PPC Budget Control

Understanding and getting the most out of your budget is a major concern of most people who use Google Adwords.  How much should I spend?  Am I getting the best results possible for the amount I am spending?  Could I be doing better?  All of these are questions that are often (and should be) asked when analysing a campaign.

Google makes it incredibly easy to spend your money and a suggestion from Google to get better results will almost always be to raise your budgets.  But is this necessary?  The answer is not always.

The budget you assign to your campaigns can depend on the sector you are advertising in.  Financial and legal services are notoriously expensive!  A £10 per day budget advertising no win, no fee lawyers won’t get you a single click, or if it does get a click, chances are that will be your budget spent.

Other sectors are more friendly towards Google Ads, but this depends on the competition.  If more people are targeting the same things, then the cost will go up, as it is auction-style software.

If you are looking to reduce your Adwords budget, take a look at the linked article for help.

So, how do you make your budget work for you?  There are optimising techniques that can make you get the most out of your money. So, let’s jump in.

Campaign Settings

The settings of your campaign can dictate the results you get as the settings filter down into the Ad groups, ads and keywords.  The campaign settings control the geographic location that you are competitive in, the type of results you are focussing on, the bidding type and the budget.

Location settings

If you are a local business or have geographic limits, there is no point in advertising outside of these locations.  Often, people won’t check these details and can advertise around the country, when they only serve the local area.  This results in the majority of the budget being wasted.

Change the location settings to the areas you are focussing on.  Adwords has a really good location targeting setting, allowing you to break down the areas to a granular degree.

Bidding Type

There are multiple types of bidding that you can select based on your targets.  Choosing ‘maximise conversions’ may seem the logical option, as everyone wants the most out of the paid channel, but this bid type requires learning to understand what the audience that converts looks like.  You need a decent conversion history to do that, so if you have 0 conversions noted in your Adwords system, this bidding type won’t work for you.

What I do is select ‘maximise clicks’ to expose the site to as many people as possible, this helps generate data quickly and enables easier decision making.  This strategy is not a long term solution.  Once the data is there and hopefully the conversions, switch the bidding type to ‘maximise conversions’ or ‘target CPA’  (cost per acquisition).  Each bidding type will have different benefits and will guide the ‘recommendations’ tab in your Adwords account to guide you to make changes that will align your advertising on Google with your targets.

Google Adwords Acronyms & Terms

If you are confused by the number of acronyms or the language involved in Adwords, take a look at our PPC Jargon Buster article.  Hopefully, this will help navigate through the system!

Keyword Control

Adwords works like an auction, bidding on your behalf for the keywords you have chosen to appear on Google for.  The more you are willing to pay per click, the higher in the search results you will appear.  The amount you will pay will only ever be a penny or two more than the amount your nearest competitor would be willing to pay.

Cost Per Click

When you look through the keywords you are advertising for, look at the cost per click, the overall cost in the time frame, and the results that these keywords have returned via conversions or e-commerce sales.  From this, you can work out the return on investment.

Once you know the return on investment, you will be better positioned to work out if the keyword is worth bidding on, or at least the maximum amount of money you would be willing to bid on that keyword.

You may need to change your bidding settings to Manual bidding so that you have more control over the maximum bid you are willing to pay per click, but once you have the data available, it is worth spending the extra time to manage your keywords.

Match Types

There are different types of match types that allow different levels of control. Understanding these and using the correct match type will help you control the budget spend on these keywords.

Broad match: Broad match keywords are the default match type as they are (as the title suggests) matched to a broad range of searches.  Broad match matches your keyword with as many related search terms as possible, including synonyms and mis-spellings.  Google doesn’t always get these related search terms though.  The benefit of broad match is that you get more data quickly and your advert is likely to appear for a variety of search terms that you haven’t selected in your keyword list.

The downside to broad match is the number of different searches Google shows the advert for based on that keyword.  As mentioned in the paragraph above, not all the searches from a broad match keyword will be relevant to your business.  Google will match your advert up with search terms that Google determines is a synonym, mis-spelling or a loosely related term.  An example would be a broad match keyword of Queen Band Memorabilia, a related term would be the princess of Monaco.  We are able to see how these terms are related, but also can see how the search intent is completely different.

There will be an amount of waste involved in the budget when using broad match, so management of these terms is critical.

Phrase match: Phrase match gives more control over your keyword.  This is specified with speech marks around the keyword.  This tells Google that the advert will only be shown when a search term matches the keyword more precisely.  If my phrase match keyword is “Digital Marketing” then the words digital marketing have to be in the search term, in that order.  However, it can be in a sentence, so different words could be at the start or end of the search term, such as “Digital marketing jobs”, “Where can I learn digital marketing for free”  for example.

Exact match: These are keywords specified with square brackets around them: [digital marketing] for instance would be an exact match.  This means that the search term has to match pretty much exactly what the keyword says.

Exact match and phrase match offer more control over what your ad appears for, but the data you get back may be limited.  A technique I use is to create the keywords as broad match for a week or so, just so I can get enough data back to make a better-informed decision on what people are searching for and target that, pausing the broad match keywords after.

Have a look here at Google definitions of the different keyword match types.

Search Terms

Google adwords search termsEach broad match keyword you choose will generate a bunch of different searches that your advert will appear for.  When you analyse the searches that your site has appeared for in Adwords, modify the columns so that you can see the keyword that has triggered that search term.  From here you might notice particular searches that are generating better results than some of the others.

Select the better performing search terms and add them as exact match keywords.  This will reduce the cost per click for that search in the future.  Once you have mined through the best searches that your keyword has generated, it might be worth pausing that keyword to prevent the searches that don’t generate any conversions.  Alternatively, the keyword might work really well but generates searches that are no good to you.  You can always select these searches that are no good and add them as negative keywords!

Negative keywords will prevent your advert appearing in the search results for any searches that that word features in.  Often, there are some negative keywords that should be added by default: “Jobs”,  “Advice”, “Vacancies” etc will all make an appearance in your search terms.  These are fine, but you wouldn’t want to pay for a click of someone looking for work or for help and advice.  Finding this information on your website is fine, but ideally, it would be through Organic search and not Paid.

How Else To Control My Adwords Budget?

Essentially, the best way to continue to control your budget is by monitoring and adjusting your keywords!  There are optimising techniques in each section of Adwords.

When using paid search, the primary idea is that you are willing to pay for searches that get you work, or make you money.  If you are advertising for keywords that are not doing that, then pause them.  Hopefully, you will have given the campaign enough time to generate enough data to make an accurate decision.

For Adwords campaigns, the amount of data you need should be in the ‘thousands of’ rather than hundreds or tens of.  By that, I mean 100,000 clicks should give you a good idea if a change worked, or if that keyword is generating results.  The same keyword with only 10 clicks is difficult to make an accurate decision with.

If you would like any help, or an appraisal on your Adwords account, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, or fill in the form underneath and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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