Is Your AdWords Campaign Too Expensive? Here’s an Actionable Guide to Help You Fix It

You might have set up a Google AdWords campaign before and you’re starting to generate leads or sales. But you quickly realize that the conversions you’re getting are too few and the cost per acquisition (CPA) is too high. You think of targeting more keywords but you already exhausted your list. You’re starting to think that Google AdWords is too expensive and probably not a wise investment in 2018.

If you’re encountering this roadblock and think you can do better, then this guide is for you. In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to help you create profitable campaigns in AdWords. We’ll break it down into the following parts:

1 – Auditing your AdWords ad account
2 – Creating Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) for your campaigns
3 – Using the AdWords Editor to launch your campaigns much easier

Let’s begin.

How to Audit Your AdWords Account

When auditing an AdWords account, there are three questions that you need to answer:

  1. What are your highest converting keywords?
  2. Are these keywords redirecting to the correct landing pages?
  3. Do you have a strong offer in your headline?

1. How to Choose the Highest Converting Keywords in AdWords

If you have an existing account, you only need to go to the Keywords tab and sort your keywords by conversion volume.

Now you have a list of keywords to prioritize. The common problem with existing accounts is that you may be bidding on a lot of keywords that are not bringing any conversions to the site. If that’s you, then this is the time to cut the ones that are not working and focus on the best keywords.

2. Make Sure That Your Ads Are Congruent to Your Landing Pages

Having a strong congruency between your ads and your landing page is key to having AdWords campaigns that convert, and is a step that’s often overlooked. Let’s have an example. Say you google “buy red shoes online”.

This is one ad that you’ll see:

When you click on the ad, you’re led to this landing page:

If you notice, the landing page doesn’t show any red shoe, which was what our user was looking for. And when our user doesn’t find what they want, they will leave the landing page. All you have is a lost lead.

Luckily, in Zalora’s example, there’s a simple way to fix this problem. Simply select the “Red” color on the filter and use that as your final URL.

3. Do You Have a Strong Offer in Your Headline?

When you make your offer prominent in your headlines, it also means your communicating the value that your customers are going to get should they buy your product/service. Some of the best offers that you can use are:

  • <X>% discount on your first order.
  • Free shipping
  • Moneyback guarantee (i.e. Satisfaction guarantee)
  • Free quotes/proposals

To see this in action, let’s take another look at the Zalora ad:

You can see that there’s no clear offer in the headline or anywhere in the ad for that matter. However, just looking at their website will reveal that they actually have two strong offers:

But what if you can’t offer anything?
I’ve yet to see a business that doesn’t have any offer for their customers, but if you’re in this situation, make sure that you communicate the benefits of your product/service. The user must clearly know why you’re better than the competition. For more case studies, read this article.

Once you’re done with your AdWords account audit, it’s now time to optimize your ads for better targeting.

How to Create Targeted Expanded Text Ads

We’re going to borrow the Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) methodology from Jonathan Dane. As the name implies, the SKAGs are composed of only one keyword in each ad group. Taking the “buy red shoes online” keyword as an example, your ad group will have the following keyword:

+buy +red +shoes +online
“buy red shoes online”
[buy red shoes online]

By doing this approach, you’re ensuring that your ads will appear only to those who are searching for red shoes and not any other color.

While SKAGs are extremely effective in improving conversions and lowering cost/conversions, building them can be cumbersome. When we first started using SKAGs, we were creating up to 500 ad groups manually. Needless to say, we were exhausted!

This all changed when we started using the AdWords Editor. It allows bulk changes by uploading a single spreadsheet — perfect for executing SKAGs. In the next section, we’ll show you how to do just that.

Creating Single Keyword Ad Groups with the AdWords Editor

Step 1: Download the AdWords Editor

Go to this link to download the AdWords Editor. After installing the app on the desktop, follow the steps so you can sync your account.

Step 2: Prepare your campaigns in a spreadsheet

You can create multiple updates to any account by uploading a single spreadsheet (in a .csv format) and letting AdWords Editor sync the account for you. It takes a bit of time to get familiar with the spreadsheet. Here’s the template that we use in our own agency:


Note that you can only edit one part of the account per row when using the template. So for example, if you’re going to create a new ad group, the cells for the text ads must remain blank.

Required fields for ad group creation

Required fields for keyword creation

Required fields for ad creation

Once you’re done, upload the sheet in AdWords Editor.

Step 3: Upload Your Changes using AdWords Editor

Select your ad account. In the upper right-hand corner, click IMPORT.

You have two options here: you can either upload your CSV file or paste the contents manually. I prefer pasting the contents manually because it gives me the option to edit to rows or columns manually.

Make sure that all column headers are properly filled out. If you see “Not Importing”, it means that the AdWords editor can’t read the information in that column or that it’s named improperly.

Click PROCESS once you’re done. If the import is successful, you should see something like this:

If there are no items under the Skipped column, then the import was successful. Click FINISH AND REVIEW CHANGES.

Step 4: Change Broad Match Keywords Into Broad Match Modified

Failing to change the broad match keywords into broad match modified keywords will bring unqualified traffic to your site. Your costs will inflate as a result. Unfortunately, AdWords Editor’s bulk update feature doesn’t include broad match modified keywords out of the box, so we have to do a bit of tinkering.

Double click on your account to see the campaigns in it. You should see another dashboard that looks like this:

On the lower lefthand side, click on Campaigns and Keywords. Sort the keywords so that the Broad Match keywords go on top:

Select all the broad keywords and press ctrl + shift + H. In the append tab, type “+” and select “Before existing text”.

Click on the Replace tab. On the Find text field, add a blank space. On the “Replace with” text field, add a blank space with a plus sign “ +”. Click REPLACE when you’re done.

The final result would look like this:

Click KEEP and POST to update your AdWords account. You’re done!

Hopefully, this guide will help improve your AdWords campaigns so you can get more conversions at a significantly lower cost per lead. Good luck!

Filed Under: conversion, Ecommerce, Google AdWords

Tagged With: adwords, adwords audit, adwords conversions, adwords editor, single keyword ad groups, skags

Publish Date

November 12, 2020

Christian Alan Vibar
Senior Growth Manager

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