3 Key Reasons Why You Are Losing Money on Adwords

I recently taught a crash course on Google Adwords. To get up to speed, I read 4–5 books on the topic and decided to read a few other sources than just the ones provided by Google. In the process I learned a few things which might not exactly match with what is mentioned in the official certified partner program.


So, in an attempt to sum up what I learned, here are 3 easy-to-miss key areas which could cause you to lose money on Adwords. They are lack of tracking, the wrong keywords and weak landing pages. Please keep in mind that this list could be longer, but these are the ones that screamed the loudest at me.


Lack of tracking

For some reasons, installing conversion tracking is not a mandatory part of setting up an Adwords campaign. This might be because Google makes money regardless of how each campaign does. They just set up the conditions and we mere mortals have to fight it out in their bidding auctions.

The importance of putting up conversion tracking cannot be understated. When it has been installed, it gives you the ability to identify which keywords bring you sales. This helps you figure out where to focus your budget. Without it, you are not tracking the actual outcome of your advertising which can make it very difficult to improve.


Wrong selection of keywords


Google provides a lot of easy tools to help you identify which keywords can get the most relevant clicks for your ads. The problem is that you are not interested in clicks; you’re interested in conversions. These conversions can be leads or direct sales. You can use tools like SEM Rush, Keywordspy and SpyFu in order to identify the keywords your competitors are using. This will give you a good idea of what keywords you should use.

Also, you might not be using the different match types Google offers for each keyword. These match types allow you to modify how the keywords are being used on Google. Specifically, you might want to focus less on a broad match and more on a broad match modifier, phrase match or exact match.


Weak landing pages


The ranking of your ads on Google is partially determined by something called quality score. A part of that score is calculated based on the quality of your site’s landing page. In addition, if you have a weak landing page, it can reduce your conversion.

However, improving landing pages is not necessarily a quick fix.

A landing page can be holding you back if it is not optimized for mobile or loading slow. This can directly affect not only your Adwords campaign, but also your organic search ranking. Also, many landing pages lack clear offers, evidence to back up claims and clear call to actions. This can result in low converting Adwords campaigns.



There are 3 key reasons why an Adwords campaign can be underperforming. Lack of conversion tracking, bad selection of keywords and landing pages which have not been optimized all affect performance. These areas can be easy to miss in Adwords simple 4-step set-up process. Your challenge might, therefore, be to go beyond this 4-step process and focus on conversions instead of clicks.


About the author: Bjarne Viken

Bjarne Viken 2

Bjarne is a conversion optimisation strategist, who works with marketing managers and business owners to scale up their businesses by analysing how they can improve their online conversion rates.

He has worked extensively with many growing companies, helping them drive customer acquisition, push conversions and increase sales.”

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This article was first published by Bjarne Viken