Are you achieving the desired results from your PPC account? Maybe you’re spending more than you’re getting back from overall sales or generated leads? If that’s the case, read the below article in which I have outlined 9 effective ways how to eliminate wasted spend in your PPC accounts, starting today.

1. Make Sure Your Campaign Settings Are Right!

This point is first for a good reason – choosing the right campaign settings from the beginning is very important but also easy to miss. Make sure to always check all the settings before saving your new campaign. There are usually a few things I recommend checking:

  • Always disable the Display Network unless you have a very good reason not to.
    The default setting when creating a new Google Ads campaign is to display your ads on both the search and display network. That’s why it’s important to always remember to manually disable the Display Network on every campaign you’re creating. While the display network can help you increase visibility for your ads, it can blow your budget very quickly.
  • Check which people in your location you are targeting.
    Every campaign has advanced settings which allow you to target locations, but do you use the Locations tab to ensure you are targeting the right people in your chosen locations? The options Google gives you are:
  1. People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations
  2. People in or regularly in your targeted locations
  3. People searching for your targeted locations

Option 1 is the default “recommended” choice, however, we recommend choosing option 2 to minimise costs and focus only on users who actually live in the targeted location.

  • Make sure to choose the correct bidding strategy, as Google has started to select automated bidding strategies as a default.
  • Pay attention to which ad rotation option you are choosing. You can either let Google optimise for the best performing ads or you can choose to rotate ads indefinitely if you’re planning to split test certain elements of your ads.

2. Turn Off Broad Keywords

While using broad match keywords can be useful in certain strategies, they can also create a significant amount of waste. To be completely honest, I’ve never used them myself and that’s why I don’t recommend using them to anyone, even though they are a default option in Google Ads. Why are broad match keywords such money wasters you may ask…? Simply because they allow Google to show for any search term that Google determines as related to what you entered. This means that the search term you’ll receive may not even include any of the words in your targeted keywords. Trust me, just turn them off and use exact, phrase or broad match modified match type instead 🙂

3. Remove Non-Converting Keywords

A quick and efficient win to save money on Google Ads is to turn off all the keywords that are spending a significant amount of money but never convert. Just look at the last 60 or 90-day period and apply a filter for keywords that haven’t got any conversions within that time. Next, remove those from your account to cut down some of that spend that isn’t producing any conversion actions. If however, you think that this keyword is highly relevant to your product or service, look at the ways to optimise it whether it’s through writing more specific ad copy or sending the user to the more relevant landing pages.

4. Ensure You Tracking Everything Correctly

Yes, I know it’s pretty obvious, but it’s important! If your conversion tracking is not set up correctly, you won’t be able to see where all the conversions are coming from in the account and because of this, you will struggle to optimise your campaigns. That’s why making sure that tracking is set up correctly is so important. It will simply help you achieve better results and show you which parts of the account are worth focusing on, and where you could reduce the wasted spend.

These are just a few things that tracking can tell you:

  • Whether you’re targeting the right people
  • Where are most of your customers based
  • Whether you’re using the right keywords for your business
  • What keywords or ads turned into an enquiry, a sale or a phone call
  • And many, many more…

5. Use Bid Modifiers (Ad Schedule, Locations, Demographics & Devices)

Bid adjustments allow you to show your ads more or less frequently based on where, when and how people search. For example, sometimes a click is worth more to you if it comes from London than from Brighton, at a certain time of day or from a specific device.

You can make bid adjustments based on Location, Device, Day of the week and time of the day, age gender and household income (although the last one is not available in all countries).

This can be useful if your service is getting significantly more customers from a certain city for example York, where you can bid higher than other cities in the UK.
Another example can be the device bid adjustment. If you know that your website gets much more traffic from a certain device, you can adjust bids accordingly to ensure the best return whether it’s on desktop, mobile or tablet.

6. Scripts

Another way to reduce wasted spend in your account is to use Google Ads scripts. Scripts are a great way to automate common procedures on the account or interact with external data. You can use scripts for things like removing underperforming ads, pausing keywords with low quality score, identify errors with landing pages, and many others. Utilising these scripts will allow you to save time on the boring tasks and spend more time on the changes that will get you desired results.

If you’re interested in setting up scripts on your account, I recommend checking this blog which gives you 101 different Google Ads scripts to improve our PPC performance.

7. Review Search Query Reports

This is an absolute must for every PPC account! Why? Well, if you won’t analyse your search queries you will most likely be spending a lot of budget on terms that are not relevant to your, or your client’s business. I believe reviewing the search terms should be done as often as possible, so at least once a week. Search queries reports will essentially help you add any relevant terms as keywords to your account or exclude any irrelevant terms that you don’t want to show your ads for.
If you’re not sure what search queries are and how to find them in your account, see the below:

Search terms are different to your keywords. Keywords are the words or phrases that you are bidding on and can be exact matches, phrase matches, or broad matches. Search terms are the exact words that the potential customer types into the search engine when they see your ads. In order to find your search term report in the Google Ads, follow the below steps:

1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.

2. Select “All Campaigns” in the navigation pane on the left, then click “Keywords” in the page menu.

3. Select “Search Terms” at the top of the page.

4. You’ll see data on which search terms triggered impressions and clicks.

8. Use Negative Keywords

Adding Negative Keywords is often (but not always) a result of performing a search query review and finding the terms that are irrelevant and that you will need to exclude from some or all of your campaigns. So if you find that a given phrase isn’t bringing any traffic and it’s spending a lot of your budget but it’s not converting, don’t waste your money and add it to negative keywords. That way you can use your budget only on keywords that are getting great click-through rates and bringing quality customers to your site.

Sometimes you may know from the beginning what negative keywords you’ll need to add before even setting up your campaign. For example, if your store is selling luxury & high quality products, you may want to use words like “cheap” or “bargain” as negative keywords. If you’re not using any negative keywords in your account already, think of doing it ASAP! It will most definitely help you reduce a lot of your wasted spend.

9. Create an effective landing page experience

I chose this point to be the last as it usually takes the most time and effort. However, it can really boost your results!
Look at it that way: your ad landing page is the first page that people will see once they get to your site. It’s all about that first impression people will have of your brand and so it’s really important to make sure that you’re sending users to the most relevant page and that they can find what they’re looking for. Otherwise, they’re going to exit your site very quickly and go to your competitor’s site instead. So make sure to always choose the most relevant landing page for your ads, rather than the homepage.

If you’re a PPC Manager working in an agency, you probably can’t do much yourself and you rely on your client to improve a landing page experience, but it’s definitely worth having those conversations as it can help improve your ads performance in the long term.
I won’t go too much in-depth into what the best landing page should look like but instead, I will send you to read this great article with 3 steps to designing a successful landing page. Enjoy 👍

Summary

Hopefully, this article gave you some useful tips on how you can reduce your wasted PPC spend not only to save money for you or your client but also to focus on targeting more specific audiences and keywords for your account.

If you need any further assistance in managing your Google Ads account, feel free to reach out to one of our friendly team members and we will see how we can help to improve your Google Ad account’s return on investment.

Anna Allsop

PPC Executive

I use all my knowledge and passion into planning, creating and then optimising a variety of PPC campaigns across a range of digital channels.

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