How to Troubleshoot Google Ads and Improve Performance

We’ve all been there. Despite painstaking efforts and meticulous attention, a paid search campaign does not work quite as expected. Impressions and clicks are trending down, conversions are dwindling, you aren’t hitting your KPI targets. What to do?

Don’t worry. We’re happy to share tried-and-tested techniques to get your campaign back on the right path.

Best Practices to Diagnose and Correct Performance Issues

Troubleshooting an underperforming Google Ads campaign requires a combination of technical analysis, data-driven decision-making, and strategic optimizations. Below is a comprehensive list detailing the actions you can take to boost the results of your paid campaign.


  • Review Keywords: Identify and pause low-performing keywords or those with limited eligibility. Use Google’s Keyword Planner or other keyword research tools to find new relevant keywords with higher search volumes and lower competition.
  • Update Negative Keywords: Add negative keywords to exclude irrelevant search terms that might trigger ads. This can help improve overall campaign relevance and reduce wasted ad spend on poor quality clicks.
  • Focus on Quality Score: * Increase keyword Quality Score to positively impact ad rankings and lower costs. Enhance ad relevance, click-through rates, and landing page experience to boost your Quality Score.

*Higher Quality Scores often lead to lower costs per click and better ad positions.


  • Refresh Copywriting: Review and improve your ad text to make it more compelling, relevant, and appealing to your target audience. Ad copy that matches the intent behind a user’s search scores better with Google, and impacts Quality Score.
  • Optimize Landing Pages: Confirm your landing pages are mobile-friendly, fast-loading, and relevant to the ad’s message. A seamless user experience can lead to higher conversions and higher Quality Score.
  • Test Ad Assets: Experiment with different assets (formerly extensions) to determine which enhances your ad’s visibility and click-through rate. View asset details to see impressions and top combinations. These results can inform your callouts, sitelinks, and structured snippets, which can improve ad performance.


  • Switch to AI-Based Bid Strategies: Use bidding strategies like Target CPA and Target ROAS, which leverage machine learning to optimize bids for conversions and revenue.
  • Implement Smart Bidding: Consider using Smart Bidding strategies, such as Enhanced Cost-Per-Click (ECPC), or Target Impression Share, to let Google’s algorithms automatically adjust bids to achieve your desired goals.
  • Ad Schedule Optimization: Schedule ads at specific times when your target audience is most active and likely to convert. Refer to data from the Day & hour card in campaign Overview.


  • Location Optimization: Refine your geographic targeting by analyzing performance data. Use location bid adjustments to allocate more budget to high-performing regions and exclude areas with mediocre performance.
  • Adjust Audience Segmentation: Use advanced audience targeting options, such as in-market audiences, custom intent audiences, and customer match, to reach users who are more likely to convert.
  • Review Conversion Tracking and Attribution: Test conversions to verify the performance of your event tags and triggers. Use multi-channel attribution models to understand the contribution of each channel in the conversion path. Conversions are usually the best indicator of a paid advertising campaign’s success.

The Dreaded “Limited by budget” Status

This is one of my least favorite alerts from Google Ads! Although it does not prevent a campaign from running, it does indicate that ads aren’t showing as often as they could. To make sure that your budget lasts throughout the day, follow these guidelines:

  • Raise the daily budget. This will allow you to accommodate more traffic. Simple, huh? But only if increasing your budget is an option.
  • Reduce bids. * Your bids might be too high. Decrease max CPC bids for keywords, or lower bid adjustments based on day, time, devices etc., to get more impressions within your budget.
  • Shrink targeted locations. Maybe your geo targeting is too broad? Narrow the size of your locations to stretch your spend.
  • Refine ad copy. Make your ad messaging more focused to attract the desired audience. This will help discourage poor quality clicks that eat up your budget. See Quality Score.

*Note: Bid adjustments are all ignored by most automated bidding strategies, except for Manual CPC or Maximize clicks. Decreasing the campaign’s target CPA is an alternative. 

Optimize Your Google Ads Campaigns for Top Performance

It’s essential to continuously monitor your campaign’s performance and make data-driven optimizations based on the insights you gather. Keep in mind paid advertising evolves rapidly, so staying up to date with the latest methods is crucial for success

Would you like personalized guidance tailored to your specific campaign needs? Drop us a line; we’re happy to help!