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by Samantha Noble on 6th June 2012
I’m not sure how many of you actually have this same problem, but every week at Koozai, we get so many clients phoning in that aren’t currently working with us and asking us to do an analysis report for their PPC account. The number of times I’ve actually looked at one of these accounts and thought, wow, you are wasting so, so much money.
So what I want to try and do today is go through a number of the things that I’ve seen on various accounts over the past couple of years and try and talk you through things that you can do to help you essentially save money on AdWords.
Let’s start with negative keywords. Negative keywords are something that tend to get missed on every single AdWords account if you don’t really know what you’re doing. Google don’t make a massive play on what negative keywords are. I think they would definitely prefer you not to have them.
Basically, a negative keyword is used to stop your ads from showing for anything that isn’t relevant to the keywords that you’re trying to bid on. Let’s say, for example, you sell blue widgets. You don’t sell red widgets. You’d want to put red in as a negative keyword because you wouldn’t want your ads showing if someone was to search for red widgets.
Moving on from here, we’ve got ad scheduling. Ad scheduling is also something that I often see not being utilised as best as it can. Now, if you’re a business that is only open from 9:00 until 5:30 and you only want to take orders from 9:00 until 5:30, it’s sometimes wise to only set your ads to show between that period of time so that you’re not actually wasting money on showing your ads all through the evening.
Another thing that you can do with scheduling is actually have a look at various reports within AdWords and actually see when people are clicking on your ads and when people are buying from you. Leave your ads to run for, say, a month or two so you’ve got a load of data, and then you can go back retrospectively, have a look, and if you can see that people don’t necessarily convert with you between midnight and six in the morning, you can then obviously switch your ads off between those times so that your budget is only being used in those prime times that you know people are converting.
Mobile search is another one. One of the things that Google are trying really hard to push is for all advertisers to separate out mobile and desktop campaigns. It’s really difficult to actually see whether mobile is working for you if you have everything lumped in the same campaign. Splitting them out is easy. It’s just a copy and paste job in AdWords editor and changing the settings to say, “Show this campaign on mobile, and show this one on desktop.” One thing to be aware of though, if you are going to be having a mobile campaign, making sure that you’ve got your ad text that’s really targeted to mobile will help your CTR and essentially can boost your quality score. All your costs will start coming down as a result.
The next thing this brings me on to is bounce rate. If you don’t have your AdWords account linked up with your Analytics accounts, go and do this now. The amount of data that you can get from just linking the two accounts together is key to the success of any AdWords campaign.
Bounce rate is a factor that you should be paying attention to. If you’ve got campaigns and keywords running, you want to know how your customers are interacting with your website. You might be bidding on a specific keyword, driving traffic through to your website, and that traffic then leaves straight away. That’s the sort of traffic that you don’t want to be bidding on. So you can drill down to keyword level and see how many of those visitors to your site for that specific keyword are actually spending more time navigating across the site. Those that are just leaving straight away and not spending any time on the website are the sort of visitors that you don’t actually want to keep bidding for.
Location is another one. We see a lot of AdWords accounts coming to us where people are just primarily looking for targeting customers in the UK, but they’ve actually got their AdWords account set to target the U.S. and all these other countries. Simple refinements like that can really, really help save your money.
Having a look at the locations that you’re targeting as well. If you’re actually looking to target a specific location in the UK, for example, if you’re a local green grocers or a local florist, you’re not really going to want to be advertising to the whole of the UK. If you have got that specific niche audience that you want to be targeting, make sure that you’ve set the location so that you’re not wasting money on bidding for and displaying keywords in ads in locations that you’re not ever going to be wanting to target.
I’m going to leave remarketing until last, because I think this one is a really interesting one. So we will come back to that one.
Next up, we’re going to look at networks. Networks are search partners and the display network and your general search network. When you set up an AdWords account, it automatically defaults to show your ads on all three of those networks, including the display network, which is fundamentally a no-
no for me. If you’re going to start using the display network, you want to make sure that you’ve got a campaign dedicated to that to see what is actually converting and what isn’t. So logging in and having a look at your settings to make sure that you’re only bidding on those networks that you want your ads to show on can save you a huge, huge amount of money.
Next up, we’ve got quality score. This is one of the most important factors of an AdWords account in determining how much money you’re going to be spending. Keywords and campaigns that have got a low, low quality score is going to have a much higher cost and a much higher cost per click. So what you want to be focusing on is making sure that your campaigns are as optimised as you can get them, so that your CTR is up there, that your ads are really relevant, your keywords are going to landing pages that are relevant to that specific keyword. In turn, your quality score then goes up. AdWords rewards advertisers with a high quality score by lowering the amount that they have to spend per click. So this is something that every advertiser should be focusing on.
Next up, we’ve got match types. Now again, AdWords are really, really sneaky. When you first set up a campaign, every keyword goes in on broad match. I have done another video about setting up an effective sort of PPC campaign and what is PPC. I go into match types in a bit more detail there, but just to briefly touch on these. If you’re going to be bidding on broad match, Google can start showing your ads to anything they deem as relevant to that particular phrase, which can be dangerous, but it can also drive you some cheaper traffic. If you’re using broad match, make sure you’ve got a lot of negatives to try and combat those keywords that you don’t want your ads to be showing on.
To get more targeted keywords, you want to go for exact match, but the cost is higher depending on the sort of keywords that you’re going after, because your ads are only going to show for that specific keyword. If you know that keyword works and you’ve done some tests in the past, you’re better off bidding on it on an exact match because you know the traffic you’re going to get through and you know that it converts for you.
Split testing: AdWords introduced a new rule, a couple of months ago, about how they were going to automatically start rotating ads after 30 days to show the most optimised ad. This has caused uproar within the PPC community, because something that we all live and breathe is split testing ad text to make sure that you’re actually showing the best possible ad for your users. The way that you do that is you have them on rotation so that you’re saying, “Show this ad 50% of the time, and show this ad 50% of the time,” so that you can get a clear understanding of which one is performing better than the other.
One thing to really be paying attention to is that you are kind of creating and updating your ad text every 30 days now to ensure that AdWords don’t decide to show the ad that they deem as relevant, and you’re actually showing the ad that you want to show to your customers.
Finally, I said that we were going to look at remarketing. Remarketing is something that was launched last year I believe. We’ve been running a lot of remarketing campaigns, and surprisingly it’s so much cheaper than if you’re running a normal PPC campaign. Now what remarketing essentially does is puts a piece of code on your website, so you can go and place this on all the different pages of your site. It builds up a list of all the people that have come and visited your website. It will then store this list so that you can start remarketing to it at a later date.
Essentially, you’re building up a database of all the people that have visited your website. You can deduct those from people that have already converted and essentially follow them around the Internet and different websites that they’re going to with a banner advertisement, pushing your brand in their eyes. What we’ve seen happen with this is, it’s one of those subliminal messages so that you’ve got these ads following people around and keeping your brand name in their brain. They come back into the site and then they convert.
We’ve seen the cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition costs for a remarketing campaign, in comparison with your normal search campaign, is massively cheaper. So if you’re not using remarketing, I can highly recommend that you actually go away, set up that code, let the data grow, get those lists, and actually get those kind of working for your website.
That’s essentially some of the ways that you can help save yourself some money on AdWords. If you have any other queries please leave them in the comments below.