How To Optimize Adwords to Lower Cost Per Lead

Now more than ever, business must do more with less. Sales goals are increasing by 5 or 10 percent, while budgets are increasing only by 1 percent or remaining flat. Even companies with growing budgets are allocating budget dollars to new media to try different marketing tactics. SEM managers need to increase their efficiency and make sure Google Adwords dollars stretch. Discover five ways to lower your cost per lead while eliminating waste in your paid search campaigns.

Add Negative Keywords

Look at the search terms and keywords used to access your website. What is the customer intent behind them? Customers may be arriving at your website looking for something specific, but they leave when they can’t find what they want. You also may be driving nonqualified leads to your website.

A common example is career-based search queries. If you don’t have any open positions or find yourself losing money on people looking for jobs, then you might want to set “[company name] jobs” and similar terms as negative keywords. To find other potential negative keywords, look at the statistics based around the traffic. If certain keywords have high bounce rates, low time on pages, and few pages visited, then those keywords might be driving poor traffic, and they could be set as negative terms.

Limit Your Bids By Geographical Region

Image via Flickr by Christine Rondeau

This section might not apply to customers with national e-commerce websites or lead-generating websites that try to drive traffic from across the globe, but the ideas here can help businesses with local brick-and-mortar locations. Google Adwords allow you to limit the countries and states in which you place bids, so you can easily reduce your costs by turning off bids in states where you’re not located.

To dive deeper, analyze the traffic performance within 10, 20, and 50 miles of your location. Do closer customers convert more? If so, modifying bids for closer customers can increase your exposure locally while reducing your costs farther away. Some companies actually structure their entire Adwords campaigns around geography so that they can make changes on a smaller level to reduce costs.

Optimize Your Landing Pages

A common mistake for brands starting out is to assign the home page as the designated traffic-driving page. However, the more targeted the keywords, the more targeted the landing page needs to be. For example, if you’re a barbecue restaurant, you want to drive customers searching for “local catering” to your catering page that explains how many people you can accommodate and what food you serve. In some cases, your SEM and SEO teams will have to work together to create landing page experiences for popular search terms or product pushes.

Landing page optimization is important for any company, regardless of the product offered. Similarly, B2B companies should still work to take customers to specific product pages instead of generic offering pages that potential leads have to sift through to find what they need. Your site visitors don’t want to explore your website; they want to find content specifically based on the terms in their searches.

Adjust Bids Around Your Quality Score

Each keyword within a campaign gets assigned a quality score, where you and Google can see the value you bring to that term. For example, most branded terms such as “Joe’s Miami Pizza” have a high quality score because they have high click-thrus, bring customers to relevant landing pages, and are highly relevant to the brand. However, generic terms such as “Greek salad” might have a lower quality score if Joe’s Pizza has only one salad on the menu.

Companies end up paying more to bid on terms with a low quality score, while brands with higher quality scores are given preference. To start, find keywords by quality score and test the impact of lowering your bids by a few cents for your top performers. Similarly, lower the bids — or consider removing the keywords entirely — for irrelevant terms with low scores. Monitor the impact on both changes. You should see little to no impact on your sales while your costs decrease.

Evaluate Mobile and Desktop Performance

Mobile is no doubt a crucial aspect of your marketing strategy, but you could be wasting money by placing the same bids for desktop customers as mobile customers. Compare the behavior between the two device types. Does mobile have a higher bounce rate and lower conversion rate? Many companies find customers visit their websites initially through a mobile device and then return using a desktop device.

To reduce your cost per lead, test mobile bid modifiers that reduce your bids when customers visit via their smartphones. This testing will decrease your cost per lead on mobile devices and should have a greater effect on your campaign.

These tips can be filtered into two categories: reducing waste and creating a better experience for your customers. As long as you keep filtering out unqualified traffic, your budget can go further, and your sales can increase.