Whether you are just getting started or use Google Ads extensively, there are probably some great recommendations for improved performance that you haven’t implemented. Sometimes this is because the long list of recommendations provided by Google’s account strategists can be overwhelming or even inapplicable.

More often, we see that recommendations are too generic and it can require additional research to understand the enhancements that improve results for your specific business goals. These goals might include increased traffic, more leads via online applications, more online store sales, more revenue per transaction or any combination of these.

Here are a few of Arcalea’s recommendations to save on your Google Ads campaigns this year.

Use Geo-targeting

Geo-targeting is an effective advertising strategy that involves reaching out to users from a specific geographic area. You can display the ad to people from a certain country, state, or city. Geo-targeting can be particularly effective for brands that are seeking to create more personalized ad experiences, avoid competing with national brands, or better capture local traffic. Using location exclusions is helpful to prevent showing ads in a particular area inside a larger (included) location, and bid adjustments allow for the increase of bids for areas where your success has been proven in the past.

Segment by devices

As mobile traffic overtakes desktop traffic, device targeting will become a crucial part of any strategy. While mobile ad bids were once more affordable, in recent years it has come to reflect the popularity of mobile search. Monitoring the preferred device of your audience can help you better determine how much to invest in device segmentation. In some cases, it might be that tablet conversions cost far more than desktop or mobile visits. In such cases, use the maximum negative bid adjustment -90% to greatly reduce impressions on tablets, limiting this challenge.

Improve your landing pages

The better your landing page, the better your quality score, which in turn, will save you money. If your landing page content does not match benefits in your Google Ad copy, your ads may not show up at all. Here’s Google’s checklist of how to improve your landing pages:

  • Offer relevant, useful, and original content – As mentioned it’s important for your landing page to live up to the promises of your ad text. If a user is looking for a specific product, make sure that’s what they find. And if the use wants several options to choose from, have a general page ready.
  • Promote transparency and foster trustworthiness on your site – Be honest about what your brand does and the services it provides. If you intend on collecting user information such as an email address, be upfront about how it will be used. Make sure to specifically highlight any sponsored advertising on your site.
  • Make mobile and computer navigation easy – Users should be able to find what they’re looking for on the website in a matter of seconds, so don’t bury content under mountains of text, pop up ads, or confusing links. Since most users are on mobile these days, it’s vital that you optimize for smartphones and tablets.
  • Decrease your landing page load time and improve speed – Users don’t enjoy waiting more than ten seconds for a page to load and they may just click on another ad. Google AMP is also an effective solution for making pages load instantly.
  • Consider using Google Optimize to do A/B landing page tests or use one of the many third-party landing page testing providers to do the same.

To learn more about Google’s recommendations, visit their “Measure Results” page in the Google Ads Help Center.

Test different versions of ads

One of the best ways to optimize your ads is to A/B test different versions of ad copy.

In Google Ads, go into one of your campaigns and set up two ads. Instead of just changing one element, change the headline, first line, and second line. You may even want to experiment with ad extensions. The only thing you’ll want constant is the landing page. Otherwise, it will be difficult to measure the difference in conversions.

Once both ads are ready to be tested, you’ll need to actually run them. Make sure you test them at the exact same time for a fair comparison.

As you start to see results, you’ll want to analyze the actual efficacy of the second ad. One way to do this is through My Split Tester. Simply include the number of visits and conversions for each ad.  You’ll then see the respective conversion rates as well as links. The form will then interpret which ad has a better chance of generating conversions.

Experiment with a personalized copy (for different cities or personas), different ways of phrasing the headline, or highlighting different benefits. With just a few word changes, you may end up saving hundreds or thousands in ad spend.

If your account has access to the Responsive Search Ad beta, take advantage of it. This method of ad construction takes 2 to 3 headlines out of a maximum 15 you write along with 1 to 2 description lines out of a maximum 4 you provide to dynamically create ads, switching the order of these ad components and using machine learning to optimize these ads in a sophisticated A/B/C/D etc. testing algorithm.

