last Updated 23 December 2019

Data Analysis Cuts Google Ads Costs by 31%

One of the reasons I enjoy working in digital marketing, and with Google Ads in particular, is that it requires me to use both my analytical skills and my creativity.

Creativity is important when you need to come up with ideas for new ad variations that you can use in split-testing.

And this week I want to share a great example of why data analysis is so important and how it can pay dividends for your Google Ads campaigns.

Singular or Plural

Back in the mid-2000s, when I ran a financial services lead generation company, I once spent about half a day analysing several months worth of data from the Google Ads account that we used to generate mortgage leads and pension leads from a variety of different websites.

My goal was to see if I could lower our cost per acquisition (CPA) - i.e. the average amount we needed to spend on Google Ads to get each new lead. At the same time, I didn't want to reduce the overall number of leads generated each week.

After slicing and dicing the data in various ways, a pattern began to emerge.

It seemed that, in most cases, people who used search terms on Google that contained singular versions of a given word (such as "pension") were far more likely to convert than those whose search term contained the plural of that same word (i.e.  "pensions" in this particular example).


Yes, that's right - across a wide range of different keywords, just a single letter 's' in someone's search query seemed to make a huge difference. I could say with a fair degree of certainty that someone who, for example, clicked on an ad after searching for "pensions for freelancers" was far less likely to submit an enquiry than someone who had searched for "pension for freelancers".

On one of our websites, the average CPA for singular search terms was £9.69 and the conversion rate was 7.45%, whereas for the plural search terms the average CPA was £15.20 and the conversion rate was only 4.95%. This meant that the CPA for singular search terms was over 36% lower than for the plural versions.

Once I'd established this, it made sense to go through the account and reduce the bids on all the plural keywords.

Big Results From Small Changes

That was about 15 years ago, but not much has changed and I recently found myself in a similar situation when working on a client's Google Ads account. Although they were in a different industry, the same pattern emerged - that singular keywords converted better than plural ones. 

I reduced the bids on all of the plural keywords and waited a week to see what difference it made. The table below shows the key stats for the week after I lowered the bids on the plural keywords compared to the week prior to the change.












As you can see, we not only achieved a reduction in the cost per lead - by an impressive 31% - but we also managed to increase the number of leads generated. 

Next Steps

If you're not already doing so, I strongly recommend you analyse your keyword and conversion data regularly. Yes, it takes up a bit of time, but if it results in you cutting nearly a third off your marketing costs like it did for my client, then surely it's got to be worth a try.

If the information in this post helps you improve your Google Ads results, please do let me know by leaving a comment in the box below.

About the author 

David Miles

As a digital marketing consultant, author and trainer, I specialise in helping businesses in the financial services sector use the internet to get more enquiries and increase profits.

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