How Your Landing Page Is Sabotaging Your Google Ads Success

You’ve read all the tutorials. You’ve spent countless hours poring over demographic data for targeting, crafting the perfect ad copy, and tweaking your campaign. In fact, you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do — but you’re still not seeing any success with Google Ads. Does this sound familiar? If so, the problem probably isn’t with your ad campaign. Instead, look to your landing page for answers.

Here are five ways your landing page could be sabotaging your success with Google Ads.

Your Landing Page Doesn’t Match Your Ad

I’m big on the concept of congruence, which is a fancy way of saying that your ad and your landing page need to make sense together. A landing page is your opportunity to expand upon the copy in your ad. Rather than thinking of your ad and your landing page as two separate pieces, think of your ad as the synopsis or introduction to the landing page on your site.

If you own a furniture store and you’re creating an ad for bunk beds, but your landing page goes to a category page for all beds, it’s frustrating for your customer. They want to click the ad and see exactly what they came to your site for. The more they have to poke around your website to find what they need, the more likely you are to lose them in the process.

It’s also important to note that Google also wants your landing page to match your ad — they give higher quality scores to landing pages with text that is relevant to the text in the ad.

This leads us to our next mistake…

Your Homepage Is Your Landing Page

Repeat after me, “My homepage is not a good landing page. My homepage is not a good landing page. My homepage is not a good landing page.”

I’ve reviewed countless Google Ads accounts that were making this mistake and it was costing them hundreds to even thousands per month. If you’re advertising a service, your ad should go directly to a landing page focusing on that particular service; if you’re advertising a special deal or promo code, your ad should go directly to a landing page explaining how customers can take advantage of it.

To further expand on a point from above, you simply can’t expect potential customers or clients to find what they need. People are busy, impatient, and they don’t want to do the work. Hold their hands and guide them to the actions you want them to take. Create unique landing pages customized to all of your ads. Is it a bit of work? Yes. Is it worth it? Also yes.

Visitors Are Met With a Wall of Text

There are some boilerplate landing pages out there that are heavy on text, with a “Buy Now” button placed between every other paragraph. These are old school, but you still see them around occasionally and even businesses that don’t use these templates often borrow from the concept.

People aren’t interested in reading a dissertation about your product, service, or offer. That’s not how you make a sale. Instead, use bullet points, headings, and short paragraphs. Incorporate images and graphics and have a good headline that is congruent with your ad copy.

Your copy should be clear and concise—your landing page isn’t the place to write bloated SEO-style text that uses a lot of words to say very little. Keep it snappy and include calls to action.

It Loads Slowly

This one is self-explanatory so there’s not much more to add here. Google hates slow sites and so do consumers. Audit your site speed and replace or eliminate any code or plugins that are causing lags. People aren’t going to sit around waiting for your site to load — they’ll just click the back button and try another site instead. This is especially true for mobile, which leads to…

Your Site Isn’t Optimized for Mobile

It’s 2020. Smartphones have been around for a long time now. There’s no excuse not to have a site that’s optimized for mobile. These days, there are people who do virtually all of their internet searches on their phones. If your site requires a lot of pinching, zooming in, scrolling to the side to read long lines of text that don’t fit on the screen, etc., not only are people not going to bother, it also sends a message that your business is behind the times.

Want More Help With Your Google Ads Campaigns?

Click here to grab a copy of our Ultimate Google Ads Checklist.

How Tech-Savvy Kids Are Wrecking the Effectiveness of Google Ad Campaigns

Are your Google ad campaigns being wasted on kids accidentally clicking ads on their mobile phones? If you’re targeting Google’s Display network, then there’s a good chance you’re wasting a lot of your ad budget. Learn how to put an end to this today.

If you were a kid during the ’80s or the early part of the ’90s, you likely didn’t realize that you were the last of your kind. Every generation of kids going forward will, outside of an apocalyptic event, never know a world not driven by technology. When creating your Google ad campaigns, think about how often you see kids as young as five or six absorbed in playing games or watching videos on a mobile device.

What does any of this have to do with your meticulously crafted Google Ads? If they end up running on the same apps on which those kids spend a lot of their time, plenty.

