11 Tips for Low Budget PPC Advertisers

TImothy Johnson, Small Business Solutions / PPC Team Lead
Stretching Money

Return on investment is everything for small and medium sized businesses looking to buy pay-per-click advertising on a budget.

With many different features and settings to navigate through, running a successful PPC campaign is easier said than done. Factor in a typically smaller-than-your-competition budget and competing successfully can be daunting. Small business owners and marketers must be precise when looking to win with PPC advertising.

Here are 11 tips to keep at the forefront of your mind when getting started with PPC on a low budget:

#1 Start with just your core products or services

When starting a PPC campaign for the first time, focus on just one or two of your best products or services.

When deciding where to start, think about these questions:

  • Which products/services are most popular?
  • Which products/services have the best conversion rate?
  • Which products/services have the highest profit margin?

Ideally, one of your business offerings is both popular with customers and offers a high-profit margin. If that’s the case, start there. If not, find a combination of something that sells well and results in profit on your end.

Be sure to stay away from promoting everything your business sells- if it’s a wide range of offerings, your budget may be stretched too thin to gain traction.

#2 Segment themed campaigns and tightly-knit ad groups

One of the many important aspects in determining the success of a pay-per-click advertising campaign is Quality Score.

Quality Score is Google’s way of grading each of the keywords in your account based on relevancy. The higher the QS, the more relevant your ad placement is to a search query and the less you will pay for that ad position.

One way to achieve strong Quality Scores is by effectively structuring the campaigns, ad groups, and keywords within your account. By segmenting campaigns and ad groups into tightly-knit themes you can effectively match keywords, ads and landing pages to help boost QS.

Dive a little deeper into account structure here.

#3 Understand the ad networks and where ads will show online

Within Google AdWords, there are several different campaign types but there are three main mediums for showing paid ads that most advertisers should care about.

The Search Network places simple text ads in Google’s search engine results pages. This is the most stereotypical example of PPC.

Ads in SERP example

The Display Network places ads across Google’s Display Network. These are traditionally static image ads but they can also be text ads or even animated banners.

Lastly, Google Shopping will show individual products (Ecommerce advertisers only) in the search results and throughout the Shopping tab on Google.com.

Google Shopping example

One of the most common errors made by new advertisers on AdWords is targeting more than one network at a time. It is important to only target one ad network per campaign. Combining into one campaign will have negative effects on your results.

#4 Geotarget your best areas

On a campaign by campaign basis, advertisers can geotarget ads to certain specific regions. For example, a dentist in Atlanta doesn’t want their ads showing to searchers in Los Angeles looking for a dentist.

In the campaign settings, advertisers can easily target searchers geographically by country, state, county, DMA, city, and even zip code. Radius targeting is also available around specific addresses to get even more granular.

Geo targeting example

By default, new campaigns will target both the entire United States and Canada so make sure to check and adjust targeting before activating any campaigns.

#5 Manage mobile bids

Depending on your business, visitors on smartphones may be extremely valuable to you. On the other hand, your website may have poor conversion rates from mobile device users.

Found in the Settings > Devices tab within your campaign, you can adjust bids for impressions on mobile devices.

Device bidding adjustments example

If users from smartphones are not converting into customers, negatively adjusting your mobile bid can save money for searches occurring on other devices like desktops or tablets. Conversely, if mobile visitors are important to you, increasing your mobile bid adjustment will help increase the chances of attracting visitors on smartphones.

#6 Use exact and phrase match keywords to start

When building out your keyword list in your tightly-themed ad groups, utilize phrase and exact match to start.

Going this route will limit the number of impressions and clicks your ads will be eligible for, but it will also help increase your clickthrough rate. Here is a look at how keyword match types typically affect impressions and relevancy:

Match type chart

By starting with what should be the most relevant search queries triggering your ads, conversion rates and return on investment will see benefits. Tighter targeting also will help you stretch your advertising budget.

#7 Keep ads simple

Keep your text ads simple and direct when getting started.

Your ad text should contain keywords from the corresponding ad group. Matching the keywords in an ad group with the ad text will help with relevancy and Quality Score.

For each element of your ads try to answer these questions:

Headline (25 character limit) – What are you selling?

Description Line 1 (35 character limit) – What is your competitive advantage?

Description Line 2 (35 character limit) – What is the desired action for the searcher once they click? (Call to action)

Following this outline will help create concise and effective text ads that help promote your product or service.

#8 Implement ad extensions

Google offers a handful of ad extensions that do not cost anything extra to utilize. Typically when using extensions, advertisers will see an increase in engagement metrics like clickthrough rate and conversion rate. They are also a great way for ads to take up more real estate on a SERP.

They are found in the Ad extensions tab of each Search Network campaign. Here are a few ad extensions most advertisers will find useful:

  • Sitelinks – promote four additional links to internal pages of your site
  • Call extensions – add your phone number directly into your ad text
  • Location extensions – link to your Google My Business page to include a physical address with your ads

#9 Track conversions

One of the great benefits of PPC is the ability to accurately track individual clicks to conversions and sales. Calculating a true return on investment is much more realistic for advertisers who set up conversion tracking.

There are several different ways to track conversions. You can utilize AdWords’ build in tracking, Google Analytics goal or event tracking, or a third-party web analytics tracking platform. No matter which works best for your business, conversion tracking is essential to determine ROI and optimize your account.

#10 Use data to drive decisions

Now that you have conversion tracking in place, you can use that data to drive your advertising decisions.

Intuition and your gut can mislead you. Using the valuable conversion data your campaigns are collecting to drive decisions will always produce stronger results. Whether it’s determining messaging for ad copy, keyword bids, or campaign budgets, data is everywhere in your account. Harvesting that data into actionable insights can help drive your overall business initiatives.

#11 Don’t set it and forget it

One of the biggest mistakes inexperienced advertisers make is creating their campaigns, setting them live, and then checking back in on them a month later or never again.

Successful accounts need to be monitored and optimized regularly. Try to set aside a minimum of 30 minutes every week to check in on your campaigns. Making small adjustments to campaigns can go a long way and help save a lot of money over time.

If you don’t have time to monitor your campaigns, check out our PPC packages for companies on a budget. Our goal is to make it easy and affordable for anyone to get professional management of their PPC marketing.

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  1. #1 is sort of misleading, since a company’s “core product” or at least what they think the terms for it are, will likely come with the highest CPC as well as the most amount of ambiguity due to broadness. We have some primary terms that run over $50 per click, with a QS of 8+, and these terms are the most susceptible to fraudulent and just plain irrelevant clicks. In industries where this is the case, I would strongly suggest branching out from terms like these as they’re likely to waste a lot of money without a good or any ROI.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I agree. There are certainly other factors at play here. It is not always as simple as picking your top products. You definitely want to take into account average CPC when determining what products will have the highest profit margin once advertising spend is calculated in. It’s good to start with your most core products but try and test other products over time to find a “sweet spot”.

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