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    The No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    The No.1 Reason Google Ads Don’t Work

    1024 573 Jason McMahon

    How on earth did Google Ads—the darling of the marketing set, the sexy channel to get your message to the masses—start draining your budget instead of the great flood of leads-to-sales you were promised? Learn the one single thing you must change to get your Google AdWords powerhouse fired up to explode your sales.

    At Bambrick Media, we get the opportunity to review lots and lots of people’s digital marketing campaigns.  

    Often, by the time we are looking at them, it’s because the businesses have been running the Google Ads (also known as Adwords) campaigns for a little while, they’ve spent some money on them, but they are really not happy on the return on investment. The thing is, all too often, this lack of return for so many people is for the same reason.

    The reason is SPECIFICITY.  Or more likely, the LACK OF SPECIFICITY.

    o 1 Reason Google Ads Doesn't WorkWhat I mean by SPECIFICITY is that traditionally when we go looking for a product or service, it’s not exactly the product or service that we are looking for. What we are trying to do is solve some very specific need or some very specific problem that we have.

    Now, this is a really crude and dramatic example but…

    A really dear friend of mine, a few years ago, found out that he had a brain tumour (he’s completely fine now so don’t worry).  When you find out that you have something as scary as that, that’s something that you want to see your specialist for. My friend’s needs were specific.

    I’m not saying that all our purchasing decisions are like getting a brain tumour, but what I am saying is that regardless of what it is you buy—just like my friend—your needs are going to be SPECIFIC too, and you’re going to want to look for the person who is most specifically qualified, who can give you CONFIDENCE that they can handle your specific problem.  

    That’s particularly important in today’s day-and-age when consumers are more empowered than they have ever been before and they have more choices than they’ve ever had before.

    No. 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    Now, before I go on about SPECIFICITY and why a lot of campaigns aren’t profitable, let me give you a quick visual example as to what the problem looks like and just how prevalent it is.


    We start by googling the keywords, “2 bedroom apartments for sale brisbane cbd”.

    No. 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    I’m going to click on every link that I can see on the front page because that’s going to show me all the different campaigns that are running—where people are actually spending money to drive traffic to their Landing Page.

    Let’s look at the specific intent. Somebody wants:

    • A 2 bedroom apartment (not a 3 or a 1 or a 4 bedroom)
    • For sale (they want to buy it, not stay overnight or rent it for six months)
    • In Brisbane CBD (that’s a 1 km or 2 km radius, right in the heart of the city)

    Let’s have a look at what we’ve got:

    EXAMPLE #1: Domain

    No 1 Reason Google Ads Doesn't Work

    We’ve got Domain bidding on these keywords, and when I scroll down, I can see Skytower with a few 2-bedders…and some more 2-bedders, so it’s REASONABLY SPECIFIC. That one is not so bad.

    EXAMPLE #2: Banc River Luxury

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    It says here that it’s “Mesmerising, tantalising and enticing”…but are there 2 bedrooms?

    Is it in the CBD?I’m seeing lots of nice content but I’m looking for a 2 bedroom apartment in the cbd. When I take the time to read: “3 Bedroom River Homes from $1.39M”.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't workThat’s fine. It looks beautiful. However, I’m not looking for a 3 bedroom.  That’s not SPECIFIC enough.

    I checked in the dropdown bar—Sky Mansions, Sky Homes—but after more searching, I couldn’t see 2 bedrooms.

    As for location, they are in Toowong. Let’s see how far Toowong is from the Brisbane CBD: Google Maps says, “5 km west of the Brisbane CBD”.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    You can hypothesise and say, “Well, it’s close to the CBD. Maybe someone who would have bought in the CBD would buy over in Toowong”, and that might be true.

    However, when we look at this, we look at the CONVERSION LIKELIHOOD of that audience.

    While there is a chance that somebody might be buying in Toowong when they are looking in the CBD, the conversion likelihood is not as high because its not what they were looking for.

    That example is not so bad. Sometimes we see some that are a lot further out of the area.

    EXAMPLE #3: Burbury Hotel & Apartments

    They are 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, with a plush custom-made king bed, rainfall shower head and a Book Now.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    It looks like some kind of accommodation provider.  The Burbury Hotel isn’t in Brisbane! It’s in Canberra and fully furnished.

    This keywords are not SPECIFIC enough.

    We were looking for “2 bedroom apartments for sale in brisbane cbd”.

    EXAMPLE #4: Dwell Newstead

    The Landing Page is all well and good, but it’s saying, “New 3, 4 or 5 bedroom apartments” in Newstead.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    Again, Newstead is not in the Brisbane CBD and it is for 3, 4 or 5 bedroom apartments when we are looking for “2 bedroom apartments for sale in brisbane cbd”

    It’s not as SPECIFIC as it could be.

    EXAMPLE #5: Beach Life Alex

    This one is in Alexandra Headland, on the Sunshine Coast, about 100 km north of the Brisbane CBD (a 1 hour 25 minute commute).

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    Going back to the search words: “2 bedroom apartments for sale in brisbane cbd”, is there a chance that I might end up buying in Alexandra Headland instead?  Possibly…but it’s the longest shot in the world. The Conversion Likelihood is Very Very Low.

    Out of five examples, we are seeing why the majority of them wouldn’t be generating the best return on investment that they could.

    EXAMPLE #6: Sutherland Residences

    Remember, we are trying to buy  “2 bedroom apartments for sale in brisbane cbd”.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    The image shows the distances, and you can see that Hamilton IS NOT in the CBD.

    Yes, someone might be looking for an apartment in the CBD and end up buying in Hamilton but the conversion likelihood is low.

