As PPC managers, we’ve all had the account that reaches max budget each month, with absolutely no wiggle room. The big question is, how do you continue to grow the account and prove your value as a manager?

When first approaching the account, we cover our basics:

  • Are time of day bid modifiers set?
  • Are day of week bid modifiers set?
  • Geotargeted bid modifiers set?
  • Negative keywords?
  • Advanced search for poor performing keywords to be paused?
  • Pause ad copy test losers?

If you answered yes to all of the above, it can feel pretty overwhelming as to where to go next. I recently came across this issue in an account where I had difficulties showing improvement each month when I had no leftover budget to test and refine. After running through the checklist above, I sat down and stared at the account. There had to be something I could do!

I went through each campaign performance, and began comparing different branded campaigns, non-branded campaigns, and competitor campaigns. I compared CTRs, CPAs, and conversion rates. Where, in this large account, is the golden ticket to finding more conversions at a cheaper cost without pushing me over budget?

I had always known that our non-branded campaigns contained our highest CPAs and spend, so I immediately drew my attention to this dimension. I then noticed a test I had begun a month earlier for Search Companion ads using the same non-branded terms I was evaluating within the non-brand campaigns. Here’s what I found after comparing the two categories:

  • Non-brand campaign A received 205 leads at $12.41, spending $2,553.37
  • Search Companion campaign A, using the same keywords as Non-brand campaign A, received 150 conversions at $10.67 each, spending $1,552.55.
  • Non-brand campaign A had an average CPC of $1.42, whereas Search Companion campaign A had an average CPC of $0.58.
  • Search Companion campaign A has a lower position than Non-brand campaign A.

The wheels are turning! If I can pay 59% less per click, and 39% less overall for a similar campaign, I have something to go on to increase overall performance. I’ll be able to cut excess spend and push up the Search Companion campaign A ads in order to boost conversion rates and make up the conversion discrepancy. I’ll also have some spare cash to test with.

With spare cash, I can slowly lift budget caps on some high converting, budget constrained campaigns, allowing more conversions to come through the door. Additionally, I can expand and create Search Companion campaigns B, C, and D since I know that these campaigns bring me similar conversion volumes at cheaper costs, loosening the budget belt for me to utilize each month by restricting or pausing my search non-branded campaigns. Additionally, I can provide some great insight to my client by showing that these display campaigns are cheaper than non-branded search. Potentially, we can boost our display presence and test new campaigns rather than waste dollars in other areas.

So, whenever you’re feeling trapped by your budget, take a closer look at conversion rates, spend, and CPCs. Saving money one day can mean spending more tomorrow!

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