When Automated PPC Goes Horribly Wrong

Advertising on Google Search is something that always requires you to keep a few key things in mind. Case in point: While AdWords advertising is making significant technological advances, particularly for the amount of time you’re saving through automation, there’s still something that human management of your PPC keywords offers that the world’s most advanced systems cannot compete with.



Poor automated management may be able to deliver decent results, but it’s also going to create a large amount of waste at the same time. Waste not only in terms of putting ads into the world that aren’t living up to their full potential but also in terms of your company spending money that it doesn’t need to.

AdWords mistakes are not to be trifled with. Even the smallest AdWords errors can end up costing your business a lot of money. Read on to find out why.


Simply put, when account management is left to fester and an organization begins to rely too much on an AdWords automation software solution, this is where people start to run into trouble. Consider the following examples of poor PPC automation management:

Poor Use of Match Types

When used properly, match types are one of the best ways to increase profits AND raise awareness in one fell swoop. However, this requires a bit of finesse – which is something you will NOT get when automating the entire process.

  • Broad Match, Modified Broad Match, Phrase Match and Exact Match all require adjustments to see what’s working and what isn’t.
  • An automated bidding system might bid higher than you wanted or needed to, negating their benefits in an instant.

Poor Use of Negative Keywords

Poor use of negatives or a lack of negatives. Keep in mind that you can exclude certain keywords that just aren’t the best match for the product or service you’re trying to advertise. Not having negatives wastes a lot of time getting your ad to appear in front of people who truly have no interest in it in the first place.

Excessive Bidding

This is something that can happen in an unfortunate, number of ways, from excessive bids on broad match keywords or automated bids on the wrong SEM keywords that end up lowering your ROI almost immediately. This is an issue an automated AdWords management tool will not be able to fix.


Evolve recently helped a client identify millions of dollars in waste, because of poor use of broad match.

AdWords “broad Match” serves your ad when your selected keyword matches the phrase entered by a searcher along with synonyms, misspellings, related searches and variations.

For example, let’s say our keyword is  “Winter Sports Gear” if a searcher typed the phrase ‘Buy Winter Sports Equipment’ our ad would be served.

In our client’s case, their ads were served for completely unrelated phrases that should have been used on a negative keyword list.

Instead, their automated service used their brand name as a Broad Match and Modified Broad Match keyword causing massive waste.

Since the automatic PPC mechanism bid on their brand name with Broad match ads were served for queries like “Client Name Bank & Trust” “Client Name Hospital” “Client Name Disney” “Client Name Obituary” “Client Name Crossword Clues.”

Automated bids ranged between .6 cents to $9. In one month that poor automated PPC management totaled up to nearly $40,000.

Evolve determined this organization wasted about $150,000 a month on completely unqualified traffic.


Tools for automated PPC can be a great thing – provided that you approach it from the right angle. Your PPC automation will always need to be evaluated on a regular basis for effectiveness. Failure to do so could wind up costing your business big, in a way that you won’t even be able to recognize until it’s far too late.

To find out more about PPC automation problems or other AdWords issues directly from PPC experts, or to use our PPC AdWords Grader tool to unlock the full potential of your campaigns, please feel free to contact us today.

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