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Google Ads Mistakes Startups Must Avoid: An Expert Insight

With its wide-reaching capabilities, Google Ads allows businesses to micro-target their audience based on location, age, and buying habits. When executed correctly, it can bring a significant return on investment, driving both traffic and sales. 

However, Google Ads also has its share of pitfalls that could lead to wasted resources, irrelevant traffic, and a missed opportunity to engage potential customers.  

While consulting with experts such as Claire Jarrett and other reputable providers can offer invaluable insights, gaining a foundational understanding of navigating common drawbacks is essential for achieving long-term success in your campaigns.  

This article discusses six common mistakes startups frequently make while navigating Google Ads and their corresponding solutions.  

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1. Ignoring Keyword Match Types

Startups often rely solely on broad match keywords, assuming this strategy will cast a wide net and capture as much traffic as possible. While they allow ads to show for a larger variety of search terms, this approach frequently backfires. The problem with these keywords is that they can make the ad display for irrelevant searches, which can lead to clicks that drain the budget without delivering conversions.  

To mitigate this problem, startups should explore other keyword-matching options such as exact match, phrase match, and modified broad match.  

An exact match ensures the ad shows only when the exact keyword is typed in. A phrase match makes the ad display for queries with the exact keyword phrase in the same sequence. A modified broad match still allows some flexibility but restricts the ad to only show queries with terms designated with a plus sign (+).   

Employing a diversified strategy of keyword match types allows for a more nuanced, effective, and cost-efficient campaign.  

2. Neglecting Negative Keywords

Using negative keywords can be just as important as choosing the right target keywords. Many startups don’t realize the potential savings and focus they can achieve by carefully specifying which searches shouldn’t trigger their ads.  

By disregarding negative keywords, startups risk their ads appearing for unrelated or tangential queries, which could result in costly and unproductive clicks. The solution here is straightforward: maintain a robust list of negative keywords and update it regularly.  

By adding irrelevant terms to the negative keyword list, the ad campaign will automatically filter out unwanted traffic. This simple act ensures that advertising dollars are spent on clicks more likely to convert, improving the campaign’s overall ROI.  

3. Overlooking Ad Extensions

Many startups overlook the utility of ad extensions like site links, callouts, and structured snippets, which can provide additional valuable information to make ads more informative. Not utilizing these features is a missed opportunity to offer potential customers more reasons to click.  

By strategically incorporating ad extensions, businesses can display additional links to specific pages on their sites, highlight unique selling points or offers, and list detailed product or service attributes. These can dramatically improve click-through rates and create a more enriching user experience.  

By presenting additional pathways into different sections of your website, ad extensions make it easier for prospective customers to find what they’re looking for.  

4. Setting And Forgetting

Many startups believe that once a Google Ads campaign is up and running, it will take care of itself. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The digital advertising landscape is always shifting. As new competitors enter the space, consumer behavior changes and algorithm updates occur.  

For a Google Ads campaign to stay effective, it needs regular attention and fine-tuning. Startups should frequently review metrics and KPIs to understand what’s working and what isn’t.  

Budgets may need to be adjusted, poorly performing keywords weeded out, and ad copy updated to resonate with the current audience. Think of it as regular maintenance for long-term campaign health.  

5. Poor Landing Page Experience

When potential customers click an ad, the journey has just begun. The next crucial step is what they encounter on the landing page. Unfortunately, many startups focus heavily on crafting the perfect ad copy and design but neglect the landing page, resulting in high bounce rates and poor conversion metrics.  

Creating a landing page that aligns well with the ad content is crucial. Ensure the page’s load time is fast and the design is mobile-responsive. The copy should be compelling, and the call to action should be clear and easy to find.  

More importantly, employ analytics to understand how users interact with the page and tweak elements as needed to improve engagement and conversions.  

6. Failing To Track Conversions

It’s quite astonishing how many startups don’t employ conversion tracking, leaving them in the dark about the actual performance of their ad campaigns. Without tracking conversions, there’s no concrete way to know if the clicks are turning into business actions, be it purchases, sign-ups, or other forms of engagement.  

Setting up conversion tracking is a must-have for any Google Ads campaign. It provides invaluable insights into what happens after a user clicks on an ad. Startups can then analyze this data to see which keywords and ad types are most effective, allowing for adjustments to a strategy that can dramatically improve overall ROI.  


Google Ads can be an incredibly effective tool for startups when managed correctly. To maximize the impact of Google Ad campaigns, it’s essential to focus on aspects like keyword match types, negative keywords, ad extensions, regular optimization, landing page experience, and conversion tracking. 

By taking a holistic approach that considers both immediate and long-term metrics, startups can significantly improve their chances of running a successful campaign.

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