John Wanamaker (USA Postmaster General and merchant) was once quoted as saying “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don’t know which half”. This may have been true 100 years ago in a time when newspapers and billboards worked best to drive sales, but as technology evolved, so did the advertising programmes, which help resolve the Wanamaker dilemma today. Despite the development in targeting and tracking across the industry as a whole, it’s still unrealistic to expect all of your advertising budget to reach the perfect customer both offline and online. However with Google AdWords it is possible to control spend, identify how well you’re reaching your audience and improve performance by following my top ten steps to eliminate unwanted clicks and wasted spend.
1. Don’t be careless when setting up new campaigns
The default option from AdWords when setting up a new campaign is to target both the Search & Display Network. Even though the Display Network can be very effective at reaching your audience, it is a completely different concept to the Search Network and should be managed in individual campaigns to ensure you stay in control of both performance and spend. The Search Network is the more traditional format of pay per click (PPC), where you see your ads displayed within Search Engine Result Pages. The Display Network allows you to advertise across a collection of blog and news websites and also YouTube.
2. Think about your Account Structure
The best PPC accounts think carefully about their keyword selection and design an account structure around this to meet their business goals. Try to structure your Ad Groups by match types and use your exact match terms as negatives within the Broad & Phrase ad groups. From this you will be in a stronger position to set different bids and optimise your Ad Copy to achieve higher Quality Scores.
3. How relevant are your Ads
The more relevant your Keywords and Ads to your landing page, the higher the Quality Score awarded by Google. This is used to calculate your CPC and Ad Rank so it is in the best interests of the advertiser to follow the guidelines and try achieve the highest scores possible. Your click-through-rate can be improved by better targeted Ad copy and directing traffic to relevant landing pages. To understand more about Quality Score, click here.
4. What negative keywords should you use?
Add negative keywords across campaigns that don’t match your offering. Take advantage of Google’s keyword tool to stay ahead of irrelevant search terms and ads across campaigns. You can also review search query reports to see which irrelevant search terms are triggering your ads. The quickest way to find negative opportunities is to sort the data by impressions and cost.
5. Are you prepared for Mobile Traffic?
If we are directing traffic to a mobile optimised site, you need to check if your ads have been tailored for a mobile device and that you are utilising call extensions based on the service available: call extensions display the contact number within your PPC ad. Depending on the type of business they can increase click-through rates by 6 – 8% and increase sales as the number is easily viewed by the user. If you do not have a mobile site, then you can adjust your bids by -100% as we would expect to see higher bounce rates and lower conversion rates by directing mobile users to a desktop site. Now more than ever it’s important that businesses are mobile ready if you want to increase sales and boost customer engagement. Earlier this year Google announced that they will now take into account how mobile-friendly your website is to decide its ranking. To check if your site is mobile-friendly you can examine individual pages with the mobile friendly test.
6. Check your targeting settings
Check the location settings for your campaigns. If you want to run ads across multiple countries or regions we would recommend creating separate campaigns for each to monitor performance. If your business only operates within a particular location, then there is no reason for you to target all countries and regions.
7. Add Ad Extensions
Ad Extensions are a great way to make your Ad more eye catching against your competitors and allow you to show additional information within your Ads. When used to their full potential Ad Extensions can help achieve a higher click-through-rate as you will stand out against your competitors. Types of Ad Extensions available to users are; Sitelinks, review extensions, seller ratings, social annotations, call extensions, app extensions and location extensions.
8. Set Ad Scheduling and Labels
When budget is restricted it can be a good idea to schedule the hours or days when you want to have your ads displayed. You can also make bid adjustments during the times where you see lower conversions on your website which can help reduce cost wastage as you have identified the top converting hours for your budget. Labels are also a great feature in AdWords to help you stay organised and easily filter data. Despite not providing us with an immediate saving, labels can help speed the process of optimising your account and quickly identify what has performed best at campaign, ad group, keyword and Ad copy level.
9. Invest in new landing pages
Relevancy is the biggest element in Search. PPC is not here to try change consumer perceptions like other forms of advertising, it is designed to help the user quickly find what they’re looking for. Based on this, it is important we send users to a relevant landing page with a clear call-to-action or next steps. A great example is shown by National Express, they create a separate landing page for each of their routes. For example, we have searched ‘coach from London to Manchester’ and are directed to the below ad.
10. Stay on top of your account
Day to day management of the account must be upheld if you wish to grow a cost-effective account. Continue to run regular search query reports to identify your best keywords, find new long tail keywords and exclude irrelevant search terms with negative keywords. Test your Ad Copy and Ad Extensions to see what type of messaging works best. Monitor performance and increase bids on keywords that perform well and lower bids on keywords with lots of clicks but low conversions. If you’re struggling for time to complete the above, make use of scripts to help automate time consuming tasks and give you more time to analyse the performance. In summary, AdWords is one of the most efficient advertising systems today, however it is also very easy to waste your money and not control where your ads are being displayed. By applying the above steps, you will see the quality of your clicks improve ensuring you grow a cost-effective account. If you need help with reducing your PPC wastage, why not contact our PPC team.