AdWords: six simple techniques to save you money

We are all constantly trying to squeeze as much as we can from our AdWords budgets and we never seem to quite have enough.

So we have compiled some advice that could save you money on a monthly basis!

IP exclusions

How many times would you say you look at your own ads? 10-20 times a month?

Unwillingly you are increasing impressions, which can decrease your click-through rate and have a negative knock-on effect on your quality scores.

Ultimately, your cost-per-click could increase due to general maintenance on your account.

Unfortunately, we have experienced the same issue with some of our own clients who love our ads so much that they have the recurring urge to click on them. Although, for some, this is only a few pounds here and there, others are wasting up to £30 on just two clicks. This is not good for our end of month reports when cost-per-conversion has increased.

Therefore, as part of the new client set up, we now ensure that our IP address and clients IP addresses are excluded. We use the Ad Preview Tool to view our ads and even send this to our clients.

Google Search Partners

Search partners extend the reach of search ads to hundreds of non-Google websites, as well as Google Maps, YouTube and other Google sites. This is great in some cases; however, we often find that it ends up being a costly avenue and a waste of budget.

Note: Your ads are set to show on the Google Search Partners network as default.

To find out how Google Search Partner traffic is affecting your campaign simply find the Segment drop down tab and select Network (with Search Partners). This will divide your traffic into Google only and Search Partners, so you can see if it is profitable to you.

To stop showing yours ads to this traffic simply un-tick the option within the campaign settings.

all campaigns continental

Location reports

You will be amazed at the difference in click costs on a city by city basis. City centres are generally more expensive than towns and rural areas. London, of course, lives up to its reputation as normally the most expensive city to target in the UK.

Paying continual attention to your location reports can save you a lot of money in click costs. For each Campaign, within the Settings tab, you can break down the United Kingdom (or any country) in to a range of geographic criteria.

County, City and Postal Code are the criteria that I use the most and each can be used to breakdown the prior further i.e. if a certain city is performing well, I will then break the city into postcodes.

city drop down menu

I can then see if there are any that have a good cost-per-conversion or see if they are draining my budget, in which case they will then be excluded.

However, most of the time, I will set a Bid Adjustment before excluding a location as this will allow me to see if I can generate a good cost-per-conversion at a lower cost-per-click before completely disregarding that location.

Likewise, if I think I have room to up spend in a location to gain a better ad position and more conversions then I will increase the bid adjustment on that location.

Ad scheduling

AdWords allows you to schedule your ad to run at specific times and on specific days. This provides the opportunity to save budget by stopping your ads from showing at times when customers are not likely to convert. This is normally in the early hours of the morning or for most B2B businesses at the weekend.

Google Analytics provides an entire section allowing you to find out what the most popular times are for your customers to convert through AdWords.

Within the Acquisition tab, under AdWords there is a section titled Hour of Day which allows you to see important statistics on clicks, conversions and conversion rate for Day of Week and Hour of Day. From this you can start to restrict the times you want your ads to show and begin to optimise your spend.


Your AdWords campaigns can be customised to target specific devices, namely desktop, tablet and mobile. Within the Settings tab there is a Devices section which allows you to see the breakdown of traffic by clicks, average position, conversions, etc.

From this information you can then decide how you should allocate budget based on the bid adjustment system. Unfortunately, this cannot be applied to tablet devices, only mobile. But this does provide the opportunity to exclude mobile traffic if you find that it is wasting your budget.

Use this guide to mobile tracking on Google Analytics to discover if your mobile traffic can benefit from ad scheduling or if particular pages convert better on mobile devices.

Enhanced CPC

At the moment, by default, Google opts your campaigns into Enhanced CPC (ECPC), a bidding feature that raises your bid for clicks that seem more likely to lead to a sale or conversions on your website.

This is based on Google’s past data or the data in your account, but, if that past data is not relevant to your account or your account does not have a lot of data, the tool can quite often be inaccurate.

Google loves to spend your money and we want to take that power out of Google’s hands and put it back into our own. Therefore, I would highly suggest removing the Enhanced CPC feature in your campaigns settings to save your budget.

These six money savers can make a great difference to your AdWords budget, allowing you to allocate that budget to the areas that deserve it most. You will notice the all important cost-per-conversion figure will improve on a month by month basis as you continually manage these areas.

Happy saving!

Stephen Reynolds is Head of Marketing at digital marketing company Ignition Search. You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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