New companies enter the PPC marketplace daily. We see it first-hand as we bring on new clients who require their accounts to be built from scratch, or with our current clients as they see increased competition in their vertical. Whether it’s your first time diving in to paid search marketing or you’re opening up a test budget for a new segment – the following tips will help you lay the groundwork for determining what kind of budget you can or could dedicate to your PPC campaign(s).

New budget or pulling from somewhere else?

I find that most conversations I have about putting together PPC budgets immediately jump to, “How much new money are we going to need?” If all your marketing mediums are producing high quality leads and/or a positive ROAS, then finding new budget may be your best bet in case PPC doesn’t take off from day one (psst…it probably won’t, so don’t expect overnight success!). That said, if you do know you’re hemorrhaging money from any particular source, determine how much of that budget you can use for your PPC efforts and then complement it with additional funds if/as necessary.

Have you tried this before?

Again, whether you’re opening up PPC for the “first time” ever or just a segment of a total PPC campaign, look back and make sure this hasn’t been tried before. This is especially true if you’re new to your position or haven’t always been behind the wheel. Now even with that on the table, don’t rest too much on exactly what you did before. Paid search changes daily, which is what makes it such a furiously fun industry to work in. Odds are there is a somewhat-different way to manage campaigns for your vertical, either based on interface/management features, competition changes, etc. Given what you had done before – what did you learn about things budget-wise? Were you getting the feeling you hadn’t invested enough to collect a reasonable set of data? Thinking through a few of these types of questions can start to shape a basic budget range a bit more, if the history is there.

Speaking of competition…what are they up to?

Take some of your key brand and industry phrases and type them in to Google or Bing. Start pulling the websites of the companies that show up in the paid search ad spaces and then hit up a site like Spyfu or something like it and look at your competitor’s estimated daily ad spends. Multiply by 30. Boom. Now, there is a caveat that these kinds of PPC competition tools can’t always be taken as exact or accurate, necessarily. I’ve pulled up client accounts on there and seen numbers that are not even close to what we’re doing. Again – we’re talking ranges! And this is also why we’re looking at multiple prospective competitors; I suggest 10-20, at least.

How much are you looking to target? (Location)

Will these campaigns be targeted locally, nationally, or worldwide? This one’s pretty straight forward, but after you’ve looked at your competition, take in to consideration how their target range may be different or similar from yours and adjust budget accordingly.

How much are you looking to target? (Products/Services)

Is the intention of this dive in to PPC to cover all your brand’s products and/or services out of the gates, or are you starting with a few at first? Of course this scope will determine the breadth and depth of your keyword list, which will greatly contribute to how much budget would be required to allow for all their traffic opportunities.

What’s the Keyword Planner say?

After you’ve decided what products or services and locations you want to target, put together a small keyword list to use in the Keyword Planner. This tool will allow you to adjust yourself how much you may or may not want to invest given the keyword list it extrapolates from your original. It will also tell you what kind of budget it would suggest, but I would counter-suggest you mine through the keyword list yourself first to see if there are terms you wouldn’t actually want to bid on. It happens.

What tracking roadblocks could there be?

Before you decide on a definite starting budget from the steps above, make sure you’re 100% aware of sales cycles, reporting capabilities, etc. of this new PPC endeavor. If it will take 3 months for top-of-the-funnel leads in this medium to come to fruition from an actual sales point of view, make sure you’ve pulled enough budget to get enough traffic for at least that long, or else you’re cutting your efforts off before they can actually have time to mature or gain momentum. Make sure you have all codes and tracking in place before you start so you can determine as close to a true ROI as possible and hey – if you feel overwhelmed, you can always call us. Smile


This is the key, really. Once you’ve found a positive ROI, continue to invest that budget in the medium until diminishing returns kick in. And then find another segment to explore and start back at the beginning. Don’t hold yourself hostage to a budget if there’s more opportunity on the table! Of course, if/when it stops being a positive ROI…pull it back where you’re losing and take that budget back to step one, too.

What tools, strategies or processes do you use when creating a PPC budget? Share them with us in the comments section below!