The end of the month is upon us. For many PPC managers this is crunch time for a number of reasons. You may be scrambling to meet that lead goal for the month, or complete that account optimization that is due this week. There are quite a few of you who are having a great month and you’re actually slowing down your spend in order to remain within your monthly PPC budget. Today, we’ll discuss where you should focus your efforts when decreasing your click volume and spend.

Of course, ideally your spend should be dispersed across the month evenly. This way you don’t have to slow down your volume in the last week of month. But let’s face it, that’s not how it always works out. Sometimes your PPC campaign will run hotter than expected during the first 3/4 of the month so you have to be able to adjust your campaigns quickly and efficiently.

The velocity at which you need to slow your spend will dictate which level of your PPC campaign should receive the most attention. We’ll work our way up from the small changes you can make to slow your spend, all the way up to major changes you can implement to make to generate major progress quickly.

Keywords: If you are only slightly over budget heading into the end of the month, you should focus your efforts at the keyword level. Run those keyword reports in order to find the keywords that are generating a great deal of spend but can have bids lowered, or completely paused for the remainder of the month. Of course, you can’t cut keywords that are generating a great deal of leads or sales. But can you lower bids on second tier keywords? And if there are keywords you can do without toward the end of the month, can your account benefit from removing them permanently? Something to think about.

Ad Distribution: If you need to make bigger changes and lower your spend quicker, you can focus your efforts on ad distribution. If the search network is working well and you don’t want to make any cuts here, can you lower bids on the content network at the ad group level? Or pause the content network at the campaign level? Within Google AdWords, you should also review your search partner network performance. You may be able to make quick, temporary adjustments for big savings.

Campaign Budget: If you don’t want to adjust your search or content bids because your cost-per-lead/sale is where you need it to be, then you can make big changes by decreasing your daily budget. This will decrease your volume in the search, content, and the search partner network.

Pausing an account entirely is the biggest change you can make to slow down your spend. Hopefully, you don’t have to make changes this drastic at the end of the month. But with all of these other levers in place, you should be able to focus your efforts at each level of your account to decrease your spend slowly and smartly.

And, keep in mind that the first of the month is also just around the corner. You need to make changes that can be quickly and easily reversed on the first day of the month (where applicable). So, make sure that you keep precise records of what changes you made so that you can easily reverse them when the first of the month of arrives.