09 PM | 23 Mar

Hacking Adwords. Cost Per Lead of R18.00? Here’s How!

Hacking Adwords

How’d you like an Adwords conversion rate of 29% over 30 days?

And a cost per lead of R18.41 over the same period? You would? Let’s go!

It’s called SKAG … huh?


Single Keyword Ad Groups

First a brief primer on Adwords…

Usually when setting up an Adwords campaign, Google prompts you for a website or industry that you’re advertising in.

Based on your input, the Adwords system returns a number of keyword groups relevant to your industry.

While this is excellent for beginners, it’s not the most efficient setup to maximize your ad spend. Google automatically adds many keywords using the “broad keyword match”, and without close monitoring of your account activity, you’ll be wasting quite a bit on irrelevant clicks.

For example

By choosing “mens socks” as a broad match keyword, your ad could potentially be shown to searchers typing in the following terms:

  • Socks
  • Sport socks
  • Formal socks
  • Wedding socks
  • Christmas socks
  • Shoes
  • Stockings
  • White socks
  • Ladies socks

The broad match is programmed to catch any word that Google’s algorithm relates to socks, which could be shoes or stockings or whatever..

This is handy for Google (more money $$$), but not good for you. There’s too much money wasted on people not really looking for your men’s socks.

And boy oh boy, trust me on this: Too many broad match keywords, can eat up your budget faster than a bunch of starving teenagers at Pizza Hut.

Fine Tuning Adwords

There are ways to combat this. One of them is negative keywords. (definition at end of post)

But recently I stumbled onto an even better method.

Single Keyword Ad Groups

Here’s how it works.

Pick your ideal keywords – you can start with 4-5

Try search terms or keywords that most resonates with your product. You should be fairly positive that someone searching for one of these terms, will be happy to land on your page.

Take the first keyword.

Eg: “mens marathon running shoes”

Create a new ad group in your Adwords campaign – you can call this ad group the same as your keyword:
“mens marathon running shoes”

In this add group:

Add your keyword with the following variations:

  • +mens +marathon +running +shoes

This is a modified broad match. Which tells Google that those words must be present in the searched term, but could be in any order or part of a larger phrase

  • “mens marathon running shoes”

This is a phrase match. You’re telling Google to display your ad when someone searches for a term with the exact phrase, in the same order

  • [mens marathon running shoes]

This is the most restrictive match type. Exact match. This tells Google to display your ad, only when the term is typed in, exactly the way you have it. In that order, and without any other words before or after.

This completes your first ad group. Set your default bid amounts. You can go higher than normal as you can be pretty certain your ad will only display to relevant prospects. By going high, you also stand a better chance of achieving the lucrative first position with your ad.

Now go on creating your second ad group, with the same three variations.

Another target search term could be:

“Nike marathon running shoes”

So you would create an ad group called nike marathon running shoes, containing these three variations:

  • +nike +marathon +running +shoes
  • “nike marathon running shoes”
  • [nike marathon running shoes]

I recommend picking your 4-5 most profitable or niched down keywords, and creating single keyword ad groups for each of them.

If you need some help finding your ideal keywords, try the Google keyword planner, found in your Adwords account under the tools menu.



Or a 3rd party tool like Keyword Canine, which I also use. (The link is an affiliate link, which means I will earn a commission if you sign up via the link.) It has added benefits to the regular Google keyword planner, which comes into play when choosing and planning your website niche. Screenshot below.

keyword canine

But it’s best to start off by thinking like your customer. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and Google a few terms.

Then stick those terms into keyword planner or Keyword Canine, and check if there are others searching with the same keywords.

It’s no use targeting a keyword in your ad groups, but there is hardly anyone else using the same search terms.

Message Matching

Another huge advantage of creating unique ad groups for your main keywords, is message matching. Consider this statistic. Google’s data shows that ads with the keyword in the headline AND 1st line of ad copy, have a better click through rate (CTR) compared to ads without, 68% of the time! When you have 50 keywords all bunched into one ad group, it’s difficult getting your ad copy matching every keyword. But with single keyword ad groups, your ad copy can be focused on a single keyword or theme, which will make you stand out from the forest of other generic ads.

Watch this 13 minute video from Google’s SEM team on ad copy tweaks that will lift your click through rates.


You’ve now shortlisted your hottest keywords. Go ahead, create your single keyword ad groups, and design ads that match each ad group’s theme. You’re on your way to becoming an Adwords superstar!

Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll reveal my success secrets to running Google display ads.

Key Terms:

  • Adwords broad match: The default match type when adding keywords to Adwords. Google will display your ad when your keyword is detected in a search term, either directly word for word, or implied or somehow related. Broad match keywords will get you tons of clicks, but you run the risk of attracting visitors with no intention of purchasing or seeking out your product.
  • Negative keywords: A list of words or search terms you configure in your Adwords campaign that indicates to Google not to match to your ads. Even if broadly related to any of your keywords.
  • Ad group: A logical grouping in Adwords that holds ads related to a set of keywords and sharing similar criteria like default bid amounts. With display ads, each ad group uses distinct site targeting among other criteria.

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