5 Quick Tips to Reduce AdWords Spend

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5 Quick Tips to Reduce AdWords Spend

How to Optimise AdWords to make your budget work harder for you

Updated: 6th February 2018 | Level: Introductory

So you are running AdWords and have been for some time, when suddenly you notice (or worse your boss notices) that your spend has started to creep up. How do you get control of your account to make sure you are getting the most out of your budget?

Tips to Reduce AdWords Spend and Optimise Campaigns

Our team have come up with the top 5 things to check on your account to keep that spending down but before we get into that…

You may be thinking what's going to change since I set it up? Well plenty, and many of these things may not necessarily be within your control. New competitors with similar products or services may enter your space, your keywords may be left behind as new search terms trends surface and of course Google likes to keep us on our toes with changes to the way things are done, particularly around spend.

Of these it's the last which has caught people out.  If you’re looking at daily overspend when you last viewed your account then don’t panic. Since October last year Google has changed the way it handles budget:

“Up to 2 times your campaign's daily budget can be used to show your ads on certain days of the week or certain times of the month based on fluctuations in traffic – but not more than you spend on your campaigns each month."

This new approach may or may not be ok for you, depending on your campaign strategy and how actively you manage your account.  Once you have an understanding of what can happen in spend it's time to review how you can impact it, positively.

Now for the 5 quick tips…

1. Review Spend Regularly

How often is regularly? At least weekly to start with then, then monthly when you are happy with your spend. This is our number one tip, as if you don't check how your campaigns are performing you may not realise how much you are spending and on what until it is TOO LATE!

Make time to check your total spend and make sure that you are spending most in the areas that make you most money or help you to achieve your main goals.

At the end of the day you want to be throwing money away because you have too much not due to waste..

Monitoring your keywords and quality scores at regular intervals, is also a good habit. Try weekly initially until your campaign is nicely tuned to a level you are happy with. Following this, an hour spent once a month is time well spent.

Tip: Remember making one change at a time will help you to see the impact of the individual changes.

2. Improve Quality Score

This is a biggie! Google is continually driving towards improved ad relevance. They want to make sure that people are seeing ads that most relate to their searches. The way Google does this is by giving advertiser's keywords a Quality Score, influenced by 3 factors: Expected CTR, Landing Page Experience and Ad Relevance.

And how does this relate to spend? The amount you pay for your clicks is directly influenced by Keyword Quality Score as shown here by Wordstream.

Assuming your campaigns are well structured with ad groups that focus on specific areas, here are some simple suggestions to get your Quality Scores above the magic 7/10:

Expected Click through rate

"Predicts whether your keyword is likely to lead to a click on your ads" (Google). This is based on historic performance and click through rate of your ads. This can be improved following the same advice as recommended under 'Ad Relevance' below

Ad Relevance

"Measures how closely related your keyword is to your ads" (Google) so ensuring your keywords or phrases are mentioned exactly in your ad copy can immediately improve your Ad Relevance.

Landing Page Experience

Explains "how relevant and useful your website's landing page will be to people who click your ad" (Google). Landing pages that mention your keywords including in titles and headers as well as in the main copy will score better. If this status is showing as 'below average' then your website might need a few amends.

3. Add Negative Keywords

It is vital to ensure that you have included negative keywords in your campaign, as without them you can waste your budget very quickly.

Negative Keywords allow you to exclude certain terms in searches for which your ad(s) will show.

You may want to consider words that are commonly linked to a word in your product name but which is irrelevant to your particular product. For example you may sell dog collars for pets but may want to exclude “vicar”.

Competitor terms may also be worth adding as a negative and consider jobseeking or advice seeking search terms e.g. "jobs", "how can" - unless of course these are part of what you are advertising!

There are two approaches to adding negative keywords: firstly re-actively by checking your search terms regularly (as in the screenshot above) and adding terms that are unrelated to your products/services to your negative keyword list(s).

Secondly you could consider using a negative keyword tool, such as that provided by Wordstream: www.wordstream.com/negative-keywords

Tip: Negative Keyword lists can be added to share across multiple campaigns, saving you time editing individual ad groups. Add as usual but tick the Save to new or existing list box.

You can add negative keywords at either ad group or campaign level, individually or as lists.

To add negative keywords:

> Keywords  > Negative Keywords  > +

4. Check your Targeting

Occasionally when setting up a new campaign, for some settings you may think I'll come back to that later, when I have some data. This can be a good strategy but do remember to go back and review your data and make the appropriate changes.

