Don't Waste Your Digital Marketing Budget

An Essential Three-Step Checklist for New Online Marketers and Small Businesses

Creating your first digital marketing campaigns can be tedious and time consuming, but—more than anything—it can be terrifying. The moment you flip your campaigns live, money begins to flow out of your pocket. If you are not careful, you can spend it too quickly or without a return.

This is why we put together a list of the most important settings to check and consider prior to launching your program. Protect your budget and give your business the best chance of success by going through this checklist before you turn campaigns on.

If you’re already running campaigns, go through this list to see if there are any areas you can reduce wasted spend.


1. Network Settings

Google Search campaigns are built with an opt-out style for their networks. For a majority of marketers, it is best to initially launch on just the Search Network, and opt out of Google Search Partners as well as the Display Network. 

Screenshot of Campaign Settings in Google Ads Manager.

Here is the why. 

Best practice is to keep search campaigns running on search networks, and keep display campaigns running on the display network. The audience intent is drastically different, and the ad formats are completely different. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to opt-out of the Display Network on your search campaigns at launch.

Now for the Search Partners Why. According to Google, Search Partners extends “the reach of Google Search ads to hundreds of non-Google websites, as well as YouTube and other Google sites.” This means your ads can show up on Google Maps and Google Images, but it can also show up on websites like Walmart and Target. 

For some brands, Search Partners can be a valuable resource and very profitable, but for others it can be a place of wasted spend with no return. Best practice is to launch a new program or product without Search Partners initially, prove success on the Google Search Network, and then test search partners as a next phase of your program. 

There are several strategies to test Search Partners. The first is breaking out campaigns to only target the Google Network or Search Partners. Another is to target both within the same campaign and then segment network performance in your reporting. 


2. Location Targeting

Location settings are very straightforward with how you select them within the UI. However, this is one of those “slight differences” situations where it makes a big impact on your spend and performance. 

Screenshot of Location settings in the Targeting and audiences section of Google Ads Editor.

Your business might have very specific regions for service availability, product delivery, or relevance. If you are a local business, you want to make sure you are targeting as precise as possible with the Advanced Search options under “Location Options”.

The Advanced Search prompt in the Location Settings of Google Ads Editor.

Here you are able to target by city, postal code, DMA, State, etc. This will help you avoid showing a pizza delivery ad to someone 300 miles away from your business location.

Even if you do target the entire world or large locations, for example the United States and China, those audiences are going to vary and you will want to segment your geo targets at the campaign level to control messaging and budgets separately for each country. 

The final thing to consider with location targeting is who to Target and Exclude. Google defaults to “People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations”. This means that if someone in the UK shows interest in your product or service in your targeted areas of the United States or China (keeping with the example above), then they are eligible for ads. 

The Target and Exclusions prompts in Google Ads Editor.

There are situations where this might make sense. Perhaps they work remote for a company based in China and are doing research. Perhaps their mother lives in the United states and they need local services for her. In both examples, it could make sense for marketers to show ads to these people, but it is riskier than just showing ads to people who are physically in your targeted locations. 

If you do not have the extra marketing dollars to gamble on the situation that someone in the UK is relevant to your service or product, then it is best to launch with “People in or regularly in your targeted locations”. In the case that your UK searcher visits their office in China frequently, then they become that extra bit more qualified to your business, and eligible for your ads. 

For location exclusions, take the recommended setting from Google of “People in your excluded locations”. It is the safest way to completely block geographical locations you want to avoid serving ads to. 

For questions about how to build a location strategy within your program, and how to add negative locations, reach out to us and tell us more about your business.


3. Keyword Match Types + Negatives Keywords

One of the biggest mistakes in any paid search program is launching with too broad of keywords and not using any negative keywords. The Google campaign builder gives you the most vague disclaimer about this when creating your ad group.

Google Campaign Builder's options for keyword groups.

What they are not saying is that if you launch with the wrong keywords and match types, you are going to blow through your entire daily marketing budget in an hour with zero leads or purchases.


Broad Match

Imagine you are selling a luxury beauty face oil with a $200 price point, and start by bidding on the broad match keyword “face oils” on broad match. This keyword can show up for search queries such as “cheap face oils”, “face oils Target”, and all sorts of other irrelevant terms that are going to drive people to your site who are not a good fit. 

When someone expecting to pay $9 for a “cheap face oil” sees your $200 price point, they are leaving your page and doing another search for “face oils Target” hoping to get something more in their range. Sadly your ad shows again and they click it again, costing you more money for more irrelevant traffic. A business owner’s nightmare.


Exact Match and Broad Match Modified

The way to fix this is to ensure that your keywords have the proper modifiers within them, as well as actual broad match modifiers in your keyword build. 

If you include “luxury” within an exact match version of your original keyword, then you have [luxury face oils] as the only search term to trigger your ad. This ensures that the audience you are targeting is looking for a product within your price point, increasing your conversion rate. 

For broad match, using broad match modifiers on your keywords will allow you to find new keywords to target on exact match, while protecting your audience quality. “+luxury +face +oils” can show for the search query “best luxury face oils”, “luxury face oils without aloe”, and “luxury face oils for wrinkles”. All of which might be perfect for your company.


Negative Keywords

Building off the above example, let’s think about negative keywords. What if your product contains aloe. In fact, what if the base of all of your products is some rare aloe plant found only in the Amazon. Well then the search query “luxury face oils without aloe” is a huge red flag. 

Perhaps this person is allergic to aloe, perhaps they hate the way it smells. Either way, you don’t want to pay for their clicks because they are not buying. The best way to protect yourself is to create negative keywords in your campaigns to ensure that any searches that contain “without aloe” are blocked from your program. 

Negative keywords can be added at a campaign or adgroup level, and to make it even more confusing, they also have match types. To ensure that your keyword strategy has no cracks that money can fall through, contact Jordan Digital Marketing and let’s talk strategy that is solid!

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