Google Ads: How To Reduce Wasted Spend & Improve Performance

Discover how to reduce wasted ad spend and improve the performance of your campaigns with top tips from our UK Search Awards shortlisted experts.

As the old saying goes, you need to spend money to make money. According to a study by market research specialists Nielsen, the average Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) across all industries in 2019 was 2.87:1. So, this means that for every £1 spent on advertising, the average company made £2.87 in return!

In times of crisis it can be overtly appealing to batten down the hatches and reduce all spend from your marketing channels. However, as we rapidly shift towards a digital environment, you could be missing out on opportunities to generate additional revenue from Google Ads.

For those that can afford to spend with Google Ads during these times, read on to learn how to reduce wasted ad spend and improve the performance of your campaigns with top tips from our UK Search Awards shortlisted experts.

Focus on conversions, not clicks

Whilst for brand awareness purposes clicks and impressions can be good metrics to measure performance, they should not be your priority focus.

Instead, we recommend focusing your Google Ads reporting around four key metrics that will help you gather a greater understanding of how you can reduce wasted ad spend from your Google Ad campaigns:

  • Conversions – the number of tracked enquiries, whether that be from calls, form submissions or purchases
  • Conversion rate – the percentage of people that convert after clicking on your ads.
  • Cost per conversion – the cost it takes to generate one enquiry / purchase.
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) – this will be dictated by how much an enquiry / purchase is worth for your business. For example, if an enquiry as an avg. value of £3, and your ad spend was £1, you ROAS would be 3:1.

Focusing on these four metrics will transform not only how your measure the success of your Google Ads campaigns, but also how you build campaigns moving forward.

For example; if a particular keyword has only generated one enquiry from over 500 clicks, we could assume one of two things in this scenario:

  1. The search term you are targeting is not relevant to what you are offering visitors and should be paused.
  2. Your website’s landing page is not satisfying the needs of the searcher.

Assuming a cost per click of £1.50, simply pausing this keyword could save your business around £750 without any detrimental impact on your conversions.

This highlights the importance of closely monitoring your keywords to ensure that they are performing to achieve your business objectives.

Optimise your landing pages

As we’ve mentioned previously, your website’s landing page may not be satisfying the needs of your visitors.

Ensuring the quality of your landing page is not only vital to improving the effectiveness of your Google Ads targeting, but also to the conversion process.

For example, if a customer was looking for a red bike, but your landing page was only offering blue ones, they are unlikely to convert – covering your bases and ensuring an online experience that delights your potential customers will go a long way towards achieving Google Ads success.

When it comes to optimising your landing pages, it’s incredibly important to have a firm understanding of how your visitors are interacting with your content. This is where heat mapping tools such as Crazy Egg and Hotjar come in.

Heat map platforms allow you to monitor exactly how your customers interact with a given page; where they click, where they don’t click, and how far they scroll are all tracked, and can provide you with valuable insight in to how to improve the performance of your landing pages.

For example, if you find visitors are not scrolling far enough to reach the information you need them to interact with, you could consider pushing this further up the page, or make it more accessible for visitors to quickly navigate to the content they are looking for with anchor links.

When creating landing pages for Google Ads, there are a number of best practices we recommend your business follows:

  • Ensure the title of the page links to the headline of your advertising – this will not only help your advertising’s quality scores, but create a point of connection that keeps your visitors on your site for longer.
  • Use calls to action – some customers may not know what the next step should be in continuing their journey on your landing page, make it as clear as possible through calls to action.
  • Create dedicated landing pages for each ad group – ensure your landing pages are as relevant as possible by creating dedicated pages for each keyword grouping. In a realistic world this won’t always be possible, so make sure to have a specific landing pager per campaign at a minimum.
  • Keep the page clean and easy to read – don’t overload your visitors with information. Keep it short and sweet and give them exactly what they are looking for.
  • Give your customers options in how they convert – not all of your customers will want to fill in a form to get in touch with your business, ensure that an email address and phone number are available on your landing pages to make it as easy as possible for customers to contact your business.
  • Be mobile friendly – whilst not as prevalent for every industry, being more mobile-first will make a huge difference in your Google Ads’ conversion rates. Nearly 60% of searches conducted within a year are done so via a mobile device, if you are not tailoring your content to this audience, you could be potentially losing out on thousands in missed opportunity.