Making sure your ads are only showing when it's most appropriate, is key. Whether this is when your business is open, when you are able to respond or answer the phone or simply when people are likely to search, having the right scheduling in place can immediately reduce unwanted clicks and save your budget.

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If you have no schedule in place, using the dimensions tab, take a look at your results by day of week and hour of day to see when your ad is impressing most (and therefore being searched for most). You can then add a schedule to suit your needs.

To add a schedule:

> Campaign > Ad Schedule > Edit Ad Schedule > Select days & times > Add > Save

Once you have added schedules, you can choose to bid up or down during certain periods of the day or on certain days, using bid adjustments.

To bid adjust by time:

> Settings > Ad Schedule > Bid adjust. (for relevant device)

For location if you only want to target a specific area, make sure this has been selected. You can choose to add towns, cities, counties or countries. You can also, by selecting 'nearby', choose to target a radius around a certain location e.g. within 10 miles of Coventry.

Another consideration here is whether you would like to target people who are physically located in the location or those searching for the location, this can be specified in Location Options (advanced).

To add a location:

> Settings > Locations > Enter location name in box

For some campaigns you may want to target specific device types, you can choose from Computers (including Desktops & Laptops), Tablet or Mobile.  For example you might be asking people to complete a lengthy form - this can be very fiddly on mobile so you can adjust bids down for this device type. Or you may want to target people specifically when they are on the move so should increase bids for mobile and decrease for Computers. This targeting will help to ensure you won't waste money on the 'wrong' clicks.

To bid adjust by device:

> Settings > Devices > Change devices bid adjustment > Bid adjust. (by device)

5. Set Up Conversion Tracking

A click itself is unlikely to be the objective of your campaign. Knowing what happens after the click; Did they buy your product? Did they download your app? Did they complete your form? - is essential in ascertaining which clicks you want more of and which are not relevant.

These actions are referred to as "Conversions" - you can choose to track conversions from different sources: your website, app, phone calls or imported data (e.g. offline sales). For website and some apps this involves adding a snippet of code or tracking tag which tells Google when a specified action has taken place. For calls from call extensions or call only ads and for apps in Google Play this is done automatically.

Once your conversion tracking is set up this can be reviewed easily at all levels by adding the conversions column to your table view. This data can then be used to decide which keywords or ads or time or location, etc to bid more or less for.

So to sum up...

By the time you have worked through these 5 tips your AdWords spend should be just where you want it, now it's up to you to keep it there. Remember tip number one!

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How to Setup a PPC Campaign in Google AdWords

Home > Articles & Guides > How to Setup a PPC Campaign in Google AdWords

How to Setup a Successful PPC Campaign  in AdWords

30 point guide to setting up your first (or next!) campaign

Updated: 13th April 2018 | Level: Introductory | [GUIDE]

Setting up new AdWords Campaign is relatively straightforward but a little thought and planning prior to clicking will pay dividends. Having reviewed hundreds of  accounts we have put together this guide to help you avoid common mistakes.

how to setup a ppc campaign in google adwords

Before you Start...

Prior to creating your new PPC campaign there are a number of decisions to take that will help you get started.  Ideally you will already have chosen your PPC platform (typically Google AdWords for most small businesses), have a budget in mind, a list of products or services to promote and a set of landing pages on your website designed to convert your campaign traffic into leads or sales.  If you have these things lined up , great, if not we suggest reading this post prior to clicking.

Armed with this information to hand, you are ready to create your new campaign.

Step 1. Account Set-up

If you already have a Google AdWords account, skip this and move on to the next section. Otherwise follow these simple steps:

  1. Register a new gmail email address then go to adwords.google.com and click sign-up.  Ideally you should be using an existing account, preferably one you use to view and administer your Google Analytics account.
  2. Enter your billing & contact information
  3. Choose your language & time zone
  4. Link your account with any other relevant accounts e.g. Analytics for conversion tracking and Merchant Centre for inventory
  5. Specify your account access

This guide is for Search Campaigns so choose that option.  Once you've done this you should see something like this:


Campaign Settings

With the core account in place now you can move on to the fun stuff, i.e. the actual campaign setup.

Campaign Type

Select the appropriate campaign type, this can depend upon factors such as your goals and your target market. Choose between:

  1. Search and Display Network Select
  2. Search Only
  3. Display Only
  4. Shopping
  5. Video
  6. Universal App Campaign

Feature Level

Choose the sub-category or feature set that best suits the campaign objective. Search options include Dynamic Search Ads, Call-only. Display campaigns include options for brand awareness, influence consideration and drive action.


