3 Embarrassing PPC Text Ad Mistakes—And How to Prevent Them

We’ve all been there. You’re doing some testing and you come across an error in your live PPC text ad. Maybe it has a typo. Maybe one of the ad extensions is out of date. Or maybe the extensions don’t fit with the headline and body.


Fortunately, you can take steps to minimize the chance of these embarrassing errors occurring. And thank goodness! Because few other aspects of your business are as visible to the world as text ads.

PPC text ad mistake

In this post, I’ll review three of the most embarrassing (and maybe most common) PPC text ad mistakes, and what you and your marketing team can do to prevent them.

Mistake #1: Typos and Spelling Errors

If you spend any time conducting Google searches, you’re sure to come across typos and spelling errors in text ads occasionally. While we won’t claim to be 100 percent error free at Group Twenty Seven, we have put a number of controls in place.

For starters, we build all our ad messaging in client roadmaps, which are essentially Google or Excel spreadsheets that we share with clients. Both types of spreadsheets have spell check functions. And while spell check isn’t foolproof, it’s a good place to start.

In addition, as part of our ad creation process, we always have several people looking at the ads. We never have the same team member write, review and approve an ad.

Instead, one of our associates crafts the ad. The team lead reviews and edits if necessary. Then, we review the ad with the client for approvals. This means at least three sets of eyes and three opportunities to catch errors.

Mistake #2: Failure to Update or Discontinue Promotions

Some of our clients run special promotions all the time. They run weekend promos, seasonal promos and holiday promos. They have promos for new product lines, discontinued product lines and existing product lines. If you can name it, they can think up a promotion for it.

Keeping track of these promos is no joke. If you’re not on top of things, a random search may turn up a rogue Black Friday promotion in April. Yikes!

Fortunately, we don’t have to manually keep track of these things. Instead, we take advantage of the tools that AdWords gives us.

We’ll usually promote these promotions via ad extensions. And AdWords allows us to set start and end dates for extensions, and this is what we use (or at least the end date component) to make sure that all promotions are current.

Here’s an example:

scheduling callouts for a PPC text ad

As you can see, we’ve assigned an end date for this callout extension, which corresponds with the end date of the promotion. So when the promotion ends, so will this extension.

Mistake #3: Forgetting to Consider the Whole Ad Package

When you’re adding or updating text ad elements, it’s all too easy to forget to step back and consider the whole ad “package,” i.e. not just the headline and body but also the extensions.

As a result, you can end up with a disconnect between the ad and its extensions.

Here’s an example:

ad extension disconnect for a PPC text ad

This ad looks fine initially, but think about it for a moment. If you’re searching “B.A. in Communications,” how likely are you to be interested in the other majors featured in the extensions? This is a waste of space and a lost opportunity.

There are two things you can do to avoid this kind of mistake.

1. Avoid setting extensions at the account level. Unless an account is very small, it’s not likely that a single extension strategy will apply across an entire account.

Therefore, it makes sense to set extensions at the campaign or ad group level. And this can help alleviate misalignments between ads and extensions.

2. Recognize how most of these errors occur. In my experience, disconnects such as these often occur when copying an existing campaign to make a new campaign.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t copy campaigns. After all, copying an existing campaign—and all its settings—can save you tons of time when compared to building a campaign from scratch.

But it does mean that you need to be aware that errors can result if you’re not careful. Therefore, whenever you copy a campaign, make sure part of your process is to carefully check extensions and make sure the entire ad package still makes sense.

What Tops Your List of Embarrassing PPC Text Ad Errors?

What text ad errors would you include in this list? And what do you do to prevent them?