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PPC 101: Getting the Most Out of a Small Paid Search Budget

January 16, 2014 // By: Stream Companies

Many of us know PPC can be a great advertising tool for direct response – increasing clicks and conversions on your website.  But many times, marketing teams are limited with a tight budget within their PPC accounts (i.e. you don’t have enough money on a daily basis to keep up with available search demand). 

To overcome this limitation, I have identified a few ways business owners can make the most of a small budget so you can get the most bang for your marketing dollar.

Avoid Broad Match Types

If you are new to PPC advertising, you may not have a full grasp on keyword match types.  Google and adCenter offer four different match types to choose from when bidding within their systems – broad, broad match modified, phrase, and exact.

Broad match is defined by Google as “the default match type that all your keywords are assigned if you don't specify another match type (exact match, phrase match, or negative match)… [and] runs your ads on relevant variations of your keywords, including synonyms, singular and plural forms, possible misspellings, stemmings (such as floor and flooring), related searches, and other relevant variations.”

This basically means that if you are using broad match, you are allowing Google free reign to go after “relevant variations” of your current keyword list.  If you are on a limited budget, I would avoid broad match, and instead use the other available match types.

Incorporate Negative Keywords

The second part to keyword success is utilizing negative keywords, which many new PPC users may not take advantage of enough.  Negative keywords act as preventative measure – simply, your ad will not show up if a specific keyword is used within the search query.

For example, if you are a KIA dealership and all you want to sell is new models on your lot, implementing negatives like “used," “preowned," “parts," “service," etc. will help you more precisely target a specific audience and save you a lot of wasted impressions, increase your click-through-rate and probably your Quality Score as well.

There are a lot of resources online for example negative keyword lists by industry.  You should also be reviewing your search term reports on a regular basis to find new possible keywords and negative keywords to add to your account.  It is not uncommon to have hundreds of negative keywords in your campaigns!

Focus on Your Top Products and Services

Another way to save some dough on PPC, is to solely focus on keywords that will drive the most lead volume and/or profitability for your business.  You may have a wide variety of services/products available on your website, but if can apply the 80/20 rule to your inventory (80% of your profit comes from 20% of your products), then you probably want to focus on these items.

Going back to the KIA dealership example, if you want to put a heavy focus on selling new Sorentos and Optimas, avoid creating ad groups for Sportage, Forte, Rio, etc.

Utilize Your Dimensions Reports

If you find your impression share is low and limited due to your budget, you will have to make some hard decisions on when and where you are serving ads.  You can look at past sales data to help you with the geographic targeting, but Google can also provide useful information to help make this decision easier.

Within your Dimensions tab, there are three reports that can help you with targeting refinement – day of week, time of day, and geographic.

I’ll use the geographic report below as an example and you can apply this strategy to the other reports.  First, click on the Dimensions tab and under the drop-down box on the left, choose Geographic.

 

From here, you can drill down your PPC data by country, region, metro, city, and most specific location (usually towns and zip codes).  Now you can compare your cost and conversion data by location.  This can help you to increase bidding on low cost conversion areas and decrease bidding or cut out areas that are under performing.

The same strategy can be applied to Day of Week, Hour of Day, or a variety of other reporting options.

Ready for more PPC tips and strategies? Check out this eBook to learn how to increase  your PPC ROI as well as how to find the best PPC partner for your business.

All the best,

Brock Clauser

Brock Clauser is the Director of Paid Search at Stream Companies, a Philadelphia area advertising agency.

 

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Topics: Digital Marketing, Advertising (general), digital advertising, display ads, google, Pay-Per-Click, PPC, ppc, PPC 101, PPC Basics, PPC Budgets, PPC Secrets