5 Google Ad Word Mistakes Your Startup is Probably Making

By: Carli Evilsizer + Nate Smoyer | November 13, 2018

No matter what type of startup you have, odds are at some point you will need to set up Google AdWords. And unfortunately, many startups that test out Google Ads are making the same common mistakes. So what mistakes should your startup avoid when testing out Google AdWords?

We chatted with growth markeing expert, Nate Smoyer. Nate is the CEO of Real Team Panda, a digital advertising agency specializing in real estate tech companies—and he sees startups making the same 5 common mistakes with their Google AdWords. Keep reading to see if your mistake is one of the most common among founders and their companies when using Google AdWords.


5 Common Google Ad Word Mistakes & What Your Startup Should Do Instead

Nate Smoyer Real Team Panda

Nate Smoyer

CEO / Growth Marketing

Real Team Panda

Nate Smoyer is CEO of Real Team Panda, a digital advertising agency specializing in working with real estate tech companies. He’s also the host of Tech Nest: The Real Estate and Tech Show.

Five Common Mistakes To Avoid In Google Ads


Google Ads is amazingly powerful. You can segment and segment and segment until your little heart's content. With that being said, there some basic segmentations I notice often get ignored. If you’re unsure what to segment by, here’s your starter kit for structuring your next ad campaign:

  • Male Mobile

  • Male Desktop

  • Female Mobile

  • Female Desktop

And if you’re offering a product in multiple countries, then I would add your country as an additional mandatory segmentation.

  • US Male Mobile

  • CA Male Mobile

  • Etc…


If your customers are anything like you and I, then they have schedules and structure to their everyday life. That means throughout the day they will have time for doing certain tasks. Though they may do some research for buying a new car during lunch at work, they may be more likely to fill out a contact form after work between 5-8pm.

Paying attention to the Days and Hours Reporting in Google Ads will give you a glimpse into the everyday life and patterns of your customers. From here I would consider implementing bid adjustments and scheduling specific ads to run during certain times that are likely to achieve the outcome you desire.

5 Google Ad Words Mistakes Your Startup is Making 1
5 Google Ad Words Mistakes Your Startup is Making 2

"If you’re going to spend money on advertising, then you might as well make sure you’re spending it well. Unfortunately, impatience, inexperience, and ignorance tend to dominate the landscape of paid ads." 



Collecting data is one thing. But what do you do when your data isn’t able to be interpreted easily? Structuring your campaigns and how you track data is absolutely vital to making the right decisions.

Items to consider:

  • Network

  • Location

  • Device

  • Gender

  • Age

  • Headline

  • Creative

Here’s a bad example of how to structure your account:

  • Leads > Promotion > Lead Promotion ← don’t laugh, this happens a lot!

Here’s a better way to structure your account:

  • US Display Male Mobile Lead Generation > Ideal Blog Sitewide 300x250 > a-1 300x250

When structuring your campaigns, you’ll want to think through how each of the items listed above impact how your data will appear in your analytics dashboard. You want to easily discern what is working and what needs to be cut.


FOMO is a real thing. The fear of missing out. And that’s partially why I believe marketing managers often fail to keep up with adding to their negative keywords bank. Negative keywords are used to ensure your ads do not serve when people search a particular keywords. If you sell kiwi flavored candy, you probably don’t want to be spending money on search terms for kiwi birds.


  • +kiwi +candy

  • +fruit +candy

Negative Keywords:

  • Birds

  • “Kiwi birds”

Startups Google Ad Word Mistakes Negative Keywords 1
Startups Google Ad Word Mistakes Negative Keywords 2


Repeat after me: advertising does not work like an ATM machine. “Advertising does not work like an ATM machine.”

Just because you’ve put your card info in and hit “publish”, doesn’t mean you’re going to make your money back right away--or at all. But you need not let this deter you. Too often there are winners out there who quit too soon.

is your startup making these common growth marketing mistakes

If you approach advertising from a learning perspective, then you’ll always see the value in your campaigns. When something isn’t working the way you had planned, take the time to distill the lessons your metrics are teaching you, adjust your campaign, and keep at it! Quitting too soon will ensure “advertising doesn’t work for your product”.

In the end Google Ads is a somewhat complicated beast. And that’s why I advise clients to keep things simple--especially to start. Getting a grapple on the most important elements of your campaigns’ needs first, then following through with advanced strategies.

  • What is my product?

  • What problem does it solve?

  • Who wants it?

  • What do they care about?

  • When do they want it?

  • How do they want to acquire it?

“Those are just a few questions you can start with. If you can answer those questions, succinctly and with detail, then you’ll be well on your way to crushing it with Google Ads. If you follow through with avoiding these five mistakes with Google Ads, my prediction is you’ll end up reducing the amount of wasted time and spend.” -Nate Smoyer


Thanks for the tips Nate!

Startup Growth Marketers: We hope these tips will help you avoid the most common paid marketing mistakes made by startups. If you are making any mistakes, we hope you can use Nate’s tips to spend your Google Ad spend more effectively and achieve better results! Just remember to always approach your paid marketing campaigns as a test where you need to be ready to analyze and reiterate often. Good luck!