10 Ways to Cut Costs and Boost Leads in Google Ads

1. Re-think your account structure

The way you organize your campaigns, keywords and ads is important to reduce CPA in a few ways:

  • Single-themed ad groups will ensure your keywords, ads, and landing pages are aligned, improving relevancy and therefore also Quality Score 💯.
  • With the right organization you ensure that you’re giving Google both the adequate data it needs to optimize your bids at the campaign level and keep your costs in check.
  • Since budgets are set at the campaign level, you can easily distribute them.
  • When your keywords are assembled into themed ad groups, you can more easily detect CPL patterns and distribute your budget according to how the keywords in those ad groups are performing.

2. Test Keyword Insertion in Search Ads

Keyword insertion ads are ads in which you can replace your headlines or descriptions with search queries that users type in the search engines. All you need to do is use 2 curly brackets and put your ad copy between them.

Example: {KeyWord:New Houses for Sale, VT}. This text will be replaced by what the user searches or the text itself will appear if the user search query is longer than what Google Ads allows.

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These types of ads can work very well or just generate extra costs. They depend on the keywords you use and where in the ad do you place the insertion so that it makes sense when a user searches for your keywords 🔎.

Usually you would put keyword insertions only in the first headline so that the first thing the user reads is their own search in the ad for increased relevance. It also works best when you have mostly exact keywords in the ad group. The broader you go with keywords (especially the match type), it’s more likely that your keyword insertion ads will show irrelevant search queries. And the user will click on the ad, thinking it’s what they’re looking for.

3. Sync the Keywords, Ads and Landing Page

When setting up the keywords, ads and landing page you need to think from the client perspective. What problem it solves, what does he search for, what ad will he see and where will that ad take him/her to?

The keyword needs to be present in the ad copy so that it’s relevant for the user. After clicking the ad the user needs to land on a page that’s relevant to the keyword that they searched and have the elements that the ad promised them.

✅ Example of a correct journey:

  • Keywordnew homes for sale in vt
  • Ad – headlines include “new homes for sale in vt” in it
  • Landing pagea listing for all available new homes for sale in vt 

❌ Example of an incorrect journey

  • Keywordnew homes for sale in vt
  • Ad – headlines include “real estate in vt
  • Landing pagea listing of all available real estate types (new, old, available or sold) like condos, land, ranches, townhomes, duplexes, studio apartments and homes

Imagine how a user would feel if he was looking for new homes for sale in vt and sees an ad talking about real estate in vt. How likely is it that they would click the ad? And the small percentage of people that do click it land on a page with mixed real estate types. They’re only looking for new homes and most likely don’t want to waste time with other listings 🏠. 

There is a metric called Quality Score which grades from 1 to 10 how good your customer journey is. It’s applied on keyword level and the higher the score is, the less you pay for the bid. All keywords start with 5 by default. By using different columns you can see if the user interaction with your ads and landing page is Below Average, Average or Above Average.

people bidding

4. Set the Right Bidding Method for You

Different bidding methods spend your budget differently so we suggest testing them all and see what results they bring in for you 💸. Some of the most popular biddings include: 

Maximize Clicks – by using this automated bidding you no longer control the bids, and Google Ads will try to get as many clicks as possible for your ads without your budget. What you can do is set a bid limit to prevent your bids from being set over that amount. Surprisingly it can work very well for some accounts so we recommend testing it, but if you see high costs, many clicks and not enough conversions then switch to a different bidding method.

Maximize conversions – with this bidding you can no longer control the bids and Google Ads takes over. Sometimes it works really well and sometimes it just generates extra cost. It’s important to know that the more conversions you have, the better this bidding method should work. Try and test it if your campaign generates at least 15 conversions per month. 30 conversions per month would be ideal. You can use it even if you have under 15 conversions but the results may be lower than the expectations. Also, if you change anything in the campaign (usually keywords, locations, ads or other major elements) the maximize conversion bidding will enter a learning period that can last a maximum of 14 days (usually it lasts between 2-6 days) in which results are unpredictable. You can get 0 conversions in this period or a big amount of conversions that won’t persist after the learning period is over. 

