Is Your AdWords Account Living A Lie?

by Stirling Ruuth October 27, 2015

One of my favorite shows of all time is Suits. If you have never seen the show before, let me break it down for you.

Mike, one of the “heroes,” lies that he is a Harvard Law School graduate to get out of a sticky situation. The law firm Harvey works for only hires Harvard grads and he is looking to find someone savvy and as slick as him to hire.


As the show progresses, Mike proceeds to build lie upon lie and commit fraud as much as necessary to keep up the masquerade. Harvey finds out the truth, but he also contributes to the lies and fraud in order to maintain his own reputation and get the most performance out of Mike as possible.

What does this have to do with AdWords? You might think that your account is qualified for your advertising dollars, but it’s possible that you’re being fooled. I’ve put together this guide to help you identify if your AdWords account is living a lie.

4 Steps to seeing if your account is living a lie:

Search Term Report:

Review the terms that show up in your search term report. Do the search terms appropriately reflect the keywords you are bidding on? Do they match closely with the match types you are utilizing?

This tool is one of the most underutilized tools Google has to offer. It serves a dual purpose. It gives you negative keywords to add so you don’t show up in irrelevant searches. It also gives you new keywords you may have not have considered.

You’ll be able to establish which searches you like, and which ones you’d rather avoid.


Are you losing money on the wrong keywords? If your search term report and keywords don’t match closely up, make the necessary changes. Doing this regularly will refine your account and help you use your advertising budget. Stop living the lie!

Not sure how to run a search term report? Here’s an easy to follow video from AdWords.

User Location Report:

Are your ads showing up in Madagascar, but you’re looking for customers in Green Bay, Wisconsin? By checking the Dimensions tab and User Location drop down, you will find all the locations your ads are showing up in.

Are there cities, states, and countries showing up, that you don’t want to target? Are you losing money or cannibalizing your own clickthrough rates by showing up in these countries? If yes, make the necessary location targeting changes and stop living the lie!

Sort by Cost

Use the sorting option and apply a filter to keywords, ad groups and campaigns that have generated a significant cost but no conversions. I use the term  “significant” loosely. You must first determine your tolerable cost per conversion and make sure you have enough date range data to justify turning anything off.

You will be shocked and surprised to see how many clicks and costs your keywords have generated without generating a single conversion. If you find that the cost of that keyword is costing significantly with little payback, make the appropriate changes and stop living the lie!

Ad Copy:

Now before I go too deep into writing ad copy, I have to disclose, **SPOILER ALERT** Mike takes advantage of the opportunity to leave the law firm to become an investment banker, but his lie still is looming over his head. **END OF SPOILER ALERT**

When you write ads, don’t lie or make false claims about your product or service. If you do, you will soon face the consequences of AdWords rejecting your ads and potentially blacklisting you in the future.

Your ads should be clear, concise and leave no question in the potential visitor’s mind about who your company is, what you do, and why they should buy from you.

It is absolutely critical that you include a call to action. Best practices dictate that you should have a call to action in description line 2, however, Disruptive’s best practice is “there are no best practices when writing ads.”

Test everything. Test characters, and test calls to action anywhere and everywhere you can. Maximize your ad real estate with all the applicable ad extensions and character limits.

When you aren’t optimizing, your account is only putting money in Google’s pockets rather than your own. They’ll love you, but your relationship can be mutual!


If you find yourself in the situation where your account has been brutalized and neglected by previous agencies, or yourself, do not be discouraged. Help is available for these types of crisis. Get the help you need, and stop living the lie!

Bonus 5th step:

Vanity Metrics:

The point of any advertising should be to achieve a profitable ROI. PPC is great for computing, because you have data to go off of. You can figure out how much money you will make in return for every dollar spent. Combined with your analytics, you can have the ultimate pulse on your advertising dollars spent and activity gained.

While this is one of the most important activities you can perform and have done, it can also be one of the most time consuming. Tying all systems together can be daunting and seem impossible, but the effort put in to knowing your true ROI is well worth your time.


When we start figuring out the ROI equation, we can sometimes get caught up in a few popular metrics that sometimes do not paint a true ROI picture. Performance based marketers focus on the real numbers.

For example: If you sold a $10 product, would you rather receive 10 sales at a $2 cost per sale for a total profit of $80, or get 100 sales at a $5 cost per sale for a total profit of $500?  It might be just me, but $500 feels much better in the pocket than $80.

I realize that this isn’t always the perfect situation and getting more volume can be difficult, but the main takeaway should be to avoid focusing on cost per sale. If you can make more money with a slightly higher cost, it’s worth it.

In Conclusion…

Your account might be eating up your money, but is it really qualified to do its job? Sign up for one of our PPC Proposals, and we’ll help you realize where you might be leaking money.

  • AdWords

  • PPC

Stirling Ruuth

Stirling Ruuth

Stirling is an account strategist team lead at Disruptive Advertising. When he's not catching the latest episode of Duck Dynasty, you can find him chopping wood, smoking meats, and growing beards.

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