Do you plan your PPC budgets effectively? Do you consider when consumers are in the research stage?
How we recommend you phase your PPC budget
A lot of advertisers are still planning their PPC budgets based on when consumers are purchasing rather than researching.
For example, if you have a big sale period you are likely to see a lot of conversions occurring on the last day of a sale. This is because consumers will be shopping around and researching alternatives, and will then return to a website on the last day of the sale to make the purchase.
Always make sure you base your digital strategy on the consumer decision making process – the first stage is building awareness and this is where you should focus your PPC efforts.
We have tested phasing budgets based on when consumers are actively searching or researching online for some time now, and have seen great improvements. We always start with analysing the natural search demand seen each day and then we model the PPC budget each day, which then provides us with weekly or monthly budgets with which we can monitor performance.
What is the best way to work out when your target audience are searching?
There are a variety of methods we use to review historical search trends, which we then use to forecast for the future.
- Google Trends – this tool is really useful. You can review search trends on specific search terms, organisations or industries and the data can be exported into excel for easier analysis
- Google Keyword Planner – this has a similar tool to Google Trends, however what you can’t do in Google Trends is review search trends for a large list of keywords. In Keyword Planner you can add a large list of keywords and it will show you the expected search demand each month
- Reviewing the amount of organic sessions seen on your site in the past is another way to gauge expected traffic levels each day, week or month. Obviously organic traffic can see sudden spikes or improvements due to ranking changes, but this is a better way to analyse natural search demand rather than reviewing your PPC traffic levels (this isn’t always a true reflection of how many people are searching, because of random budget increases and other factors)
- As a Google Partner, we have access to our own Google Account Team. The team is able to provide us with insights into when people are searching, which can be more accurate and detailed compared to Google Trends/Keyword Planner
Why should you bother to phase effectively?
By following this strategy we have seen our AdWords and Bing accounts perform much better. We find CPCs are much lower because you are not going against the tide.
For example, if you set yourself a high budget on the last day of a sale you may struggle to spend it, simply because the search volume is not there. You will most likely have to increase your CPCs to give you a chance of spending this budget, which will only ruin your return on investment.
We also find CPCs are flatter and don’t jump up and down each day because we are phasing the budget logically – this makes the account much easier to manage and less time is spent on bid and budget management. This time can then be reinvested in other tactics such as housekeeping, improving ad quality and expanding keywords.
Furthermore, if you are utilising third-party bidding tools such as Kenshoo, you will get more out of this technology if you phase your budgets correctly.
Another point to consider is to ensure you set up your device bids based on the same school of thinking. Follow the traffic but not the sales!
A lot of advertisers are still pulling back on mobile device spend because they don’t see a great conversion rate. But if you look at your organic search trends in Google Analytics, you will most likely see mobile is driving most of the traffic. We recommend you model your PPC device spend based on what you see on SEO, otherwise you will end up with overinflated CPCs on desktop and tablet.
One other tip…
Obviously you should phase your remarketing budgets differently to your paid search budgets. You will want to weigh up your budgets for this channel for when you expect users to show more intent to buy.