Nobody is Converting on Your AdWords Ads. Here’s Why and How To Fix It Today

Google AdWords conversion rate keeps you awake at night? You’re not alone!

The average conversion rate on the AdWords search network is just below 4%How about for the display network? It’s less than 1%.

Even if you’re a master copywriter, it’s not going to guarantee you sales.

If nobody is converting on your AdWords ads, it’s likely due to a combination of key factors.

There probably isn’t a simple “quick fix” or “growth hack” that you can implement to suddenly see results.

But there’s something you can do. Right now.

Even with direct keyword targeting, advanced custom audience options, and tons of additional features, driving sales with AdWords is tough.

In this article, you’ll learn why people aren’t converting on your Google ads and the best ways to improve your AdWords conversion rate by not doing what you’re probably doing now!

How You Are Killing Your Google AdWords Conversion Rate

To avoid wasting your time and money on AdWords, first you have to make sure you are avoiding these key mistakes:

  1. You Aren’t Addressing Searcher Intent Properly
  2. Your Ad Extensions Aren’t Tailored to Each Ad
  3. Your Ad Groups Are a Nightmare
  4. You Lack Message Match on Your Landing Pages

Can you see the trap your ads might have fallen into? Just click and go to that section, then!

Are you not sure yet? Just keep on reading to learn how to fix your Google AdWords conversion rate ASAP.

#1 – You Aren’t Addressing Searcher Intent Properly

One great thing about AdWords is Intent, right?On platforms like Facebook or Twitter, people aren’t there to find products or solutions to pain points. At least not 99% of the time.

They are there for social and entertainment reasons.

To interact with family, friends and the latest outrageous news causing national uproars.

But, with AdWords, people are literally searching for products and services on Google.

Meaning you have a chance to capture bottom-of-the-funnel traffic that is already inches away from converting. And you can do it without building brand awareness or remarketing them multiple times before they make a buying decision.

But beyond general intent, you need to look at keyword-level intent, too. Just because AdWords is more intent-focused overall, that doesn’t mean that every keyword in existence is now going to drive amazing sales.

If people aren’t converting, you likely aren’t matching their individualized searcher intents.

For example, take a look at this search result for CRM ads based on my keyword search:

What do you notice in these first two ads?

Both of them are from great CRM companies. They both have solid headlines and great ad extensions. But look deeper at the context of each ad.

Simply put, they’re both promoting their own CRM tool with great features, benefits, and value propositions.

It seems great, right? It’s even logical: why wouldn’t they promote their CRM as the best?

But not so fast.

Think about the keyword I searched.

What do you think my goal is with that search?

Is it to see ads from CRM companies claiming to be the “best CRM?”

Not even close.

When someone searches for “best” ___, it’s an indication that they are in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey.

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They’re asking, “What are my options for relieving or curing my symptoms?”

The consideration stage is full of comparisons. It’s where sites like Consumer Reports make their living.

Search again for “best” + any product category, and you’ll see what I mean.

How can you be sure? Just scroll down and look at the organic listing for that search:

Comparisons galore!

These top results reflect the most accurate content and solutions for intent.

And bidding on them with PPC ads that fail to match that intent is a surefire way to get almost zero clicks and ensure that the clicks you do get don’t stick around to buy.

They simply aren’t ready, and you can’t force conversions on AdWords. Just because the platform is intent-heavy, that doesn’t mean that the keyword will drive instant sales.

Now, take a look at the third and fourth ads for my “best CRM” search:

Ahhh. Now we’re talking!

I’d be willing to bet that these ads get the majority of ad-based clicks and conversions even though they’re the third and fourth ones on the list.

They perfectly match intent and use PPC to generate a funnel instead of only attacking bottom-of-the-funnel searches or using misguided intent.

And since they’re the first ads that match the searcher intent, their lower position just means that they’re bidding and paying less per click.

Before targeting keywords for the sake of targeting keywords, stop to analyze what each keyword attempts to accomplish.

The fact of the matter is that intent goes way beyond the platform or ad type. It goes as deep as the keyword level and failing to optimize for it is a surefire way to not generate sales.

#2 – Your Ad Extensions Aren’t Tailored to Each Ad

Ad extensions are a fantastic way to improve conversion rates and click-through rates on AdWords.

Even Google has shown that sitelink extensions will increase your CTR by 10-20% on average. Call extensions increase conversions by 10%, too.

Simply put: ad extensions work.

But just because they work on average, that doesn’t mean that slapping them onto your ad instantly boosts your sales.

Trust me – I wish that’s how it worked.

You can’t just add random ad extensions and hope to get an increase in conversions.

They have to be related to your ad.

They have to be significant.

And most importantly:

They have to add value and improve the user journey.

For example, if you aren’t targeting local audiences, don’t add your business address. That would likely negatively impact conversions.

Be strategic with your ad extensions, using them only when they enhance your ads.

For instance, SEMRush uses ad extensions perfectly to enhance their value proposition:

Advertising their SEO tools, they take advantage of sitelink extensions to their various tools, giving users a faster way to find their specific interests from a broad keyword search.

This improves the user journey with less time, fewer clicks, and less frustration.

