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To pinpoint the best ways to get the best returns from your spiralling paid search spend, and more importantly remove wasted paid search spend, we collaborated with a number of major clients to conduct a series of control tests between 2018 and 2020, covering the behaviours of over 500,000 consumers.

You can read the full results by downloading our whitepaper, which includes a demonstration – in financial terms – of the level of savings that could be obtained by taking a more intelligent approach to paid search in practice.

This is particularly interesting if you consider that, once reinvested, this will increase the ROI from your investment in paid search by 15%.

Why has paid search become so indispensable for today’s marketer?

Paid search has become an essential tool for every marketer, particularly those wanting an immediate outcome or a quicker result than relying on an organic approach. Paid search has proved its role in driving both visits and transactions and now investment in paid search now dominates marketing budgets; even if neither the marketing team nor the finance director really believes the results.

How can you make sure that the returns from this huge investment continue to improve?

Throughout our control tests, we found concrete evidence that the following methods are the best for reducing wasted paid search and PPC budget.

1. Utilise a 360o view and understanding of your customer
What is a 360o Customer View, or Single Customer View?

Most marketers are struggling with the challenge of having multiple channels and as a result multiple data sources.  Your organisation might not be collecting all of this multichannel data; or if it is being collected, it may not all be joined together properly.  This results in a partial or limited view of your customer and their interactions with you.  An SCV will give you a full understanding of an individual’s relationships with your organisation and your marketing campaigns.

By using a 360o view to capture and stitch together online and offline engagement and past purchase behaviour data over time, you can identify typical customer journeys and triggers and segment customers into different profiles, making it easier to identify when, and for which customers, paid search makes fiscal sense.

2. Understand when brand name bidding is (and isn’t) a good idea

What is brand name bidding?

Brand name bidding refers to bidding on your own brand name as part of your paid search strategy. By using brand name bidding, when people search for your business’ name — or include your brand name in their search — your adverts will show at the top of the search results.

Understanding when to use brand name bidding is all about determining the customers intent.

Below are some scenarios:

When should brand name bidding not be used?

Brand name bidding can be wasteful if your ad is shown to existing customers who are looking for you organically. If they know they want to visit your website, they will click through on your organic search result. If your paid ad appears, they may click that ad, and needlessly cost you money.

When is brand name bidding a good idea?

If a customer is lapsed, or seeking a competitor, then the paid search advert stands a chance of recapturing their attention and can be a good use of budget.

3. Deal with Phantom browsers
What is a phantom browser?

Phantoms are website visitors who appear in bounce rate metrics – people who appear to visit a page, leave and never come back.

Why is it important to deal with Phantoms?

Identifying the c.25% of phantoms who may have had a meaningful interaction with your business in the past, means you can deliver a responsive paid search message that re-engages them and begins a new customer journey.

By removing the 75% of phantoms who will never respond to your remarketing messages, either because they were accidental clicks, or people who have found you through a search string that is ultimately irrelevant to your offering – you can ensure quality score (based on click-through rates) remains high. If your quality score drops, your cost per click will rise

4. Optimise your marketing campaigns

Across all channels, your offers and messages should be regularly re-appraised, refreshed and tested against a control to see if they are delivering the best possible return. Insight from your campaigns and accurate reporting will show which initiatives are making money and which are not.

Read more about reducing wasted paid search spend

If you require more information regarding any of the points mentioned above, or want to know how we can help reduce wasted search spend, get in touch today.

Read more data-driven marketing research in our whitepaper hub, or download our whitepaper on reducing wasted search spend, here.

About the Author:

Nick Greatrex was a Digital Marketing Director frustrated at spending money on the same old campaigns “I didn’t know what was really driving profit and what I could change without risk”.

“At budget meetings I couldn’t convince my CFO about spend attribution as I really didn’t know which activity was working and driving the sale”.

Nick joined Go Inspire with its heritage in building marketing tech, with an idea to build a new tool to get to a better way of telling the truth about marketing performance.

Together they developed Digital Playback. I would never go back to not having this tool and relying on GA as a single point of truth”.



We deliver award-winning campaigns for the UK’s biggest brands


We deliver award-winning campaigns for the UK’s biggest brands