As you probably are quite aware, the Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) comprises the overall advertising investment any brand has incurred, either by placing an ad on networks such as Google or Facebook or through more traditional methods in order to acquire new customers. This in itself makes this metric the single most important metric in any campaign.
Therefore, making sure this metric is getting you the best possible results becomes a critical step in any strategy. So, we’ve decided to share a checklist with all the most important steps to review over and over again in any campaign to get the most out it:
1. Sometimes less is more
Lowering your bids is one of the quickest adjustments you can make to reduce your Cost-Per-Acquisition. If your cost per conversion is suddenly costing you a pretty penny, it can only mean one thing: the basic CPA equation (Cost/Conversions) is not adding up properly.
Sometimes the problem is as simple as not understanding that there’s a limit to what you can comfortably pay for each click to make your business profitable. In this context, just lowering your bids may be the best way to lower your Google Ads campaign’s average CPA.
This is the most basic tactic since lowering your bids is almost like giving Google guidelines on how much it’s allowed to charge for every click your campaign receives. Though you must also consider that if the average position of your campaign is lower than 3rd and it is not limited by budget, lower bids would not necessarily imply a lower average and its position will also drop a bit.
All in all, you could afford more clicks with the same budget (if you have a limited budget), by showing your ads for more time, but you’ll have to keep an eye on your average position to make sure that it doesn’t suffer more than is worth it. Remember, you don’t want to sacrifice volume for a lower CPA. I mean, why would you want to save 25% on CPA if your volume suddenly drops 60%?
2. And for others… More is more
More relevant, more valuable, more organized, more focused. Though it’s not unheard of that just one keyword per ad can be useful, applying advanced rules at the keyword level is the only thing that will allow you to always be in the top 3 options (or even number one), more consistently.
Additionally, targeting in Search ads should be directed by keywords. The key for a keyword strategy is to have a high level of quality, which means making them meaningful with the content of the site and adding negative keywords that will positively affect the clarity of searches and therefore, the quality of clicks.
Sometimes, is better to kill off shorter terms and find more specific (longer) keyword sequences. Diving into long tail keyword research, using broad match to find inexpensive traffic, and mining search queries to find even more keyword is critical, especially in a highly competitive industry, where the CPA of your campaigns could be very expensive.
All in all, having a higher Quality Score is the most effective way of lowering average CPA, while keeping a good average position; though you must always be sure that they have a considerable search volume. A 10/10 Quality Score won’t do you any good if it’s only searched by 15 people.
Finally, a very basic but often forgotten key element is the dynamic insertion, which, when used in the ads, will always help with a good CTR.
3. Not all that glitters is gold
So, while having the digital world at the tip of our fingers is undoubtedly something quite nice, too much of something is never the best. That is why excluding some of the vast internet universe is not only logical, but probably the best thing you can possibly do to ensure the success of your campaigns.
See, every display campaign has its own particularities but overall, excluding apps and games seems to be a sound choice for advertisers focused on acquisition. This is because they usually get you many clicks, visits and views, but little relevant leads and potential customers since its publics tend to be way too broad for any retail customer.
On the other hand, if you’re dealing with remarketing campaigns, the best option is to divide them according to the last step that the user arrived at on their “journey” in finally acquiring one of your products. This will allow you to create more specific ads that can even be made according to the user’s product awareness stage.
That means that, if they stayed on step 2, you must create an audience on Analytics that includes only the people that went all the way up to that step and excludes the people who went to the next step or further.
Finally, evaluating performance by network will show you that even on Google, some search partners are just better (for your goals) than others. If you segment your campaigns by network in order to assess how they all stack up against each other, it’s not uncommon to find that only running a Google search can actually help reduce your CPA.
4. Working 9 to 5
Or 5 to 1, or 3 to 2, or any possible combination. Your business has the last word, but more often than not, showing ads 24x7 is not really necessary to reach your conversion requirements. And you should be able identify the optimal times to bid more, drop bids, or not run anything at all. Ad Scheduling can save on your ad budget by preventing your ads from running during the hours or days of the week that are irrelevant for you.
Your business and historical data is the key to this and, if you really dive into your ad scheduling, you may find out that running ads on certain days, at certain hours, based on the highest CPA obtained from analytics is the perfect problem-solver when you are trying to save on your ad spend.
As often as this metric is overlooked, its likely to lower your ROI, further reducing the possibility of getting irrelevant clicks. So, the sooner you understand the day or time you get the best response from your customers and schedule your ads for that day or time, the better.
5. Now the choice is up to you
Now, before carrying out the campaign, it’s important to first analyze how much budget you have at hand, so taking a decision regarding which strategy to use for the daily budget and bid spend is easier. The thing is, even if you didn’t get the perfect strategy in one fell swoop, leaving the budget for a period of time will help you to have more control over daily spending.
Most of the time, the platform will decide to invest more depending on the day and when there is better activity, but a daily budget lets you decide to invest more in certain campaigns, which is particularly useful when dealing with a short-term campaign (about 7 to 15 days).
However, the bid strategy will be chosen depending on the objective of the campaign. Imagine this: the advertiser wants the user to perform an action on the site. Then, you should let Google Ads’ intelligent offers decide when to invest more or less. If it now wants to direct traffic to the site, then the strategy should be a Cost-Per-Click, and if the goal is to generate branding with direct video ads, then the best strategy is probably a CPM.