How Mobile Apps Throw Off Your Numbers

The Display Network provides the capability of allowing your ad to reach 93% of online users. That includes websites, videos, and apps. The potential created can be limitless, but so can the damage that can be wrought by your ad’s inclusion in a mobile application.

It makes sense for marketers to have their ads seen on websites relevant to their product, and that is where Google Ads can be of real benefit. The problem comes in when those same ads appear in the latest version of a child’s favorite mobile game.

The Fat Finger Problem

Think about your actions when playing a game on your phone or some other mobile device. The only ads you will click on are those appealing to your interests, and you likely close the rest. Sometimes your finger placement is wrong, and you end up accidentally clicking through an ad.

Those accidental clicks go up exponentially when children close out ads. All those accidental clicks fool you into thinking you are getting lots of interest in your product, thanks to strategic ad placement. That makes it hard to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and figure out where you may want to make changes.

How to Avoid Miscounting Random Clicks From Mobile Apps

The following steps outline how you can examine your campaigns and see where your ads are placed.

  1. Select a specific ad campaign from your Google Ads dashboard.
  2. Click “Placements” from the left navigation sidebar.
  3. Click “Where Ads Showed” from the top navigation.

You should see a listing of previous ad placements for that campaign. Enter “mobile” into the search box to narrow the results down to mobile apps.

Excluding Mobile Apps

The Google Ads platform gives you the ability to opt out of having your ads displayed within mobile applications. You can do this by:

  • Clicking the checkbox to the left of the placement, then
  • Clicking “Edit” and
  • Selecting “Exclude from ad group” or “Exclude from campaign.”
  • Next, click “Exclusions” from the top navigation to view all the placements you’re excluded from.
  • Click the blue edit button to add more to campaigns or ad groups.

A Matter of Money

Business owners can benefit the most from completely excluding their ads from all mobile applications. The extraneous clicks could end up costing them quite a bit, as they will not result in the desired conversion.

They can do this by adding “App categories > All Apps” to the Exclusions list within your Display network campaigns.

Pulling It All Together

Not all clicks lead to the promise of a conversion, especially unintentional ones done by kids on mobile apps. You can review your ad placements in the Google Ads platform by clicking on the “Placements” button in the left navigation sidebar.  This will show you the placements you’re targeting.  Click “Where Ads Showed” to see where else your ads were displayed and determine if you need to exclude any of those additional placements.

Most businesses should exclude “All Apps” to save yourself a lot of headaches and reporting issues.

Want more tips to improve your Google Ads campaigns? Get your free copy of our “Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.”

 

The Google Ads Budget Formula and a Metric to Help You Beat Your Competitors

Struggling to calculate your Google Ads budget? Learn a quick formula to use when you’re just getting started and also learn the most important metric to gain a competitive advantage.

Google Ads have helped many businesses thrive because of their power in generating leads and sales. The problem is that this power can be difficult to navigate, which has left some businesses on the sidelines wondering why they didn’t see results.

The topic of how much to spend is one that is tossed around among users and professionals, alike. The answer depends on how well you run your ad campaigns.

Budget for New Google Ads Campaigns

When you first use Google Ads, limit your budget. At this point, you do not know which keywords, ads or landing pages will be most effective, so you need to test different strategies. Because some of the money will be lost, you don’t want to waste too much.

The goal during this stage isn’t to make a huge profit. It’s to either make a small profit, break even or only lose some money. Your mindset should be that you’re investing in market research for a much more successful future with Google Ads.

Limiting your budget is a bit arbitrary. Simple math can give you a concrete amount for a budget.

Multiply the estimated cost per click of each keyword you want to test by a minimum of 100 to 200 clicks. This will ensure you’re giving each keyword a fair test. For instance, if you are testing 10 keywords with a cost per click of $1, you should consider having a budget of $1,000 to $2,000.

Growing Out of the Budget

You will know when you’re out of the testing phase when profits exceed your budget. This is the sign that tells you to abandon the budget.

Yes, you read that right — no budget.

It’s not about how much you spend on Google Ads — it’s about how much return on investment (ROI) you’re get from it.

Think about it for a minute. If you’re making $2, $3 or $4 off a $1 investment, why would you want to cap that? That’s success right there, and you might as well run with it.

