Despite its many iterations, the nature of search advertising remains the same: spend money to get your ads seen by the people most likely to click on them and give you a sale. But what happens when you don’t target the right keywords or audiences, or when you get plenty of clicks but they don’t convert at a good rate?
Budget bleeding is one of the most common PPC problems, affecting even the most seasoned account managers and strategists. While no account can realistically hit 100% efficiency, you can take steps to create as little wastage as possible.
Best Practices to Reduce Costs
Wastage in paid search can be broken down into two major categories:
- Going beyond your prescribed budget: When you spend more than you or your client have allocated, there’s a chance it doesn’t go to the right places.
- Serving ads that get clicks but not conversions: When your ads get clicks without converting, you’re giving platforms money while getting nothing in return.
In either scenario, the advertiser is investing money that doesn’t generate the returns it should.
Some of the common causes of overspending and low-converting ads include:
- Not having an alert system for budgets
- Managing multi-platform budgets separately
- Failing to filter out irrelevant traffic (high clicks, no conversions)
- Universal bid strategy with no adjustments
- Low-quality or broken landing page experience
Tracking Your Progress
As with any outcome, it’s important to use performance indicators both in and beyond the ad platforms to see how much progress you’re making.
We recommend tracking the following metrics at different stages of your cost reduction effort.
- Click-through Rate
- Conversion Rate
Beginner metrics are for when you want an initial lift. Use these as indicators of progress while you pause or reduce bids for keywords generating clicks without conversions, exclude placements leading to wasted spend, add negative keywords to filter out irrelevant traffic, and improve your landing pages.
- Average Cost Per Click
- Average Cost Per Mille
- Quality Score (Here’s how a low Quality Score is costing you more money)
Track these intermediate metrics after achieving some degree of growth. They will show you whether your efforts to optimize ad text/creatives and pause underperforming ads are working.
- Cost Per Acquisition
- Customer Acquisition Cost
Last but not least, our recommended advanced metrics help you better understand if your bid adjustments are resulting in more efficient overall spend. Track these metrics when your campaign is running like a well-oiled machine.