The Top 7 Most Common Mistakes in Google Ads For SaaS

Is your Google Ads campaign not performing as expected? Are you new to this game and feel like you are not achieving your goals and KPIs? No worries! We’ve gathered the 7 most common mistakes here. And we’ll give you some valuable and easy tips on how to avoid them! Luckily, many of these rookie mistakes have easy fixes and can become the support you need for successful campaigns.

1. Location setting

google ads location setting - plesk

It might come as a surprise to some of you, but by default Google has this feature set up as “people showing interest in the targeted location.” That means, for example, that if you are looking for a vacation in Hawaii, you might get ads targeting the location “Hawaii.”

Solution: Use the exact location of the audience you want to target. That will save your budget for people who matter for your business.

2. Bidding strategy

adwords bidding strategy

Fingers crossed we don’t get Google-banned for eternity for encouraging people to toss automatic bidding strategy! But yeah… the truth is that. We know, we’re can be control freaks and want to be hands-on during our campaigns. However, we found that automatic bidding increases our ad spend enormously and gives us poor results. Namely irrelevant traffic, low conversions, and pretty poor CTR (Click-through rate).

Solution: Keep manual CPC. Or if you have minimum 30 conversions per month per campaign for the last 30 days, you can also try to target CPA. Automatic bid strategies will most likely get more precise in time, so don’t stop testing.

3. Too broad keyword and limited negative list

too broad keywords and negative keywords list

It is approved that a well-built negative keyword list makes your account “healthier.” It is vital to exclude negative keywords daily and help optimise Google’s algorithm to define what is relevant and what is not for your business. At Plesk, we use a master list, set up on an account level. The negative keywords are an essential part of all campaigns’ targets.

Solution: Start building a negative keyword list straight away and don’t use broad match type keywords, as it will not wholly exclude your negative keywords from searches.

4. Not using sitelinks and other ads extensions


If there is a chance to make your ad larger, which means more space in the search results and more possibilities to catch the eye, why not do it? It is a perfect all-year-long gift from Google, and many times it is not appreciated. Sitelinks are essential, and you should have at least four variations in order to be adequately served. However, be aware that Google would choose the ones to show, when and how. So don’t stress out if you see that sometimes your ads are shown with only two of your sitelinks. Apart from sitelinks, there are many other extensions worth adding:  call to action buttons, structure snipped, and promo, for example.

Solution: Go crazy! Use them all, and let Google recognize how good an advertiser you are! This way, you may also gain an extra point in the “mysterious” Quality Score 😉 (We will cover this topic on a separate blog post, as it’s quite an important part of any SEM expert’s life.)

5. Lack of well-balanced ad groups

well-balanced ad groups

An effective ad group is an ad group with the right balance of keyword types match (phrase, exact, broad or broad modifier). What a good ratio should look like depends on which industry you are in.

Solution: For instance, if your market attracts more competitors and a higher average bid, invest time in research of long tail keywords for phrase match to ensure that you will get the most relevant traffic. If you are in an industry with limited search volumes, go with more broad modifiers or even broad keywords, but always keep a close eye on negative keywords.

6. Lack of proper keyword Investigation

keyword investigation tools

The key to success is having a set of keywords which brings the most relevant traffic to your website. In the hosting industry, you want to search for the longer-tail keywords. And here is where the main problem appears – where are you going to find them?

One of the publicly available tools is Keyword Planner available as part of Google Ads. Not sure about your experience, but we’ve noticed that it became less “generous” in perspective of available suggestions. If you feel the same, don’t worry! We have some super-top-secret tips on how we are getting new ideas. The best tools which we’re in love with are:

  • – although it’s a tool mostly focused on SEO data, there’s plenty of info on keywords which your competitors may use, both for organic and paid purposes.
  • – another SEO tool which helps check search volumes and bring new ideas.
  • – we use it as a substitute for all above, and it gives valuable additional data too.

With these tools you are sure to find the proper keywords for your campaigns.  And remember  – always look for keywords which have significant volume and low to medium competition score.

7. Not running RLSA campaigns

RLSA campaigns - plesk

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘RLSA‘, don’t worry, here is what you should know. RLSA stands for Remarketing Lists for Search Ads and is used to target a specific audience for your search campaigns. RLSA is like a remarketing ad, but instead of being shown on display, it will appear in Google Search. In many cases you’ll see elevated CTR but… the CPA won’t be cheaper. If you’re still focusing on sales/leads, this is an excellent tip to test.

Solution: Create a campaign with target keywords (not only the brand but with more service/product oriented). Add your remarketing list on which you want to bid. Choose “ targeting” instead of observation – which is set up by default. You’ll probably want to exclude your actual customers. Since you’re going to show your ads to your existing visitors, don’t forget to customize it accordingly. An additional option is to adjust bid for those visitors. But keep the following in mind: If you go with too many bid adjustments, you’ll end up with a significant overspend on search keywords. We recommend keeping max 1-3 bid adjustments at a time.

All the mistakes listed above are common and predictable, just a part of your learning path. Hope we managed to help you avoid them in the future.

Have you experienced any other mistakes that you need help with or would like us to cover in next blog posts?
Please add your suggestions in the comments below.

One comment

  1. Valuable insights you’ve provided in here. Thumbs up for that! Google ADS Marketing is all about experimentation, whether it’s a new process or a new tool. However, sometimes marketers make tasks more complicated than they should be. In a role where time is money and there’s always a ton of stuff on your to-do list, trying to reinvent the wheel only brings chaos and eats up precious time.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Yes, please, I agree to receiving my personal Plesk Newsletter! WebPros International GmbH and other WebPros group companies may store and process the data I provide for the purpose of delivering the newsletter according to the WebPros Privacy Policy. In order to tailor its offerings to me, Plesk may further use additional information like usage and behavior data (Profiling). I can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time by sending an email to [email protected] or use the unsubscribe link in any of the newsletters.

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden

Related Posts

Knowledge Base

Plesk uses LiveChat system (3rd party).

By proceeding below, I hereby agree to use LiveChat as an external third party technology. This may involve a transfer of my personal data (e.g. IP Address) to third parties in- or outside of Europe. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.