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Combat Rising Costs: Expert Tips and Tricks for Successful Search Marketing Campaigns

February 06, 2023

One of the biggest challenges digital advertisers face in 2023 is managing the rising costs of paid search campaigns. Per Wordstream, Google Ads Cost Per Lead has increased for 91% of Industries year-over-year. With the constant fluctuation of auction prices and the intense competition for SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) ad placement, it can be difficult to keep your advertising costs under control. Combat inflation across your search marketing campaigns with these expert tips and tricks from our seasoned team of search engine marketing pros:


  • Prioritize Exact Match when possible: While Google positions broad match as the future of keyword bidding, today MBuy continues to observe relatively more favorable performance from exact match for both CTR and CPC. Expected CTR remains a vital component of Quality Score, and as such garnering a higher proportion of clicks sourced through exact match queries can help to feed the flywheel of quality score to position your search program for higher quality scores and thus more favorable pricing in the ad auction. Since scaling exact match campaigns can be a challenge, it is a best practice to supplement your exact match campaigns with mirrored campaign variations for phrase match, but make sure to add your exact match terms as negatives to these campaigns to avoid competing with your own exact match campaigns!


  • Diversify and test search inventory sources: Microsoft Ads can be an efficient incremental search partner, especially for advertisers with websites that tend to see stronger post-click performance from Desktop users. It’s no secret that Google encapsulates the highest search engine market share among traditional search engines. However, it’s important to note that Microsoft advertising constitutes 38% of the US Desktop search market, including 49 million US Desktop users not reached on Google. Activating on Microsoft allows you to tap into more Desktop inventory, a slightly older demographic skew and relatively higher income skew. The Microsoft Ads network spans across Bing, AOL, and Yahoo networks.


  • Leverage all relevant ad extensions: The adoption of ad extensions boosts quality scores and allows your ads to take up more space on the SERP. This is inclusive of sitelinks, callouts, structured snippets, call extensions, location extensions, app extensions, image extensions, etc. All of which can help make your ad more useful and relevant to the user, which can improve their ad experience and increase the likelihood that they will engage with your ad.


  • Ad Creative optimization: Google and Microsoft have given advertisers a lot of real estate to get their message across, so be sure to utilize all three headlines and both description lines when creating your ads. In our mobile-first world, allowing your ad to take up as much of the screen as possible will help your brand stick out. Be sure to mirror landing page site content in ad copy to guarantee a positive user experience, as well as to help raise your ad and landing page relevance scores. Responsive search ads have fundamentally changed the nature of A/B testing in ad copy, and the fundamental assumptions around testing too must change. A turnkey way to get your feet wet in testing RSAs is by running mirrored RSAs in one or multiple ad groups and by having one of the variations feature a pinned headline and/or description, while having the other variation feature no pinned headlines/descriptions. Pinning allows you to tell the engines which headline and description positions should appear exactly where you put them.


  • Negative Keyword Targeting: Negative keywords can help you save money by preventing your ad from being shown for irrelevant search queries, which can improve the quality and performance of your ad serving. Negative keyword targeting is becoming increasingly more important given the continuous changes that Google and Microsoft have been making to broaden keyword match types. Match types over time have evolved to cast an increasingly wider net, and the onus is on the advertiser to institute a layered negative keyword strategy that maintains a relevant ad experience. MBuy recommends incorporating negative terms at the ad group, campaign, and account-level. This is intended to ensure brand safe and suitable keyword matching, to prevent match types, ad groups and/or campaigns from competing with each other, as well as to block low CTR and high CPC searches that are dragging down account performance. It’s important for advertisers to reference search query reports on an ongoing basis in order to inform and grow negative keyword lists, as well as to identify relevant terms that you may want to add back to your program as exact and/or phrase match keywords.


The bedrock of MBuy’s optimization approach is oriented towards improving intrinsic quality score elements that ultimately dictate auction pricing favorability, among the most crucial elements being landing page relevance, ad relevance, and expected CTR. Ultimately, combating cost inflation in the ever-changing search marketing landscape can be intimidating. Set up an appointment with MBuy today to learn how you can enhance the efficacy of your paid search program.