The average business will waste a very large percentage of their paid search marketing spend, but addressing the problem in Google AdWords can be a difficult task for the majority of business owners that are trying to manage their own PPC campaign.

Sometimes it is beneficial to focus on the basics and make sure that the structure and settings of the campaign are all correct. This can identify potential areas that are leading to wasted advertising spend and solving the problem can result in much less waste over time. A small business will typically have a very limited paid search marketing budget, so it is important to avoid any unnecessary wasted spend.

5 Reasons You Are Wasting Money in Your AdWords Campaign

These are the top five reasons most small businesses experience wasted PPC spend in their AdWords account:

1. Not Using Negative Keywords

It is shocking that many business owners are not aware of what negative keywords are or how to use them correctly. The goal of PPC is to drive highly targeted traffic to a website. Identifying keywords that are bringing visitors that are looking for something that is not relevant or not offered can help to prevent wasted ad spend. Adding these terms to the negative keyword list will prevent the ads from displaying when these identified keywords are searched.

Common sense can be used most of the time to identify obvious negative keywords that will just waste your campaign spend. For example, if a motorcycle dealership only sold new model bikes one negative keyword they would want to set would be “used” as they do not sell used motorcycles. Not all negative keywords will be so obvious, so it is important to really dive deep into the campaign data and see what keywords are triggering the ads.

2. Incorrect Location Targeting Settings

Many business owners think that they are running foolproof location targeting settings, but this isn’t always the case. Google wants to show your ads to as many people, so the default location targeting settings don’t always mean that people seeing your ads are physically in your location.

Instead of showing your ads to people searching for or viewing pages about your target location it is important that you make sure the campaign settings have your location targeting set to only display your ads to people located in your target location. So, if you owned a local business in Dallas it would prevent people searching about Dallas or visiting pages about Dallas to view your ads. They would only be displayed to users that are physically located in Dallas.

3. Bidding on Expensive Generic Keywords

Some of the most expensive keywords are very generic and broad keywords and business owners assume they are the correct ones to target. These generic terms will not bring targeted traffic to your site, so why are they so expensive? Well, there are plenty of inexperienced business owners blindly bidding, driving the prices up.

The goal is to drive traffic that is very targeted and specific to the product or service being offered. Generic and broad keywords might attract plenty of clicks, but that traffic will not convert at a high rate.

Paid search marketing requires an extensive understanding of the entire process, and keyword selection is a major piece of the process. This is just another example of why many businesses end up hiring a PPC agency to handle their campaign.

4. Not Utilizing Mobile Bid Adjustments

A huge mistake that many people make is forgetting to make mobile bid adjustments. Not every website is mobile friendly, and if you have a site that doesn’t work well on mobile devices you don’t want to waste your spend on mobile clicks.

While AdWords doesn’t allow you to simply disable mobile any longer you can set a mobile bid adjustment. This is a percentage of your click bid that you are willing to spend for a click on a mobile device. So, for example, if you didn’t want ANY mobile traffic you would set the mobile bid adjustment at -100%. This would result in not receiving any mobile traffic.

5. Not Scheduling Ads

If you received a visitor on your website at 3am would that benefit you? Could they call your business to ask about your products or service? Unless you have 24/7 telephone customer service or 24/7 live chat on your website traffic at that time has very little benefit.

It is a good idea to maximize your spend, especially if you are working with a tight budget, by setting your ads to only run during business hours. As your campaign grows and becomes more profitable you can expand this. Clicks throughout the night can equal wasted money for some companies.

Now, if the goal is to generate leads or get the visitor to complete a form or download something on the site then the ads can run at any time. Only do this if it makes sense. Take advantage of the ad scheduler to avoid wasted clicks.

AdWords management can be a very complex task, especially for business owners that are wearing multiple hats and attempting to manage the campaign in their spare time. In order to get the best performance from the PPC campaign and avoid problems such as wasted ad spend it requires full-time attention.

If you don’t have the time to dedicate to managing the AdWords account or if you are having trouble identifying wasted spend then you might want to consider having a pay per click management company handle your PPC campaign. Your campaign benefits from professional experience and it frees up your time so you can focus on running your business.

Read more: No-Brainer Ways to Stop Wasting Your AdWords Budget