Google AdWords is a useful advertising tool for businesses large and small, even those without much of an advertising budget. You can get great results from a relatively small investment. At the same time, it can also be easy to go over budget and waste money if you don’t manage your ad spend properly. To help you run effective Google AdWords campaigns at low costs, here are a few best practices to consider.
Set your budget
It is important to set your maximum budget to make sure your costs don’t get out of control. You can set lifetime budgets for your campaigns, and also daily, weekly and monthly budgets. To gain full control of your ad spend, you might want to set all of these different budget types. This will stop you being faced with any unpleasant surprises when you check your ad spend reports.
Manual vs. automatic bidding
You can choose your bids to be set either manually, i.e. set by yourself, or automatically, i.e. set by Google. Manual cost-per-click allows you to set your own bids either for an entire ad group or for individual keywords. You will have maximum control over your AdWords budget and your ad campaign with this option, particularly if you are bidding at the keyword level.
Automatic cost-per-click allows Google to increase or decrease your bids to get the most clicks out of your defined budget. You can also set a maximum bid to stop Google from spending more than you would like. A similarly automated bidding option is enhanced cost-per-click. This allows Google to increase or decrease your bids by up to 30% based on how likely a person is to convert from your ad.
If you’re just starting out and want to keep your ad spend down, then manual bidding will likely be your best option. This is the option that gives you full control over how much you spend. There are also a number of flexible bidding strategies which may be a good option for your business depending on what your specific goals are from running AdWords campaigns.
Target long-tail keywords
Your first thought might be to target broad search terms because a lot of people will be searching for these keywords and you will reach a larger audience. However, because they receive such a high search volume, these terms are highly competitive and, therefore, more expensive to target.
For more cost-effective campaigns, it is better to target more specific, long-tail keywords. These may be longer search terms, or even full sentences and questions that your audience might search for. These keywords will be less competitive, meaning you can bid less on them.
Improve your quality score
Google awards each AdWords account with a quality score. This score is based on the quality of your ads and the keywords you target. A higher quality score means that your cost-per-click and cost-per-conversion will be lower. This is because a high score means Google thinks you meet the needs of their users, so they reward you with lower costs.
There are a number of ways you can improve your quality score. Doing effective keyword research will help you to target quality keywords, which will help your quality score. The quality and relevance of your ad copy will also have an effect, as will the quality of the landing page your ad directs users to. Your landing page should be relevant to the content of the ad to help improve your quality score.
Don’t always compete with your competitors
It’s natural that you’ll want to beat your competitors to the punch in winning AdWords auctions and getting to the top of page one of Google. However, if you are bidding on the exact same keywords as your competitors or on ads at the same time of day and day of week as them, then the cost of your bids is likely to rise due to the competitiveness. By bidding when your competitors aren’t, you can get your ads on Google when theirs won’t be there, and you could get it there for a lower price.
Campaign Bid Simulator tools
AdWords has different bid simulator tools to help you find the optimum bid for your campaigns or keywords. Adjusting your bid up and down will show you what impact this has on the performance of your ad. This can help you identify the maximum amount you need to bid to run a successful ad campaign, without spending too much.
Monitor and modify your bids
Like any marketing or advertising activity, it is important to continuously monitor and measure the performance of your AdWords campaigns. By closely monitoring different aspects of your campaigns, you can modify your bids to ensure you are getting the most from your budget.
Through AdWords reporting, you can compare the performance of your ads on different devices, at different times of the day or days of the week, or in different cities or countries, among other things. If you see, for example, that your ads are performing better on mobile devices than desktop, you could apply a bid modifier to your ads to bid a higher amount on mobile devices. This can help to maximize your conversions by targeting the most successful demographics.
There are a lot of different things to consider in budgeting your AdWords campaigns. These best practices should get you started with the basics of getting more out of your AdWords budget.