John Jago

Day 10: Be careful with Google Ads

A couple days ago, something strange happened. I was looking at the website analytics for Dashify, and exactly around the time I was looking, it randomly spiked.

Screenshot of the website analytics graph for showing a spike at a single point in time.

Something wasn’t right.

I knew it was traffic from Google Ads because the most common referrer (where the visitor came from) was a domain related to Google Ads, but there were also a couple I hadn’t seen before.

Screenshot of the analytics dashboard where it shows referring domains for

Sure enough, the graph in Google Ads also had a spike, and just like that $10 flew out of my wallet. I have a budget set so it won’t go too far over, but such a spike isn’t real traffic unless Google decided to show my ad to thousands of people all of a sudden, which is unlikely. The annoying part is that it used up my budget for what could have been real clicks.

Screenshot of the spike in the Google Ads graph for clicks and impressions.

I limited the regions for the ad to the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, since the ad and Dashify itself are entirely in English, and the spike of clicks suddenly stopped.

Lesson learned: if you’re using Google Ads, start small in scope and be sure to have your preferred budget set in the settings.

👋 This is my work journal, a series where I write daily about trying to make a living building a bootstrapped software product.