Make the most of your budget

Make the most of your budget

You don’t need to be a billion dollar corporation to see a return on your AdWords budget. Learn how to make the most of your PPC budget with Google AdWords.

Savvy business owners know that nowadays, people don’t just go online, they live online, and reach for the nearest device the moment they want to do or buy something. Being where these potential customers are means promoting your business online, but how do you know you have the money to advertise successfully?

Pay-per-click advertising like Google AdWords puts you in control of how much you want to spend, and where and how you spend it, meaning there are numerous ways you can make the most of any amount. All it takes is some planning and monitoring, and soon, you can have a strategy for maximizing your AdWords budget and connecting with a new, online audience.

So how do you make sure you're using your PPC budget wisely? Check out these helpful tips.

Set your budgets at the Account, Campaign, or AdGroup level.

Try new strategies and campaigns continuously and, guided by data from AdWords and Analytics, keep making changes until your advertising is helping you meet your business goals.

  1. Set your goals to set your budget

    What do you hope to accomplish by advertising online? Do you want to draw more traffic to your website? Or get more phone calls from locals? Are you looking to build awareness of your business in a particular location, or among a certain customer demographic?

    Being clear about your goals will help guide you through every step of building your AdWords campaign, including deciding how much you want to allocate to your overall PPC budget. When you know the results you want your money to accomplish, you can better ensure that your campaigns stay targeted and on track and that your AdWords budget is being used productively.

  2. Connect your AdWords and Analytics accounts

    The best way to ensure that your campaigns are staying targeted and on track is by collecting data on their success. While AdWords will tell you how many clicks and impressions you've received, Google Analytics, a free tool, shows you what customers do once they’ve clicked on your ad and arrived at your site.

    For example, let’s say you own a photography studio that provides both portrait and event services. You may have ads directing traffic toward a certain page (also called the “landing page”), which in this example is the home page of your studio website. But when you look at the Google Analytics data, you see that the majority of your visitors are immediately clicking to another page, say the “Services Offered” section of your site. This indicates that your customers find this second page more relevant to the ad they clicked on. By changing your ad’s landing page to this preferred one – from the home page to the “Services Offered” page – your ads will be considered more relevant and you can raise your Quality Score and lower your average cost-per-click.

    Or, Analytics could show you that visitors are immediately leaving your website after clicking on a particular ad, indicating that your keyword choice might not be as relevant to your business as you thought. Then you know that your budget would probably be better spent on different keywords.

    For this reason, be sure to have Google Analytics installed on your website before you launch any campaigns. Just be sure to use the same email address for your AdWords and Analytics accounts so they can be easily linked together. Learn more about linking your accounts.

  3. Stick to your budget

    Determine your monthly PPC budget, and then, stick to it. AdWords lets you set a budget limit on a daily basis, and some days, it might seem like your daily cost is higher. Don’t worry, and don’t tinker with it. At Google, we analyze daily search traffic and on days when it’s higher, AdWords will show your ads more frequently, and less frequently when traffic is down. This means your daily cost could vary by as much as 20 percent, but AdWords automatically averages your daily limit across the entire month to prevent your campaign from overspending.

    Remember, too, that your AdWords budget limits are set at a campaign-level, so be sure to set a limit for each of your campaigns. Your overall goals should determine how much you spend on each campaign. If driving sales for a particular product is your top priority for the month, allocate more of your budget to that product’s campaign.

  4. Save the Display Network for later

    If your budget is limited, you might do better to disable the Display Network at first. Display ads can reach a wide audience and drive high amounts of traffic to your site. However, conversions (ie., a product purchase, a user sign-up, whatever result you want from a website visitor) from display ads tend to be lower, and the competition for those ad spots are higher — meaning a lot of your AdWords budget could get eaten up for little return. Wait until you've seen success in search campaigns and refined your online marketing strategy, and then give the Display Network a try.

  1. Target specific locations

    If you have a local storefront that you want customers to visit, showing your ads half a country away could drain your PPC budget without getting you closer to your goal. Since AdWords lets you target people searching in specific geographic locations, you can choose to show your ads just in local areas to attract store visitors.

    Or do your business goals include shipping nationally? Location targeting can also help. Start by targeting your campaigns to a few major metropolitan areas to determine where your customers are located, and which areas will require more of your budget to be competitive.

    In either case, you’ll want to use AdWords’ metrics and Google Analytics to help you make the most of your budget. Analyze your data to see which targeted areas your site traffic is coming from, and in which areas those site visits are turning into business. You can then change your targeting or budget based on where you know your advertising is most likely to achieve success. This information can also help you to decide whether to create additional, specific campaigns for certain areas.

  2. Target lower position ads

    Most advertiser's first instinct is to try to get their ad into one of the top three positions in Google Search results. Remember, though, that ads that show in the fourth position or below still get traffic, and at a lower cost-per-click. And for some businesses and budgets, having an ad in a lower position can prove more beneficial and cost effective. Oftentimes, customers require more than an initial search before actually making a purchase. In such cases, a top-spot search ad may receive clicks, but won’t necessarily lead to actual conversions, as the customer moves on to keep weighing their options. By being mindful of whether your customers are still researching or are ready to purchase, you’ll have a better sense of what position your ad should compete against depending on the keywords you’re bidding against.

  3. Search for the unicorn keywords

    We mean those seemingly “magical” keywords with a low average cost-per-click that lead to a high number of conversions. If you're working with a smaller budget, consider sticking to "long tail keywords," or keywords made up of three or more words. While these tend to have lower search volume and are less obvious, the fact that they’re more specific means they may attract a more qualified customer — someone who is more sure of what they want, and therefore, that much more ready and likely to buy from, call, or visit your business. Luckily, AdWords includes a free tool that can help you find the perfect long-tail keywords for your campaign. You can learn all about how to use the Keyword Planner tool here.

  4. Create specific campaigns

    A common misstep that SMBs make when they first begin online marketing is creating only one campaign for their entire PPC budget (remember that budgets are set per campaign). This means that if your campaign is based on some high-competition keywords, your entire AdWords budget could be exhausted quickly before people can search using your other keywords — ones that could be more likely to bring you business.

    The best practice is to separate your campaigns the same way that your website is divided into different pages for different product categories. Back to our photography studio example, you probably don’t want to just run one campaign around “Portraits.“ Instead, your campaigns may look like this:

    • Campaign: Wedding Portraits
    • Campaign: School/Graduation Portraits
    • Campaign: Events Photography

    This way, you can commit different daily budgets to each of your campaigns, shifting your spending based on your business needs or goals. Plus, you’ll be showing potential customers ads that are more specific to what they’re searching for, and sending them to more relevant pages on your site.

  5. Monitor & adjust

    Don’t just set your PPC budget and campaigns once and accept less-than-desired results. Even the online marketing experts set up campaigns based on their best, educated guesses, test for what works, and make adjustments. Try new strategies and campaigns continuously, and, guided by data from AdWords and Analytics, keep making changes until your advertising is helping you meet your business goals.

    You don't need to be a big-spending corporation to see a return on your AdWords budget. With a little savvy, even a modest PPC budget can make a big impact. Just apply smart planning and continuous testing and tweaking, and your company can find that AdWords is a cost-effective way to make the most of the web and bring in new business.

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