The perfectly targeted campaign is every marketers dream. The arrow flying into the bullseye, straight into the heart and mind of the perfect consumer.

Not so long ago, that was only a dream. Today, developments in technology have made it significantly easier to track and measure the effectiveness of our campaigns. We might not be able to hit the bull every time, but we can certainly hit the dartboard…

On target

One of the biggest tools in any marketer’s online arsenal is Google AdWords. Used well, AdWords allows you an unprecedented amount of control over your marketing spend, allowing you to pinpoint your audience and eliminate wasted spend.

The less you waste, the more effective your campaign is – making your marketing budget go further. Here are relevant ways to streamline your PPC spend. Whether you’re working with a successful paid search agency, freelance or in-house, these 11 tips will help you streamline your ad spend:

1. Differentiate between Display and Search Network

When you first set up a new campaign AdWords’ default option is to target both Display and Search Networks with that single campaign, but this is a massive mistake for marketers.

Both networks can be really effective, but they don’t function in the same way.

While the Search Network is the format most people are more familiar with – where PPC ads display in the SERPs – the Display Network targets websites and blogs. Users are in a very different headspace on both networks – users on the SERPS are active, while users across the GDN (Google Display Network) is much more passive.

As a result, targeting both with a single campaign isn’t the most efficient way to spend on PPC. Differentiate any campaigns you have running on both – or you’re wasting spend on a PPC advert that isn’t well targeted.

2. Invest time in your Account Structure

Everyone and his brother has an opinion on the best AdWords account structure, but the best accounts have something in common: they’re structured around an intelligent, thoughtful keyword strategy.

Put time into getting the right short and long-tail keywords for your business, and then build your Ad Groups by match types. It’s also important to use your exact match terms as negative keywords within the Phrase and Broad groups, so you can set bids more effectively and write more targeted copy.

3. Relevancy is king

Google award their Quality Score based on how well your keywords, ads and landing pages match up – in other words, how relevant they are to one another.

Improving your quality score is important to streamline your PPC spend because it’s used to work out your cost-per-click and ad-rank. At the same time, the more relevant your ad copy is, the higher your click-through-rate will be, which will help you convert more customers. It’s a no brainer, really.

4. Use negative keywords wisely

You should use negative keywords whenever you don’t want your campaign to rank for a certain keyword, to eliminate wasted clicks. You can do this proactively, or reactively, or ideally both – to make sure every click counts.

A robust negative keyword strategy will improve your CTR, conversion rate and Quality Score, so it’s an easy way to make your PPC campaign more efficient.

5. Think mobile!

Given how huge mobile is, you’d be surprised how many marketers still forget to optimise their PPC campaign.

Call extensions are a great way to optimise for mobile, allowing you to insert your telephone number into the ad so mobile users can call directly.

Mobile PPC

You also need to make sure you’re directing mobile users to a mobile optimised site if they click-through on your ad. If not, your bounce rates are likely to skyrocket and your conversion rates plummet.

With Google changing their ranking algorithms to factor in mobile-readiness, it’s critical that your website is responsive. If that’s not the case, at the very least adjust your PPC bid by –100%, because it’s just throwing money away. You can check if your site is mobile-ready with Google’s mobile-friendly test.

6. Target by location

One of the easiest ways to streamline your PPC spend is to make sure you’re targeting users by location. Running an all locations ad when you only operate in one or two places is not efficient!

If you do want to target users from multiple locations, you should run a separate campaign for each place, too. This will allow you to better track performance, so you can make more informed decisions on your PPC spend.

7. Take advantage of extensions

Ad extensions can help you tailor your advert in a way that’s more useful to your audience, which in turn will improve your CTR and your conversion rate. For example, you might want to add on Review extensions or Seller ratings, to lend your advert credibility.

AdWords offers loads of extensions options, so make sure you take advantage of them where appropriate.

8. Use Scheduling

You wouldn’t run a social media campaign without scheduling your posts at the highest-converting times and frequencies, so don’t do it with your PPC campaign. Pouring PPC spend into low converting times is a sure way to waste money.

Instead, schedule when you want your posts to appear. Implement bid adjustments at the lowest converting times if you still want some coverage, but it just doesn’t make sense to spend the same amount in your highest and lowest converting periods.

9. Label your ads

Ad labelling is an indirect way to reduce PPC spend waste, by allowing you to better organise your ads, so you can better track them.

The more easily you can measure your success, the more informed your decision-making and the more quickly you can refine your PPC output to be more cost-efficient.

10. Diversify your landing pages

Coming back to relevancy, the more closely the ad and the landing page align, the better for your Quality Score, CTR and conversion rate.

It really is worth investing in a separate landing page for each campaign you run, sending users who click-through to a highly relevant page with a tailored CTA.

Virgin Experience Days do this really well. Search for ‘cooking course London’ and ‘cooking course South East’ and you get taken to a bespoke landing page for each:

Google search result and landing page

11. Don’t let things slide!

The most important thing you can do to make sure your PPC spend is as efficient as possible is to stay regularly engaged with it. You should be running regular search query reports to identify new negative and positive keywords, and be sure your strategy doesn’t need to change.

As with all marketing activity, it’s important to test regularly and constantly measure your performance so you can make adjustments where necessary.

Your PPC campaign should be alive – constantly adapting and evolving over time, so you can identify where your spend is better spent. AdWords is a fantastic tool, and one that can bring significant results if used right, but it’s also one that needs to be managed well. It’s easy to spend money with AdWords, so marketers need to take steps to ensure that their campaign is cost-efficient.