When selecting target devices consider where people are most likely to be when they see you ad. Are you looking to target people whilst they are on the move? Or are people most likely to search for you whilst at their desk?


Do you want to reach people local to your business, or is your campaign national or even international? You can specify target locations by country, county, city or a radius around your business.


You can select which language you want to target - but remember you have to write the ads in the relevant language (Google does not translate them). It makes sense to select the language that your website is written in.

Bid Strategy

Your objectives will help you to decide bid strategy, cpm - for views, cpa - for conversions, cpc - for clicks.


A few factors will influence your budget not least what you can actually afford to spend. Another key component is how much a lead or sale is worth to you as it helps you to decide how much you are willing to pay for a click or a conversion.


These allow you to add additional information to appear below your ad. Locations: highlight the different locations of your business with a map or the distance to your business which can also link to your location page. Sitelinks: Link to other pages on your website for example other linked products, opening hours, etc. Call: Add buttons with your phone number which people can tap or click on to call your business directly. Callout: allows you to add relevant extra information such as 'free delivery', 'qualified experts', etc.


This is where your earlier work on identifying your market comes in handy. some examples of targeting on the Display Network include; Placements, where you target people whilst they are browsing particular sites; Topics & Interests allows you to reach people whilst they are browsing content in similar interest categories and Demographics which enable you to target by gender, age and whether they are a parent or not.


Perhaps you need to consider what industries or products you may want to disassociate from (e.g. gambling, defence, oil). Also for some campaigns you may want to exclude an audience (e.g. exisiting customers for new customer messages). Whilst on the subject of exclusions you will probably wish to exclude your IP address to avoid paying for in-house clicks.


Limiting the time your ads show to the times your potential customers are most likely to be browsing or around your opening hours helps to make sure you reach the most customers at the best time. It also ensures that your budget is spent effectively.

Ad Delivery

You can choose to show your ads evenly across the day or accelerated so they are shown more earlier in the day.

Ad Rotation

Select whether you want to rotate your ads until they are optimised or indefinitely, bear in mind the latter would need close monitoring.

Bid Adjustments

Set bid adjustments to get the most out of your preferred targets. You can choose to adjust bids up or down according to factors such as time, location and audiences.

Ad Groups

Ad Groups are a set of ads targeting shared keywords. In each Campaign create separate Ad Groups to target a set of keywords around a specific product or service.  These keywords are typically very similar in nature and should match the ad copy, tone and intent of you ads within each group.

Landing Page URL

It may sound obvious but check your landing page URL takes you to the right page with the information your customer expects to find.


Identify keywords that define your product/service based on what customers would search for. Keywords are the basis of your targeting, if you've done your homework it should be an easy step to copy them from your keyword analysis and drop them into your ad group.

Negative Keywords

If there are search terms you know are not relevant you can add them as negative keywords, especially if your product name can have an alternate meaning e.g. pipe (smoking or plumbing?).

Match Types

Use match-types to tighten or broaden your keyword scope. Choose between broad, phrase and exact.


Define lists of people you may want to remarket to e.g. shopping cart abandoners, people who have visited your site before, etc.

Set CPC Bids

If you want to bid more or less aggressively for certain keywords in an ad group, you can set keyword-specific max CPC bids to overide the default.

Create Ad Variants

Create at least three variants of each ad. This allows you to compare performance and retire poor performing versions.

Specify Custom Tracking Parameters

This is optional, but useful if you are using Google Analytics. These parameters allow you to pass additional variables into your tracking URLs e.g. ad variant.

Final Checks

There's plenty of opportunity for error and oversight in the setup process and given how quickly this will go public it's worth taking a few minutes to do some final checks and make sure everything is in place.

  1. Use a Call-to-action - Calls to action direct customers to what you want them to do next.
  2. Include an Offer - Offers help your ad to stand out from the others
  3. Proof Read - Obvious but important, typos can be off-putting but also can lead to your ad not showing
  4. Check your URL - Make sure that those who click go to the right place - where you want them to go and that they see what they want to see
  5. Remove Duplicate Keywords - Keywords should be unique to an ad group, duplicate and you are competing with yourself!
  6. Include Keywords in Ad Copy - This will help to increase your quality score and therefore your ad position.

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AdWords Setup Checklist




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