A 3-Step Approach to Saving Yourself from Wasted Ad Spend

How to Reduce Wasted Ad Spend for Good

The Internet is a beautiful thing. It’s given advertisers the power to connect with almost anyone, anywhere, at any time. And while digital ad campaigns that focus on expanding reach across the globe and earning the most clicks are both an option for certain clients, casting such a wide net can result in wasted ad dollars for others.

Here’s the problem: pay-per-click (PPC) marketing means you’re paying because a person took action on your ad, whether they have any intention of converting or not. A click isn’t always a sign your ad was relevant to that person either, whether that’s due to the time of day, location or a number of other factors. Because of this, your return on investment (ROI) may not be what you expected.

Working with a digital marketing agency means your ad budget will be closely watched with every tool at your ad manager’s disposal being used to optimize your spend. But if you want to tackle the world of PPC advertising on your own, here are three ways to reduce unwanted clicks on your ads and cut back on wasted ad spend.

Use Negative Keywords

You don’t always know exactly what your audience is looking for. But you do know your brand and what it does and doesn’t offer. When you set up your ad campaign, you entered the keywords you wanted your ad to come up for—what your brand does—but what about the terms you want to appear in the results for? These are called negative keywords and adding them to your campaign helps prevent your ad from being served to those who aren’t your ideal customers.

There are two ways to set negative keywords: proactively researching negative keywords before they cost you clicks and money, or combing through your ad reports to reactively incorporate irrelevant terms that have already triggered clicks on your ads. To successfully implement this strategy, you’ll need to do a combination of both.

Optimize Your Ad Schedules

If your restaurant’s click-to-call ads are served in a 3 a.m. search query, long past the time your doors closed for the day, you might be spending more than you need to on your campaign. Dayparting, or setting a schedule for your ads, ensures they are visible when your ideal customers are most likely to click on them.

To get started, dig through your ad reports and website analytics. What times get the most quality traffic? That is, when are your click-to-conversion rates highest? Alternatively, when are those rates the lowest? Use these numbers to create an optimized ad schedule that increases bids during your best performing hours and decreases bids over the periods you’re not generating conversions.

Geo-Target Your Ads

Where are your ideal customers? Are they within 25 to 50 miles of your attraction or traveling from several states over? Understanding where your brand’s target audience is physically located and using that knowledge to geo-target those areas not only gives your digital ad campaign a leg up on the competition, it can also reduce wasted ad spend.

If your business has a physical location, it’s likely you’re already using geo-targeting filters to improve your ads. But today’s robust targeting capabilities mean you can get as granular as you’d like with your campaigns, targeting specific zip codes, venues, points of interest in your area and more. And just like you would include negative keywords in your campaign, you can also exclude locations from your targeting.

Remember, optimizing your PPC campaign to minimize ad waste is only one piece of the puzzle. To see the bottom-line driving results, you’ll need a comprehensive approach to digital marketing, including engaging ad copy, conversion-focused web content and an eye on search engine optimization, to name a few.