4 Adwords Default Settings That are Wasting Your Budget

by: Tim Richardson

on: 10th May, 2016


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Could you potentially be wasting your Adwords budget by not changing the some of the default settings?

A lot of the time, the default settings are a great way for us to get started, without having to fiddle with advanced settings, however, in Adwords it could potentially be causing you to spend more of your budget than you need to.

Before we get started…

Before we look at the options below we need to make a simple, minor change, you can do this on an existing campaign, or create test campaign to see these features, it’s up to you.

The option you will need to change is in the campaign settings tab under ‘type’ by default, it is set to ‘Standard’, which locks you out of some really useful settings like ad rotation and scheduling, which we will talk more about later. If you already have all features set, great, skip ahead to the next section, for those that don’t this is how to change it.

To change this, select a campaign and click on the settings tab (you are going to see that phrase a few times here).

how to change adwords campaign settings

Click edit next to ‘type’ and change the selection from standard to All Features If you are using an existing campaign to try this on, don’t worry, this shouldn’t change any of your current settings.

google adwords changing the campaign type

Now let’s get started….


The next option down will be the Networks your ads will display on, when you start a new campaign you will automatically opted into having ads show on the search partner network as well as the search results.

The search partner network is described by Google as

Search partners extend the reach of Search ads to hundreds of non-Google websites (like AOL), as well as Google Maps, YouTube and other Google sites.

This sounds great, ads shows in more, places, getting more exposure and clicks, right?

Well yes that is true, but let’s take a look at this first, go to an active PPC account, on the campaigns tab, click on the segment drop down menu and choose the Network (with search partners).
Adwords checking search partners performance

Now compare the search network, standard ads showing on Google search results pages (SERP), to the search partner network and tell me which one performs better.

I found the search partner network engagement was much lower than the standard search network and was dragging down my CTR (Click Through Rate).

One of the  of parts that makes up the quality score is CTR, if this gets dragged down this is what’s likely to happen.

Lower CTR = lower quality score = higher CPC/lower ad position/less clicks

I’m not the only person to see the benefits of removing search partners from campaigns.

To switch this off, you need to select the campaign, then go to the settings tab, under networks click edit and unselect the ‘include search partners’ check box and viola, it’s done!

adwords switching off appearing on partner networks


This one is a little conditional and will depend on how you are targeting with your ads, but is still worth mentioning.

The location settings by default will target the country you are in (for me it’s the UK), if that’s how you want to target, great, skip to the next one.

Some may find that targeting the entire country is a little broad and could bring poor results, you may find better success targeting specific areas and tailoring ads and keywords to those locations.

To change this, select campaign and go to the settings tab (I told you this would come up a lot), scroll down to location and click edit.

google adwords changing the target location

Then click advanced search, which will bring up this, where you type in the location you want to target.

Google AdWords location targeting advanced settings

Added bonus, when location targeting, you can also select a radius around your location and broaden the targeting to surrounding areas that may also search for your services.

Ad scheduling

Here’s a question, have you ever thought;

“I think we need [insert your product/service]”

I would guess you have, or at least your customers must do. Ok, have you ever thought;

“I think we need [insert your product/service]” at 2:30 in the morning…..on a Saturday!

Not many of you? By default, Adwords will have your ad scheduling completely open, meaning your ads will show all day, everyday.

You will likely see impressions (and maybe clicks) at…. Let’s call it odd times.

Now let’s take a moment and think, even if you are getting clicks at odd times, how likely do you think someone is going to buy your product or service? (Admittedly, I have made some impulse purchases on Amazon at odd times).

But for a lot of us, you aren’t likely to see good conversion rates, so it’s best to set up an ad schedule, if you’re unsure when the best times are you can check this in Adwords.

Click on dimensions tab at the top.

checking the performance by time and day in adwords

Here you will see performance, by each day of the week, you can change this to hour of the day by clicking drop down menu > Time > Hour of day.

time of day for campaigns in adwords

From here you will be able to see when during a day your campaigns best perform, you can cross reference this with the days of the week and find out when you should have ads running, when you shouldn’t and even when it might be a good idea to adjust the bids.

To change your ad schedule, pick a campaign and go to settings, and scroll down to ad scheduling and click edit.editing the ad schedule in adwords

From here you can add the days of the week and times you want the ads in the campaign to show.

Ad Rotation

By default, Adwords will have your ads set to ‘Optimise for clicks’, this will show the ad likely to get most clicks based on the keyword triggered, sounds good right?

Well not really, if like me, you test 3-4 ads (or more) per adgroup, and this setting is left, you end up with one or two ads getting all the impressions.

How can you effectively test and tell which ads perform best if some aren’t shown?

My personal preference is to change the ad rotation to ‘rotate indefinitely’ (but this is entirely up to you), this will display the ads evenly giving you better indication of which ones perform well.

To change this (ok, I swear this is the last time I’ll say it), select the campaign and go to the settings tab, scroll down to ‘Ad delivery’, click edit and change from there, you can check what each option does in Google’s documentation.

changing adwords ad rotation

That’s all for now

I hope these tips help you improve your Google Adwords performance, are there any settings you always change on Adwords? Why not Tweet us about it?

If you need help with optimising your PPC campaigns, or someone to look over whether it’s performing as well as it should, you can always contact us.


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