Ecommerce

What percentage of your paid advertising costs go down the drain?

With these simple beginners’ guides, you can discover which parts of your PPC account are the biggest money-drainers, and find out what to do with them.

down-the-drain

Plug the holes in your PPC account with the guides below

1. Wasted Keyword Costs

Below are the steps to take to identify any wasteful keywords on search or shopping campaigns:

  1. Click the Campaigns tab at the top
  2. Select All Campaigns or a specific campaign in the top left of the page
  3. Click the Keywords tab
  4. Underneath this tab select Search Terms
  5. Sort the results by the biggest Cost
  6. Look at the Search Terms people have entered which bring up your ads, do they all match up with your offering?

The target keywords that trigger ads can have one of three match types: exact, phrase, and broad.

Bidding on exact match keywords is a safe bet, as the ad will only appear when that exact keyword is searched for, and nothing else. The disadvantage to this is that people use hundreds or thousands of different search queries for the same topic. To capture them all, you also have to bid on phrase and broad match keywords.

Use negative keywords to stop unwanted queries from triggering the ads. Otherwise, your ads may show for topics or niches in which you don’t want them to appear, which will likely result in wasted clicks.

For example, say you sell brand new parachutes, and you bid for the phrase match keyword “parachute for sale”. There would be wasted PPC costs on searches such as “used parachutes for sale”, or “ripped parachutes for sale”. As the words “used” and “ripped” would bring visitors with the wrong intent to the website, these would be best added to your negative keyword list:

Example search terms report with bad terms highlighted

Example search terms report with bad terms highlighted

 

2. Campaign Settings Issues

Below are the main areas to check in the campaign settings for any obvious issues:

  1. Click the Campaigns tab at the top
  2. Select a specific campaign in the top left of the page
  3. Clicks the Settings tab
  4. If not already set, edit the campaign Type and select All Features

Your campaign settings will vary across different types of websites. Below are the main settings which should be checked to ensure your ads aren’t being shown to the wrong people, or to people who are unlikely to convert:

Devices – Is your website mobile friendly? If not, then it might be worth reducing bids for people using mobile devices, or turning off mobile advertising altogether.

If you have conversion tracking installed through AdWords, or passed to AdWords from Analytics goals, then you can see how effective mobile traffic really is.

To turn off mobile ads, simply set the bid adjustment to -100%:

Mobile bid adjustment set to -70%

Mobile bid adjustment set to -70% (click this area to edit it)

Location – Is your website targeting at a local, regional, or national level?

You can be very specific in targeting different locations within Google AdWords and Bing Ads. For example, if a British website doesn’t want visitors from Northern Ireland,  they would need to target just the countries England, Scotland and Wales, rather than the whole UK.

If you supply to a limited 20 mile radius from your business, then use the radius targeting in the “Advanced Search” link. You can always see the target locations on the map from here:

Just the countries England, Scotland and Wales targeted

Just the countries England, Scotland and Wales targeted

20 miles radius around York, UK targeted

20 miles radius around York, UK targeted

Bid Strategy – If your campaign is focused on clicks, then don’t use automatic bidding.

Automatic bidding places all the keyword bids at the same level within the campaign to try and get as many clicks as possible. The trouble with this setting is that competitive keywords are stifled, and less competitive keywords are over-promoted:

Ensure that you are using manual bids to have control on the individual keyword bids

Ensure that you are using manual bids to have control on the individual keyword bids

Type & Networks  – The campaign type for search ads can be “Search Network only” or “Search Network with Display Select“.

We generally see worse results when Display Select search ads are activated, so it’s best to select “Search Network only” here to reduce wasted ad spend on text display ads.

For “Networks“, it may or may not be a good idea to “Include search partners“. These are other websites apart from Google which use Google Ads, such as YouTube, Gmail, AOL, etc.

If you have conversion tracking installed through AdWords or passed to AdWords from Analytics goals, then you see the statistics for when search partners are used or not. Click “All online campaigns”, then the “Segment” drop-down, and choose “Network (with search partners)“.

At the bottom of the page you can now see statistics on both networks within the “Total – search” expandable results:

The route to reveal the search partner statisticsThe route to reveal the search partner statistics

For this account search parnters delivers worse results and is a drain on the ad spend

For this account search partners delivers worse results than Google’s own search and is a drain on the ad spend

Languages – It’s very important to set the same language for all your ad content. In all countries of the world there will be people using search engines with different language settings, even if the language used isn’t native to that country.

3. Keyword Quality Scores for Overly Expensive Clicks

Below are the steps to take to identify any low quality keywords on search campaigns:

  1. Click the Campaigns tab at the top
  2. Select All Campaigns or a specific campaign in the top left of the page
  3. Click the Keywords tab
  4. Click the Columns drop-down and then Modify Columns
  5. Within the metrics select Attributes and then add Qual. score
  6. Apply the changes
  7. Click on the Qual. score column to sort the results from lowest to highest
  8. Hover over the Status bubble to see why individual keywords have a bad quality score

Each keyword’s quality score has a massive effect on the cost of advertising for that individual keyword. The lower the quality score, the higher advertising costs will be to maintain the same position in the ads:

The minimum quality score you should expect is 7/10, which is the most common score for keywords within AdWords. Quality scores are a little higher on Bing Ads, and a score of 8/10 is the most common.

The quality score can fall below these numbers if:

Why Saving PPC Costs Matters

Saving money on wasted ad spend allows you to boost useful ad spend further to get a greater number of overall sales.

For example, let’s say you found that half of your limited ad spend was wasted. Removing this would allow you to double the number of conversions using the same daily budget:

Half the budget is wasted resulting in 10 conversions

Half the budget is wasted, resulting in 10 conversions

Non of the budget is wasted resulting in 20 conversions

Non of the budget is wasted, resulting in 20 conversions for the same overall spend

If the daily ad spend is unlimited, then cutting out this waste will increase your profitability levels from PPC, reducing the cost per conversion.

More advanced PPC techniques such as bid adjustments can be used to squeeze even more profit out of PPC once the account is running smoothly. There is always room for improvement.

Even if you don’t manage your own PPC account, it’s worth taking a look at these three key areas to see if any PPC costs can be saved. You might be surprised with the results!

If you have had any success with these guides, then let us know in the comment section below.

Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *