How do you get the most bang for your buck in PPC? There’s quite a lot that goes into that question, but it’s simple to point out some of the big money wasters. Here are some great tips for avoiding waste in your PPC ad campaigns.
#1 Take Off Broad Match
We’ve talked about this in other articles, but it’s worth repeating. If you set your ad groups to broad match on your keywords rather than exact match, you’ll spend a lot more. More people will see your ad, but they won’t find it as relevant. If they click and don’t convert, you’ve just lost money. Exact match allows you to find precisely the audience you want to address.
Local targeting is the key to success is the key to success for many small and medium businesses. Many clients, when they come to us, don’t have this simple thing set and it hurts them in the wallet. Google doesn’t know by default where your business is located.
If you don’t give them enough information on which region you want to target your ad, you could get calls from all over the world. For instance, if you target your ad to Ontario, but don’t specify whether you mean California or Canada, you’ll be paying for clicks that you can’t create revenue from.
We had a water damage client in Georgia, but because of a similar town name their ads were getting clicks from New Jersey. Water damage keywords have a very high CPC, so this client was losing a lot of money getting clicks from outside of their service area.
Fortunately, it’s easy to see where your clicks are coming from. If you have Google Analytics on your site, and you should, you can find out which regions you’re getting clicks from. If you’re getting a lot from outside of your desired area, tune up your targeting.
#3 Multiple Ads Per Ad Group
You should never have a single ad in an ad group. If you do this, you are not leveraging the power of AdWords properly. Put multiple ads into the same ad group, at least two and preferably four. This lets you do several things. First, it will let you see which ads perform better in front of your audience for a set of keywords. Second, it will also tell you which ads convert better than the rest. Third, it will improve your quality score over time.
Ad quality from your perspective is a factor of CPC, CTR, and revenue per conversion. Any ad that has a high CTR should also convert into enough revenue to justify the cost. Granted, as your quality score improves due to a high CTR, your CPC will go down. But you never know how much it will go down because it’s dependent on your competitors. Don’t be afraid to stop a high-performing ad if the clicks aren’t turning over into actual revenue.
#4 Test Regularly
Having multiple ads per group also lets you test things, but your tests have to be regular with fixed thresholds. Our baseline test is 100 clicks for an ad group. This is a large enough sample size to see which ads performed the best over time. Now, if you have a lot of keywords or a lot of ads, you may need to raise your threshold higher, say 250 clicks, just to get enough clicks.
Once the threshold is hit, it’s time to evaluate. What should you check? We follow the money. You should sort your ads by how much you spent over the period. Check the revenue from the top ad. Did it pay for itself? Keep it. If not, change it or toss it. Move on to the next through the list. Then test again when another 100 clicks come through. Repeat as necessary.
#5 Vet Your PPC Agency
You must know where your money is going in a PPC campaign. If you don’t you’ll waste money and lose out on opportunities. Even if you hire a PPC agency, you are still responsible for your AdWords account. You need to know your numbers and your campaign.
Too many companies want a “set it and forget it” PPC campaign. Many companies who care about price rather than quality will offer such a thing. It does a disservice to the companies that use them, and it’s a shady practice to begin with. You should be a little dog nipping at their heels for information on your PPC campaign until it starts having a positive ROI. Only then can you back off a little.
Finally, you haven’t set up Google Analytics on your sites and set goals in your AdWords campaign, what are you waiting for? These are free, you can do it in five minutes, and it’s crucial for getting the information you need to determine the ROI of your PPC campaigns. With luck, you’re already on top of your PPC game and follow these tips. But if you aren’t, a couple hours work in Google Analytics will save you money in the future.