    Even if “2 bedroom apartments for sale in brisbane cbd” were keywords that you were after, it’s not how you would set up the campaign. It’s not a textual enough experience.

    Is it two bedrooms? We don’t know.

    There is information on location and investors, but not where the information is about the bedrooms, how many apartments—there really isn’t enough on that one at all.

    EXAMPLE #7: Gallery House

    It’s another one in Hamilton. There are 4s, 3s and 2 bedrooms, which is great, but we’re not interested in the 4s and 3s. We only want to buy the 2 bedroom…so it’s still a bit general.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work


    Let’s look for a new keyword search.  Let’s look for ‘queenslander renovations brisbane’.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't workWhat’s my context?

    • I probably own a home
    • It’s probably a Queenslander, and
    • I’m probably looking for someone to help me renovate it.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    Example #1: Traditional Renovations

    For whatever reason, that website is down.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't workThey won’t be getting a good return on their AdWords investment.

    Example #2: Home Extension Builder

    It reads: “Extensions, Raise & Build Under, Build On Top or Extend Out”. That’s pretty specific.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    Are the images of Queenslanders? Kind of…but does it SAY ‘Queenslander’? Has it actually said the word? After a search, it was noted that ‘Queenslander’ wasn’t mentioned once.

    It does have some great imagery, but it would be really great if:

    • The headline had said: ‘Do you own a Queenslander in Brisbane that you are looking to renovate?’
    • There were some examples of other Queenslander renovations that they’ve done in the past.
    • There were some really happy people.

    It’s not the worst Landing Page, but just doesn’t mention ‘Queenslander’.

    Example #3: Australian Building Services

    The Landing Page has lots and lots of text, but no images. It would be no wonder if that one wasn’t offering a return on investment.

    It does mention the word ‘Queensland’ but not the word ‘Queenslander’.

    It’s just not SPECIFIC enough.

    Example #4: construct-right

    It says they are a Brisbane builder, but are they a Queenslander renovation expert?

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    There was not headline or imagery that supports ‘queenslander renovations brisbane’.

    Example #5: There is another broken link.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    Example #6: Additions Renovations and Extensions

    It says, ‘Room Renovation’ so at least they do renovations. They’ve got some good imagery but there is no mention of ‘Queenslander’ anywhere on the page.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    We only needed to look at two keyword searches, and we can see that 80% of them showed the message match between the specific search query and the Landing Page experience was nowhere near SPECIFIC ENOUGH.  

    That is the number one reason that the majority of campaigns aren’t converting. They don’t provide a return on investment that the business is looking for.

    People are going to Google and typing in words that are very specific, and they are ending up at very general landing pages that don’t speak to them specifically enough of the things that they are looking for.


    The answer is surprisingly simple but overwhelmingly often overlooked.

    That answer is to send each specific traffic context to its own, very specific Landing Page. It speaks purely, exclusively and extensively to the needs and desires of that search group.

    Let’s go back to our example of “2 bedrooms apartments for sale in brisbane cbd”.

    WHO: You are a Property Developer in the CBD

    PRODUCT: You built a building in the Brisbane CBD. It has 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments.

    WHAT TO DO: What you need is a series of Landing Pages that have a specific page for each property type.

    That’s one page for:

    • 1 bedroom apartments
    • 2 bedroom apartments, and
    • 3 bedroom apartments

    In Google Adwords, you would organise your 1 bedroom keywords, 2 bedroom keywords and 3 keywords into their own Ad Groups. Then you would send each Ad Group to its own, specific Landing Page.

    The reason that a lot of these campaigns are not profitable is either:

    1. The campaigns are not set up properly, or
    2. The Landing Pages, for each specific keyword context, just haven’t been built.

    If you’re hearing that and thinking, “Well, we’re already doing that on our campaigns”, then that’s fine.  

    If you are doing that well, then the return on investment of your Adwords campaigns is going to be really good. If you are not happy with your return on investment on your Adwords campaigns, then you are encouraged to think again.

    Traditionally, when you send really, really specific traffic to really, really specific Landing Pages, the campaigns are really, really strong and really really profitable.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't workIf you’re campaign is not working, then I encourage you to take another look.


    Let’s look at a really great campaign that is used for a removalist.

    Example #1

    The keywords are “north brisbane removalists” or “removalists north brisbane”.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work


    You can see that the headline speaks very specifically to those search words: “North Brisbane’s most reliable removalists”.

    There is a promise, a lead form and an incentive to fill out the form now, and an online guarantee.  The most important element is that the headline is really, really specific to what you are looking for.

    Let’s look at another of its Landing Pages.

    Example #2

    The keywords of context are “removalists redcliffe” or “redcliffe removalists” etc.

    No 1 reason Google Ads doesn't work

    We have a different Landing Page that looks really similar but has a different headline to make it more specific for what the user is searching for: “Redcliffe’s most reliable removalists”,

    The person searching feels like they have found somebody who can help them with their specific query.

    There are Landing Pages for “Morayfield’s most reliable removalist”, “North Lake’s most reliable removalist” and “Brendale’s most reliable removalist”.   They do a very good job speaking specifically to the specific needs and wants of a person who is looking for a removalist who is in their local area.

    You may not be in the removals industry but a similar logic could apply to your industry.

    Looking for Google Ads opportunities that will see your business turning leads to an avalanche of sales? Drop Bambrick Media a note or contact a strategist here.





    Jason McMahon

    Marketing @bambrickmedia, lover of Lucy, the ocean & caramel popcorn.

    All stories by: Jason McMahon
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