3 Steps To Cutting Google Adwords Conversion Costs in Half
Updated May 8, 2008. So you've spent hours optimizing your Google Adwords campaign by doing all the right things; using exact or phrase matching options and negative keywords. You've got a testing program of various Ad Groups that contain text and image ads. You link your ads to customized simple and uncluttered landing pages with a limited number of core fields for lead generation, and include trust-building elements such as testimonials and case studies ... but you still just can't reduce your conversion costs any further. What else can I try you ask? Well, here's some ideas to cut cost per conversions by up to half;
1. Turn ON Content Network Sites
If you've turned off Google content network web sites since you've been burned in the past by blowing your budget too quickly on low quality traffic, then think again. There is a potential goldmine out there of high targeting niche site traffic where your ads should appear, and for much less cost than buying banner ads directly.
The key is to take time to hand pick each site manually and also carefully control the content. Google provide many tools to restrict content type and location. For example, you can use category exclusions to block any sections or directories of selected web sites where you don't want traffic from. Also be sure to use topic exclusions (e.g. edgy content which is juvenile, contains profanity etc.) and page type exclusions to block social networking/user generated sites where poor traffic quality exists (e.g. MySpace). Some good quality sites are often user help forums or wikis where real product enthusiasts trouble shoot problems, and help each other out.
2. Pay CPM, not just CPC
With Google Adwords content network sites, buying carefully on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis vs CPC (cost per click) will lower your conversion costs guaranteed. With conversion tracking enabled, you can run tests where you set your maximum CPM rate to around $0.50 to $5, and then choose select targeted sites that include your keywords in their content. This will give you an effective CPC rate that is lower than what you pay when you bid against others in a traditional keyword program.
Remember that the maximum CPM rate you set is only a maximum, and average CPM's actually average out at around half of this value you set.
Also keep in mind that with CPM buys, you want to ramp up your call to action to generate as many clicks as possible, so be aggressive with a high value offer and ad copy.
You can also set different CPM maximum bids for each site that you target so that you can limit exposure on higher traffic sites, and even target specific sections or directories with higher CPM maximums to ramp up traffic.
3. Use Google's Site Placement Tool
You'll want to use Google's placement tool to tweak your CPM campaign. You can plug in sites that you know your users frequent to see if they display Google Adwords. I know for a fact that many sites that sell banner ads directly to advertisers charge up to 10 times or more over what you'd pay to run your Google Ads on their site. Yes, you often won't get front page top leader board placement, you'll likely get more fringe placements, but you will get impressions that wrap around highly relevant content and convert better than CPC keywords. Why would you then consider paying a $50 CPM rate on a top placement lead board ad, when you can buy big box impressions on the same site for $1 to 5 CPM for targeted niche traffic?
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