Switching From CPC to EPC

Too many people focus on the cost per click of their keywords when they really should be paying attention to their earnings per click (EPC). If you have the highest earnings per click vs. your competitors, then you know you can outbid them to gain more clicks, more leads and more customers.

So, how do you calculate your EPC? All you have to do is multiply your conversion rate (the percentage of people who become paying customers) by your customer value (the amount of money you earn from that customer).

To understand this better, let’s say one customer generates $500 for you. If your conversion rate is 1%, then your earnings per click is $5. This is your golden number. Keywords with a CPC less than $5 will be profitable if your conversion rate remains 1%.

With this in mind, it’s important to note that increasing your EPC is the best way to compete in Google Ads.

The cost per click for your target keywords is not likely going to go down … In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll need to pay more per click in the coming months and years. That means your EPC is your biggest competitive advantage.

Conclusion

You know that spending a lot of money on Google Ads isn’t what produces results. Ad campaigns need to be run effectively and a budget needs to be used in a way that helps identify what works best in your market. Once that information reveals itself, removing the budget (if possible) and focusing on ROI is the best decision, moving forward.

And remember, the business with the highest EPC has the advantage in Google Ads.

Want more tips to improve your Google Ads campaigns?  Click here to grab a copy of our “Ultimate Google Ads Checklist.”

 

5 Tips for Writing Text Ads for Google AdWords

What an ad says is just as important as where it is displayed and who sees it. Learn five tips to write more compelling ads for your Google Ads campaigns.

If you’re going to run ads on the Google Ads network (until recently, called Google AdWords), you’re going to need to do a little copywriting. What an ad says is just as important as where it is displayed and who sees it.

A Google Ad has a headline, URL, and a small description. The headline is the first part of the ad that people see, and then the description is the hook. If you can convince someone what you have on your site is worthwhile with your attention grabbing headline and powerful copywriting, you can generate some relevant traffic and leads.

The following are some tips on how to write text ads that will boost your conversions when using Google Ads.

Tip #1: Keep It Relevant

Think about the user when copywriting. Let’s say you sell fresh roasted coffee beans. Your potential customer types in “roasted coffee beans on sale” into Google. What headline do you believe that person would most likely click on?

  1. All About Coffee Beans
  2. Premium Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans
  3. 10% Off Coffee Beans – $0 Shipping

If you chose C, you are correct.

It’s likely the Google user wasn’t just looking for coffee beans, but she was looking for coffee beans that are on sale, as in discounted. Always test the most relevant ad copy first, and then later test more creative variations.

Tip #2: What Makes You Unique

You’re likely competing with hundreds or even thousands of people selling the same products and/or services. You need to stand out in some way. Think back to when you wanted to start your business. What did you want to do different from others? That’s likely your unique selling point.

Tell prospective customers your unique selling point in the ad text. It must be short and to the point. Many people need help with this one because it can be hard to convey such a big passion and dream into one short statement.

Tip #3: Tell People What To Do Next

Your unique selling point in your text is what entices, and then you’ll need to tell them what you want them to do. This is called the call-to-action.

What’s the next step in your sales process?  Should your prospect call you? Go to your website to learn more?  Whatever it is, spell it out in your ads so it’s crystal clear.

Tip #4: Create Urgency

Another tactic that can work well with Google Ads is to create urgency in your ad copy. This can be time-based (ex. For a limited time only) or quantity based (ex. Only 20 seats left).  Ads with urgency encourage prospective customers to take action now versus procrastinate. It’s human nature to not want to miss out on a special deal.

Warning:  Be careful to not overuse urgency in your ads and make sure your ads are up-to-date. If prospective customers discover your ads aren’t accurate and the time-based or quantity-based deadlines weren’t real, then that will obviously hurt your reputation online.

Tip #5: Identify With the Audience

You know who is searching for the keywords you are using for your ads. If you don’t, you need to do some research on the people who are searching them. Your text ad should identify with the user.

Let’s take the example of the roasted coffee beans. It’s highly likely someone who is searching for “roasted coffee beans on sale” likes coffee or is buying it for a friend. You can also assume the person wants a good deal. Combine the two when writing the text ad.

