Six Ways to Blow Your AdWords Budget

By: Ken Freel

Google, the world’s most profitable brand, makes up to $10 billion per fiscal quarter from AdWords alone. This impressive revenue is only possible because pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is incredibly effective when utilized properly.

For those who might not be familiar, advertising through AdWords or other PPC services offer businesses the opportunity to display ads on search engine result pages (SERPs) related to specific keywords and phrases. Google and other search engines, such as Yahoo! and Bing, have set aside special real estate for ads (see image below from Google).AdWords Ad Positons

This form of Internet advertising has proven to offer a great return on investment for organizations in virtually every industry.  With that being said, it is important not to count your chickens before they’ve hatched.

Mismanaged and Messy

Pay-per-click advertising epitomizes the phrase “with great risk comes great reward.” Despite the immense potential, it is very easy to mismanage an AdWords campaign without help from an expert and inevitably pay exorbitant amounts of money for poor results. Without a clear understanding of how to build and maintain a valuable campaign, things can get muddled and messy remarkably quickly.

Most small businesses struggle with managing their own AdWords campaigns due to a variety of barriers. Some business owners find that they don’t have the personnel to spare to experiment with a new marketing technique. Others find that the training and educational barriers are insurmountable. Whether you are trying AdWords on your own or hiring someone outside of your organization, it is important to steer clear of these six burdens on your budget.

#1 - Celebrity Divorces

Divorce lawyers often receive clicks from searches for celebrity divorces. There is virtually no chance of these clicks turning into a quality leads. They often cost up to $20-30 per click.

#2 - Water Damaged iPhones

Home and commercial water damage restoration is a surprisingly competitive area of search engine marketing. Most advertisers don’t know that they can be spending over $50 per click for services they don’t provide, such as cell phone water damage repair services.

#3 - Home and Car Air Conditioning Services

Campaigns for HVAC contractors regularly pick up traffic for phrases like “car AC compressors” and “truck heater repair.” Unless you have an HVAC company and an auto repair shop, this is a very costly mistake.

#4 - Are You Hiring or Advertising?

Jobs and careers are incredibly high volume search terms. If you were a recruitment company or talent agency these clicks would be beneficial. Otherwise, failing to exclude these terms can result in an unnecessary dent in your pocketbook.

#5 - Out of Area Searches

Relying on your geo-targeting settings to ensure your ads are relevant can be incredibly costly. Users in your area are likely searching for products or services available outside your service area, too. Bidding for these searches could be hurting your click-through-rates, and can, in turn, lower your quality scores and possibly cost you a small fortune.

#6 - Tracking Results

If you are not tracking conversions (phone calls, purchases, form completions) from AdWords, you could be spending your entire budget on traffic that isn’t generating your business any money in return. Conversion tracking and analytics data are pillars of a proper PPC campaign.


It isn’t difficult to blow your AdWords budget, but it is important to know that you can receive exceptional results with a properly managed campaign. Following best practices and taking the time to research and maintenance an account can go a long way.

Choosing to work with a PPC expert or marketing agency will also save you a great deal of guesswork when trying to find the right strategy for your company. Managing a successful campaign might not be easy, but it can transform the way you do business.

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