google ads for tourism

6 Common Problems with Google Ads (And How to Solve Them!)

Tell us if this sounds like you: you spent hours building your Google Ads campaign, replete with carefully chosen keywords, clever headlines, and decked out with your finest automated extensions. 

You went live. And after getting through “the learning stage,” things are smooth sailing! “Managing Google Ads isn’t so bad after all,” you think as you kick back in your chair and sip a celebratory margarita. 

Then the issues started to reveal themselves. Cost per conversion creeping up here, slipping impression numbers there. 

Unfortunately, this is all too common. Google bots are constantly evaluating the user experience of ads and landing pages, and your competition is very actively trying to outrank you. So campaigns can go awry fast if you’re not at the helm, ready to correct course. 

Don’t allow your ads to run amok through the internet. If any of these common mistakes sound familiar, take a look at our recommendations, and regain control. You can right this ship!


tourism cruise marketing


1.  You get calls, but not the right kind. 

You’ve gotten way more calls than usual, but they’re not from customers who are ready to buy. Maybe you’re getting general information queries about your service, or calls from people who are looking for something else entirely. Either way, your customer service team is spending their valuable time answering basic questions for people who never make it through the door.   

If this started happening after you launched your Google Ads campaign, you might want to check the keywords you’re bidding on. The trick is to fine tune the you-know-what out of them to move from general thought to the ones with best user intent. Make the most of your ad budget, and bid on keywords that show purchase value: like “historic group tours near me” instead of “tour guide.” 

To spot the duds, go to Keywords and then click Search Terms. Scroll through the list, and when you see any suspicious search terms you’d rather not spend money on, check the Keyword column. You may want to remove that keyword from your campaign entirely. To do that, just hit the check box next to it and click “add as a negative keyword.”


2. You get tons of clicks but not many conversions.

If you’re getting plenty of clicks from the right keywords but few leads, you should focus on your landing page experience. (Can we please shout this from the mountain tops?!)

Check all your landing pages on desktop and mobile, and go through the path to purchase. Is it obvious where you need to go to make reservations or learn more? Are your pages loading quickly? A minor change, like a new color or call to action, could be all you need. Or maybe it’s time to update the whole look and feel of your site. (We’re looking at you, Geocities). 

Regardless, improving your landing page will help you pay less for Google Ad conversions. The slightest frustration could turn off potential customers – especially if they’re already hurrying from their hotel to the next attraction, and looking for an easy “Book Now” on their phone whilst trotting along a busy sidewalk. 


google ads for tourism


3. Your ads are popping up for unrelated search queries. 

If you run a corn maze but you’re fielding inquiries about corn dogs, it’s time to tighten up your keyword match types. 

Optimally, most of your keywords should be phrase match or exact match, but unfortunately Google despises letting super narrow match types produce right out of the gate. (Ugh, hello “min bids.”) So here’s what you do: Go broad match modifier from the get-go and lasso back those terms from possible insanity. Adding that little plus sign before each word/phrase means that you won’t be showing up for “worst tour ever” when you really bid on the term “tour.” After a while, look at the data and start shifting your way towards phrase and exact matches if it makes sense.

And you don’t have to worry about adding every slight keyword variation you can think of. Google recently rolled out an update that made Phrase Match keywords pull in more variations than they did previously. Phrases that vary by a word or two but mean the same thing will be treated as the same keyword.   


4. Your CPC has gone up.

If Google doesn’t particularly like your landing page, you’ll end up paying more to get clicks for the same keyword. Over time, if users frequently bounce off your page or you don’t have any relevant keywords on the page, Google will make it harder for your ad to rank. 

So check your quality score. If it’s below 6, then you’ve probably got one of two issues:

  • Your user experience on your landing page is sub par.
  • Your landing page doesn’t match what’s advertised in your ad. 

Spend time fixing this. Seriously. Landing pages are as important as the ads themselves, if not more so.


5. You’re getting very few impressions.

You know those ads that show up on page 2 of search results? No? Yeah, we forget about those too. Almost no one clicks to the second page because they’ve already found what they need on page 1. 

The problem is that you might not have a high enough budget to get your ads above the fold on page 1 for your most important keywords. So those ads you spent so much time building are sinking down to the bottom of the page, or worse – the dreaded page 2. 

If you’re not ready to increase your budget yet, try pausing a couple of ad groups and focusing your budget on just a select number of keywords. You can also do some low-level competitor spying by going to Ad Groups and then  Auction Insights to see how frequently you’re making it to the top of the heap. 

Pro Tip: Make sure that one super popular, super non producing keyword isn’t sucking up all of your budget.


ppc for tourism


6. You’re not responding to leads fast enough.

Okay, your ads are doing what they’re supposed to! Congrats on all those conversions. 

But perhaps you’re finding that by the time you call those customers back, they’ve already moved on to a competitor. Massive bummer. 

Tighten your display times in Ad Schedule so your ads only appear during business hours. This will make it easier on you, since you’ll only be paying for calls that come in when someone is there to answer the phone. But it also means your customers get a faster response time, and better experience overall. This is a huge one for tourism particularly, and speaks for attractions and tours in their “in market” geo target ads.


Google ads can transform your business, but they do need some supervision. And they’re most effective when your SEO, social media, and ad campaigns all reinforce each other with the same messaging.

Make sure to drop us a line if you need a hand getting all of your digital marketing campaigns to work together!