How to Optimize Ads and Save Money on Google AdWords

Do you want to control your advertising budget? Do you need to attract web traffic rapidly? If so, then using Google AdWords is an ideal solution.

But there’s a downside.

Unlike growing traffic organically through search engine optimization, you have to pay for AdWords. Again. And again. And yet again.

That means you need to optimize your ads for the best results and get more for your money.

Google AdWords Click Through

High Click-Through Rates Are Not the Goal

Optimization, however, does not mean aiming for the highest possible click-through rates. Instead, you want to optimize clicks-to-landing-page-conversions.

Let’s assume your landing page grabs ahold of visitors’ eyeballs, leads them down a persuasive path and convinces them to share their contact information with you. What else do you have to do to ensure a high landing-page conversion rate? Deliver the right people to the page — those for whom your message and offer are relevant.

You pay for everyone Google AdWords sends to your landing page. You don’t want to pay for the wrong people.

Learn to Play by Google’s Rules

An AdWords ad is deceptively simple. You have a headline with 25 characters, a sub-head with 30 characters, a description of 80 characters and your URL. How difficult could that be?

It becomes more difficult because two masters control your ad’s success — Google and your potential customer. Let’s start with Google. What do they want?

To make money.

It’s as straightforward as that. How does Google make money? By collecting it when people click through links on the ads that appear in the search results.

The highest bidder, however, doesn’t always claim the top spot in the search results. Why not? Because if the ad is not relevant or does not offer something of value, people are not going to click. If they don’t click, Google doesn’t make money. Why give away prime real estate on Google to an ad that doesn’t deliver bucks to the bottom line?

Looking into the mind of a megalith company, it seems clear that Google positions ads on a page in a way that ensures they generate the greatest revenues.

That said, your goal is not necessarily to claim the number one ranking. After all, if you have a set budget, a good way to maximize it is to bid less and be satisfied with a lower spot that garners fewer clicks. Your objective should to get the best spot possible for the money you pay.

Up Your Google AdWords Quality Score

While a high bid helps your ad’s ranking, Google’s Quality Score also has substantial influence.

Your quality score is based on your click-through rate, ad relevance and the quality of your landing page. Of those, click-through rate is of prime importance. Why? Because when Google multiplies the bid by a high click-through rate, the money rolls in. Ad relevance factors in there too, probably because it’s influential in ensuring clicks.

Meet Expectations

Google has developed a metric called the “expected” click-through rate. Translation: Google will make their revenue targets if your ad performs at the expected level.

If your ad performs below the expected click-through rate, you need to improve it so that it, at a minimum, meets expectations. Doing so will dramatically increase your quality score. Going beyond expectations or being “above average” will increase your score further, however, you’ll bump into the law of diminishing returns — more and more effort for fewer and fewer results.

To “meet expectations,” consider your ad’s relevance. Make sure the copy matches user queries well.

The Right Destination

Lastly, why is the landing page of consequence to Google? Didn’t they make their money already?

Just like the organic search results, Google wants to deliver an excellent experience to their audience. That encourages people to come back and click again on other ads. So they don’t want to see high bounce rates from landing pages that indicate a lack of interest.

Consider your landing page’s relevance. Your ad is the teaser. The landing page should fulfill the ad’s promise. Thus, the transition must be seamless. So use your judgment when you pair an advertisement with a landing page. And once the ad is up and running, look at how well the visitors convert when the ad attracts them to the page.

Google AdWords Audience

Attract Your Target Audience

Choosing keywords that will attract the people you want to reach is the foundation for a successful ad.

To select them, think about your goals and be specific. For instance, are you advertising an e-book and looking for people researching a topic? Or are you seeking people considering buying? These individuals are at distinct phases of the buying cycle and, thus, will ask different questions. For example:

  • What is marketing automation? (Awareness)
  • Marketing automation comparisons (Consideration)

Analyze the user’s intent. What are they trying to achieve when they type in a keyword phrase? What problem do they want to solve? Can you help them?

Decide whether you want to use broad match, phrase match or exact match.  “Broad match” will garner the most impressions, but will also likely result in Google serving your ad to a broader audience and some of them will not be interested. “Exact match” will go to a narrower, better-targeted audience, and will convert better. It also costs more.

Filter Out Unqualified Visitors

Make sure your keyword phrases relate to your offer, but are not so general that they attract a broad, unqualified audience. You want to screen out visitors you don’t want. After all, visitors with little interest in your offering cost the same amount as qualified ones. You cannot afford to attract the wrong people. Plus, remember that Google will move your ad down in the listings if it proves not to be relevant to visitors. Unqualified visitors are likely to bounce off your landing page, negatively affecting your Quality Score.

If, for example, you offer cloud performance monitoring that is suitable for enterprise-size companies and don’t want to pay for a flood of visitors from small businesses, consider using the word “enterprise” in your ad as shown below.

Google Results

Put it All Together

Our company, NuSpark Marketing, might have a headline, “Generate B2B Leads” that brings web visitors to our Lead Scout page. The headline qualifies people. Those who are interested in B2B leads might click the link, but those with no interest will stay away. The Lead Scout web page fulfills the promise by explaining how companies can generate leads using intent data and predictive marketing.

Google Quality Score

Discover the Magic Messages

You want more than an ad that “meets expectations.” You want one that excels in generating click-throughs from the right people.

So take your top keyword phrases and plug them into Google. What do you find in the results? The chances are that the ads at the top have been tested and refined. Is there anything that strikes you?

A few related to B2B lead generation are shown below:

B2B Lead Generation

B2B lead

It’s easy to see from these ads that people want more than B2B leads. They want leads to be “qualified” (ignore the spelling above), “high quality” and to “convert” well. You don’t have to use the same words as your competitors, but at least you know what resonates with your audience.

Also, the ads that rose to the top were those that used the keyword phrase as their headline. Relevance!

It’s the remainder of the ad, the subtitle and description which advertisers use to whet the appetite further. One uses the sub-title to say “Pre-Qualified Sales Leads.” Another uses it to talk about conversion rates, “B2B Brands See 3.5x Higher CVR.” The sub-titles are touting the benefits — answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” The top-ads in both categories above also focus on benefits in the description. For instance, “Turn a list of leads into appointments with B2B prospects.” That advertiser knows that leads are sought after but the true aim of the game is to get salespeople in front of prospects. That’s a promise that merits a click-through.

This competitive analysis doesn’t mean these are the only ways to structure an ad, but it does offer food for thought in your creative process.

The Google AdWords Formula for Success

When you create your next Google AdWords ad, make sure you do it in a way that helps Google meet their goals, but does not waste your budget. Design an ad that attracts the people you want. Use a relevant keyword phrase, pair it with a landing page that fulfills the promise and converts well. When the writing starts, check out the competition to find out which ads are successful in your market, and make sure you focus squarely on the product’s benefits.

About Carolyn Frith

NuSpark Marketing Executive Director, Content Strategy and Creation Carolyn is a veteran marketer who can take your content from start to finish, including buyer persona research, content strategy and creation.