last Updated 11 August 2023

How to Stop Google Ads Costing Too Much

Looking to spend your digital marketing budget somewhere that will give you a good return on investment? Then Google Ads, previously known as Google AdWords, is a sensible place to start.

With a record 246 million unique visitors, translating to approximately 3.5 billion daily interactions and a correlating 700% return on investment, Google Ads can be an amazing place to spend your money.

Google Ads plays a crucial role in letting you display ads to potential customers that could be interested in your particular products or services. By using Google Ads, you are able to bid on the search keywords that your target customers are likely to use when they are looking for a business like yours. And if your bid is the winning one, your website will be shown at the very top of the Google search results.

This sounds great. But the problem is that, for many people, all that happens when they use Google Ads for the first time is that they spend a lot of money in a short space of time with nothing useful to show for it.

How to Stop Google Ads Emptying Your Bank Account

There are a number of reasons why it is easy for the costs of Google Ads to get out of control.

The biggest issue is that it’s a very quick and easy process to create a Google Ads campaign and, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can easily miss some important my details.

A lot of Google’s default settings will actually increase the amount you spend on your Google Ads campaigns. Call me cynical, but it is in Google’s interest to let you spend more than you need to.

Some default settings, such as showing your ads on both the Search and Display networks in the same campaign, are pretty much guaranteed to stop Google Ads working cost-effectively.

Be careful when setting up your Google Ads campaigns and don’t be afraid to adjust some of the default settings. This guide will help you get it right.

Running a successful Google Ads campaign isn’t just about bidding the right amount and knowing how to achieve good quality scores. You also need to keep in mind the age-old principles of marketing, such as knowing who your ideal customer is and understanding what motivates them and what keeps them awake at night.

- How to Stop Google Ads Costing Too Much

With a system such as Google Ads, it’s very easy to cast your net far too wide and waste money on clicks from people who are never going to buy your products or services.

But by taking the time to fully define your ideal customer avatar and identifying the pain points that your products or services can fix for them, you can make your Google Ads campaigns far more targeted and enticing to that specific audience. That means you can stop Google Ads blowing your budget on the wrong type of people and so improve your return on investment.

Many businesses do not bother to track how many leads and sales they get from their Google Ads campaigns. This means they are unable to accurately calculate their returns or optimise their campaigns to give priority to the keywords that produce the best results.

It is important to track conversions – either with the conversion tracking that is built into Google Ads or by using goals in Google Analytics. My guide to setting up Google Ads covers this in more detail.

Many advertisers fail to take a methodical approach to setting up and configuring their Google Ads campaigns. So they may have some campaigns that are well configured and others which are not.

By using a checklist it becomes much easier to ensure you don’t forget anything and that you have a consistent setup across all your campaigns. A Google Ads checklist can be used when you are first setting up your campaigns and can also be a great resource for auditing your existing campaigns to make sure they are optimally configured.

You can use my free 30-point Google Ads checklist to audit your own Ads account and fix any errors that might be causing you to waste money or miss out on conversions.

5 Common Mistakes That Stop Google Ads Performing Well

Here are some of the most common mistakes I see advertisers making with Google Ads, along with suggestions on how to avoid them.


Badly written ads

One reason why your Google Ads campaigns might not be generating positive returns is because of badly written ads that are not relevant or appealing to your target audience. A good ad should be written to match a searcher’s intent. If it doesn’t, then it will not get many clicks. And, because of the way the Google Ads auction works, if you don’t get many clicks then the clicks that you do get will end up costing more.

To avoid this, make sure that the headline of your ad is highly relevant to the keywords you are bidding on in that ad group. Create multiple ads for each of your ad groups so as you can split-test them and find the ad copy that works best. This will improve your click-through rate (CTR) and help keep your costs down.


Incorrect budgeting and bidding

One way to stop Google ads from emptying your bank account is to decide on the right budget and bidding options. The budget setting lets you establish a monthly spend limit for each Google Ads campaign. You set an average amount that you are willing to spend each day and Google will make sure your total spend each month is no more than 30.4 times this daily limit.

You can also end up spending more than you want if you use the automated bidding options that Google offers. You’ll have more control over your costs if you use manual CPC (cost per click) bidding.


Wrong match types

Failing to understand keyword match types is another common and expensive mistake that people make. Sticking to the default broad match setting for all your keywords and failing to use negative keywords is a sure-fire way to run up a big Google Ads bill. 

As a general rule you should avoid using broad match and focus instead on keywords that use the exact, phrase, and broad match modified match types.


Poor account structure

Having a sound structure for you Google Ads account is vital to its success. It’s like building a house. If your foundations and structure aren’t right, no amount of wallpapering is going to help it stay standing.

A poorly structured Google Ads account will make it impossible to target your keywords effectively and will mean you can’t ensure a high degree of relevance between your keywords and your ads. To reduce Google Ads spend, it is important to lay down a proper account structure right from the start – all the way from your campaigns through to your ad extensions.


Wrong choice of keywords

If you’re concerned about how to stop Google Ads costing too much, you should take a close look at your choice of keywords. If you’ve chosen keywords which are too broad or generic then your ads will get shown to an entirely wrong audience, leading to fewer clicks and a higher cost per click or to clicks from people who are never going to become your customers.


By reviewing your keywords and pausing or removing a lot of them, you can usually reduce your Google Ads costs significantly and still get just as many conversions as before.

Google Ads should definitely be part of your digital marketing strategy and these tips will go a long way to making sure you don’t get your fingers burnt or your bank account emptied. The key to creating a successful Google Ads campaign is to make sure you understand how the system works and that you know how to avoid the kind of traps that we’ve discussed above.

If you’re about to try Google Ads for the first time, check out my free Google Ads course for beginners.

And if you have an existing Google Ads account, then download the Google Ads audit checklist and use it to identify what to do to stop Google Ads costing you too much.

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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