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Manual CPC – this bidding method is best for when you have time to manage the account. The bids remain the same in each auction and you have full control over how much you want to bid.

5. Using Negative Keywords

This is one of the simplest methods of cutting costs and leaving more money for converting keywords ✂️. In the search term report you can see all the searches that the users did on Google that matched with your keywords. You can add as a negative the search queries that are not relevant for your business so in the future you won’t show ads to people searching that unwanted query. What’s important to remember here is that unlike adding keywords, you need to put all forms of the negative keyword, as Google Ads won’t add as negative by default small variations of the words.

The most used negative match modifiers are the phrase match “ ” and the exact match [ ]. By using the phrase match you’ll make the word inside the quotation mark not match with anything that comes before or after the word itself. It also acts as an exact match so the word itself won’t match with queries of just the word.

And in the case of exact match it won’t show your ads to queries that are exactly the words between the brackets. But if it has other words before or after the brackets it will show the ads.

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6. Check the Optimized Ad Rotation Option

You have an option to optimize the rotation of ads in a campaign or to leave it on the “Do not optimize” option. In this case it’s important to know that if you choose to optimize the ads then Google will push the ads that it thinks will perform the best in front of the users. 

The data you’ll receive on the ads will be influenced by Google so you can’t say that what you see is the actual reaction of the users to your ads. If you want to get data as accurate as possible to compare and test ad copy, then we suggest keeping the ads on “Do not optimize”. 

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This way Google will try to rotate your ads as evenly as it can to make sure an equal amount of people see each of your ads so that you have correct data to work with 🔄. Sometimes letting Google push an ad can actually work and brings conversions in, but if you’re testing the ads you need to know about this difference between the 2 options.

7. Location Targeting Settings (Specific vs Broad)

By default, even if you select specific places to show your ads in, Google will still show your ads to whoever in the world searches for your keywords 📌.

6149e5f9b8472e16545ceaeb google ad location targeting

To avoid this and make sure your ads only appear where you want them to, you need to switch from the default “People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations (recommended)” setting to “People in or regularly in your targeted locations”. By making this small change you can save a lot of money.

pins on a map

8. Check the Real Locations where Your Ads Showed

Most people will just select their campaign and navigate to the Locations -> Targeted tab to see where exactly their ads showed. This tab only shows you the data for the locations that you selected when creating the campaign. But what if you forgot the default recommended targeting location on, and it showed your ads in other states or even countries? Or what if you selected a state but you would like to know where exactly in the state did your ads appear the most? 🌎

When you want to see at a more granular level the locations or simply just all the locations that your ads appeared in, then you go to the Locations -> User Location Report tab. Here you can see all the places your ads have been seen and you can select the area level. From countries to zip codes and neighborhoods.

You may discover in case you selected a state that a particular city has high costs or many conversions. Then you can adjust the bid, add or exclude that particular city.

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9. Focus on High-Performing Ads

Google recommends having at least 3 different ads per ad group, but you have to monitor them and keep testing different messages and CTAs in your ads. You could have poorly performing ads in your account and with this type of ads you may be wasting a lot of clicks and money. You can recognize this type of ads when you look at the last 30-60 days period and you see ads that are getting impressions, which have a high CTR, but no conversions. The solution is to pause those ads and test new ones, because they only consume your budget and don’t bring the desired results.

⚡ Some tips when you create your ads:

  • Always include a call to action in your ad and test different ones in your ad groups.
  • Include benefits and unique features in your ads to attract you potential clients.
  • Include your keywords in your headlines and descriptions.
6149e5faf679e6148a803403 high performing ads

10. Focus on Phone Calls

Another way to boost your leads, without increasing your budget, is focusing on phone calls in your ads 📞. You can add the call extensions on your search campaigns and increase the bids on mobile devices to show your ads more on those devices. For this type of extension you set a minimum call length, and each call that lasts at least that long is considered a conversion.

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In the end, what matters the most is that you test everything knowing the type of expected result. Get initial results, test different settings/keywords/ads and check step by step what works best for your account, as results may vary by different industries and businesses (or even locations). Something not working for someone may work for you 👌. 

The important part is to know what to test, why you test it, the results and what the next optimization steps are. Your results will improve if you never stop testing.