You can simply write “Love coffee? Our specialty roasted coffee beans are 10% off with free shipping. Offer ends soon.”

You’ve identified with the audience, given them what they are looking for, let them know what the unique selling point is, and created a sense of urgency.

Conclusion

Writing text ads isn’t as difficult as it may seem when you first start. Start with the headline, which should be relevant to the keywords you’re targeting. As you write the text portion, be sure to include your unique selling point, call-to-action, sense of urgency, and identify with the audience.

It’s important to know that there is some trial and error when writing text ads. Even the best copywriters in the world don’t land the perfect ad the first time. Test two different ads at one time to see which one performs better, and then take the better performing ad and put it up against another ad variation. With little changes, you will eventually get to an ad that performs the best for the identified keywords.

Want more Google AdWords tips to improve your performance? Click here to grab a copy of our Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.

Take Our 2019 Budgets Survey, Win Up to $300!

How to spend your budget is one of the most important questions every marketer has to answer. Whether it’s a department budget, social media budget, AdWords budget or any other, how you allocate those resources is the difference between failure and success. Help us figure out where marketers are putting their money for 2019, and you’ll have the chance to enter to win one of three gifts card for $300, $100 and $100, respectively.

TL/DR: If you just want to know how to get the money, click here and take our survey to enter to win!

We’re working on the latest Target Marketing research, and I need your help to make it a success.

How to spend your budget is one of the most important questions every marketer has to answer. Whether it’s a department budget, social media budget, AdWords budget or any other, how you allocate those resources is the difference between failure and success.

That’s why our latest research is the most important to date: The 2019 Marketing Budgets Survey.

Our goal is to collect data on marketing budgets that will turn into a series of actionable budgeting reports on three key areas: Content Marketing, Google AdWords and Social Media, as well as some baseline budgets research. With your help, these reports will reveal how your peers are spending their budgets on these areas, and give you a solid baseline to build your own budget.

The survey is only a few pages, and should take about 15 minutes of your time. And if you do help us, you’ll have the chance to enter to win one of three gifts card for $300, $100 and $100 respectively.

Click here to take the survey, and you could win one of $500 in prizes! 

Thank you for your support in all of our research. I can’t wait to share the results with you in the next issue of Target Marketing and through this series of essential reports.

What Google’s New AdWords Phone Number and Address Targeting Mean for You

Just in time for the holidays, Google delivered a huge gift to business owners who haven’t been gathering email addresses from customers.

google adwordsJust in time for the holidays, Google delivered a huge gift to business owners who haven’t been gathering email addresses from customers.

Google AdWords now allows businesses to use their customers’ addresses and phone numbers to target them with ad campaigns. Previously, this perk of the AdWords Customer Match system only worked with email addresses. Now, businesses with years’ worth of customer information not including emails can get far more mileage from the AdWords platform.

You might be wondering, “Who doesn’t collect email addresses from customers?” While collecting email addresses seems like common sense nowadays, it wasn’t a big deal for businesses that focused on newspaper, radio and local TV advertising.

Additionally, brick-and-mortar businesses generally don’t collect email addresses as thoroughly as online retailers. It has become second nature for online shoppers to offer up their email addresses to get email coupons or complete online checkouts. People who routinely give their email addresses online might react differently when asked for their emails in person.

This change to Google’s Customer Match system helps level the playing field. Business owners who have loads of customer data, but not email addresses, can now launch remarketing campaigns that are often cheaper and more effective than standard pay-per-click ads.

What Is Remarketing?

Remarketing is one of the most powerful tools in the AdWords toolbox. Simply put, remarketing is when you target an advertisement at people who’ve already shown interest in your business. A remarketing audience could include people who’ve visited certain pages of your website (you’d compile these lists using HTML code snippets or with Google Analytics). Remarketing audiences could also include people who’ve placed items in virtual shopping cards or completed online purchases.

Why does remarketing matter? For starters, it allows you to personalize your campaigns toward certain groups of customers. You can pitch sales to shoppers who showed interest in specific goods and services, or you can rekindle interest in people who browsed your website. You can also use remarketing to reconnect with customers who’ve gone several months without contact. There are too many possibilities to list here.

