How Can You
Stretch a Tight Pay-Per-Click Marketing Budget?
By Alex Porter, vice president,
In an effort to cut costs, your CMO has reduced
pay-per-click (PPC) marketing budgets (despite it
getting the best ROI of any tactic), yet still
expects to maintain sales levels. What's a savvy
online marketer to do?
Everyone is scrambling to trim the fat right now and
marketing budgets often take the biggest snip. Here
are a few aspects of your campaign that can be
tweaked, allowing you to squeeze the most out of
every PPC dollar:
Distribute your efforts. Google is king, but it
isn't an autocracy. Take a look at Yahoo, MSN, Ask
and perhaps some Tier B engines. When managed
properly, they can provide ROI at a lower cost per
Use negative keywords. If every penny counts, you
need to make sure you aren't showing up for
irrelevant search queries. Check reports and
analytics, and then add negative keywords. If you
have fewer than 100, you aren't trying.
Choose your time parts wisely. If your budget won't
allow you to have ads live 100% of the time, try
Analyze the time of day for each
conversion. Stop showing ads during time periods
when conversions are in the lowest 25% and
ensure ads are 100% live when conversion rates
are in the top 25%.
Keep an eye on your competitors. If they burst
out of the gates each day, allowing ads to
display as quickly as possible, they may stop
showing up at some point, causing
cost-per-clicks to decrease dramatically and
allowing you to secure a higher spot at a lower
Drill down with geo-targeting.
Analyze internal sales/leads data to
determine which states/cities/DMAs are
converting at the best rates. Organize your top
performing keywords to target those areas and
have them live 100% of the time.
Use Google Search Insights to drill down on
your high-volume keywords. Google Insights shows
which states/cities are searching for these
terms and also related hot terms. Geo-target
the high-volume terms and limit your exposure to
Don't let ad copy get stale. If you aren't
testing at least three versions of ad copy per
ad group, you aren't doing your job. Good ad
copy can be the best thing for your campaign.
Test, test, test to increase your quality score,
which can allow you to get more traffic at a
Analyze your ad groups. Break down your ad groups
as specifically as possible and put different budget
parameters on each campaign. If your trademarked
terms have a lot of competitors, make sure they are
always live and split them out into their own
campaign. Analyze all ad groups and manage your
total daily budgets in such a way that best
performers are live as much as possible, again
potentially splitting them out into unique
These are PPC optimization tips for all economic
climates, but they can really give a big boost when
trying to stretch that budget as far as possible.
---Source: DM News January 12, 2009 (www.dmnews.com).
Alex Porter is vice president of Location3 Media, a
technology-driven direct marketing company that
specializes in search engine marketing. Reach him at