It’s almost Halloween, and what could be scarier than wasted ad spend?
Even the most experienced PPC managers can be mystified when a paid search account experiences a sudden surge in ad spend. And unless you have very strict budget settings, this can happen from time to time.
While most of the time, a quick surge in ad spend is easily identifiable and is accompanied by an increase in leads or sales, what’s really scary is budget creep — a very slow and rising boost in ad spend that may not be detectable to the naked eye.
When that happens, and when the business is looking to cut a few dollars in ad spend, it’s time to catch the mysterious culprit behind the case of the disappearing AdWords budget.
The most obvious first step is to check search queries. If the search queries look OK, we need to dig deeper, and here are some options.
Mystery No. 1 solved: location targeting
Review the locations the clicks are actually coming from. In the image below, this client does business in the US only, and while we’re not seeing a huge waste in ad spend from other countries, over time, it can be significant.
When we dug in, we saw the location settings were targeted to “People in, searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location.”