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How to Optimize PPC Campaigns That Are Limited by Budget

September 9, 2019

A lot of our clients come to us needing a hand with their paid search strategy (aka pay per click, aka PPC). They know they need to take action to get the right traffic to their site, but they have a limited ad budget and aren’t sure how best to use it.

When you’re working with a smaller budget in Google Ads, your campaigns often get hit with Google’s three favorite words.

“Limited by budget.”

Google loves those words because it means they can recommend that you spend more money. And Google loves it when you spend more money.

(Incidentally, Google’s three favorite words used to be “don’t be evil.” Oh how times change!)

Google’s three favorite words are “limited by budget”…because they love telling you to spend more.

Assuming you don’t want to empty your bank accounts into Google’s, here are a few ways to approach campaigns that are limited by budget.

PPC Optimization: How to Handle “Limited by Budget”

Lucky for you, optimizing PPC campaigns that are limited by budget is actually one of my favorite things to do. (Well, in Google Ads anyway…not in all of life, because that would be sad.)

That’s because you generally don’t have to re-envision your entire strategy or rebuild new campaigns or anything drastic like that. It’s simply a matter of looking at the data from every possible angle and minimizing or eliminating what’s not working.

Five Ways to Improve ROI When You’re Limited by Budget

  1. Cost: Are there any keywords or ad groups that are spending a lot and not converting
  2. Cost per conversion: Are there any keywords or ad groups that are converting, but at a much lower efficiency than the rest of the account
  3. Day and time: Are there certain days of the week or hours of the day when you’re spending money without getting results?
  4. Device: Desktop, tablet, or mobile…which ones are worth spending money on? Remember that not all conversions are created equal (phone calls vs. website inquiries, etc.).
  5. Demographics: Age, gender, income bracket. Make sure you’re spending money on the right audience.

Now there is one caveat to all of this: You need to let data accumulate before making these decisions. Sample size is incredibly important, and you don’t want to turn off an entire segment of the account based on a data set that’s too small to trust. I could go on, but that’s another post for another day.

Choosing a Google Ads Budget for a Small Business

There’s no one-size-fits-all budget for what small businesses should spend on paid search advertising. It takes some digging into keyword search volume in the geographic area you want to target and expected click costs to provide budget recommendations.

Even if you’re on a shoestring budget, you can absolutely run a Google Ads campaign. Just know that typically, the less you spend, the longer it will take to discover what is and isn’t working. But at the end of the day, paid search is the best way to guarantee that you’ll get traffic to your site (and good traffic, as the account is optimized).

Keep in mind that the less you spend, the longer it will take to discover what is and isn’t working.

Now What?

Being “limited by budget” isn’t a death sentence for your campaign. It can be a great opportunity to improve conversion rate and ROI as you trim some of the fat from your campaigns.

And you know what? Sometimes the results are there and it’s worth the expense to increase the budget. That’s right, sometimes Google’s recommendations to spend more are actually the right move. Just don’t tell them I said that.

Have some questions about developing your paid search strategy?

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