Advertising has always been a way to build awareness and drive sales. The ad industry was once dominated by TV, print, and radio. Now Google is one of the largest ad sellers that can put your business in front of thousands of highly qualified prospects. Many brands have leveraged SEO as a way to gain “free” exposure. But with algorithm updates and organic results now showing below the fold, it’s becoming more difficult to earn top positions on search engine result pages (SERPs).
Is buying ads the solution? Some advertisers have been surprised to eat through budgets quickly, spending between $6 to $10 per click. Sometimes even more for highly competitive keywords. All this effort just to show up on page two or three on Google. Why is this happening?
Organizations that better understand online advertising will pay a fraction of the cost most advertisers pay. The same keywords that are killing your budget are working wonders for your competitors. Why is this? What can you do to make Adwords cheaper for you?
If you have a quality site with good SEO, Google will give you a higher ad rank. This will make your ads cheaper and give you better placement. The video below explains how the system works. At around 4:02 it goes into detail about the role quality plays in your advertisements.
To spend less with Google AdWords, you also want to make sure you’re targeting the right audience. Having the wrong people click your ads will drive up cost and lower conversions. If you’re looking for impressions (for brand exposure and not conversions), it’s best to advertise using CPM (cost per thousand impressions) rather than cost per click.
Use Googles Keyword Planner to help you identify the right keywords for your campaign. If your target audience is located in Florida, be sure you target that location. If most of your customers speak only English or Spanish, use language settings to include certain languages.
Making these selections doesn’t mean you’ll find the perfect audience, that’s why testing is essential.
You’ve probably heard of A/B testing, in order to test one campaign against another. However, I suggest A/G testing, where you compare multiple campaigns using different keyword groups to see which keywords and phrases perform the best.
After a few weeks of testing, compare click-through rates (CTR’s) and conversions to see which campaigns are most profitable. You can even compare data such as times of day, device, and demographic information to better tailor your ad copy.
Avoid Bidding Against Yourself
When testing or running multiple keyword groups, be sure not to bid against yourself. When choosing keyword and phrases for a campaign, make sure the keywords you are targeting aren’t similar to any other groups. If so, you will be competing against yourself and drive up cost.
Avoid this by grouping only closely related keywords in each campaign and segmenting your audience.
You may be targeting multiple groups of people with different interest that match your varying offers. Say for example you are a car dealership, with customers in the market for vans, trucks, and sports cars. Don’t target too broad of an audience, these people have different interest and triggers that motivate them. The woman in the market for a sports car may be single, with no kids, so words like “fast” and “red” in your ad copy may cause her to click on your ad. The dad in the market for a truck may be looking for a work vehicle and something large enough to pack tents and coolers for family camping trips.
To save money on ads, know your audience and segment them accordingly.
Finally, to save money on your Google Adwords campaign, it is essential to have a good landing page. When driving traffic to your site, you want to avoid high bounce rates. A bounce is what happens when visitors come to your site and leave without engaging with your content (e.g. click a button, sign up for email). If your bounce rate is above 50% you either need to change your ad copy to make sure you are targeting the right audience, or make changes to your landing page.
I suggest making multiple landing pages to test different images, buttons, colors, and keywords.
Don’t just send users to your homepage. Create pages specifically for your ads and eliminate distractions on that page. For example, don’t feature too many links that may cause your site visitors to explore and navigate away from your sales or email sign up page.
Google also gives precedence to well-optimized landing pages. So make sure your landing page gives you the best possible chance to convert your site visitors.
Larry C Lewis is an Internet behavior scientist best known for his work in social media and video marketing. He is the head of marketing at Digital Exponents and the founder of Marketinglikeapro.net. For more information, Larry can be reached on Twitter @larryclewis.