Setting up a new Google Ads account (formerly known as Google Adwords) is fairly easy. But when it comes to running efficient campaigns, it’s all about the details. Having audited hundreds of Adwords accounts, I’ve noticed a few areas that are commonly overlooked and that could be costing you lots of money, leads, and potential sales! I’ve compiled a list of the 5 most common areas that you can check and optimize so that you’re not wasting your ad budget and losing out on sales.
1. Check Your Campaign Settings
We’re going to start with campaign settings since it’s the easiest to tweak.
When you first set up your Google Ads campaign, Google defaults to the Google Search Network, Search Partners, and the Display Network. If you’re running a search campaign, and don’t change this setting to the Google Search Network only (more on Search Partners in a minute), you are going to waste a lot of money on display placements that you do not need for a search-only campaign.
Furthermore, if you’re running a search-only campaign, you will want to uncheck the Search Partners and Display Network.
Here is why.
Display is meant to build brand awareness, while Search is meant to drive traffic and conversions to your website. Consequently, since these campaigns have two different objectives for your business, they should be treated as such and bucketed into separate campaigns.
I usually also uncheck Search Partners because it’s another form of display with your text ads, dynamic search ads, or call-only ads on partner websites such as Amazon.com, NYtimes.com, and washingtonpost.com.
If you’re looking for high-converting search campaigns, selecting this feature might not be the best option and could be draining your budget.
And… At this time, Google does not provide partner-level reporting on ad performance on Search Partner sites. This decreases your control over these campaigns and decreases your ability to optimize. And that’s not very saving friendly. :/
So… double-check your search campaigns and make sure that you have only selected the “Google Search Network”. 🙂
Double check that your campaign is set up in the right locations. If you’re a shoe store in Denver that can only ship on the west coast, you would want to target only those west coast locations, versus all of the U.S.
Double-check that you have the correct daily budgets. Your daily budget might fluctuate daily, but your account should not spend over the monthly daily amount.
2. Save Money by Using Certain Match Types
Google Ads has 4 types of match types (5 if you count negative match):
Ok, so… Broad match is the one you want to avoid like a PLAGUE. Google can serve your ads for those broad match keywords or ANY variation of it aka, Google can show your ad to any search query. For example, your broad match term “web services” could show for someone who searched “webinar service”.
That’s a scary thought and worst, a money waster. As much as I love Google, I want to control my campaigns as much as I can, and I recommend that you do the same. 😀
But… if you feel inclined to use broad keywords for whatever reason (maybe your client is insistent?), please use Broad Match Modified keywords at a minimum. At least they are less broad than the regular broad match.
IF YOU WANT TO SAVE MONEY, use Phrase Match and Exact Match keywords in your ad groups!
This will cut down on wasted spend on broad match keywords and prevent your ads from showing in irrelevant searches or queries. Thus, people who are NOT really interested in buying your products or services will be LESS likely to see your ads, and you will save your money on more qualified leads.
3. Use Negative Keywords
One of the easiest ways to save money in Google Ads is to add a negative keyword list to your account. Negative keywords are words or phrases that you DO NOT want your ad to show for.
How do you find negative keywords?
Start by going to your Search Term report and scan all the searches or queries. Make a list of all the irrelevant queries and add them as Exact Match keywords to your Negative Keyword List.
**WARNING** Do not add broad match keywords as negative keywords, since like I mentioned before, Google treats Broad Match very loosely and you may end up preventing your ads from being shown in relevant searches. Be on the safe side and add your negative keywords as Phrase or Exact Match.
Another easy way to add negative keywords is to brainstorm and think of all the searches that you would NOT want your ads to show for. Let’s say you sell high-end clothing at your boutique store.
Your clothing costs a bit more than your competitors and you don’t want to waste your money advertising to people who will most likely never buy your expensive clothes. In this instance, you might want to add “cheap” (phrase match) as a negative keyword.
Once you have a solid list, keep checking back on your search term report and look out for any irrelevant keywords that you may want to add.
BOOM. Money saved.
4. Remove Mobile Apps for Display
I hate to say it, but unless you’re a mobile display expert you’ll have a very hard time not wasting your ad budget on in-app display ads. Once again, the default setting for Google Display campaigns includes your ads being shown in mobile apps. Depending on your industry, service, or product, these placements could be hurting your performance.
Before you make this change, I would double-check the performance of these in-app placements. If your campaigns are doing well, leave it alone. But if you find your account is draining money with low performance, go ahead and make this change.
Just go to the Campaign Settings, then Advanced Settings, then Devices :
Then… uncheck mobile and tablet app and interstitial settings:
Done! More money saved. 😉
5. Use Bid Adjustments
This is one of my favorite hacks to optimize Google Ad campaigns. You can use bid adjustments or “rules” that either raise or lower your bids based on location, device, time of day (bid adjustments can also be used for keyword bidding, but that’s a topic for a different day!).
Let’s say that you sell shoes across the U.S. You notice that your cost per acquisition, or bids, are more expensive in California and Colorado, but convert well.
In this scenario, you could choose to raise the bid in California and Colorado to make sure you’re not leaving money on the table in these areas. Although this is going to save you money at first (because you’re bidding up!), your campaigns will be more efficient, and you will save money spending less in lower converting areas.
Historically, people tend to convert better on desktop than mobile.
But… as we all know, people are mostly searching on mobile.
For instance, you notice that you have a lot of “near me” search terms coming through with a high conversion rate. People are searching for an “auto shop near me”. They’ve clearly shown high intent and are looking for an auto service store.
You may want to get ahead of them and place an increased bid adjustment on mobile for that ad group. Assuming you have a relevant ad and landing page, your ad will be more likely to show, and it will be more likely that you can convert this person.
This feature allows you to control the day and time of the week that you want your ad to get shown.
For example, if you’re a dentist office and you want leads to call you during office hours, you would set your ads to run more aggressively during business hours from 8:00am – 5:00pm.
Or, if you know no one will be taking calls during lunch time, you would want to run your ads from 8:00am – 12:00 and then 1:00pn – 5:00pm.
Bid adjustment techniques are more advanced and will require additional time and analysis (checking your google reports by location, device time, and time of day, sorting through the data, etc.), but they can save you lots of money in the long run.
There you have it! 5 ways that you can save money in Adwords, use your budget more effectively, and get more sales!
Don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty, dig through these reports, go over your settings, optimize your keywords, and remove mobile apps that don’t work.
I hope this information was helpful and if you want to learn more, sign up for my free newsletter where I provide my latest tips and tricks. 🙂
Have any other tips that have helped you save money in Google Ads? Share them in the comments below. 🙂
Thank you Natasha for this great post about saving money on Google ads, I used to do adwords, but now I have switched over to Bing ads because there is way less competition in there, and also they have quality cheap traffic. I think I will apply these tips to save even more money on Bing, do you think these are easy to apply on Bing too?
Hey Vick, thanks so much for checking us out! Yes, you can definitely use the same strategies in Bing and they’re easy to apply. Bing’s platform is basically a copy of Google Ads (or very close). You can also import all of the changes you make in Google to Bing, if you ever run in that situation! Hope this helps!