Growing Your PPC Account Budget the Smart Way

By , Senior Digital Advisor at Hanapin Marketing

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There’s money to be had on the Internet and we want all of it. In this month’s series, PPC Hero will be talking about ways to grow your account to increase its reach while maximizing profits. We can’t have it all, but we can try and try to get ever more of it.

 

So far in this series we’ve discussed utilizing betas and keyword research to expand and grow your paid search accounts, with some additional stuff on Display and video still to come. Guess what happens to your budget if and when you implement any of those methods? Your budget increases! But guess what else? There are totally other ways to increase your PPC budget! I know, I know – I’m blowing your mind.

Back to the matter at hand, many account managers will tell you it isn’t hard to increase budgets; it’s hard to increase budgets and maintain ROI. So for the purposes of this post, I’d like to walk down the path of how you make the smartest budget growth decisions to maintain that ability to continue growing the account in to the future.

 

Full net or small bucket expansion?

Really what I’m talking about here is how much growth you’re allowed, just in case you need to get approval from a supervisor/director or client in situations where you aren’t managing your own account. You can either spend the time to determine all the areas of budget expansion potential, present them to the necessary parties, and then allow them to pick and choose where to push spend. On the other hand, you can approach the client or director and let them know you believe there is opportunity and ask what kind of budget allowances you could have as long as you show them some specifics before moving forward. I’ve seen both strategies work, and seen both blow up in the account manager’s face. This is going to have to be your call, based on what you know of the situation you’re managing.

 Then, based on whether you asked for an amount up front or were approved one for specific segment testing, etc…

 

How many actual dollars are being invested in the expansion?

Again, this step will be somewhat dependent on how you got the additional budget in the first place. Your client or supervisor may have determined the amount based on possible expansion areas you outlined before, in which case you’ve probably been given the number itself already. They may have also given you a clearance for a specific amount of additional budget before you presented them anything, which again would eliminate the need for this step.

However, if you’re the account owner or you weren’t given a specific spend amount by the client or your supervisor, you need to decide now how much you want to expand and set a trackable dollar amount. It’s tempting to say, “We’ll just spend as much as we want until it stops producing!” Certainly that strategy has worked for many accounts, but I prefer a more controlled expansion – that way I can very easily compare and contrast return as the account grows incrementally.

 

Now where can I put this…

One more time, this step could be controlled by how you have the expanded budget in the first place. Your client or director may have told you where the money had to go, or you may have presented where it was going to get it at all.

If you’re in charge or if you’ve been given the task of determining areas of opportunity, here are a few places to check:

** Push more successes: make sure you’re maxing out daily budgets for your highest producing campaigns. If any of them are showing as “limited by budget,” look here first.

** Where you’ve never been: this could be a new engine altogether (maybe you’re only in Google and want to give Bing or Facebook a shot), or a specific network attack in a given engine. So for example, you’re running on the Search network via Google, but haven’t looked in to any Display-based traffic. You wouldn’t have to run head first at a full Display campaign, but rather dig down to a couple ICM or Topics targets to start.

** Increase positioning: if you’ve got some keywords that are producing leads within goal CPAs, look at their average position historically alongside that positive performance. There may be opportunity to increase bids on similar terms just a bit, creep up in to a higher position and begin pushing more leads/sales (watch it, though; I’ve seen this have the exact opposite effect, as well).

** Use one of our specific series tactics: Sean discussed betas and Eric already gave you some awesome information about finding new keyword opportunities. Amanda and Sam still have stuff coming for you, too…add that with the few things I’ve listed out above and you should have a pretty solid list to check in to!

 

Tell us about your experiences! How have you worked previously to expand an account’s budget? Were there particular areas or segments you saw great return from, versus those that failed miserably? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below, and thanks again for reading!

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