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  • Writer's pictureSimon Wells

PPC on a budget: How to succeed

Every advertiser or marketer would love the luxury of an unlimited budget, but most of us have limitations on PPC budget and when this is the case – how can we hope to compete?

The vast array of features and settings within any PPC account can initially be quite daunting, but once you start to understand how and where your budget is being deployed, you can start to make your advertising spend go further – to help place the right ad, in front of the right customer, at the right time.

Return-on-investment is the most vital metric for most advertisers, and by correctly structuring and optimising the PPC account it’s possible to drive a strong ROI – and increase profits – which in turn, can be reinvested into the PPC budget to help increase visibility at a later date. Here at Circus, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 tips to help any advertiser achieve success with a limited PPC budget.

Daily Budget

One of the main benefits of Google AdWords and Pay-Per-Click advertising in general is the ability to control your daily spend by implementing a daily budget that you are comfortable with. It’s also worth remembering that the AdWords system can deliver up to 20% over your daily budget in any given day, so ensure you factor that into your PPC campaign planning.

Search & Display Networks

Ensure you understand the difference in the available networks and where your ads could be displayed. The Search Network is great for direct response; the Search Partners can expand this reach further, while the Display Network reaches thousands of websites across the internet. Plan your objective and pick which network is going to help you drive the results that you need.

Key Products or Services

If you have a limited budget, it may make sense to initially focus on a few of your core products or services and then add additional services once you see a positive return on your investment. Consider which products or services are popular, which drive higher revenue or most profit and start by promoting these products as they will help your PPC activity to start yielding a positive return.


If you are running a Search campaign, it is essential to familiarise yourself with the available keyword match types. It may make sense to start with very specific exact match keywords to ensure the traffic you generate is very relevant to your offering. Also consider your keyword selection – long-tail keywords tend to drive less traffic but a higher conversion rate as they tend to be deployed by users further down the buying cycle while broader terms tend to drive more generic traffic to the site.

Bid Management

Explore the available automated bidding strategies to ensure you are maximising performance from your budget. The “Maximise Clicks” bidding strategy may be a good place to start on a limited budget as this allows the AdWords system to generate as many clicks as possible from your specified daily budget. When you start seeing conversions, it may be worth experimenting with Target ROAS or target CPA bidding to get the most from your daily budget.

Geo Targeting

This feature allows the advertiser to specify in which geographical regions their ads will show. Start by targeting a specific radius, possibly local to your business and then start to expand as your daily budget grows. We find it’s better to have a strong presence over a smaller geographical area than to attempt to target nationally on a very limited budget. Consider bid adjustments which reduce the amount you pay per click, the further the customer is from your business.


Is your website optimised for mobile devices? If not, it would make sense to exclude these from your advertising campaign. You should analyse historical data to compare performance across devices and place bid adjustment accordingly. If a user is more likely to convert on mobile, then it makes sense to increase visibility on these devices and limit your spend, on say, desktop computers.

Conversion Tracking

With a limited budget it is essential you are tracking conversions to assess where your advertising spend is going and what the ROI is. It’s by taking the time to analyse conversion history to understand where your customers came from, the journey they experienced, and other factors that help you optimise effectively. Take the time to spot trends in this data and take action accordingly.

Ad Scheduling

Ad Scheduling slows the advertiser to dictate what time of day, or what day of the week, that their adverts are displayed. For example, if your business relies on someone being available to take a customer phone call, then it makes sense to display ads during working hours when someone would be available. Assess your conversion history and implement ad scheduling to maximise visibility of your ads when you are statistically more likely to convert.

Regular Analysis & Optimisation

Finally, and maybe most importantly of all, it’s vital to consistently carry out regular reporting, analysis and optimisation of your PPC account. You’ll find that by taking a few hours a week to carry out some basic optimisation tasks, you’ll start to see improvements across the account in areas such as cost-per-click, quality scores and click-through-rates. It’s worth running Search Term Reports and Keyword reports on a regular basis as well as various A/B split testing of ad copy.

We hope that this advice has given you some inspiration for tackling PPC advertising on a limited budget. It is possible, with the right strategy and ongoing optimisation, to sustain a profitable PPC account on a limited budget.

Don’t get too obsessed about competitor activity and the potential budgets that you are competing with – just find a balance and work with a budget that works for you and helps make your business more profitable.

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