5 Reasons You’re Not Getting Qualified Leads From AdWords


Potential customers are searching for solutions to their problems every day and AdWords is the perfect way to get in front of them at the exact moment they're looking. They click your ad, show up on your site and convert into a lead for your sales team. Awesome right?

Actually, there are many companies where getting a new lead causes dread instead of excitement because the lead isn't qualified. "One more crappy phone call to make" goes through the mind of the salesperson.

Today I'll explain 5 reasons your AdWords may be delivering unqualified leads AND I'll explain what steps you can take to improve your lead quality. Let's get to it.

1. Poor Keyword Matching

If you're getting unqualified leads, your keywords are the first place to look. And not just the keywords, but the match types. The most common offender will be broad match keywords. This keyword type gives Google great latitude in determining what queries are "relevant".

You bid on red shoes? Broad match could have your ad on a search for ruby slippers, and it makes senses. Ruby is also a shade of red and slippers go on your feet like shoes. Easy to see how an algorithm would do that. But as the advertiser you know that red Jordan XV basketball shoes are not what someone wants when they search for ruby slippers.

What you want to do is look in your search term report. Go to the Keywords tab of a campaign or ad group and look for the "Details" drop down like this:


You can see exactly what someone searched before clicking your ad. It might be frustrating to see that someone clicked your ad when you obviously aren't a good solution, but it's downright befuddling when they convert too. Just tick the box next to those terms that aren't relevant and add them as negative keywords. This will go a long way toward cleaning up your poor keyword matching.

2. Showing Ads At The Wrong Time(s)

Think about your potential customer. When are they most likely searching for your product/service? If you're a B2B company, it's probably while they're at work. If you're a service provider like a plumber, it could be any time of day for a plumbing emergency, but most likely it's when they first wake up or when they get home from work and discover the emergency.

While AdWords has reports in the Dimensions tab that can show you performance by time of day or day of week, we want to get closer to the source. The place to look is your CRM or database.

Each lead should have a timestamp of when it came in. It should also have a score or some type of reporting on status or quality of the lead. Break out your inner data nerd and start doing some analysis on when your best leads come in. Look at when those unqualified leads are coming in. Do you see trends?

Once you spot a trend AdWords has the ability to schedule your ads. You set the days of the week that your ad shows and you can set the hours of each day. You can even modify bids so that you're paying less during certain hours or more during your best hours. I could right an entire post about it, but it's already written here by my friend Matt Umbro

3. Bad Geotargeting

This is the same logic as the timing of ads above, but instead of "when" we want to look at "where" the lead came from. Again, the best place to look is your CRM or database because it contains the information about the quality of lead. You can see which leads close at a higher percentage or for a higher dollar amount. Look for trends again and then proceed to add bid modifiers or exclude certain geographies to improve your lead quality.

4. Misleading Ads

First off, keep in mind that most advertisers are not purposely misleading. However, many advertisers are inadvertently misleading because they don't put themselves in the customers' shoes. Consider this example of a search for "small business tax help":


Notice that ad #1 and #3 aren't even tax related? But their ad headlines of "Small Business Support" and "Small Business Resources" are so generic that people might click anyway. These are from Brother USA and UPS, both huge companies.

I point out #2 simply for humor. Their ad proudly touts their A+ rating with the BBB, but including the 866-IRS-LAW1 phone number in the ad copy is actually a violation of Google's policy. Kind of ironic that they want someone to trust them while they break the rules.

Then we have #4 where the headline doesn't even make sense. So out of the 9 visible ads here we only get 5 that are relevant and have "good" ad copy.

You need to think of your chain of relevancy. Put the keyword next to the ad copy and the landing page. Do they line up on intent? Is the thought process of a potential lead interrupted or jostled in any way? You want a smooth flow. The keywords matches the ad copy. The ad copy promises a solution and then your landing page delivers.

5. Disappointing Landing Pages

Which brings us to our last point. If your ad makes a promise, your landing page better deliver on that promise. Your ad says you have a $59 hotel by Disneyland? The landing page should show me a hotel near Disneyland with a $59 rate (here is the full rant on that).

This also applies to the delivery of your promise because you haven't fully delivered on your promise until you actually DO what you said you would do. If your landing page promised a free whitepaper, you had better get them their whitepaper. You promised a free consultation? You had better call them at no charge and provide enough value to justify it being called a consultation.

The problem may not be that the lead is unqualified, it may be that they're disappointed and taking out their disappointment on you.


In summary, there are lots of ways you could be causing your own lead quality issues. But the good news is that you have the ability to fix it. You can use better keyword match types and more negative keywords. You can target better times of day, days of week and geographies. You can write better ad copy, create better landing pages and deliver a better experience to your leads. These are all in your control so take the reins and make things better!

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* Title images adapted from avlxyz, tuis, quinn.anyaqualified-leadsseriously-qualified-lead

Posted in PPC

About the Author: Robert Brady

Robert Brady is the head PPC wizard at Righteous Marketing, a Google AdWords Certified Partner and Microsoft adExcellence Member. He manages PPC accounts for both small and large businesses and offers a PPC training program for the DIYer.

Righteous Marketing

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