through managed services.

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