One of the toughest situations for a search manager is optimizing a campaign that is limited by a daily budget constraint. A budget constraint not only eliminates expansion opportunities, but can hinder the execution of popular optimization strategies. Today, we’ll review eight optimization strategies to help you get the most out of campaigns that have limited daily budgets. As you will see, these strategies carry a common theme – removing portions of your campaign’s traffic that perform worse than others.
1. Confirm that your campaign’s delivery method is set to standard. The alternative is to set your budget delivery to accelerated, which means the publisher will not throttle your ads and you may end up depleting your entire budget within a few hours. We recommend setting your budget to standard to ensure your ads run throughout the day.
2. Check your ad scheduling settings. It’s likely that not all hours of the day are created equal for your business – in other words, some hours of the day may convert better than others. If a campaign is being throttled, you have nothing to lose by reducing your bids or even pausing your campaign during non-converting hours. Most enterprise-class search platforms will provide recommendations as to when you should increase or decrease your hourly bids. Keep in mind that you’ll want to use the correct data to optimize your campaigns in that way – Marin recommends using a Date-of-Click conversion rate metric to accurately measure the likelihood of your campaign converting based on when the click is initiated.
3. Location targeting is a great way to get more out of a budget-capped campaign – simply analyze the conversion rate of your campaign by region and remove the low performing cities or states. For example, a skiing gear retailer may find that Florida and Arizona perform poorly.
4. Device targeting is also an option to further refine your audience and increase the performance of a campaign that’s limited by budget. Analyzing the conversion rate of the devices your users are using to access your site is often insightful and can be used to remove under-performing devices altogether, or break them out into their own campaign with a smaller portion of the available budget.
5. Adjusting your network settings is often a great strategy when your other options have been exhausted. It’s possible that Google’s search network traffic is less qualified than the traffic coming from Google’s main search engine page. Analyzing your traffic sources can reveal a difference in conversion rate between the two networks. You can disable the partner networks in your campaign settings in order to funnel more of your daily budget to the higher performing network.
6. Adding negative keywords to block irrelevant or unwanted traffic is also an effective way to shift more daily budget towards relevant and converting clicks.
7. Decrease your bids on under-performing keywords. This strategy will allow you to stretch your budget by getting more clicks at a lower cost-per-click.
8. Shift your campaign budgets around. As an example, our skiing retailer has noticed that two of their top campaigns are currently budget capped. Unfortunately their quarterly budget is not extendable and they don’t have any more dollars to allocate to paid search. Their Skiing Boots campaign is capped at $5,000 daily and performs at a 5.4 ROAS. Their Skiing Goggles campaign is capped at $7,500 daily and performs at a 4.9 ROAS. A simple yet effective strategy is to funnel budget from the Skiing Goggles to Skiing Boots campaign and monitor the impact of this shift in spend. If the ROAS for the Skiing Boots campaign remains the same with the increase in spend, these new campaign daily budgets could be a long term solution for driving incremental revenue with the same overall account budget constraint.
The images used in this post are of the Marin Enterprise UI.