Your Google Ads Data Might Be Lying to You

Your Google Ads Data Might Be Lying to You

Feb 8, 2021 | By Andrew Peek

google ads data lying to you

Advertising with Google Ads should be one of the highest sources of paid website traffic for home builders. Your ad is displayed at the exact moment someone is searching for a new home right where you have homes for sale. Perfect. What could go wrong with this?

Quite a bit.

Compared to Facebook, Google provides what seems like an infinite number of ways to build campaigns, select keywords, match type, ad copy, ad extensions and more. This leaves plenty of room for “user error” that can result in less than stellar performance from your Google Ads.

While writing this it is difficult not to be doom and gloom, this blog post was inspired by multiple occurrences of one specific issue I am going to explain. Let’s first make sure we understand some very important definitions.

  1. What is a Keyword? A Keyword is the word or phrase that you add to an Ad Group that will trigger your Ad to display.
  2. What is a Search Term or Search Query? These are words or phrases that a Google User actually types into their web browser.
  3. What is a Match Type? The match type is the “bridge” between the Keyword in your ad account and the Search Term the searcher types in. Essentially the match type gives Google a set of predefined rules of how closely or loosely the Search Term needs to be to the Keyword for the Ad to be triggered.

What is the issue?

The issue is that depending on your keywords and match type your ads can unknowingly be displayed for branded searches. Branded searches are those containing your company name and variations around your company name, community names and locations you build in.

What this causes is an artificial sense of success. Branded searches typically convert traffic to lead (website conversion rate) at a much higher rate and should have cost-per-clicks from $.10-$.20. When you average these awesome metrics in with the rest of the non-branded searches, the performance can look stellar…when it actually is not.☹

Said another way – if the match type and keywords selected are not 100 percent controlled, the data you see for your Google Ads is not correct and can lead you to believe your Google Ads are performing very well, when they could be far below average.

The impact of this is shifting budget away from other resources to Google Ads based on this artificial success, which then leads to actual decrease in success with traffic, leads, appointments and ultimately sales.


What do we do?

Before you think you need to completely rebuild your campaigns or send this blog post to your vendors – let’s first see how impacted your Google Ads are.

What you’ll be doing is setting up custom channels in Google Analytics to properly sort the data. This works without changing anything in Google Ads. This is a very cool (nerd alert!) way to have more honest data to work with. Let’s get started on those custom channels!

Step: 1 Log into Google Analytics and click “Admin” at the bottom left.

Step 2:  Click “Manage Brand Terms” on the right side under the Channel Settings.

Step 3: Add the Brand terms that represent your brand. 


Step 4: Review the brand terms you have added and then click “Save” on the bottom left.


Step 5: After clicking save a pop-up will be shown asking you if you would like to setup Channels. Click “Yes, set up now.”


Step 6: You’ll now see two new Channels. Click the edit Pencil Icon on the “Generic Paid Search” Channel. You will want to rename this back to “Paid Search.”


Step 7: Rename the Channel to “Paid Search.” Also add in the second rule below in the second red box. You will click “OR” and then select “(unknown)” as the Query Type. This sets up a back up in case Google is not able to determine if the search term that is searched is Generic or Branded. (This step is optional and up to your preference.)


Step 8: Click “Save” at the bottom.


The Results! The exciting part – you will now have in Google Analytics a (Generic) Paid Search and Branded Paid Search Channels. As you can tell all of the metrics for the branded paid search are much better than the Generic Paid Search – just like it should be. For this builder, they have quite a few brand searches compared to generic.


What do to next?

Ideally the steps of creating the Branded Paid Search Channel just provides a clearer picture of how your Google Ads are running. However, if you are in a position where you now have found that a large percentage of your Google Ads are actually for Branded Search Terms or the success from your campaigns is coming from Branded Search Terms below are some steps you can take to get you in the right direction.

  1. Add negative keywords for your Brand to your campaigns.
  2. Remove, separate or re-organize your campaigns to make sure your Generic Keywords are in Campaigns or Ad Groups with only Generic Keywords.
  3. If you are working with a vendor – express your concern and show them the data. Help them understand your goal. Your goal is to make sure your data is clean and your campaigns do not have mixed generic keywords and branded keywords in the same Ad Group.
  4. Reach out to us for any questions – your question might make the podcast.🙂


Related Content:

Ep 124: Google Ad Changes, House Updates, and Kevin the Plumber

Google Keyword Changes Coming Soon

How Google’s New Ad Policy Impacts Home Builders

5 Mistakes Builders Make with Google Ads

Home Builder’s Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics Setup [VIDEO]




The post Your Google Ads Data Might Be Lying to You appeared first on Online Sales and Marketing for Home Builders - DYC.

Andrew Peek
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