The 10 Hidden Costs of Google Ads 

Google Search is the home page of the internet. It’s no surprise that ensuring your business ranks high on Google Search is a core strategy for digital success. Google Ads can help boost your position more quickly, but if you are not careful, you could end up in a trap that burns up your marketing budget and leaves you with little to no results.

In this article, we’ll outline the hidden costs of using Google Ads and what you can do to mitigate them.

1. Time

Google Ads has many with pitfalls, overly simplistic guides, and lackluster customer support. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time while you’re learning the platform. Meanwhile, you’ll be vulnerable to mistakes that will end up wasting your budget.

2. Irrelevant Terms

Keyword searches can range between billions to fewer than ten a month. These searches all boil down to whether or not you set up your keywords match types properly:

  • Broad Match – keyword – allows for this keyword to be replaced by similar words and phrases. Possibility opens up to billions of keyword combinations. However, depending on the niche of your product or service, this could be a useful tool for prospecting.
  • Phrase Match – “keyword” – allows your keyword to be placed in a longer phrase. It will be essential to keep an eye on search terms to ensure your ads are paired well with search intent.
  • Exact Match – [keyword] – allows for the precise keyword and misspellings. These are useful for keywords with high search volume and control.

Using proper match types is crucial to a successful ad account.

Here’s an example of how things could go wrong. Let’s say you wanted to sell a 2019 Toyota Corolla for a dealership with the wrong match types you could get:

  • Broad > 2019 Toyota Corolla > 2005 Mustang
  • Phrase > “2019 Toyota Corolla”>  2019 Toyota Corolla Floor Mats
  • Exact > [2019 Toyota  Corolla] > 2019 Toyota Corolla

With the wrong match types, your Google Ads account could be spending thousands on irrelevant phrases that could have been used driving more leads.

3. Poor Quality Ad Copy

Creating a quality ad can be a labor-intensive and daunting task, and being lazy when writing ad copy will cost you. Ad performance is often directly tied to the quality of ad copy as it relates to the keywords you’re bidding for. If your keywords are not present in the copy of your ad and you don’t establish value, you’ll pay the price at a higher cost per click.

Here’s in layman’s terms how Google will look at it:

  • Good Ad  – You pay $1 for a click
  • Poor Ad – You pay $4 for a click

In some instances, the difference can be even more significant. By just taking the time to include your keywords and creating appealing ad copy will make a major difference in what you spend on Google Ads.

4. Poor Website Experience

Landing page experience is the third component of quality score and has been playing a heavier role in determining ad quality score. Google is cracking down on poor quality “landing pages,” low site speed, and any website that does not bring the user the quality experience Google seeks for their searchers. Improving this will not only improve quality score but increase your organic ranks, especially when improving mobile page speed.

5. Using Too Many Keywords

At the end of the day, Google Ads is a delicately balanced math equation. With keywords, there is a balance between variability and consistency.

  • Variability allows for more search terms for new opportunities to reach your target audience. However, with too much variability of your keywords, you will run into performance bottlenecks and inconsistencies.
    •  Number of Keywords x Match Type Broadness = Variability.
  • Consistency relates to how much control you have over your keywords to produce consistent search terms month to month. Ensuring your campaigns are focused on high converting keywords that constantly produce results month to month will build for a healthy ad account.

Ideally, ensuring your keywords are utilizing both a balance of variability and consistency, you will set yourself up for a healthy account that will continuously grow along with your business goals.

6. Improper Use of Devices and Demographics

Google Ads opens you up to more avenues and controls than just keywords. Based on your business demographics and devices will drive up your cost for many reasons.

  • Landing page experience on your mobile site vs. desktop. Not all websites are optimized for mobile, so make sure to have a strong mobile site before opening it up to Google ads, or it could cost you.
  • Age and gender are both major factors when considering your ad account and how it can be customized to your business goals. If not configured properly, you may end up removing other targets that, if demographics were properly altered, could have been vital performance drivers.

Building out your demographic and mobile targeting for your account first will help you prevent spending advertising costs unnecessarily.

7. Poor Campaign Structure and Naming Conventions

The more campaigns you have, the more work you create for yourself in managing budgets, identifying issues, and building enough data to run a proper smart campaign. This also opens you up to inconsistencies in performance comparisons when settings are not set identical to one other. It also makes things significantly harder to implement A/B tests.

In terms of naming conventions, it is best to keep them simple and provide valuable information according to their structure level. For Example;

  • Campaigns use overall targeting strategy and campaign-specific parameters.
    • Ex: Non-Branded_NewYork_NY or  Non-Branded_Nasheville_TN
  • Ad Groups use specific targeting and ad group-specific targeting parameters.
    • Ex: “Keyword Theme” or “Keyword Theme + Audience Segmentation.”

8. Forgetting Observational Audiences

Observational audiences essentially provide your Google Ads account with information about user traffic generated through search or display. When you have a robust search or display campaign, utilizing observational audiences to identify key audience segments will enable you to target those segments later on.


This will help you hedge the cost of A/B testing many audiences at random by identifying which audience your current users will fall into.

9. Having No A/B Testing Cycle

A/B testing is essential to guiding the efficiencies of your marketing efforts. It’s vital to include cycles of ad copy, landing page, match type, bid strategy, and bid adjustment strategies. Through these cycles, you will identify which combinations perform best to attaining your goals through search engine marketing.

10. Making Too Many Changes

When performance starts to dip, it is crucial to be intentional not only the changes you make but how frequent these changes are occurring. Google Ads is running off of machine learning even down to Enhanced CPC. The more changes made in frequency and magnitude, the more time it will take for your current bid strategy to enter a “learning” stage. During this time, you will see a decrease in performance and

Wrapping Up

Don’t fall into one of the many pitfalls of managing your Google Ads account. Have the team of Google Certified Experts at DeltaV Digital audit your Google Ads account today!

Carter Poore

View posts by Carter Poore
I am a Sr. Digital Strategist at DeltaV Digital. I bring with me modern insights into digital ads and aspire to be the best in the business. Chief Marketing Pro Awards also nominated campaigns I managed in 2020. In my spare time, I like to jam out on the guitar.