6. Words don't come easy
Yes! Click-through rates are great, important, and can drive more traffic to your website… but if you really want to lower CPAs, you need to make them stay. If you analyze your existing ad text, landing pages and your overall all copy, you will be able to easily identify the ads that are driving too much of the wrong traffic and the landing pages that may be scaring off your leads.
Maybe you’re being too vague, or maybe your copy is not in sync with your landing page. Nevertheless, you must make sure that you’re constantly testing new messaging on your current best performing ads. Sometimes even the smallest of changes to a copy or call-to-action can help you get better qualified website visitors.
Now, if having good and highly relevant ads that can be considered “above average” is a given, and if the landing page experience is below average, you’re doomed. The thing is, Google calculates the Quality Score for your keywords, so it’s not a “one or the other” kind of situation, but an “if I go down, you go down with me” circumstance.
And though not every page on your website can and will engage or convert visitors, running a historical review of each one of them adjusts anything you deem necessary is a good start. Another possibility is to test out sending visitors to different pages to see which ones have a better path and entice visitors to convert.
At the end of the journey, the best thing to do is to test out different landing pages and find the one that is more relevant to both your keywords and ads. It might include some of the keywords in the ad, or some of the features highlighted in it. Still, connecting your ads to better landing pages will allow you to increase relevancy, improve your Quality Score, and lower your average CPA.
7. Come together, right now
Even if it’s advisable not to close the segmentation too much, like avoiding adding more than 3 to 4 interests to the segmentation with interest ads or performing a 7-day test to see how any segmentation is converting in the market, you can create tightly themed lists of keywords and ad groups.
All you have to do is structure your keywords and ad groups by the different products and services promoted online that you sell and want. It will be easier to create relevant keywords and choose the best possible landing page for each of your ad groups if all your products and services in the same category are separated into their very own clusters of Ad Groups.
Tightly themed ad groups will connect your keywords, ads and landing pages in highly relevant groups that Google is more likely to reward with a high Quality Score, giving you a lower Cost Per Acquisition. Google will always put relevancy first and foremost, which is why creating these lists of keywords and ad groups is one of the best practices to achieve a good CPA.
8. Wherever you go
Targeting your ads by region will help you to focus your advertising in the areas where you already know you’ll find the best customers for your business. Every single Google Ads' Campaign lets you select the location where you your ads will be shown. You can choose from a range as broad as entire countries, to certain cities, to some areas within a city, region, postal code, or even radius around a specific location.
It’s best to target specific searchers when you’re doing a pay-per-click campaign, which is why geotargeting is the most effective tactic for success. Then again, targeting campaigns to a group of searchers within a city, metropolitan area, or state is useful for more than just the marketers in a specific physical location in that area (though it may seem like a one purpose tool).
The thing is, even if your distribution is able to deliver something in a particular area or city, it doesn’t mean you should be spending your advertising investment in that area. Say you sell luxury skin care products, and yes, you can deliver them anywhere in the country, but is spending your investment in that small town where you’ll sell a couple (if you are lucky) the best idea? Probably not.
With this, your ads can only be displayed in those areas where you know potential customers live, even by just separating your campaigns between high performing cities & low performing cities, it’s more than probable that you’ll increase your CTR and eventually improve your Quality Score, reducing your Cost Per Acquisition.
9. Use Different Match Types
And last but not least, you should consider that, depending on your campaign structure and the industry, there might be some significant variations for the same keywords in different match types. So, setting up campaigns with different ad groups to test out the same keywords in different match types, or creating separate campaigns to run the different keyword match type tests may be worth it.
Imagine that you’ve noticed that the Exact Match is way more expensive than the BMM (Broad Match Modifier), then you might decide to change your keywords from Exact to BMM in order to lower your average CPA. And, if you’re concerned about how expensive some of those keywords could become, uploading them to Google Ads with the campaign paused and reviewing their bid estimates is recommended by Google.
Yet, if you’re planning on using this approach, you must be sure that you’re including a very thorough list of negative keywords to filter out irrelevant traffic. BMM is a much less restrictive match type, so it’s important to keep in mind that BMM will probably also attract more traffic. Therefore, you’ll probably stumble upon some search queries that include phrases similar to, but not always exactly the same as, those of your campaign keywords.
And this is how you crush it! But really, dealing with advertising on Google is a big deal for any marketer, and sometimes getting a little extra helping hand is just what you need to really get the most out of your money. That’s why combining the creative and strategic expertise of a professional with the incredible potential of AI Ad Tech Tools may be your best bet.
For example, Adext AI uses machine learning to find the best audience for any ad without taking over your strategic and creative decisions, supercharging efficiency and ensuring that the conversion rate of those Google Ads' campaigns increases.
This Ad Tech AI solution has a 5-minutes set up process and allows its customers to actually see what it does in their own ads' accounts. Not only getting them to spend less time and resources while still increasing ad conversion performance, results and revenue, but constantly working on optimizing budgets too. So, as a customer, you can see how it performs up to 480 budget updates across 20 audience segments for every ad in every single one of your campaigns... daily.