You can see another great example when searching for social media marketing tools:

When customers are about to pay for something, they want to look at a few key things. And that almost always includes reviews.

In fact, BrightLocal found that 85% of users trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

To stand out from the competition on this keyword, BirdEye uses legitimate review extensions to provide social proof and increase conversions.

They don’t use many ad extensions, but they work because they aid the user process.

Instead of throwing on phone numbers and addresses because they increase conversions, BirdEye only used extensions that were tailored to the individual ad and their goals.

Next time you use ad extensions, think about which ones will directly (positively) impact your campaigns. Don’t use them just for the sake of having them.

3 – Your Ad Groups Are a Nightmare

Searcher intent: check.

Ad extensions: check.

Now what?

Well, not that we have those two significant factors under control, it’s time to tackle the next two culprits of low AdWords conversions.

First, let’s jump into your ad groups and, therefore, subsequent ads.

The nature of AdWords and Google searches, in general, is specificity.

It’s why the quality score exists: to ensure that users get exactly what they search for.

If someone is searching for a long-tail, specific phrase like “black and red iPhone 10 case,” they want to see precisely that. They don’t want an entire page of cases. They want black and red ones.

And therein lies the problem. Most ad groups aren’t structured to create specific enough ads like that.

But it’s not your fault.

When starting on Google AdWords, they prompt you to add 10-20 keywords to a single ad group.

But that only results in ads that can’t possibly target every keyword with enough specificity.

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Basic ads will have you struggling to bring in sales. You force searchers to do all of the work on your site by searching different sections just to find their original query.

But that’s no way to treat customers who might pay you.

You have to give them exactly what they ask for.

Less specificity leads to decreased relevance scores, CTRs, and increases in your cost per click.

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Data shows that a simple one-point increase in quality scores can result in a 16% decrease in cost per conversion.

The more finely tuned your ad groups are, the better.

And the best way to do that is by using single keyword ad groups. They can improve your quality score and increase CTR fast.

So, what are single keyword ad groups?

They’re ad groups that target a single keyword instead of 10+.

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By fixing your ad groups and using single keywords, you can now create ads that revolve directly around that keyword with a corresponding landing page.

For instance, “men’s blue socks” can now be an entirely new landing page with blue sock variations for men only.

You can repeat the process for other popular keywords that you target to refine your offering only to the searcher’s request.

So, what’s next?

Landing pages that match your ad group specificity.

4 – You Lack Message Match on Your Landing Pages

Now that you’ve nailed down ad groups and can start targeting customers with more accurate ads, it’s time to do the same for landing pages.

Landing pages make up a large portion of the quality score. And if your quality scores are low, you can expect fewer and more expensive conversions.

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One of the biggest reasons for not converting is your landing page.

No matter how amazing your ad copy, keyword targeting, and SKAGs are, you can’t convert a visitor with a terrible landing page.

It just won’t happen.

Directing people to your homepage isn’t going to work.

And directing them to a simple pricing page probably won’t, either.

You need dedicated landing pages that tap into specific keywords.

Why? Message match.

Message match has the power to increase conversions by 200+%.

So, what exactly is it?

It’s not simply creating a landing page that keyword stuffs or matches your ad perfectly.

Instead, it’s about creating the experience that people expect when they click on your ad.

Message match should be the perfect alignment of all variables in your ads:

Intent, keyword, expectation, etc.

Let me give you a bad example first. Here’s an ad from Samsung Galaxy:

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Now look at the landing page:

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What do you notice?

Yes, the colors are the same. That’s a good start. It “feels” like the ad by showing two tablets.

But dig deeper. Look at the messaging. What do you notice?

The value propositions shifted. The ad displayed text and value as a Father’s Day gift. But now, the landing page claims it’s a family solution.

The user likely clicked on the ad to figure out more information on the product and why it’s perfect for a gift.

Instead, they got an entirely different experience.

Now, let’s look at a great example of message match from Moz. Here’s the ad:

And here’s the subsequent landing page:

They match everything from the look to the feel, including the CTA button on the landing page matching the value proposition on the original ad: 30-Day Free Trial.

Message match is only possible when you have all of the factors we discussed in this post so far.

Intent has to be on point. If you show your own CRM product for a “best CRM” search, the message match is off due to missing customer expectations.

If you don’t have relevant ad extensions, users will click on different links that differ from your ad copy and their expectations.

If your ad groups are too generic, you’ll lack specificity.

Landing pages will help you tie back all of these factors to ensure that you are driving as many conversions as you can.


Conversion rates for typical AdWords campaigns aren’t anything to brag about.

Less than 4% for the search network and less than 1% for display campaigns.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Instead of looking for a quick fix or new hack, try revamping critical sections of your campaign.

Start by addressing the most fundamental concept: keyword intent. Are you targeting keywords that match your offer?

Next, clean up your ad groups to get more specific and raise your quality scores.

Ensure that landing pages are specific to each ad group to maximize your impact. They must include message match to meet customer expectations.

Always use ad extensions to boost your CTR and increase conversions. But don’t just slap them on. Strategically utilize ones that fit each ad group and align with campaign goals.

Quick fixes can work, but they aren’t sustainable. Focus on the basics and create a sound experience for users from search to conversion and everything in between.