7 Easy Ways to Stop Wasting Money in Google AdWords
Chad Kearns Mar 10 2016
Unfortunately, many digital marketers have experienced it first hand or know of someone who has.
One way or another, we all know a story of advertisers losing money through pay-per-click marketing campaigns via Google AdWords.
Losing money on Google AdWords is much easier than you might think. With all of the intricate campaign-level settings, setup required, keyword research, ad copywriting, keyword bidding, and competition that goes into running a PPC account, it can be easy for advertisers to misstep. Even more so, capabilities and trends within Google AdWords change so quickly, tactics that worked two months ago may be outdated today.
If you’re currently running a set of Google AdWords campaigns and aren’t happy with the return you’re seeing, discover these seven tactics to stop wasting your pay-per-click marketing budget.
1. Test and tweak keyword match types
When adding new keywords in your campaign ad groups, broad match is the default match type your keywords will hold. Broad match set keywords will typically bring in more impressions over phrase or exact match. Implementing broad match keywords can be a great way to grow traffic levels from your AdWords account and can also help advertisers discover new keywords through running a search query report.
However, as the least specific keyword match type, broad match keywords can drive a high percentage of impressions and clicks from unqualified searchers not actually looking for what your business offers. That said, you can end up spending your budget on unqualified visitors who won’t end up becoming customers.
Testing your keyword match type options and use a variety of modified broad, phrase, and exact match keywords within your active ad groups in an effort to find the winning combination when looking at keywords and match types.
The chart below helps illustrate this impression/relevance balance as you move from match type to match type.
2. Find long-tail keywords for your campaigns
Long-tail keywords are labeled as keyword phrases utilizing three or more words. Due to the specificity of long-tail keywords, they tend to be searched for less often. That means smaller opportunities for ad placements and clicks. However, there is usually less competition on long tail search terms.
In addition to less competition, using long-tail keywords to describe a specific offering can help in creating a more relevant ad- doing so could improve your Quality Score as well.
Let’s look at an example.
An advertiser is selling used red shovels.
Having a broad match keyword like ‘shovel’ in your ad group will likely accumulate a high number of people looking for shovels that are not used or red. Without a deep negative keyword list, search queries like ‘expensive shovels’ and ‘new green shovels’ could all trigger your ad. If those searchers click your ad, it’s unlikely they’ll buy one of your used red shovels.
By using a combination of match types and long-tail keywords, you can set up an AdWords campaign so your ad only shows when somebody is specifically looking for a used red shovel. Doing so effectively will help drive conversion rates in your campaigns.
3. Research and add negative keywords
Researching and implementing a powerful negative keyword list can be one of the quickest ways to save your spending budget.
For example, if the product or service you are advertising is not free, make sure that you eliminate ads from showing to people who are looking for a free option.
Implementing negative keywords can be one of the most effective ways to negate wasted as spend.
4. Create custom ad schedules
Creating a custom ad schedule on a campaign by campaign basis can be an extremely effective way to minimize spending when visitors are clicking but not converting on your website. With custom ad scheduling, advertisers can choose to turn off or make bid adjustments to decrease spending over the course of a week.
Effectively spending less during those off-peak hours (or when your store is closed) is a great way to save your budget.
Custom ad schedules can also be used to increase spending during peak hours. So take that money you saved from the poor converting times and use it to further boost your ads when you convert best.
5. Adjust mobile bid modifiers
Done at the campaign level, searchers using desktop computers or laptop, tablets, and mobile devices are all targeted together within a single campaign. However, it’s uncommon to see similar conversion rates across all three device types. Understanding how your visitors convert at the device level, it’s probable that mobile traffic from paid search converts at different rate and cost per acquisition level than PPC visitors searching on a desktop or laptop computer.
If mobile visitors convert at a poorer rate than someone on a laptop, decreasing the campaign mobile bids will help your account spend less on searchers using a mobile device.
6. Set highly relevant landing pages
Please don’t send every visitor clicking on your ads to the Homepage.
By looking into a user’s search intent at the keyword or ad copy level, direct visitors to a specific page on your website directly fulfilling the need they are searching for. The fewer clicks it takes to convert on your site, the higher your conversion rates will typically be.
Don’t have a specific page on-site that fulfills their search? It’s time to either create a new page or re-evaluate the keywords you are bidding on within your Google AdWords account.
7. Refine your geographic targeting
Depending on the location settings enabled at the campaign level, there are typically opportunities to narrow down your geographic targeting.
If you’re a nation-wide seller, it’s unlikely that every single state across the country is equal in terms of customers and customer value. By evaluating those low converting states and eliminating or decreasing spend in those areas, advertisers can save budget or spend those extra savings in geographic regions where your business is most popular.
On the other hand, if you’re a local retailer with a small customer base, ensure your ads are only set to show within the geographic regions you can actually service or ship to.
So there you have it. We’ve all been there before. We’ve all heard stories of advertisers losing money through Google AdWords or Bing Ads. If you find yourself heading down that slope, before you turn everything off and eliminate PPC as a marketing channel, implement a couple of these strategies to stop wasting money and begin to turn your PPC performance around.
Chad joined Portent's PPC team in 2012. He now leads Portent's Small Business Solutions program which offers PPC, SEO, and Analytics services for companies on a limited budget. Read More