To learn more about designing landing pages that convert – have a chat with our expert team.

Get your match type right

Keyword match types allow your business to control when your advertising shows for a particular search term.

There are four keyword match types that can be used to either broaden or tighten your campaign’s targeting, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Here’s what each one means:

Broad match – the default match type. A keyword that has been set to broad match will show if the keywords are used in the search, regardless of the order. Whilst this can be useful for building brand awareness, broad match keywords can lead to quickly exhausted budgets as your keywords are seen more frequently, and not always for relevant searches.

Broad match modifier – similar to broad match, except that the broad match modifier option only shows ads in searches including the words you have designated with a + sign or close variations of them. For example, you could choose a broad match modifier such as ‘marketing +agency’ to ensure every search term your ad shows for includes the word ‘agency’.

Phrase match – shows for searches that match a phrase, or are close variations of that phrase. This leads to stronger targeting, and provides more control that may be afforded from solely using broad match. To add a phrase match keyword, simply add  ” to either side of your keyword.

Exact match – shows your ad on searches that match the exact term or are close variations of that exact term. This leads to even stronger targeting, however, you may see a drop in the number of clicks and impressions your Google Ads campaign receives. To add an exact match keyword, add [ to either side of your keyword.

In our experience, we recommend utilising phrase and exact match for the majority of your keyword targeting, especially if your target search terms could have multiple interpretations for different industries.

Ensure you are tracking EVERYTHING

How can you be sure on the success of your Google Ads performance if you are not accurately tracking how visitors interact with your website once they’ve clicked on your ad?

This is a common initial issue for a number of businesses we support, and making one or two small changes to your website tracking can have massive impacts on how you judge the performance of your campaigns.

Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is an all-in-one platform to store all of your website tracking in one easy to use place. Within Google Tag Manager you can easily create Google Ads tracking to monitor all types of enquiries, including form submissions, content downloads and product purchases.

Learn more about Google Tag Manager

Google Analytics Goals

Goals allow your business to measure how well your website achieves its target objectives, recording the performance of your traffic channels in achieving them. To ensure that you are accurately measuring the performance of your campaigns, you can directly import your goals in to Google Ads to ensure comprehensive tracking.

Learn more about Google Analytics goals

Trial Google’s automated bid strategies

To better achieve your marketing objectives in Google Ads, the platform now provides a number of automated bid strategies which can help your business to better utilise its ad budget.

Google offers six different automated bid strategies to achieve your goals:

  1. Maximise Clicks – automatically sets your bids to help get as many clicks as possible within your budget.
  2. Target Impression Share – automatically sets bids with the goal of showing your ad on the absolute top of the page, on the top of the page or anywhere on the page of Google search results.
  3. Target CPA – automatically sets bids to help get as many conversions as possible at the target cost per action (CPA) that you set.
  4. Target ROAS – automatically sets bids to help to get as much conversion value as possible at the target return on ad spend (ROAS) that you set.
  5. Maximise Conversions – automatically sets bids to help you get the most conversions for your campaign while spending your budget.
  6. Maximise Conversion Value – automatically sets bids to help you get the most conversion value for your campaign while spending your budget.

With the aim of optimising your budgets and improving enquiries, we would advocate that your business uses the Maximise Conversions bid strategy. However, you will first need to ensure that your website is currently setup to track conversions, whether that be through Google Tag Manager or Google Analytics.

Learn more about how Maximise Conversions works.

Free Google Ads audit

To help your business reduce its wasted ad spend and improve the conversions of your campaigns, we are offering a free Google Ads audit.

Our UK Search Awards shortlisted experts are hand to provide you with valuable insights to help your business get more from Google Ads.

Learn more