More importantly, remarketing campaigns typically convert at a much higher rate than standard AdWords campaigns. Customers who see remarketing ads become less likely to click with each viewing; however, those who do click are twice as likely to convert! That’s according to Wordstream, a marketing software company that published its finding in spring 2017.

Thanks to the changes to the Customer Match system, small business owners don’t need to collect digital data from customers to reap the benefits of remarketing.

Are These Customer Match Changes Too Personal?

You don’t need to worry about Google using your customers’ information for its own money-making purposes. How Google uses this data is strictly laid out on its website.

For starters, only customers who’ve entered their names, phone numbers and addresses into Google accounts (such as Gmail) can be targeted with the Customer Match system. They won’t see your remarketing campaigns if they haven’t already willingly given their personal data to Google.

Boost Your Clicks With AdWords Sitelink Extensions

If your goal is acquisition, Google’s pay per click AdWords platform has proved for many to be a viable way to increase leads or sales for your business and, depending on your keyword and bids, can be cost-effective.

google adwordsIf your goal is acquisition, Google’s pay per click AdWords platform has proved for many to be a viable way to increase leads or sales for your business and, depending on your keyword and bids, can be cost-effective.

However, if you’re not in the PPC know, then you may not be aware that Google is now allowing up to eight sitelink extensions in paid search ads AND they are interactive, tappable scrolling buttons on mobile devices (vs. text links on desktop).

What does that mean for you?

Quite simply, Google is giving your more opportunity to catch your target audience’s attention with strong, relevant calls to action or other enticing keywords that are clickable; whereby, you can drive traffic to a targeted page.

These extra descriptives can help increase your clickthrough rate, and possibly conversion rate.

Now, some marketers don’t take advantage of this. But I say if you don’t, you’re leaving opportunity on the table!

What You Should Know

  • Including a Sitelink in Your Ad. When you’re creating a new ad, you’ll see prompts to add a new sitelink extension. If you have an existing campaign, but you didn’t take advantage of this feature, you can go back and add it under “All Campaigns,” select the ad you’d like to add the sitelink to, then select “+Extensions” and “+New Sitelink.”
  • Types of Extensions. Here are some top extensions to help drive traffic or clicks:
    • Teasers and Call-Outs. This would be a unique selling proposition that makes you stand out from your competition. Some may include call outs like “free shipping,” “100% guaranteed,” “special offer,”’ “free report” and similar. These sitelinks would then link to a promotional page that speaks more to the teaser and has a goal of getting a conversion.

This would be your physical address if you’re driving traffic to a physical location. This can then link to a directions/map page on your website.

  • Phone Number. This would be if you have the Google “click to call” feature driving traffic to a phone number.
  • Testimonials or Reviews. Some advertisers would put a strong excerpt from a testimonial page or “5 stars” review here, then link to the full reviews page.
  • Call to Action. Another popular tactic is to include calls to action that may answer a question the prospect is looking for, or help them find a solution. Such as “call now,” “get a quote,” “request appointment,” “order now,” “customer favorites,” “top sellers,” “special trial offer,” “on sale now,” etc.
  • Sale and Promotion Extensions. Where you can actually have things like “25% off your entire order” or “last chance sale,” where you can even enter the dates the sale is running in the ad!
  • Combining Lead-gen and Sale in One Ad. Using sitelinks can be a great way to kill two birds with one stone. In your one ad, you can have different sitelinks for different goals. One sitelink term may say something like “free report” and the other may say “top sellers.” One links to a squeeze page to collect an email address (lead generation). The other goes to a sales page to a product going directly for a sale.

Tracking your sitelink performance is easy. When in your AdWords dashboard, just look for clickthrough rate performance under “Acquisition,” “All Traffic,” “Ad Words” and “Sitelinks.” It’s that easy.

According to Google, the mere presence of sitelink extensions may boost clickthrough rate on average by 10 to 20 percent, and for branded terms, 20 to 50 percent.

So what are you waiting for?!

As part of your online marketing mix, if you have a percentage of your time and budget allocated to pay per click (PPC), then testing sitelink extensions in your ad is a MUST.

Good luck.