Experiment with ad extensions

Some ad results benefit from additional contextual information. For example, products for sale can benefit from highlighting their price. Restaurants can display their location or phone number for curious customers.

Ad extensions are effective at increasing awareness of the benefits of your advertised product or service, as well as increasing the conversions and click-through rate.

Examples of ad extensions include:

  • Sitelink extensions – Lists additional pages on the website beside the landing page link.
  • Location extensions – Highlights the business address. Can also show other locations close to the user’s area.
  • Callout extensions – Highlights unique offerings such as free shipping or 24-hour service.
  • Message extensions – Allow users to send text messages through a tap of a button.
  • Structured snippet extensions – Highlight specific attributes of a product or service (e.g., destinations, amenities, models, neighborhoods, etc.)
  • Price extensions – Lists the prices of various offerings (such as haircut options for a salon).
  • App extensions – Links to a mobile or tablet app from a text ad.

Using the best extensions for your ad can make it stand out against other competitors advertising a similar product. You can mix and max extensions at various levels of your Google Ads campaigns, up to the Account level. You can also pick just the extensions that make sense for a particular offering.

Avoid relying on broad matches

Broad match allows marketers to run ads on “relevant variations” of your keywords, even when they’re not part of your keyword list. While broad matches can help generate more traffic, especially when you’re unsure of which keywords to use, broad match keywords can result in lower Quality Score.

If you need to use broad match keywords, consider using modifiers to gain more control and specify which variants trigger your ad, such as misspellings, abbreviations or plural forms. Modified broad match keywords tend to generate better clicks and conversions at a lower overall cost.

Use negative keywords

Negative keywords allow marketers to exclude certain phrases or terms from a campaign. This can be a vital strategy in saving money, particularly when you don’t want to target a similar keyword for an entirely different product.

For example, a company that sells glasses may want to target “eyeglasses” or “spectacles”, but probably doesn’t want to pay for “glass” or “glassine”.

When it comes to keyword lists, the more specific, the more effective. Fine-tuning your keyword list is one of the best ways to ensure your ad spend is put to good use. As mentioned below in #8, this is something you should check frequently. If your account uses many broad keywords, you will want to look for potential negatives on a multiple-times-per-week basis.

Review your budget monthly (or more often)

Don’t let your budget just run, check on it weekly (or more often), and then revisit your metrics and goals each month.

Stats can be deceiving. While it’s easy to focus on how much you’re spending per campaign, your primary concern should be your return on investment (ROI). Even if you only get a couple clicks on an ad, if a few of those clicks turn into conversions, then it may be enough to cover the initial cost.

Use remarketing

Previous visitors should be one of your most prioritized audiences. Since they already clicked on the link to your website, there’s a greater chance they would want to return (compared to a completely new visitor still in the research phase). For some customers, a simple reminder is enough to push them to purchase or sign up.

Remarketing also offers a more efficient pricing model. Real-time automated bidding ensures your campaign always makes the optimal bid for the ad, for the best possible price.

There are a few options with remarketing:

Standard remarketing – Shows ads to past visitors as they browse.

Dynamic remarketing – Shows ads based on products or services previously viewed by the user.

Remarketing lists for search ads – Shows ads to past visitors that do follow-up searches after leaving your website. This powerful tool will ensure that people who have visited your website will see your ads first when they search for contextual terms in the future.

Video remarketing – Shows ads to people that previously watched your YouTube video.

Customer list remarketing – Upload a list of contact info that customers have provided, and target them directly.

Saving money in Google Ads

Google Ads can help you save thousands, or it can burn through your budget very quickly. It all depends on how well you are able to understand the data, set realistic goals, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Managing a Google Ads campaign can require a significant time commitment and expert analysis. Attempting to manage a Google Ads campaign alongside a full-time position can be draining and even result in squandered advertising. If you want to find out how a professional search marketing agency can help your business’s online advertising, learn more about Arcalea’s PPC service works.