Paid search tips to help cut wasted spend and improve campaign performance
By: Ben Lippert, Senior Paid Media at SoMe
Utilizing a less is more mindset when developing and managing your Paid Search campaigns will undoubtedly improve your campaign performance and help make your job easier. It comes down to being more selective with your keywords and identifying additional ways to target your ideal audience. You don’t have to bid on hundreds of keywords to have an effective campaign, you just have to bid on the right keywords.
Ben Lippert, Senior Paid Media team member at SoMe, is obsessed with reducing wasted click costs.
“I used to think you had to bid on every variation of a keyword with all sorts of match types to be the most effective. Well, Google Ads has evolved drastically over the years, and fortunately, you don’t need to do that anymore.”
In fact, one of the automated campaign recommendations that Ben frequently sees Google bots offer is eliminating redundant keywords – and he loves this.
One powerful tactic that helps eliminate redundancy when used thoughtfully, is the use of broad match modified keywords. That simple plus sign before the keyword is clutch in covering all possible query variables. You can then review the search terms report to add negative keywords as needed, but you should have fewer “bad” searches triggering your ads as long as your target keywords are not too broad e.g. +flowers. The artful part of this process is understanding where a keyword falls – not too wide, not too narrow. As with any approach, this is where continued observation of performance will help you refine and improve your approach. Another common myth that Ben wants to dispel is the need to bid on a wide range of keyword themes in order to run an effective paid search campaign.
“I couldn’t have imagined bidding on a single keyword. What kind of paid search specialist would I be if I had merely one keyword in a campaign? Well, maybe a pretty smart one.”
That leads to Ben’s second recommendation.
Narrow your keyword list.
Don’t just stop at pausing redundant keywords – rather, look for keywords that are consuming a lot of budget and not driving results. Once you have identified those budget hogging keywords, review the search terms report for each keyword and see if you can replace them with long-tail versions that have driven conversions in the last 30-90 days. Although it may seem counterintuitive, It’s perfectly fine to only bid on a couple keywords per campaign. If your daily budget for a campaign is, say, $50, and your average CPC for top of page position is $5, well, then you can only get 10 clicks per day. You might be better off in this situation to eliminate keywords that don’t convert so that your limited budget can be allocated to your converting keywords.
Google Ads is constantly evolving and introducing new tools. One exciting thing that has been incorporated into paid search in recent years is audience integration. No longer is your paid search campaign targeting limited to the exact keywords people type in the search box, you can now also optimize campaigns so that only the users who are ready to buy or have specific interests will see your ads—yet another fantastic way to cut potentially worthless ad clicks and maximize your precious daily budget.
Ben is consistently utilizing the Audiences tab to go beyond the keyword.
“Whether you are preparing to launch a brand new campaign or you have a historic campaign that is performing well, take a look at the Audiences tab, where you will find a ton of options to choose from. Find several audiences that match your ideal customer and overlay (observe) how those audiences perform.”
The nice thing about overlaying audiences is that you can gather data without any impact to your campaigns. Once you have enough information you can decide to increase or decrease your bid on them, or perhaps exclude them completely. And don’t forget about demographic targeting in your paid search campaigns. A simple example of this would be if you have a campaign for women’s dress shoes. If your ad copy is geared towards the direct consumer (not the boyfriend/husband looking for gift ideas) it would make sense to exclude men. In this situation, I would create two campaigns: Campaign A targeting women searching for dress shoes and Campaign B targeting men who are shopping for dress shoes for their significant others. Write the ad copy to speak to the audience.
Don’t forget about campaign structure.
This is an important though often overlooked part of Paid Search campaign setup and management.
“You want to organize campaign structures to make management of campaigns and analysis of performance as simple as possible. There are many ways you can simplify your account structure to not only make your life as a digital marketer easier, you can improve results, too!”
Pretend your business has three main products or product categories. You should absolutely have a separate campaign for each. The main reason is because it allows you to allocate budgets to each product individually. If you start to see that Product A is not performing so well, you can outright pause that campaign or you can reallocate budget from Product A to Product B.