Inbound Marketing & Sales Development Inspiration

4 Ways Your Google Ads Are Wasting Money

Posted February 14, 2023
4 minute read

Originally posted on September 2, 2019, this post was refreshed to highlight ways businesses can save money on Google Ads.

Are you stretching your Google ads budget as far as it can go? Small and medium-sized businesses can't afford to throw away ad dollars trying to compete with large companies and must be strategic with their advertising spending.

In our 2019 broadcast, we covered some important things to look out for that could be burning through your campaign budgets. Making adjustments to these 3 things could save you thousands of dollars.

4 Ways to Reduce Digital Advertising Costs

1. Use Negative keywords

Keywords are phrases that trigger an ad to display, so a negative keyword prevents irrelevant or low-intent searches from triggering an ad. Identify negative keywords by going through the search terms report on Google Ads or Google Analytics and see what words are triggering the ads and list the ones that are not high intent and not very relevant. You don't want to spend money on them so make them negative keywords. We start with 150 negative keywords because there is always plenty of stuff you do not want to show up for.

As Chris and Emily discuss in the video, this is the #1 way to save money on Google Ads. We have saved clients thousands of dollars by eliminating unnecessary words from campaigns.


2. Avoid Broad Match Keywords

The match type determines the level of specificity in searches that will trigger your ads. It’s the liberty Google can take to show your ads. You can be super restrictive with "exact" keyword or general with "broad match", which casts the widest net.

For example, if the keyword is "red shoes":

  • Exact match triggers the ad “red shoes” no more and no less for the ad to show.
  • Broad match would give no indication that we don’t want sneakers that are maroon. Google would consider words like "shoes" and "sneakers" as interchangeable so the ad could be triggered. "Red" and "maroon" are considered interchangeable and the order of the words can be interchangeable using broad match.

Use phrase match when you need a little flexibility in the word order and synonyms to keep the keywords more relevant to what you want to show up for. Broad match can be effective when combined with automated bidding strategies because artificial intelligence is refining the ads that are triggered. But in general, start saving money in your ad campaigns by avoiding broad match keywords. 

3. Well-Organized Keyword Groups

Ad groups help you organize keywords so that your ad triggers for most relevant keywords in that group. Having too much in them can be wasteful.
Searchers like to see the keyword they enter in the ad copy. When organize with small group of keywords makes your ad group more relevant to that search keyword.

For example, "home loans" and "mortgages" are the same thing but we always break them out into at least two ad groups. Aim for six or fewer keywords in each ad group to keep it super organized.

Keywords in each ad group should be relevant and related to each other. Problems occur when too many keywords are targeted to one ad because it causes too much variation of intent. A landing page cannot be relevant if you’re trying to be too many things to too many people.

4. Connect Analytics

Always link Google Analytics and Ads accounts; they are meant to talk to each other and share data. Having linked data, you can see interesting metrics and patterns.

Search queries and campaign data in analytics show how ads impact your website data and what people are experiencing on your website after clicking the ad. If you only work out of Google Ads, you’ll only get click data, but not the experience people have when they click through to your website.

Connecting the accounts allows more interesting segmentation and more analysis. It can tell Google Ads what conversions you value via analytics accounts and optimize for those conversions.

Connecting the accounts enables you to create an interesting and unique remarketing list. And that is valuable because you can bid aggressively on ads to show someone has been on your site before and is more likely to convert.

Viewing ad data in Analytics provides a more holistic view of advertising channels because you can compare spending on Google, Microsoft, and social and then optimize your ad spend across all advertising channels.

Save money on your Google or Microsoft ads

Identify these common mistakes and take the time to clean up your campaigns and hone in on the traffic that has the highest intent:

  • Ignored negative keyword opportunities
  • Ambiguous broad match keywords
  • Disorganized keyword groups
  • Isolated ads account

Want to discuss any of these or get advice on your Google Ads campaigns? Get in touch and we'll be happy to take a look.

Learn more about digital advertising:

Intro to Facebook Advertising

What is a Good Cost-Per-Click

Are Display Ads a Waste of Time?

Topics Advertising, Digital advertising, Google, Digital Marketing

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