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10 ways you may be wasting your digital advertising spend

1 Paying for expensive keywords

Terms relating to US lawyers can cost several hundred dollars per click, but clearly the lawyers are still making enough for those clicks to make it worth it. We’ve seen cases where the client is paying more for the click than the profit margin on what they’re selling. This is obviously a poor strategy.

2 Not using negative keywords

If I’m selling crystal wands to spiritualists, sending geologists to my site won’t bring conversions. I would therefore use negative keywords like “crystal formations” to ensure that those geologists aren’t shown ads for a product that doesn’t interest them, but may get clicked anyway resulting in a cost to me and annoyance to the geologist.

3 Poor quality ads

If your ads are of poor quality, Google won’t show them. In essence Google only wants to show high quality ads relevant to its users needs. The text should be legible sentences related to the keywords you are targeting. If they aren’t – at worst Google won’t show them, at best you’re wasting money as your conversion rate on clicks will be lower than expected.

4 Not measuring performance properly

The key metric is sales generated through your ads. If you run an eCommerce site, it’s easy.

You can track the click-through rate, which is the number of clicks divided by total number of ad impressions. If this is too low (you should be aiming for about 2%), your ad isn’t “speaking” to the viewers and needs adjusting.

You can track the conversion rate, which is the number of sales divided by the number of clicks. What you can expect here depends on your industry, but somewhere between 1% and 5% is probably realistic.

You can also track bounce rates, average transaction values and a bunch of other metrics that will allow you to adapt your digital ad spend intelligently.

If you have a brochure site, it gets more difficult. Your metrics may be number of visitors, number of inquiries, number of conversions. You’ll have to be diligent in tracking your conversions – you may not know that they were converted by an ad if you don’t ask how they heard of you.

5 Lack of diversity

The best ad campaign is a diverse campaign. You should set up a number of ad groups, each with ad text tailored to a small number of related keywords. A one size fits all approach will result in lower click through rates, higher bounce rates and lower conversion rates. Going back to our crystal shop analogy, somebody looking for a diagnostic pendulum will have little interest in a decorative geode. By having multiple ad groups, each with one narrow task to accomplish you will maximise efficiency.

6 Not eliminating non-performing keywords

If nobody is searching for it, your ad won’t be shown to anybody. Perhaps you need to use the Google keyword planner to find a variant of the search phrase that people are looking for.

7 Believing you know how your customers think

I always invite my digital advertising clients to interview their own clients and ask them what they would search for to find certain products or services. The results are so often not what the client expects. Speaking to your customers is important. It’s also good to do competitor research and see what the competition is doing in the digital ad space.

8 Giving up too early

The fact of the matter is it takes time to build a mature digital marketing campaign. Usually, we will start with a broad fact finding campaign. This will help us find which keyword groups are performing. It will also assist us in finding negative keywords. Finally, it may tell us that a digital marketing spend on a given platform is not cost effective. When we have the broad data, we begin splitting up our keywords into different ad groups and comparing different ad wordings to see which convert best. After a couple of months we will have gathered enough data to optimise average cost per click, click-through rate and conversion rate.

9 Picking the wrong platform

We know a lot of businesses who exclusively use Google ads or Facebook ads, without ever trying another platform. You need to try all candidate platforms to see what works best for you. Some of our clients have found that they get a better bang for the buck by going direct to relevant high traffic sites like DoneDeal to advertise. Some find digital ads just don’t work in their business, and some only advertise online, getting in excess of 95% of their business in this way.

10 Being overwhelmed

For those who choose to manage their own advertising spend, the sheer volume of options on a platform like Google Adwords can be too much. They’ll therefore go to Google Adwords Express and end up with a very generic campaign that won’t convert as well is it could do. Most people are capable of picking up the skills needed to administer their digital ad spend, but we do advise that they outsource the initial setup and and campaign tuning to an expert.


Digital advertising will reach 50% of the total global advertising spend by 2020. There’s no question that the market sees the value in digital ads, with a projected global spend of $273 Billion in 2018. If you’re savvy, you’ll increase your bottom line and the extra spend will cost a fraction of the earnings generated.

If you would like to discuss your digital advertising strategy, call Ivan today on 021 34168.

10 ways you may be wasting your digital advertising spend
Article Name
10 ways you may be wasting your digital advertising spend
So many businesses take an ad-hoc approach to digital ads, and have no real idea whether they are getting value for their spend.
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Spiralli Web Solutions
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