The Simple Trick To Reduce Your Wasted Spend on Google Ads

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Minimise wasted spend on Google Ads 2019

Your Google Ads account (formerly Google Adwords) has a wealth of information available to analyse across a huge range of performance measures.

But digging through all that data and reports can be overwhelming for many business owners - what does it all mean?

As a Google Ads manager for our clients, our overriding goal is to ensure each account is optimised to get the best return for that client. When we take over an account, one of the many things we do to minimise wasted spend is to dive into the Search Terms report and this is the simple trick we want to share with you today - if you're not already doing this - start NOW!

Search Term Report

So where do I view it and what will it show me?
View the Search Term Report

When you are logged into your Google Ads account, click on ‘Keywords’ in the left hand side menu and then the ‘Search Terms’ tab – you can see it in the picture above.

What Info Does It Show Me?

Google tells us that:

The search terms report is a list of search terms that people have used, and that resulted in your ad being shown and clicked. Depending on your keyword matching options, the search terms listed might be different than your keyword list.

So what that means is that your search terms report will show you the actual searches users have typed into Google that have triggered your ads to show – which in turn tells you the exact search terms you’re paying for.

But don’t I pay by keyword?

No, and this is an important distinction.

Google charges you for search terms not keywords. And the search terms your ads trigger for, are all driven by the match types you have set-up on your keywords. *

If you’re using a lot of broad match types I anticipate you’ll get real value out of using the Search Term report to plug any money leaks.

* Getting match types right is another critical part of a well optimised Google Ads account, we’ll do a follow up post on match types soon!
Real World Example

We took over the Google Ads account for a self-storage company who had previouly been managing their account themselves.

In our first month of management, we reduced wasted spend on this account by a whopping 75%!

When we first viewed the Search Term report we could see there was a problem with wasted spend.

As well as terms you’d expect to see we found many that were would not convert to leads for this business, eg

  • cake boxes auckland
  • bookcase nz
  • cupboards for garage
  • free standing wardrobe
  • luggage storage

None of these terms are likely to be from people wanting to organise monthly storage space, so they’re completely irrelevant for this account.

Take Action

Luckily, there’s an easy way to fix this – using negative keywords, you can filter out the rubbish terms that won’t convert and ensure they don’t trigger ads for these types of searches ever again.

Simply review the search terms report and then click on any search term.  This will allow you to add them as negative keywords – wasted spend begone!


By viewing the search terms report, you can:

  1. see what you’re actually paying for
  2. get a true measure of the quality of the traffic being driven to your site AND
  3. do something about it right then and there.

If you’ve never looked at your Search Term report before you’ll probably notice that you have a lot of keywords driving clicks but not conversions.

The more regularly you monitor the report, the less waste you will see.