Stop wasting money on Google Ads!

Google Ads, (previously called Google AdWords until July 2018), is a great tool to get lots of relevant traffic quickly to your website, and your offers, without having to invest or wait for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to bring you the traffic that you want. It also allows you to try lots of keywords to test which is the most rewarding for you and your dealership, so you can invest time into those keywords to dominate it for both organic listings and paid listings.

Getting the basics right

There are some common pitfalls which can lead to wasted budget and poor ROI from your Google Ads, which can easily be avoided by getting the basics right (more advanced suggestions follow):

– Use relevant keywords in your advert

When you build your ad groups, select keywords relevant to the terms people use when they search, so your ads reach customers precisely when they’re looking for what you offer. By mirroring the search terms, customers are far more likely to click on your ad.

– Add negative keywords to your campaigns

Google defines negative keywords as “a type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase.” By stopping your ad from showing on irrelevant searches, you save money on wasted clicks.

– Send your traffic to the ‘best’ landing page

Getting people to click on your ad is only part of the story. Without a great landing page i.e. one that grabs their attention and engages them with exactly what they are looking for, they’ll bounce off and you will have missed an opportunity to convert that person to a customer.

– Taking the time to review the performance of your ads on a regular basis.

If you don’t review the performance of your ads, you will miss the opportunity to refine and improve, and gain a better ROI of your marketing spend.

If you need help putting these recommendations into place, contact our Marketing team.

If you’re happy you’ve got the basics right, and you want more advanced reasons why you are not getting the ROI you want or need from Google Ads, read on.

Are you using Display Advertising?

– Consider the placements of your display advertising

Display advertising lets you place your ads on websites that are relevant to what you’re selling and therefore show those ads to the people who are likely to be most interested. Google serves ads on a variety of content, from publisher websites ( for example), YouTube channels (Google owns YouTube) and mobile applications (such as PDF Readers or games). To maximise the performance of your display ads, and to reduce associated costs of advertising to the wrong audience, or the right audience but at the wrong time, you need to set up what the placements should be.

If you are remarketing to visitors that have visited your website, I usually get rid of any gaming placements straight away. While it may be the right audience, the timing is wrong … they are playing a game, not looking to buy a car. There may be an argument that this is still useful brand awareness, but if your goal is creating relevant leads for a good price then shaving away irrelevant costs is important. Furthermore, often those that click on the links of games are the children of the prospective customers who may accidentally click the ad to get rid of the ad. More wasted budget.
To remove gaming sites from your display advertising simply select the placement from the list under ‘Where Ads Showed’ > click the ‘Edit’ drop-down > select ‘Exclude from campaign’.

– Use your stats!

I would also suggest you use your stats to see the number of conversions from your placements and look at the quality of any conversions. Placements that are not providing quality conversions can be excluded from your campaigns (as well as gaming site placements, some YouTube channels that focus on children’s topics are among the first to be excluded in my experience).

– Which people in your location are you targeting?

Every campaign has advanced settings which allow you to target locations, but do you use the Locations tab to ensure you are targeting the right people in your chosen locations? The options Google gives you to choose from are:

1. People in, searching for or viewing pages about my targeted location
2. People in my targeted location
3. People searching for or viewing pages about my targeted location

Option 1 is the default choice here and many businesses keep the settings as standard. However, to minimise costs while keeping leads coming in, I would recommend choosing option 2 as this offers laser rather than blanket targeting.

Are you using location retargeting?

Location retargeting is fantastic for instilling a message with the customer after they have visited your dealership to keep you front of mind throughout their car buying search. For example, a car buyer has been into your BMW dealership to look at upgrading to a new BMW X5 but didn’t make the sale. Through choosing your dealership location for targeting X5 related ads, you can bid more to show up in their car buying searches on X5 and competitor related keywords. You can also use display advertising to follow them around the internet with relevant sales and marketing messages. However, this is less cost-effective if your dealership is directly next door to a high traffic business such as a petrol station or drive-through restaurant. Why? Because then your audience is not necessarily just YOUR audience. You don’t want to waste spend and impression share on non-car buyers wanting to fill their fuel tanks or stomachs.

Are you auto-allowing Ad Suggestions?

In 2018, Google released Ad Suggestions which auto-generates ads based on ones that you’ve run previously, (using the same keywords, headlines, descriptions, ad extensions and information on the landing page). What’s more, everyone was auto opted-in to allowing these ad suggestions to go live after 14 days, without your further agreement. Which means you may be running ads and paying for them without your knowledge. While this may work well for some industries, in the motor industry it usually results in you spending more money without the resulting increase in showroom footfall. To switch this off, go to your Google Ads Account, click ‘All Campaigns’ and go to ‘Settings’ (on the left-hand side). From there find ‘Account Settings’ in the next tab and find ‘Ad Suggestions’ at the bottom. Here you can select ‘Don’t automatically apply ad suggestions.’ When prompted for a reason I normally select ‘I’m concerned about performance’.

If you have any problems putting these recommendations into practice, contact our Marketing team who will be happy to consult to improve your Google Ads efforts and reduce the wasted spend quickly.

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