Managing PPC Campaigns on a Shoestring Budget

PPC can be an extremely cost-effective method for driving traffic to your website and it is certainly one of the most manageable. However, at RDM, we know that not every business has a huge budget to spend, so we have put together a short guide on managing PPC on a small budget to help you maximise the results and reduce waste.

1. Learn who and where your customers are

Fish where the fish are

Like any marketing campaign, knowing who and where your customers are and when they are most actively searching for your product or service will make your campaigns much more successful. Google Analytics and internal sales data can give you reports on the physical location of your customers, and the times of the day/week they are visiting your site. Customer reviews and anecdotal evidence from your sales team can give you an idea of what is most important to your customers which, in turn, can help you to frame the right messages to use in order to drive paying customers to your site.


Find out where your customers are located and target your campaigns in these areas. This can be set in the campaign settings. Both Adwords and Bing allow you to set a distance from a central location, which will help you to really pinpoint where your best customers are.

This is particularly useful if you own a physical store and you want to drive footfall or brand awareness in your immediate location.

Time of Day

Along with having the option of targeting locations, it is also possible to run activity based on day of the week, or even hour of the day. If you are in a B2B focused vertical there is not much point in having the activity switched on at the weekend or in the evening. If budgets are very tight you could run the ads in normal office hours reducing wasted spend. You might also find that there are 2 or 3 key hours in the day where all your metrics perform well, click through rate, conversion rate and cost per conversion. Concentrating your budgets across these times will improve the efficiency of your campaigns.


Mobile visits to retail websites have taken over desktop and tablet, however, user habits alter greatly between devices, with conversion rates on mobile devices usually dwarfed by that of desktop. You can review the device performance data using reports available in Google Analytics and Adwords and make relevant changes. If you find that spend is high on a certain device you can either reduce the bid modifier or switch activity off altogether by reducing the modifier too -100%.


Demographic targeting is now available as standard in Adwords and Bing, allowing users to exclude or even up weight bids based on Gender and/or various age groups. Implementing this will help reduce impressions and spend on the wrong users, the most obvious example would be a company who provides stair lifts can exclude younger age groups. You could use a number of data points to support any changes, including your own CRM or sales data, Google Analytics and existing Adwords/Bing Ads data.

2. Choose your keywords wisely

When setting up PPC campaigns it is easy just to create a huge list of broad match keywords. This will always result in a massive number of impressions, low click through rate (CTR) and can be a quick way to lose a lot of money. Implementing Exact match terms offers much more control over the search terms which trigger your ads to show in the search results.

Ensure that you allow time to really research the keywords you want to target. Consider the search volumes, competition and the estimated cost per click for each keyword; all of this information can be found using Google’s Keyword Planner. Also, think about the keywords customers will use depending on where they are in the journey. For example, the term ‘kitchen worktops’ or ‘buy oak effect laminate worktop’ will be used at very different stages of the sales funnel.

3. Maximise Quality Score and CTR with correct tone of voice and USPs

An obvious way of maximising any digital marketing activity is to reduce costs, or at least, in this case, reduce your average CPC and ‘buy’ more clicks with the same budget. By optimising the CTR and Quality Score you can reduce the average CPC, whilst at the same time improve the positions in which ads trigger. The following factors should be considered when building and optimising your campaigns.

  • Create tightly targeted groups of keywords
  • Ensure that ads are relevant to the keywords in the ad group
  • Use all available ad extensions (Sitelinks, Call Outs, Structure Snippets etc)
  • Land users on relevant, conversion lead landing pages
  • Ensure your website loads quickly and is optimise for mobile

If you are running with Broad or Phrase match terms run regular Search Query Report.

We have already written a short guide on restructuring PPC campaigns.

4. Retargeting Lists for Search Ads

If your website receives a decent amount of traffic from other channels you could run search remarketing, available in both Adwords and Bing Ads. This feature requires a tracking tag, a small piece of code adding to your website. This feature allows you to target users who have already visited or engaged with a key piece of content on your website. This will help reduce the risk of wasted spend on PPC as these users will be more likely to click on your ad, with a high potential of converting.

We recommend only running this if you have a healthy amount of users from other traffic sources.

5. Pause keywords that are not working

This one is a bit more obvious but if a keyword has spent a lot of money and not driven any conversions, either reduce the bid or even pause the keyword. When budgets are tight you need to maximise the coverage (known as Impression Share) of converting keywords, by allowing poor performing keywords to steal budget you are leaving a lot of conversions on the table.

We always suggest that all bids are set at the keyword level.

Don’t forget to always run tests on your ads, we have already written a short guide to ad text testing.

Like this post? Share it!

Facebook Cover Video

How to create an engaging Facebook Cover Video

28th August 2019

Unless you’re new to Facebook (which is unlikely) you’ll realise that a lot of business profiles now have image sliders and videos rather than a … Read moreHow to create an engaging Facebook Cover Video

Social Media

Top Six Social Media Mistakes to Avoid for Your Business

9th August 2019

Everybody wants their brand to go viral, but you need to make sure that it’s gone viral for the right reasons! As social media grows, … Read moreTop Six Social Media Mistakes to Avoid for Your Business


How and why you should create an Instagram Business account

7th August 2019

Is it better to have a business profile? Will this drive away some of my current following? What if I make a business account and … Read moreHow and why you should create an Instagram Business account

Were a Premier Google Partner

We’re officially a Premier Google Partner!

2nd August 2019

We’ve been a Google Partner for some time now (2 years+) and if you’ve been following us for a while then you’ll probably remember us … Read moreWe’re officially a Premier Google Partner!