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09 February 2016

Mastering Digital – Reducing Your AdWords Spend

Posted By: AIB Business

In our latest “Mastering Digital” article, Antonie Geerts (Managing Director, Seditio Digital Consultancy & Training) looks at how you can optimise your Google AdWords campaigns to reduce spend and improve your return on investment.

Online advertising – it can be a very effective way of getting more business at a set cost per acquisition, but if done incorrectly it can actually be a lot more expensive than traditional advertising. In this article I want to share some cost-saving tips for your AdWords campaigns as there are a lot of things you can fine-tune to make a difference.

First we need to calculate how much we are willing to spend per ad click and per acquisition. For example, if your product costs €50 and the margin on the product is €10 then you’ll want your cost per acquisition to be well under €10. 

The problem that many advertisers face is overspending! So where are they overspending?

  1. Cost per Conversion (CPC)
  2. Low Quality Scores
  3. Advertising on Mobile Apps

Let’s have a look at these three items and see how we can identify and fix the inherent issues.

Cost per Conversion

The CPC is the amount of money you spend to get a sale. It’s important that the cost is not going to be higher than the margin you can make (or even the price of the product). The problem sometimes lies with using Dynamic Advertising. Dynamic Advertising automatically creates ads for your products but some products might be cheap and others might be expensive while retaining the same bidding strategy.

To identify what your Cost Per Conversion is, login to Google AdWords and open the campaign.

Within the Ad Group section, you will notice the “Cost / conv.” row. This is where the cost per conversion is measured.

Now make sure that this cost is less than the margin on your product in the Ad Group and, if the Cost/Conv. is 0.00, you haven’t setup Conversion Tracking correctly.

Low Quality Scores

The Quality Score looks at the relevancy of the Ad, the use of the keyword and the performance of the landing page. If you are targeting a keyword like “Buy red shoes” and your landing page is about “Blue Shoes”, then your ad is only partially relevant and your landing page won’t match the search/sales intent of potential customers who want to buy red shoes.  

In order to see the Quality Score, you might need to enable it first by going to the “Keywords” tab in Adwords and then selecting “Columns >> Modify columns >> Attributes” and adding “Qual. score” to the column list.

After you enable the quality score you can see how relevant your ads are in combination with the landing pages and keywords. The minimum target you should aim for is 7/10. Once identified, you can also hover over the “Status” box to get a bit more detail about the keyword quality.

Advertising on Mobile Apps

Many mobile game publishers make money through advertisements, and this allows advertising platforms like Google and Facebook to also make a lot of money by serving these ads. The likes of Google make so much money through mobile advertising that they make it extra difficult to disable mobile app targeting. To see if you are targeting mobile apps, you can go to your Display Advertising Campaign, select “Display Network” and then go to “Placements”. You will see the list of websites that have been targeted but also the mobile apps.

The easiest way to disable all mobile apps is by adding an exclusion. Press the big red “Targeting” button and select “Campaign exclusions >> Placements”. Then just add in the line:


From this moment onwards, the mobile apps will be one worry less in your AdWords optimisation process.

We have looked at three of the big things that can increase AdWords spend dramatically and unnecessarily, but of course there is a lot more to be done to  get a campaign fully optimised . It is always worth reviewing your AdWords performance from time to time and realigning it with your digital strategy.

Written by: Antonie Geerts, Managing Director, Seditio Digital Consultancy & Training

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