6 Tips for a Successful Remarketing Campaign

Who has a better chance of becoming a paying customer — a random user who is searching for relevant goods and services, or someone who was one click away from actually making a purchase on your website? The answer to this question is why remarketing is such a powerful tool in Google AdWords.

Who has a better chance of becoming a paying customer — a random user who is searching for relevant goods and services, or someone who was one click away from actually making a purchase on your website? The answer to this question is why remarketing is such a powerful tool in Google AdWords.

Your chances of scoring conversions (and improving your ROI) rises significantly among shoppers who’ve already confirmed their interests in your business.

Setting up remarketing campaigns is easy and fairly straightforward. But like any other aspect of online advertising, you won’t get the most from remarketing unless you pay close attention to the details. Read on for six tips for boosting the success of your remarketing campaigns.

1. Start with Top-Performing Campaigns

A full-scale plunge into remarketing could significantly increase your AdWords costs. For the best ROI while minimizing cost increases, consider focusing your remarketing efforts on your top-performing campaigns.

This is the lowest hanging fruit because you know your offer works and it’s just a matter of squeezing more conversions out of the campaign. Then, once you gain more experience, expand to other campaigns in your account.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Bid Aggressively

A Wordstream study found that, although remarketing click-through rates declined over time, conversion rates nearly doubled among shoppers who viewed ads twice! That’s a huge bump, and it’s worth bidding more than what you’d pay for typical ad placements.

Remember, with remarketing you’re showing your ads to prospects who already expressed interest in your product or service.  This tends to lead to higher conversion rates and lower cost per sale.

Of course, not all website visitors should be treated equally. Prioritize and bid more aggressively for the visitors who made it further down the sales funnel.  For example, a visitor who made it to the order form and then left is more likely to convert via remarketing than a visitor who left the site after reading just one page.

3. Make Remarketing Campaigns for Known Customers

Remarketing is great for connecting with interested shoppers, but don’t forget about actual customers. You can specifically target people who’ve made purchases or requested more information. Do this with tailor-made campaigns that advertise new goods and services.

Remarketing is also a great way to inform your known customers about sales, discounts and other special offers. These campaigns are more likely to resonate with people who’ve already built up trust in your business.

4. Take Advantage of Broad Keywords

Broad-match terms are often viewed as the kryptonite of keyword lists. They’re vague and nonspecific. They’ll get you a ton of traffic for cheap, but a good chunk of that traffic won’t be from interested shoppers.

Unless it’s a remarketing campaign!

Broad-match keywords are fantastic with remarketing, because you’re only targeting interested shoppers. For example, if you owned a house painting business, normally you wouldn’t want to use “paint” as a keyword because you’d get too much irrelevant traffic from other searches. (The top related searches for “paint” on Google include “paint games,” “paint Microsoft” and “paint app.”)

However, if you’re targeting people who’ve already shown interest in your business, then you don’t need to worry so much about them finding you again with a paint-related search — even if it’s not entirely relevant.

Taking advantage of cheaper broad-match keywords can re-engage shoppers more quickly and at reduced costs.

5. Offer Special Discounts to Shopping Cart Bouncers

There are all kinds of reasons why people leave websites without buying what’s in their shopping carts. Sometimes, people just get busy or distracted. Other times, they may have second thoughts. Whatever the reason, these folks were, at one point, just a quick checkout away from becoming paying customers.

Thanks to remarketing, you can target ads specifically toward shoppers who bailed from your shopping cart page. Why not incentivize them to finish what they started by offering them an attractive coupon?

6. Don’t Pester Shoppers

Remarketing is a great tool for engaging with interested shoppers, but put yourself in the consumer’s perspective. What do you feel when you’re bombarded with the same ads either online or on TV? Chances are, you don’t like it. Neither does your advertising audience.

Fortunately, you can avoid this by adjusting the duration and frequency capping settings within your remarketing campaigns. The duration is how long your ads follow each shopper. With frequency capping, you can set how many times a person sees your remarketing ads per day or per week or per month.

Conclusion

Remarketing is a powerful tool for putting your ads in front of shoppers who you already know are interested in what you’re selling. To be able to communicate directly with these potential customers is a huge advantage, and that’s reflected by generally higher CTRs and conversion rates among remarketing campaigns.

