February 13, 2017

How to approach managing a 'limited by budget' AdWords Account

Published: 13 February 2017 

What is a ‘limited budget’ AdWords account?

Limited by budget” is a campaign status used when your daily budget is lower than the recommended amount. This could result in ads not showing as regularly as they could. A campaign can have the status “limited by budget” appearing alongside the status column on the campaign’s table. With a budget under the recommended amount, it’s possible that your budget is unable to accommodate all of the traffic available for your keywords and other campaign targeting settings. To ensure you budget lasts throughout the day, AdWords will reduce how often your ads appear.

A limited by budget campaign can still be successful and help you meet your business goals, however, there are more opportunities to gain exposure with an increased budget. Here’s the best way you can approach having a limited by budget AdWords account.  

The problem

You can’t put all your keywords or ad groups in one campaign and expect Google to evenly spread your budget throughout the day. Certain keywords are always going to be budget suckers and these are the ones Google always seems to show. A lot of what Google shows is based on trends and if it finds a group of keywords that seem to work, it will show those over some of your other similar keywords, even if those keywords are a better fit.

If your campaign/s always seem to be limited by budget, more often than not you will see one ad group is miles above the cost of the other ad groups. Then you will notice that there are ad groups that are getting no traffic. What do you do in this case?

Here are a few things to consider to ensure your AdWords campaign remains cost effective:

Which ads take up most of the budget?

There are always ad groups or keywords that have a higher cost than the rest. Take note of these keywords and how well they are performing. If they are taking up majority of your budget, but don’t account for majority of results, it’s time to alter your costs.

Move your low volume keywords

Create a new campaign for keywords and ad groups which have little or no traffic. This way you can allocate these ads their own budget. Being allocated their own budget will mean low-traffic keywords can potentially increase the amount of traffic they bring to the website.  

If you’re considering taking this approach, just remember the key few factors:

  • Make sure low-volume keywords still get allocated some budget. These keywords are still getting traffic, don’t completely ignore them.
  • Don’t let the budget exceed what you can afford.

Analyse your keywords

You might find there are usually 1-5 keywords that are using most of the budgets and costs, leaving little to no budget for the remainder of the keywords. Sometimes expensive keywords take up most of your budget, but they are not the biggest converters. In this instance, it’s important to reconsider how much budget is allocated to these keywords. Look at your keywords with the most conversions. These keywords should be the ones you are spending the most money on. Consider pausing or reducing the budget spent on expensive keywords if they are not causing the highest conversions.

Remember: you don’t always have to follow Google’s recommendations. Remember that Google is a business, and wants to raise money, so is always going to recommend that you raise your AdWords budget. If you’re limited by budget, you’re going to want to try alternative ideas before increasing your spending.

Increasing return on investment (ROI) on a limited budget

Having a positive ROI is one of the most important factors when you’re running a business. If you’re running an AdWords campaign and aren’t reaching a positive ROI, then it’s time to reflect and alter your strategy.

If you have not yet reached a positive ROI, consider the following actions to help you get there:

  • Track your ads

The most important thing you can do to gain a positive ROI is to keep track of your data. After all, if you’re not analysing your campaign, how do you know if it’s on track? You won’t be able to accurately make the necessary adjustments.

To track your ads, make sure you install conversion tracking. This process involves placing code into your ad, which records the movements of the visitors. This means you can tell what is and isn’t working within your ad, and can adjust appropriately.    

  • Use ad scheduling

AdWords provides you with a lot of information, such as the ability to know when conversions occur. Ad scheduling allows you to specify certain hours or days in the week you would like your ads to show. So how does ad scheduling can help you bring down costs? Timing is extremely important, and you want your ads showing when your customers are going to see them.

Think about the following times and how they will influence your AdWords campaign:

  • Business hours: If your business runs Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm, that’s when you’re most likely to want to run your ads. You don’t want all your ads to run on the weekend when no one is in the office to respond to requests.
  • Low-response periods: After you have gathered enough data, you will be able to established what is known as the ‘low-response periods.’ Consider lowering or even disabling your AdWords campaign during these periods, and increase bids on high-response times.
  • Specific days of the week: You can also use your data to find out which is your best performing weekday. Schedule your ads higher on the day which brings in the highest amount of traffic and conversions.

Thinking about these factors will help to bring down the costs, while also maximising the results for your AdWords campaign.

  • Bid to Position

For people on a limited by budget AdWords account, it can be unrealistic to want ads to be shown in the number one spot in search results. Sometimes a more modest approach can be the most beneficial and cost effective. You can use scripts such as Bid to Position to help you steer your keywords to the desired position. This script will analyse your keywords, note those that need adjustment, and raise or lower their bids to alter your ads positioning. The script will find keywords with a click through rate better than 1% and with an average position that is too high, and decrease those bids.

  • Add negative keywords

Most businesses are concerned with which keywords will drive the most clicks and the highest conversions, however, very few will devote the time and energy to developing a negative keyword list, despite the crucial role they play in maximising ROI of an AdWords campaign.

So what are negative keywords? They let you exclude terms from your campaigns, and only focus on the keywords that matter to you and your customers. Listing the keywords or phrases that you do not want associated with your campaign will help you save money and increase your ROI.  

Just because you’re limited by budget, doesn’t mean you can’t run a successful AdWords campaign. Following these tips should ensure you can run your campaign without needing to increase your budget, while also improving your ROI.


Ben Maden

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