It’s no secret that Google Ads is a complicated advertising platform that requires quite a bit of attention and can’t just be left alone to run by itself. It can be very easy to spend your marketing budget in the wrong places without even realizing it. It’s also possible that your PPC is unprofitable even though it is generating leads. There are many components of your account that affect how your budget is spent including account structure, keyword quality scores, ad copy, keyword match types, negative keyword blocking and targeting settings. Fortunately, you can eliminate wasted spend and increase ROI by analyzing these components regularly and following these 4 tips.

Quality Scores

Keyword quality score is one of the single most important metrics in your Google AdWords account as it directly affects your account performance. Google assigns quality scores at a keyword level based on ad copy and landing page relevance and click through rates (CTR). Make sure your ad copy and landing pages match the targeted keywords. This will increase the likelihood that searchers will click on your ads, thus Google will consider your targeted keywords to be highly relevant. Higher scores can boost ad rank, increase search impression share and lower cost per click compared to your competitors. If keyword CTR is low then this is an indicator that users are not finding the ad relevant to their query, and the ad or targeted keyword can be more specific to the ad group theme. Lower quality scores will require higher bids to keep your ads at a favorable position. To prevent wasted spend, review quality scores and determine if your ads or landing pages need to be tweaked for optimal user experience. For more information, check out our previous blog post on improving quality scores.

Match Types

Keyword match types control who Google can show your ads to. Generally, keywords set to broad match will capture a higher volume of impressions and clicks, but since broad match keywords can trigger a wide array of search queries, they tend to produce irrelevant clicks. For example, if you are a plumber and target the keyword plumber on a broad match type, you are likely to pull tons of irrelevant searches such as plumber jobs or people searching for more info about plumbers but not necessarily looking to book their services. The more restrictive your match types are the less impressions and clicks your keywords will generate, however there is a higher chance that you will capture more relevant searches that are more likely to produce conversions. Back to the plumber example, if you use exact match [plumber services], your ads will only appear during searches for people who are specifically looking for plumber services. So while you will see less impression and click volume, they will be coming from a much more relevant, qualified audience.

Negative Keywords

This is one of the easiest ways to cut down on wasted ad spend. Adding negative keywords will prevent your ads from appearing in unrelated searches. For this example, consider a HVAC specialist who only works on home HVAC systems. If they target the keyword “ac repair”, their ads might appear for someone searching for car ac repairs. Thus they would want to add “car” to a negative keyword list (NKW) so their ads will no longer show up during those searches. By eliminating irrelevant clicks, you can reduce your costs and spend your budget much more efficiently. We recommend reviewing all incoming search terms at least once a month to get a better idea of how people are searching and add any irrelevant keywords to your NKW list.

Campaign Targeting Settings

Settings within your campaigns such as location, device, and network targeting can all influence where you generate clicks and wasted spend from.

  • Location Targeting: If you find that your keywords are generating clicks from specific areas but are not generating conversions, you can exclude that area from your location targeting to avoid unprofitable clicks from that location.
  • Display Network Placements: Have you ever been browsing on a website or watching a video on youtube and accidentally clicked on an advertisement? This happens all the time which causes wasted spend on accidental clicks. We typically recommend removing youtube.com and mobile apps from display placements to avoid this.
  • Ad Schedule: Similar to location targeting, review whether there are specific days and times that are generating clicks but not conversions. You can adjust your ad schedule to only run during higher converting times and pause during lower performing days/times to conserve budget. You can also turn off ads outside of your normal hours of operation. This can be helpful if you are finding that people are clicking to call at off hours and abandoning the call without leaving a voicemail or requesting immediate assistance.

Eliminating wasted spend is a critical part of your PPC management efforts, as it affects your profitability and your bottom line. These techniques will help you avoid money pits and increase the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns.