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Smart Tactics to Cut the Cost of Your AdWords Campaigns

AdWords is one of our favorite marketing strategies here at LeapGo. We are always helping large companies maximize the profits of large campaigns, and we constantly see the amazing results you can get from PPC advertising when you apply the right strategies consistently.


But there’s one thing you need to know when you’re starting out: AdWords can be expensive when you don’t take the right approach.


So how should you go about reducing your costs?


Whether you’re just getting started on your first campaign or your existing campaign is getting out of hand, these tactics will help you reduce your expenditure without affecting results.


The Most Expensive Keywords in 2017


This post was inspired by some new research produced by Wordstream recently. Many years ago, Wordstream published a list of the most expensive AdWords keywords to bid on, but this year it updated the list to provide insight into what is happening right now.


You can read the full list of keywords here.


Using its own (excellent) keyword tool to carry out the research, it found out which 25 keywords have the highest CPC in AdWords right now.


The data is taken from June 2016 to June 2017, and it looked at the 1,000 most expensive keywords, categorizing them based on intent (e.g. different types of lawyer keywords were grouped into one to avoid lots of very specific long-tail keywords).


The most expensive keyword was “business services” at a massive $58.64, followed by:


  • “bail bonds” at $58.48
  • “casino” at $55.48
  • “lawyer” at $54.86
  • “asset management” at $49.86


It’s worth looking through the list for yourself to get an idea of just how expensive some of these keywords can be.


Wordstream accompanies its list with insight into why these keywords are so expensive. It seems that the main qualities that make a keyword expensive are:


  • They focus on problems that people have right now and want to fix. Desperate people are more likely to spend more on getting a problem fixed fast, so the companies can charge more to advertise.


  • They are used for items or services that are expensive and where advertisers can make big wins even with a few sales.


  • They fulfill wishes, hopes, dreams … and addictions. People want to learn, to travel, and to make money fast (hence the high position of “casinos”).


This is all well worth a read. But the bigger issue for you is how you should reduce your own PPC costs.


You may be in one of the industries with the most expensive keywords, or you may not. At the end of the day, what matters is getting the most bang for your buck—and here’s how to do that.


Track Your Conversions


Conversion tracking is something you should always be doing in AdWords, and it’s an easy way to get more from your advertising spend.


PPC is all about conversions. You need to know which keywords are working, which are generating leads and sales if you want to maximize your returns.


So enable conversion tracking to find out what is working and what’s not working—then focus more on what works. (Here’s how to do this.)


Be Smart with Your Bid Management


There is a lot that goes into successful bid management, and you’ll find no shortage of theories on the topic. But it all comes down to two basic principles:


  • For the best keywords that are converting and are profitable, bid more on them.
  • For the weaker keywords that are not doing so well, bid less on them.


To do this, you’ll want to be using manual bidding. Google makes automatic bidding so easy, and it can work and save you a lot of time, making it a great way to start. But switching to manual allows you to prioritize the keywords that convert best.


When you see that some ads are not performing well, you can adjust them easily on manual (it’s not so easy with automatic bidding). You can then lower the bids that lead to numerous impressions but no sales—there’s no point wasting money on them.


Conversely, increase bids on those that are doing well to increase their position and get more sales.


Use Modified Broad Match


Google uses “broad match” as its default, but this isn’t always the best option. It will match your ad with as many queries as possible, and this might not be specific enough for you.


“Modified broad match” allows you to specify which of the words in each keyword phrase must show up to qualify your searches more accurately.


For example, with the keyword “web design services,” you could use the modified broad search “+web +design +services.” Then your ad will only show for searches that include all of these words, like “best web design services in Ohio.”


This leads to more qualified clicks and fewer wasted clicks—saving you cash.


Compile a List of Negative Keywords


Negative keywords are those keywords that are irrelevant to your marketing purposes. When someone searches using these keywords, you don’t want your ads displaying.


Creating a list of these is one of the simplest ways to save advertising dollars.


Let’s say you are advertising your web design services. You would not want to show up for “web design jobs” because those people are searching for a job, not a service.


If they click on your ads, it’s a wasted click.


You can lose a lot of money on such worthless clicks, but you’d be surprised by how many advertisers don’t use negative keywords.


You can brainstorm negative keywords, or you can look at your Search Query Reports to see the terms that are triggering clicks—when you find irrelevant keywords, add them to the list.


Use Geo-Targeting


Another way to qualify your clicks is to use geo-targeting. In AdWords Enhanced Campaigns, you can easily target people based on where they are located and adjust your bids for each location.


That way, you can target people who are located within a certain distance from your store so your ads won’t show to people in the wrong place who can’t use your services.


Optimize Your Landing Pages


Most of your ad clicks should lead to an optimized landing page. Even if your ads are rated highly by Google, your landing page might leave a lot to be desired.


Google also takes the landing page into account when calculating your Quality Score, so a better landing page can help to improve your score and lower your costs.


As well as optimizing your landing pages for conversions, make sure you optimize them for your keywords and ensure they are relevant to the ads. You could even create multiple versions of your landing pages to ensure they are hyper-relevant to your ads.


Use PPC Management Software


We wrote a blog on PPC management software a short while ago, looking at the best solutions on the market right now. In short, this software can be fantastic when you are running a large campaign and when you know how to get the most from the software.


The simple act of automating your AdWords campaigns, however, will not immediately lead to reduced ad spend. Automation on its own is worthless unless you know how to get the most from it.


It can, however, save you literally hundreds of hours of your time—if you know how to get the most from it. Just don’t expect to put everything on auto and sit back as the money rolls in.


Reduce Your PPC Costs Today


These are some of the techniques you can use to reduce the costs of your AdWords campaigns. You might be implementing some of them already, but there are probably ways that you can make savings that you have not yet thought of.


We can help you with your campaign by taking a look at how it’s performing. If you’re running a large campaign that you know could be doing better, give us a shout and we’ll see what we can do to lower your costs and generate more leads.

Author avatar
Jason Corgiat
Jason Corgiat founded LeapGo to be a website development company that offers a consultative approach. “We don’t expect our clients to know everything. They come to us with expectations that we will look out for them and make suggestions based on experience or data. We structure all of our services to create accountability on our part. It’s a refreshing change for most clients when we ask them to hold us at a high standard.” Jason’s experience and ability to identify and solve problems quickly and efficiently is what draws people to him. When asked, a recent client stated “Working with Jason has been a great experience. He and his team came in and completely turned around a failing web property of ours. We though it was dead and were about to shut it down but now it’s one of our most profitable websites.” Small business website to corporate ecommerce, local SEO to multi-million dollar digital marketing campaign, Jason has been a part of it all. Since founding his web development company in 2001 Jason has made many public speaking appearances, been on the radio, quoted in several magazines and most recently had a 7 page interview published in a website design book by author Bruce C. Brown.

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