That said, remarketing is not guaranteed to work without the right optimization techniques, which we’ve reviewed in this post. Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way toward reconnecting with shoppers who are already close to becoming your customers.

Want more tips to improve your Google AdWords performance?  Click here to get a copy of our Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.

PPC: 8 Ways to Avoid Busting Your Advertising Budget

AdWords is a powerful search engine marketing platform that instantly connects businesses with an ocean of potential customers. But oceans are wild and unpredictable — turn your back, and you might get swept away. The same thing can happen to your AdWords budgets if you’re not careful.

tight budget
PPC spending can get awfully fat if you don’t reign it in.

AdWords is a powerful search engine marketing platform that instantly connects businesses with an ocean of potential customers. But oceans are wild and unpredictable — turn your back, and you might get swept away. The same thing can happen to your AdWords PPC budgets if you’re not careful.

If you just started using Google AdWords, then you might be overwhelmed by how quickly you blow through your advertising budgets. You might also be frustrated if this tsunami of traffic isn’t bringing you any actual customers. Sure, launching an AdWords campaign is significantly easier (and faster) than getting organic visitors through traditional SEO strategies, but what’s the point if you’re just throwing money away?

Worry not. Here, we’ll review eight ways to avoid busting your advertising budget with AdWords and other pay-per-click (PPC) platforms. Follow these tips, and suddenly the rough waters of online advertising become far less treacherous.

1. Bid High, Budget Low

The first step toward not blowing through your budget is to keep your budgets low. Yes, you might still spend money inefficiently at first. But just because you can afford to spend $100 per day doesn’t mean you should. Start with a small daily budget until you know what you’re doing.

On the other hand, don’t hesitate to bid high on keywords. Your fledgling campaigns will gain traction more quickly, and you’ll get better click-through rates (and higher quality scores) by driving traffic from your best keywords. With your budgets turned down low, this is a great strategy for launching campaigns on the right note.

2. Avoid Accelerated Delivery

When setting the daily budgets for new campaigns, you’ll have the option to choose Standard or Accelerated ad delivery. Standard is the default option; stick with that.

The Standard delivery option is designed to stagger your ads and expend your budget throughout the entire day. Meanwhile, Accelerated delivery will show your ads until your budget runs dry. By staggering your ad delivery throughout the day, you’ll eventually learn which times are most worthwhile to be advertising. You’re also less likely to burn through your entire budget in the early morning hours when few people actually buy.

3. Use Phrase- and Exact-Match Keywords

Only use phrase- and exact-match keywords when building your primary campaigns. Exact-match keywords will only display your ad when people search for that exact keyword. Phrase-match keywords offer slightly more flexibility — they’ll display your ads when people search for phrases containing your keyword.

Now, I’m not saying you should never use broad-match, but you need to be extremely careful. …

4. Create Separate Broad-Match Campaigns

We just talked about the importance of phrase- and exact-match keywords, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid broad-match keywords entirely. Broad-match keywords result in ads being shown whenever your keywords appear in any order within a search term. For example, if your broad-match keyword is “boys shirts,” and someone searches for “boys uniform shirts,” that person might see your ad. And unless your business happens to specialize in uniforms, that person’s click would be a waste of money.

However, what you can do is start a campaign with a small daily budget and only broad-match keywords. Eventually, you can review your search terms report to see all kinds of search phrases people used to trigger your ads. Some of those keyword terms will likely be irrelevant to your needs — but some might actually be unique or long-tailed keyword terms you hadn’t previously considered. This is how you can “fish” for more keywords, but limit your exposure by using a separate low daily budget campaign.

5. Grow a Negative Keyword List

Let’s go back to that “boys shirts” example. If your business doesn’t sell uniforms, why risk wasting money on that “boys uniform shirts” click? Add the words “uniform” and “uniforms” to your negative keyword list, and your ads will never be shown in response to searches for uniforms.

You should always build out negative keyword lists when launching new campaigns. Then, as you collect data about the exact search terms people use to trigger your ads, you can add to those lists with poorly converting keywords. You can also add terms such as “how to,” “what is” or “reviews” — terms people might use when they’re looking to do research, not make purchases.

