For advertisers large and small, PPC and digital marketing often comes down to making less money go farther. Even the most experienced advertisers constantly look for ways to optimize their campaigns and save money, and for many small businesses, saving money on PPC can mean the difference between success and failure.
Sound familiar? Worry not, dear reader. WordStream is here to help! We’ve gathered 13 of our very best money saving PPC tips into one post. Whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned PPC professional, you’ll probably find one or two tips that could help your advertising budget go even farther.
1. Increase CTR by Writing Better Ad Copy
One of the best ways to save money on Google AdWords (or Bing Ads, for that matter) is to write better ads. Better ad copy increases CTR, which in turn increases your Quality Score. As Larry has said countless times before, Quality Score is pretty much the only metric that advertisers should focus on to run more cost-effective campaigns.
Check out this guide to writing better PPC ads and see if you can raise those Quality Scores.
2. Use Extensions to Further Increase CTR
Since we’re on the topic of raising Quality Scores by increasing click-through rates, our second money-saving tip is to use ad extensions to make your ads more clickable.
There are dozens of ad extensions available on Google AdWords, so no matter what type of business you run or what you’re trying to sell, there’s an extension or two that could help your ads stand out. Check out Erin’s comprehensive guide to ad extensions and make your ads even more tempting to prospective customers.
3. Adjust Your Campaign Geolocation Settings
AdWords’ geolocation settings are awesome. They allow you to only display ads to certain regions, or within a specific distance of your business. Geolocation settings are also among the most overlooked features in AdWords, and many advertisers either improperly set geolocation parameters, or fail to apply them to their campaigns at all.
Make sure your geolocation settings are set to optimal hours of operation for your business. This is especially important if you’re advertising goods or services sold from a brick-and-mortar store or physical location. To learn more about how to optimize these settings, check out this post on geolocation and local PPC.
4. Use Dayparting in Concert with Geolocation
Similarly to geolocation settings, dayparting can help you maximize your business’ visibility during specific times of day – ideal for advertisers hoping to drive traffic to a store.
By using dayparting in concert with geolocation, you can exercise a high degree of control over when and where your ads are shown to users. However, with greater control comes the need for greater oversight and vigilance to make sure you’re not sabotaging your own efforts.
Learn more about how to make the most of this feature in this guide to ad scheduling.
5. Create a Negative Keyword Conflicts Report
Let's hope you've been using negative keywords for some time, or are at least thinking about it if you’re new to paid search. However, have you compiled a negative keywords conflict report? If not, some of those negatives you added to your account might actually be costing you money.
Negative keyword conflict reports are a feature of Bing Ads that allow you to identify any potential conflicts between excluded negative keywords and search terms that you’re actually bidding on. As well as alerting you to potentially costly keyword conflicts, this report can also help you identify negatives that could be harming your volume.
6. Find New Keywords to Target
When it comes to saving money, some advertisers’ first course of action is to reduce their spend or lower their bids. However, one of the most effective strategies you can use to save money on PPC is to go after entirely new keywords.
Identifying new keyword niches and targeting new long-tail keywords can have a remarkable impact on your click-through rates, which in turn raises Quality Scores and reduces costs.
7. Examine Device Targeting and Optimize Bids for Mobile
With the balance of search volume tipping from desktop to mobile in a major way, your device targeting settings should also be on your list of account optimizations. More and more people are searching for goods and services as they go about their day, and even searches that convert from desktop may have actually begun on a mobile device.
Image/data via KPCB
Once you’ve made sure your device targeting settings are in order, be sure to take a look at your bids. Mobile CPCs, which were once at bargain basement prices, are climbing steadily to reflect increased mobile traffic and competition, so take a look at your mobile bidding strategy to make sure you’re not losing money on bids that are too high for your business. Also, you can set mobile bids at either the campaign or ad group level, so you’ve got a lot of control over how much you’re willing to pay for mobile clicks.
8. Refine Match Types to Avoid Overly Broad Matches
One PPC setting that can burn through even the biggest of budgets is sloppy match typing. Overly broad keyword match types can be brutal on your wallet, so check that your match types are set appropriately.
Some search terms will be naturally more competitive (and thus, more expensive) than others, and there may be times when you simply can’t avoid using certain match types for certain search terms. That said, it’s definitely worth checking that you’re not wasting money by using inappropriate match types.
9. Be Selective with Stacked Bid Modifiers
While we’re on the subject of match types, think carefully about whether using stacked bidding makes sense. Stacked bidding allows you to bid on two (or more) match types for a single keyword. For example, if you’re bidding on the keyword “crab cakes”, you may want to bid on this keyword at both the Broad and Exact match types. Broad match will offer greater volume, whereas Exact match offers greater relevancy, so there’s definitely a case to be made for stacked bidding.
However, in some cases, you could be paying above the odds for some keywords if you’re using stacked bidding, especially if you’ve left your account unattended for a prolonged period of time. Go through your campaigns and identify any keywords you’re going after with stacked bids. Are you getting the volume you want at the CPC you want? If not, it might be time to reconsider stacked bids.
10. Launch Call-Only Campaigns to Avoid ‘Leaky’ Landing Pages
For all their advantages, landing pages have a fatal weakness – they’re often the leakiest part of the conversion funnel. Visitors are more likely to abandon their shopping cart/download/whatever when presented with a landing page (even a beautiful, well-optimized landing page) than they are at any other stage of the conversion process. So what can you do? Get rid of your landing pages entirely.
Call-Only campaigns are perfect for advertisers that are trying to attract phone calls from their PPC campaigns. Rather than wasting prospects’ time by sending them to a landing page form they may never complete, you can launch a Call-Only campaign that lets prospective customers call your business directly from your ads, eliminating the leaky landing page problem altogether.
11. Start Remarketing – Now
If you’re not remarketing to visitors who came to your site and left before converting, you’re essentially spending all this time, money, and effort into attempting to persuade prospects to convert during a single session.
Think about that for a minute.
Remarketing is, without a doubt, one of the best ways you can save money in PPC and make your existing budget work much more effectively. Remarketing is also essential for paid social campaigns, as many of the same obstacles faced by paid search advertisers – multi-device/offline conversions, non-linear conversion pathways, simple abandonment/distraction – are also major roadblocks for social advertisers, too.
Remarketing itself is far beyond the scope of this post. However, you can learn more about remarketing for PPC and paid social in these excellent posts and guides:
- How Does Google Remarketing Work?
- 10 Remarketing Facts to Make You Rethink Your Entire PPC Strategy
- All the Remarketing Audiences You Should Be Targeting in PPC
12. Conclude Your A/B Tests
In their quest for statistical significance, many advertisers leave A/B tests running far longer than necessary. This can be due to hesitation or uncertainty about the result of a specific test (particularly if the data disproves your original hypothesis), or simple forgetfulness.
Actually concluding your A/B tests is very important. The longer the tests run, the less likely major “gains” are likely to be clear winners, as results from changes to your ads or landing pages tend to normalize over time.
Don’t be afraid to actually pull the plug on A/B tests and pause all of the ads that didn’t make the cut. Remember – you can always retest later if you’re not sure about the results, but be confident in your data.
13. Spend Time Actually Working in Your PPC Accounts
Our last money-saving tip seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed by the number of small businesses that don’t even bother to log into AdWords at least once per week (it’s about one in four, in case you were wondering).
Actually spending time in your account is one of the best ways to identify problematic areas of your campaigns before the financial damage can be done. It allows you to identify – and correct – issues before they become major budgetary difficulties.