Cut Your Cost and Boost Results In Google AdWords

10 ways to cut AdWords Cost and Boost Results

Ideas for cutting costs can be hard to come by. It can sometimes be difficult to delve into the data and find ways to cut spend from your account.

Below are several ideas and ways of thinking which may help you optimise your account, reduce costs and increase conversion. It is not a complete list, but should give some idea on how you may improve your accounts.

1) The Keywords

If you want to cut cost, one of the first places to look will be the keywords you use. If you have been managing your campaigns for a while you have probably witnessed something close to a 90-10 rule, where 10% of your keywords will likely be responsible for 90% of the income generated from your account.

If you manage your account really well, you may even have split these out into new standalone campaigns and ad groups. If you haven’t, you should. This will help highlight the amount of money wasted in non-income generated spend that can be cut and re-distributed. In addition it becomes very easy to manage the keywords you know are your star players and can be increased and mined for more keywords.

2) Understanding Your Customers Behaviour

You may think you know your customers well, but when it comes to search marketing there is usually some room for expansion. Over time new phrases can replace older, more expensive or under performing phrases, increasing conversion volume and reducing CPA.

Many businesses confuse the line between phrases which they know are relevant to the business and phrases that customers use to find the business. These can be very different things. In addition, there is a difference between those customers which know about your product or service and those which are new to the industry and therefore require a more educative journey. This is no more relevant than for new and emerging industries.

It is therefore important to create ads, phrases and landing pages which cater to the individual and the context of their search. Highly personalised marketing in search will always win, so providing a journey which caters to the individual will give you the opportunity to best communicate your brand message and offer.

3) Negatives

Negative keywords allow you to stop showing Ads to searches which are not relevant. Whilst negatives are no secret when it comes to paid search, they are often underutilised due to a low understanding of long term benefits. At a basic level, this comes down to a reduction in cost from irrelevant clicks. But more than that, negatives increase CTR. This leads to a higher ‘quality’ of account, which will lead to cheaper costs over time. It is this benefit that will save you the bulk of money in the long run.

4) Be Highly Relevant. Use Data and be Ruthless With It

There are probably a huge range of phrases that you would like to be seen for. Often it can be hard to cut phrases which, in theory, should be highly relevant to your industry.

It can take a third party, or someone without emotional ties to look at the data and make that difficult call. In essence if a keyword costs you money and does not convert, it should be paused regardless of other assumed benefits (aside from tangible attribution benefits). To save meaningful cost you must be ruthless with optimisation, and this optimisation should always be data driven and justified.

5) Filters

Filters are an account manager’s best friend (not forgetting pivot tables below). Looking at 1000’s of keywords every day can be difficult and brain numbing. When results don’t go the right way it can become even harder to find gaps in your marketing.

If you dont have expensive software to help you, filters solve this problem and identify where costs can be saved in a matter of minutes. There are many articles available which will give you an idea where to start. Once you do a few, more ideas will come to reduce cost. Bear in mind the date range you use, cross referencing over a number of months to ensure you are making the correct decision long term.

6) Pivot Tables

Pivot tables are supercharged Filters. Whilst filters allow for instant understanding and decision making within AdWords, pivot tables offer a broader dimension to your understanding of your account.

The options available for understanding data with pivot tables are far beyond the scope of this article, although I would recommend Brad Geddes piece on pivot tables and quality score as a starting point. What is important to understand is that the amount of data AdWords throws out is huge. As a result you will need powerful tools to understand and make decisions on this data. In terms of free, powerful tools available to you, excel is number one.

7) Understanding AdRank, Quality Score and Bids

There are a huge amount of advertisers on AdWords that simply do not understand the relationship between bids, quality score and ad rank. This understanding is fundamental to success on AdWords. Everyone advertising through paid search should know how the auction works. This knowledge will give you the ability to reduce your costs in an effective way and increase the quality of the account.

8) Cannibalisation

When you advertise in AdWords, cannibalisation of organic traffic is a common and justified concern. Whilst there are many valid arguments for running both at the same time, there are times when budgets will not stretch this far.

When budget is an issue you will need to understand what phrases you rank for naturally which could be possibly cut. There are many different tools available to you; attribution modelling in Analytics allows you to see the relationship between SEO and PPC, whilst linking Webmaster tools to Analytics allows you to see cross contamination within the AdWords system. Either way, ensure you test everything you do. If you cut cost from your marketing, ensure you test and evaluate the results of doing so. You may find out keywords paused give you much more than appeared on the surface.

9) Spend More

This is probably not expected when discussing cutting costs within AdWords. It is often the case that advertisers will dip their toe into AdWords and spend a small amount, on the understanding of ramping budgets up as accounts get more successful. This may work for some, but for most serves only to reduce confidence in the platform and means you do not test all possible opportunities. A small budget means targeting a small part of the market, whereas jumping in with a good sized budget will allow you to test, understand what works, then reduce costs long term and target what works.

10) Employ an Agency

This one is rather predictable from an agency. I would highly recommend employing someone with experience to run your AdWords for you. A good agency has years of experience in AdWords and have likely already made the mistakes in your market and know what works.

A good agency will be able to save you a large amount of your budget, which will not only negate their cost, but increase revenue. Agencies understand the types of phrases and platforms which don’t work, based on their years of experience. If you are starting out it is important to draw on the experience of agencies, as they could end up saving a large portion of your spend.


For more information on this or anything AdWords related you can call me directly on 01162 983 585


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