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How to Make the Most of PPC Campaigns on a Tight Budget

By Rory Witt    |    March 13, 2017

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The digital age has changed marketing forever, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the world of pay-per-click advertising. When done right, PPC can deliver great results for pretty much every type of business, ranging from hotels and restaurants to enterprise software companies.

But as great as PPC can be, there’s one scary part of it that we don’t like to talk about all that often: money.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re using AdWords or Bing, a successful PPC campaign requires at least a small investment from your marketing budget if you want it to do anything for your business.

But what can you do if you’re a startup strapped for cash? Or your company simply lacks the funds to make a large investment in PPC?

Well fear not, friends! We have a few tricks up our sleeve to help you get the most out of your PPC campaign—even when your budget seems ridiculously small. By following these tips, you can have confidence that your daily PPC budget will only run out because of relevant clicks from engaged (and likely to convert) customers, so that none of your marketing dollars go to waste.

Know Where Your Spend Comes From

Do you know where your PPC ad spend is coming from? Really, truly? Sure, you probably researched target keywords when you started your campaign, but that doesn’t mean you can simply take a “set it and forget it” approach. If you’re not careful, even a relevant ad group with a high cost per conversion could suck away your PPC budget and keep you from getting the results you need.

How can you identify where the problems are coming from? Start by looking at the search query tab in your campaign management software. This shows which queries are triggering particular keywords, and can be especially useful at revealing when your ads are showing up in irrelevant searches.

If much of your ad budget is being wasted on irrelevant searches, adding negative keywords can go a long way in helping you reduce the number of uninterested customers who are exposed to your ads. But this isn’t the only way you can take control of your PPC spending.

In addition to filtering out irrelevant searches, you should also use your AdWords campaign management system to examine your keywords’ clickthrough rate and conversion rate. Perhaps a keyword has a high clickthrough rate that eats up your PPC budget, but it doesn’t contribute to very many conversions. Or maybe certain keywords would be better utilized in a separate campaign due to a high performer in your current group.

By identifying which keywords are having the greatest impact on your conversion rate—and more importantly, supplying conversions in a cost-effective manner—you can make crucial adjustments regarding the keywords used in your PPC campaign and take better control of your spending.

Examine Your Account Settings

Of course, restructuring your keyword settings isn’t the only way you can fine-tune your PPC campaign. In many instances, failure to set the right campaign parameters can prevent you from effectively using your limited budget—even when you have the right keywords in place.

Consider implementing the following tactics to improve your account spending:

  • Geotargeting: While not every company wants to limit its ad reach geographically, there’s no denying that many businesses can benefit from tighter geotargeting. After all, your Baltimore-based restaurant probably isn’t going to get much business the average customer in San Francisco. AdWords allows you to set geographic limits as broad or narrow as you want—ranging from countries all the way down to zip codes and radius targeting. With effective geotargeting, you’ll be able to avoid placing ads before consumers outside your target area.

  • Device Bidding: Does your website generally not yield very good conversion rates from mobile consumers? Or is mobile rapidly outpacing your desktop revenue? The better you understand which consumers are more likely to convert, the more effectively you can adjust your budget via device bidding. With device bidding, you can either increase or decrease your bids depending on whether a search was entered via tablet, smartphone, or computer. By lowering your bids on certain devices, you can avoid wasting money on users that are less likely to convert upon visiting your site.
  • Ad Scheduling: Time of day is another important factor to consider when allocating your PPC budget. If the majority of your leads come in during the morning, you could yield higher conversion rates by allocating more of your budget to that time of day, while lowering your bids (or turning off your ads entirely) during times of day when your ads yield a lower conversion or lead generation rate.
  • Ad Extensions: Ad extensions are one of the best ways to improve clickthrough rates and conversions—and best of all, they’re free. Extensions available through AdWords and Bing allow you to add subpage links (with extra calls to action) to your ads, a “call now” button, or even a location/map display! By providing audiences with useful information through these extensions, you can make your PPC ads that much more persuasive, lowering your cost per acquisition and helping your budget go that much farther.
  • Retargeting: You can’t ignore the potential value of customers who have already visited your site. After all, the majority of site visitors probably aren’t going to convert during their initial visit—that’s just a fact of life. But by retargeting these consumers with relevant PPC advertisements, you can cultivate your warm leads and guide them through the rest of the buyer’s journey. Not only do these efforts typically yield much higher conversion rates than other PPC ads; keywords for these types of campaigns also usually have a much lower per-click cost. Lower spend + a higher conversion rate = successful PPC advertising.

Getting More

By implementing these tactics into your PPC campaigns, you’ll have better control of your marketing budget and yield a greater return on investment by ensuring that your ads are placed in front of the right people.

This doesn’t mean that your daily PPC budget won’t run out at the end of the day—in fact, if you’re doing things right, this will still happen! The key difference, however, is that now, your budget is emptying out by generating clicks from relevant consumers who are more likely to turn into paying customers, rather than getting placed before uninterested audiences.

So don’t let a tight budget get you down! With the right tips and tricks at your disposal, you can still make magic happen with your PPC campaign.

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