4 Steps to Eliminate Wasted Ad Spend on Your B2B PPC Campaign

Eliminate Ad SpendA strategically crafted pay-per-click (PPC) campaign can open the door to new leads and increased revenues, and unlike SEO, you don’t have to wait for months on end to see your results. Since conversions can start to rack up quickly, it’s easy to become excited about a campaign’s performance, while completely overlooking the amount of waste accumulating from your ad spend.

A PPC campaign’s budget is being spent on a daily basis, and consequently, needs to be monitored extremely closely and frequently. If you’re not optimizing your campaign to reduce waste, you’re not only throwing away money, you’re also narrowing your opportunity to turn impressions into clicks and clicks into leads – which is the main goal of the campaign in the first place.

Follow these steps to reduce your expenditure waste and increase leads:

Step 1: Locate the Waste

Before you can optimize to reduce spend waste, you need to identify where the waste is coming from by analyzing performance metrics.

Locate the waste

  • Select the “Ad groups” tab on the left sidebar from the campaign menu
  • Click on “Columns” then “Modify Columns”
  • Make sure the following columns are added:
    • Clicks
    • Impressions (Impr.)
    • Click-through rate (CTR)
    • Average cost-per-click (Avg. CPC)
    • Conversions
    • Cost/conversion (Cost/conv.)
    • Cost
    • Conversion rate (Conv. rate)

After you apply these metrics, you’ll be able to analyze your campaign’s ad groups with a holistic view. Now it’s time to identify under-performing ad groups. Here are 2 common red flags you should look for:

  1. High CTR with a low conversion rate – This means that viewers are clicking on your ads, but aren’t converting when they land on your website, which usually means that the keywords and ads are well aligned, but the landing page is not.
    1. Solution 1: Examine the ad’s destination URLs to ensure that they’re well-matched to the keywords and the ads themselves. Is the content on the landing page compelling? Does it match what a user would expect to see after a click-through? If not, choose a new landing page or improve the existing landing page.
    2. Solution 2: If the landing page is well-matched, perhaps there is a competitor offering a better deal or a promotion. Do a Google search and see what your competition is offering; then find a way to compete. Consider pausing the ad group in the meantime to better allocate your budget.
  2. High impressions, high cost, and a low conversion rate – This is usually an indicator that there’s a lack of targeting and conversion power for a particular ad group. To resolve this issue, you will need to examine the landing page (see above), as well as examine the alignment between the ad copy and the target keywords, which leads us to our next item – quality score.

Step 2: Analyze the Quality Score

According to Google, your quality score is “an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages.” In other words, Google ranks your ads based on a few factors:

  • Click-through rate
  • Keyword relevance to your ad copy
  • Keyword relevance to your landing page
  • The overall experience of your landing page

Quality score can be found by navigating to the “Keywords” tab on the left sidebar from the campaign menu and clicking “Search Keywords.” The “Status” column of this page will show if any of your keywords have low quality scores.

How does this tie into wasted ad spend?

Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions – the higher your quality score, the cheaper your bid needs to be to rank in the top positions.

To improve your quality score, make sure that the keywords you are targeting are mentioned in both your ad text and website text (ideally in the title and headings on the page), and that you follow landing page best practices. However, improving the quality score is more than just inserting keywords, you also want to make sure that you are writing compelling copy that entices viewers to want to learn more, which will improve your CTR as a result. When all the above elements are optimized, your quality score will improve, delivering savings through decreased bid prices and increases in opportunity to rank in a higher ad position.

Step 3: Examine the Search Terms Reports for Negative Keywords

The search terms report can be found in the “Keywords” tab on the left sidebar. From there, select the third option in the drop-down that pops up. It’s recommended to select an ad group before navigating to the search terms tab, so that the information is more digestible.

The search terms report lists all search queries that led to your ads being shown, and includes quality metrics for each query, such as impressions, clicks, CTR, average CPC, etc. Examine this report for each of your campaign’s ad groups, and select search terms that are not relevant to your landing page. Add these irrelevant terms to your negative keyword list, so they won’t trigger anymore of your ads. This procedure allows you to fine-tune your ad groups to avoid wasting spend on queries that won’t result in conversions.

Step 4: Consider the Ad Schedule (Available at the Campaign Level Only)

In order to maximize conversions, you should be spending your budget wisely during prime converting hours. To look at an overview of your ad’s performance by day and time, navigate to the “Ad schedule” tab in the left sidebar from the campaign view. From there, click on the second tab in the drop-down menu bar “Day & Hour”.

This tab will allow you to analyze performance by the day of the week and timeframe and is incredibly useful in determining the most efficient ad schedule for your campaign. Sort the list by conversions and take note of the best and worst performing times. Adjust your ad schedule accordingly to better allocate your budget to times that have a greater chance of converting.

The Key to B2B PPC Ads: Constant Attention and Adjustment

Even the most successful campaigns have waste, and attention to detail is needed to maximize efficiency in ad spend. B2B PPC campaigns can’t be created with a “set it and forget it” mindset, they need constant attention and adjustment for top of the line results.

With something as important as a Google Ads campaign, it’s best to hire a professional with years of experience to ensure your marketing budget is in sound hands, or hire an online marketing agency that has the experience and resources to transform your online presence. Interested in learning more? Request a free consultation today.

About the author

I have a passion for learning about the ins and outs of multiple industries, which is why I chose to work at an agency. With online-marketing being a fast-moving industry, there's always something new to learn. Not a day has gone by where I haven't learned something new while working at SVM.

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