Be Smart In 2017: Use Seasonal Budgeting

By Jacob Brown | @jakebrownppc | Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

What’s your 2017 budget? That’s the question everyone was trying to figure out in the marketing world over the past 2-3 months. Many got the answer and split the budget up evenly across 12 months and went forward with the year. Others segmented the year into quarters and budgeted on a quarterly basis. Some segmented the budget down to the month. The goal of this post is to get more companies to at least begin thinking about moving toward a third scenario – segmenting the budget down to the month.

 

Spend more when you get more. That’s the message that needs to get across. But how do you go about looking into that? First, use the basic stats that help to paint the story for you by month.

 

Available Impressions: Previous Year Impressions/Previous Year Impression Share

 

Needed CPC to Hit CPL Goal: Previous Year Conversion Rate*2017 CPL Goal

 

Month by month 2016 performance

 

Though in most industries the traffic availability and account performance align as the same months – in others (as can be seen in the screenshot above) the best performing months are also months with the least traffic available.

 

How do you go about prepping your budget accordingly to previous years’ performance? The best tool for the next step is the Excel Solver. The Solver is great for PPC budgeting, but how do you go about including monthly information? Similarly to past Solvers shown via PPC Hero, adding a monthly column can help to utilize the Solver to adjust budgets at the campaign level per each month. The end result shows the amount that should be budgeted per each month based on results from the previous year.

 

The image below shows how to set this Solver up once you have the information in place.

 

Using Solver parameters

 

Per the setup above, we’re maxing out conversions by sticking to the yearly budget and assuring we assign spend amounts each campaign is capable of spending per each month based on impression share and total cost from the previous year.

 

Just like in previous Solver reports from PPC Hero, we assure the Solver shows the amount of spend and conversions per category, but this time the category is per month. Below shows the monthly spends the Solver is suggesting and the monthly conversions it is projecting based on the statistics in each campaign on a monthly basis from the previous year if we were to raise the budget to $100,000 comparably to the previous year where budget was around 70,000.

 

Budget suggestions

 

As can be seen, the rise in spend does equate to more conversions, but also a rise in CPL as you would expect. This is where the conversations continue to see if the projected CPL makes sense for the client from a profitability standpoint compared to the previous year.

 

What if the client wants to keep the same budget as the previous year? You can still perform the Solver analysis in this case. Below shows what the solver would suggest with the same $70,000 budget and how we’d project performance to come out for 2017 if we kept the $70,000 but adjusted the monthly amounts based on the performance from the previous year.

 

Keep budget at same amount

 

As can be seen, a suggested rise in budget at the beginning of the year comparable to last year would be the suggestion from our end. This could help contribute to 951 conversions compared to 827 from the previous year, moving our CPL from $83.88 to $73.64. Overall, adjusting budgets per last year’s monthly performance in this case would help to improve the yearly performance because months like January, April, June, etc. have room for growth and performed better than months such as October and November in the previous year.

 

Utilizing these budget tactics for 2017 will help to increase the amount of conversion volume and decrease the cost per lead if you keep the same approximate budgets year over year. And will help you understand where to place extra budget if you plan to spend more on advertising in 2017. Why continue on with a completely balanced budget across all 12 months if you know spending more in one month over another will help you to be more profitable at the end of the year? In 2017 be smart. Make sure you are spending more not only where in the account you are getting more, but also when you are getting more from your spend. Utilization of the Solver will help to get you to numbers you are comfortable with for 2017 with data backed budgets per each month.