It’s a fairly common problem for advertisers – a tight digital marketing budget with little room for overages. So what can marketers do to optimize their budget and make sure every penny is spent efficiently? For those using Google Adwords for their search engine marketing (SEM), Google provides you with a wide range of options that allows you to use your budget on your terms to manage those paid search campaigns.
At a glance, Adwords settings can be a blur and frankly…a bit confusing. To help simplify these settings, it’s easier to think of them broadly by how they affect who sees your ad. While not comprehensive, most of the settings fit into one of these groupings:
Google Adwords gives you several options which can be tweaked to ensure your ads are only displayed during times that are relevant to your website. By minimizing ad clicks during off-peak times, you will effectively maximize your investment during peak hours.
Use the Ad Scheduler
For smaller advertisers, limiting your ad schedule to daytime hours can change everything. While it is certainly possible that someone is searching at 3:30AM for your product/service, it’s a good bet that most of your website visitors arrive from mid-morning through 5PM. For niche products and services, the inverse may actually be true. Basically, as long as you aren’t specifically targeting demonic worshipers, conspiracy theorists, or insomniacs, ad scheduling is generally sound advice.
Set Your Delivery Method
Set your ad delivery method to standard (vs. accelerated). With standard, Google will attempt to spread budget evenly throughout the timeframe you are targeting instead of spending until your daily cap is reached. Advertisers also might want to try the bidding rules Google allows and automatically bid down by a set percentage during certain hours or on the weekends.
Make sure you are only targeting countries your website can serve and languages that your customers can speak; you’d be surprised at how often that setting is overlooked.
Local vs. National vs. International
To be most effective with your budget, first determine if you are either a local advertiser… or anything else. Local advertisers generally have no need to target a national audience unless expansion is in the cards. Once you have your local area targeted, be sure to remove “United States” too or else you will still be serving your ads nationally.
For national or international advertisers, you may want to set up national campaigns and localized campaigns which overlap on coverage and bid differently. If you have the bandwidth to do this, a localized search paired with a localized ad and landing page will likely net you a lower cost-per-click, better quality score, and higher conversion rate than if you were serving a national ad and general landing page.
Optimize by Device Type
Your ad budget can also be optimized not just by the physical location, but by what type of device consumers are searching from. With the launch of enhanced campaigns, Google eliminated targeting by device – but there are still some options available to control targeting. For example, if your website isn’t yet in responsive design, or simply doesn’t work well on mobile devices, you can save budget by setting your mobile bid adjustment to -100%. This setting will minimize the chance your ad will appear on a smartphone.
Optimizing the settings which deal with relevancy can dramatically improve your Google Adwords campaigns. There are many settings which deal with relevancy, but which match type you use should be at the top of your list. If you only want your ad to display for specific searches, don’t bid using broad match as Google will show your ad for anything it believes to be relevant (chances are, many of these searches won’t be relevant).
An easy fix is to make your ads very specific. If users see a general ad, they may click it thinking it applies to them. However, if your website only serves a subset of any given market, you are likely incurring costs for general searchers who are less likely to become a customer.
Optimize for Conversions
Another tactic to improve relevancy would be to set your ads to “optimize for conversions,” where Google will serve up ads most likely to net you a customer. Finally, if are using the display network and running into budget issues, it may be a good idea to only target the search network for a week to see how it affects your advertising as the display network is notorious for lower-quality clicks.
Google Adwords is one of the most robust digital advertising platforms around. Each website and business is unique and if you are running into budget issues, utilizing these settings effectively can really make a difference.