6. Bid at the Keyword Level

Adjust your bids on individual keywords, not entire ad groups. Every keyword will have it’s own unique performance and will require it’s own unique bid.

You’ll need higher bids on your most competitive keywords, but you can often get cheaper traffic as you find more unique keyword terms. Adjust your bids accordingly and you can attract more visitors without spending more money.

7. Write Accurate PPC Ads

It’s tempting to say whatever it takes to get clicks on your ad, but a say-anything approach is problematic. For starters, Google can suspend ads (and even lock down campaigns) for dishonest advertising. In addition, people who click on your ads are more likely to bounce from your website if your landing pages don’t meet their expectations. In other words, it pays for your PPC ads to accurately (and honestly) represent what you’re actually offering.

Don’t even try to toe the line between reality and exaggeration. Keep it real and enjoy the stronger conversion rates.

8. Use Remarketing

The Remarketing feature of AdWords displays your ads to people who’ve already visited your website. That means you can limit your ads to only display if the person searching has already visited your website.

If you knew the prospect had already visited your website, then wouldn’t you want to increase your bids to ensure she saw and clicked on your ad versus your competitors? What if you knew that person had already added a product to their shopping cart or viewed a key page in your sales funnel? Chances are you could show a more compelling ad to get that person back to your website to complete the sale.

Conclusion

In the time needed to start a campaign — just a few minutes, if you already have an active account — AdWords can bring waves of visitors to your website. It’s up to you though to not get overwhelmed. Make every dollar you spend on advertising count by following the tips above. Any form of PPC marketing will quickly turn into a colossal waste of money if not properly done. Take the right steps, though, and reaching new customers will have never been easier.

Want more tips to improve your Google AdWords performance? Click here to grab your copy of our Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.

6 Metrics to Consider When Choosing Your Target Keywords

Consider all the advantages of thorough keyword analysis. Online marketers who are well-versed in research techniques can reach more customers while also finding entirely new audiences. They can identify trends and predict changes in their markets. They can audit their SEO strategies and stay in front of the competition.

SEO KeywordsKeywords are the bridge between you and your customers — and in search engine marketing, the ability to pinpoint great keywords can be the difference between success and failure.

Consider all the advantages of thorough keyword analysis. Online marketers who are well-versed in research techniques can reach more customers while also finding entirely new audiences. They can identify trends and predict changes in their markets. They can audit their SEO strategies and stay in front of the competition. This can’t happen without knowing your best keywords.

Here we’ll review six metrics to consider when researching your keywords. Brainstorming is always a good first step, but it’s what you do with your keyword data that can take your SEO to the next level.

Metric No. 1: Search Volume

Gauging the popularity of various keyword terms is a great way to start your research. Obviously, if more people search for a keyword term, then you’re more likely to get visitors to your website by achieving high rankings for that query. Granted, earning high rankings is difficult on more popular keywords, but search volume is still a fundamental element of keyword research.

To determine search volume, use the Google Keyword Planner found within the AdWords interface. Check out the 12-month volume graph that appears with your keyword to see how volume fluctuates throughout the year. Also, remember to factor in the search volumes of closely matched keywords.

Metric No. 2: Search Volume Trends

Do search volumes for certain keywords change over time? This is good to know, especially when you feel like you’re suddenly underperforming for certain search queries. You can glimpse monthly keyword trends in the Google Keyword Planner, or you can review your website’s analytics data to see how traffic from various search queries has fluctuated over the years.

Not all keywords have significant upward or downward trends, but many do — especially given the seasonal nature of business. Home improvement keywords may peak in the spring and summer, then decline in the winter. Holiday keywords might have short peaks, but otherwise be flat. New cars, computers and other merchandise often debut with high search volumes that taper off over several months.

Metric No. 3: Competition in Organic Searches

A good way to boost your SEO more quickly is to identify relevant keywords with less competition. This can be easier said than done, especially in popular business verticals where the paths seem pretty well-travelled.

To check a keyword’s organic competition, use a service such as the Moz Keyword Difficulty percentage. Or, if you don’t want to start an account with another company, you can also use the AdWords competition metric to see how contested a keyword is in the paid results — it’s not the same, but it will give you a ballpark idea of what you’re up against.