3 Ways to Save Money on Google Ads Display Campaigns

3 Ways to Save Money on Google Ads Display Campaigns

On average, website visitors stay on your site for 15 seconds or less. Remarketing ads give you an opportunity to remind past visitors of pages you want them to see in hopes of continuing the conversation.

In running Google Display campaigns I have found some common default settings that can waste a lot of money and skew your results. I think a lot of this has to do with Google catering to really large businesses who want to pay for brand awareness and can afford some waste. But for small businesses, any waste can have a huge negative impact.

Below are three things to look out for.

1. Turn off conservative automation placements

no automated targeting

You might have looked at your “places my ads were shown” report and seen some really odd placements. Sites you definitely didn’t target or that your audience would most likely never visit. This is a red flag that you probably have automated targeting enabled. Google is trying to help you broaden your reach but since you are a smart marketer you would rather rely on your targeting to do that.

So let’s turn that setting off (heads up, this setting is buried).

• Click on your display campaign > the ad group > click on Settings

• Click on the button that says Edit ad group targeting

edit group targeting

• Then scroll down to the Settings heading and click on Automated targeting

• Finally, click the No automated targeting setting

2. Add -100% negative bid on mobile devices, tablets, and TVs (usually)

add negative margin

A common way for mobile app developers to earn income is through advertising. So there are a TON of potential impressions available on mobile apps. The problem is, a lot of this traffic is junk because of accidental clicks or kids using apps.

If your campaign doesn’t work on desktop, it most likely won’t work on mobile either. So I suggest turning this off in the beginning. If things are working on the desktop you can slowly turn on mobile and tablets.

Here is how you turn this setting off.

• First, click on your display campaign > then on Devices in the light gray band

• Next, click on the pencil in the Bid adj. column and enter -100%. This will decrease your bids to $0 so your ads do not show on mobile.

3. Exclude under performing countries from locations list

exclude locations google ads

Once again you will find some wasted spend in your locations report. You could have certain countries targeted but for whatever reason your geographic report shows countries you do not want your ads to show up in. In this case, you want to manually remove the low performing countries to focus your spend on the high performing ones to increase your ROI.

Here is how you turn this setting off.

• First, click on your display campaign > then on Locations in the light gray band

• Next, click on the tab at the top that says Geographic Report and then Geographic Report in the dropdown menu

• Next, sort the rows by the number of clicks and and look for countries that are costing you money with very little return. I recommend also looking at your Google Analytics account to see the session duration for each country. You may find a country with a long session duration but low conversions. This can indicate a landing page issue that could be improved like translating into their language.

• Finally, click the checkbox next to the country and click Exclude in the blue bar that appears.


If you are not careful you can burn through a lot of money on clicks that are worthless because they are automated by Google. If you are currently running display campaigns, I highly recommend looking at these two settings to determine if there is an opportunity to optimize your campaign and also save some money.

Do you have a question about Google Ads? Leave it in the comments below and I will do my best to answer it for you.

Written by: Jake Lett
I share digital marketing tips and HubSpot tutorials to help marketers and business owners grow their business.


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