No Google AdWords account is perfectly optimized; There’s always room for improvement and areas to cut costs.

The problem is that it’s not obvious to the naked eye where an ad campaign is leaking money.

It’s like trying to find a leak in your bike tire.  No matter how hard you look, you’ll likely never find that tiny hole that slowly drains the air out of your tires each day.  However, there’s a simple trick you can use to quickly identify the source of the leak. Do you know the bike tire trick?

All you need to do is place the bike tire tube in water and you’ll see bubbles forming exactly where you have a leak!

I guarantee your Google AdWords account has leaks as well, and you may not be finding them simply because you don’t know the simple “trick.”  In this article I’ll highlight 4 “tricks” to quickly isolate areas where you’re leaking money.


1. Search Term Leaks

The first area where you’ll likely find a leak is with your keyword search terms (aka search queries).  Note that this is different from the keywords you’re targeting in your account.  Just because you added the keyword “NYC plumber” does not mean your ads are only going to display for that one search term.

If you’re using broad match keywords, then Google will display your ads on any search term they think is relevant to “NYC plumber.”  Even if you’re using exact match keywords, Google will still display your ads on closely related search terms like mispellings.  This leaves room for hidden leaks!

To isolate the leak, go to the Keywords tab in your AdWords account and click on the “Search terms” button, which is right below the Keywords tab button.  This report displays the real search terms that are triggering your ads, along with the key statistics like clicks, impressions, ad cost, conversions, and cost per conversion.


The goal here is to identify any irrelevant search terms so you can block them using negative keywords, as well as identify search terms with a cost per conversion that’s too high.  Those are your search term leaks.


2. Geographic Leaks

Next, let’s see if your AdWords account has any geographic leaks.  Go to the Dimensions tab in your AdWords account and change the “View” button to say “View: Geographic.”  The report will now display statistics for the geographic locations of the prospects clicking on your ads.

(Note: You may need to customize your columns to add/remove data.  Click the “Columns” button, then click “Modify colulmns…” to add or remove the available columns in your report)


There are 2 main goals while you’re reviewing this report:

  1. Identify geographies that your business does not serve, which are wasting your ad budget
  2. Identify geographies that have no conversions despite significant clicks or have a cost per conversion that is too high

Those are your geographic leaks.


3. Time of Day Leaks

The 3rd potential leak is the time of day when your ads are running.  All hours of every day are never equal!

There are always a few days and times of the day that perform very well and a few that perform poorly.  The goal is to identify those poor performing times of the day because those are your time of day leaks.

Again, we can use the Dimensions tab within your AdWords account, but this time select “View: Time > Day of Week.” This report will display your key statistics by day of the week.  Next, select “View: Time > Hour of day” to review your statistics by the hour of each day.


Are there any days of the week or hours of the day with no conversions or high cost per conversion?  Those are your leaks.


4. Device Leaks

Finally, let’s check if there are any device leaks in your account.  Go to the Settings tab and then click on the “Devices” button under the Settings tab.  This report displays your ad statistics broken down by device: Computers, Mobile, and Tablets.


For most businesses, there will be a huge difference in performance across your devices, especially if your website is not mobile- or tablet-friendly.

If you find that your Mobile ads have no conversions or a high cost per conversion, then you may want to turn off those ads until you fix your mobile website.  Simply edit the Bid adjustment column to say “-100%” to turn off your Mobile ads.  That will immediately stop the mobile device leak.


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