5 Ways to Slash the Cost of Your AdWords Ads

One of the biggest challenges for small business owners when it comes to AdWords is getting results from a fixed budget. Without knowing the platform inside out your funds can soon disintegrate before you come close to hitting targets, leaving you no choice but to slash your ad spend.

Luckily, the AdWords bidding system means hard cash isn’t the only factor behind selected ads. In fact, it’s quite possible to cut the cost of your campaigns and gradually build profits until you generate enough ROI to increase your budget. Best of all, a solid bunch of campaigns makes your PPC efforts scalable – allowing you to improve performance and then invest more budget to increase your profits systematically. So here are five ways to slash your ad spend without compromising on performance.


#1: Improve your quality score

The key to reducing ad spend lies in your quality score – improve this and you’ll drive down the cost of your ads, as well as boost the performance of your overall campaigns. Quality Score is decided by a number of factors, including:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Keyword relevance
  • Landing page quality and relevance
  • Ad text relevance
  • The history of your AdWords performance


Technically, the most important factor in this list is CTR – the number of clicks your ads get every time they display. But, because click throughs largely depend on the relevance of your ads to user searches, it’s safe to say Quality Score mostly comes down to one thing – relevance.


#2: Be relentlessly relevant

For the sake of explanation let’s simplify the AdWords process to highlight the importance of relevance. In theory, selecting the most relevant keywords means you ads only display for users who are interested in your offer, products or services. If your ad copy is equally relevant these users are more likely to click on your ad, which not only increases your CTR and Quality Score but brings in more of that vital traffic.

It doesn’t end there either, because the more relevant and compelling your landing pages are, the more traffic you will convert into paying customers – all of which improves the performance of your PPC campaigns, while lowering your cost per click (CPC) and cost of each conversion (CPA – cost per action).


#3: Pause underperforming keywords and campaigns

When you ad displays but nobody clicks it your CTR suffers, while clicks that don’t convert sap your PPC budget without any ROI. So don’t be shy about pausing underperforming keywords or campaigns that are killing your PPC funds. This isn’t a long-term solution by any means – you want to pinpoint why these keywords and campaigns are underperforming, so you can put them right – but pausing will stop the immediate drain on your budget.


#4: Focus on long-tail, negative and less competitive keywords

It’s easy to say you need to pick the most relevant keywords for your campaigns, but in the real world of PPC these are often the most expensive. Which means you may need to take a different approach if you’re on a tight budget. This is where long-tail keywords come into their own, giving you a less competitive list of keywords to bid on – and potentially more relevant too.

Negative keywords also keep your ad displays more relevant by keeping you away related searches where users are unlikely to click or convert. If you need ideas on how to find long-tail keywords, take a look at these suggestions from Jeff Haden or check out this PPC Hero article for tips on negative keywords.


#5: Target users to make your ads extra relevant

Right now our Inside PPC series is focusing on a number of ways to target users more specifically. In AdWords you can schedule your ads to display at the most profitable times and target users by location and device. Use these settings to pinpoint where, when and how your ads are most effective. Once again, the aim here is to increase CTR – which in turn improves your Quality Score – so you can reduce the cost of your campaigns and improve performance while you’re at it.


That’s it for today, but be sure to take a look at our Inside PPC articles on targeting strategies and check back with us again soon for more marketing tips.