Ideally, we’d never have a need to worry about watching the costs of our pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. All of our keywords would be extremely relevant and driving only qualified traffic to our site and every click would turn into a conversion and we’d spend all our time watching our return on investment go through the roof.
The reality though is that campaigns are rarely perfect; some paid clicks will come from searches not remotely related to our offerings and unfortunately not all clicks will turn into a conversion. Luckily there are several things we can do to manage our PPC ad spend and keep those costs under control and campaigns profitable. Here’s five tips to get you started.
Kill Non-converting Keywords
One of the quickest and easiest methods to reduce PPC spend is to simply stop bidding on the keywords that aren’t converting. Often times we “think” certain words and phrases should be our bread and butter only for us to realize hundreds of dollars later that it’s simply not a productive term. Let the data tell you what to do and don’t let your ego get in the way. If you’re paying for clicks on keywords that don’t produce conversions, you’re simply wasting money.
Use Negative Keywords
Sometimes keywords can trigger our ads for searches that aren’t relevant. You should regularly check your keyword detail report to see the exact search terms used to trigger your ads. Any search terms you find in this report that aren’t relevant should be added as a negative keyword to prevent your ads from showing when those searches are used again. Don’t pay for traffic that’s not relevant to you.
This one’s a no-brainer. Use budgets to control your spend and only allow a campaign to spend as much as you can afford. If you can’t realistically afford to spend $150 per day on one campaign then it doesn’t make sense to have that as a budget! Instead, lower your budget to a range you’re comfortable with and focus on maximizing conversions.
You can adjust keyword bids based on time of day. Use the data in your account to determine the times of day you receive the least and most conversions – cut your spend during the time of day that your ads are least likely to convert. If you’re using PPC campaigns to drive phone calls during normal business hours then turn off the ads altogether at the end of your business day!
Set Up Geo-targeting
Similar day-parting, geo-targeting allows you to adjust your keyword bids based on geographical regions. If you’re an advertiser catering to a specific city, state or region it may not make sense to have your ads showing outside this area. Use geo-targetign to prevent ads from appearing outside your service area.
Using these techniques are a good starting point to reduce wasted spend and keep your overall PPC costs under control. It’s also important to remember that paid search is not a set-it-and-forget-it marketing effort. It takes regular, routine work to test, experiment and manage accounts in order to eliminate wasted spend and find new keyword opportunities.