Mastering PPC: How Did You Come Up With My Budget?

What a coincidence that we both have the same New Year’s resolution for 2014: to crush it with PPC advertising. To do that, we determined a budget to pay for our PPC efforts. Management may ask – how did you decide on the budget amount?

Luckily, Google and Bing have tools that provide cost estimates. The empirical data from these tools can help determine and justify budgets.

Let’s start by creating a list of keywords that will help us achieve our advertising goals and determining where we want our PPC ads to show geographically. This is a blog post topic in and of itself (see here for some ideas) but once keywords and geography are set, we can turn to Google and Bing for a little assistance in determining our starting budgets.

For Google AdWords estimates, we’ll use the Keyword Planner tool. For Bing Ads estimates, we’ll use the Bing Ads Intelligence tool, which is a Microsoft Excel plug-in.

Google AdWords Keyword Planner

In addition to providing cost and traffic estimates, Google’s Keyword Planner can be used for finding new keyword ideas. But for our purposes, our keywords are set so let’s follow this step-by-step process to see how much money we may need to make magic happen on the internet.

1. Access the Keyword Planner from the Tools tab in your AdWords dashboard.

2. Select the option to “Get traffic estimates for a list of keywords.”

3. Enter your keyword list in the box or upload them via a csv file. If your ad group structure is already identified, the csv file upload option is preferable.

Keyword Planner_Keywords

4. Select your target geographic locations, Choose whether you want your ads to show only on Google or on both Google and its Search Partners. Enter any negative keywords that you don’t want to trigger your ads, and hit “Get Estimates.”

5. You’re almost there. The next page will have a graph at the top that outlines daily estimates for your keywords for clicks, impressions, average position, and cost based on various cost-per-click (CPC) bid levels. At the bottom of this page is a table with detailed estimates that you can view either as a whole for your entire keyword list or by individual keyword. BUT WHERE ARE THE ESTIMATES?

Keyword Planner_Graph

6. To get specific estimates, enter your desired CPC bid in the box at the top of the page. To help choose a CPC bid, consider using the max CPC that is listed at the peak point of the graph. By hovering over the line in the graph, you can see the suggested max CPC for each point in the graph. After entering your bid, the table at the bottom of the page should now provide daily cost and traffic estimates for your keywords if estimates are available.

Keyword Planner_ estimates

7. For a monthly budget projection, multiply the total daily cost estimate by 30.4 (the average number of days in a month).

Bing Ads Intelligence

Like Keyword Planner, Bing Ads Intelligence offers so much more than just providing cost estimates. Still, here’s a short step-by-step list for determining how much you should budget for your Bing Ads campaigns.

1. Enter your keyword list in Excel.

2. Access Bing Ads Intelligence in Microsoft Excel and select “Keyword Performance.”

Bing Ads Intel_Excel

3. Select your keywords, choose the devices to target, keyword match types, desired ad position, and a date range. Unlike Google, Bing can provide performance data for 30 days so you can easily see what level of monthly budget you might need.

Bing Ads Intel_keywords

4. Hit submit. The performance data, with total cost, should appear in your Excel worksheet.

Bing Ads Intel_estimates

One of the great things about PPC advertising is that your budget can always be adjusted. So don’t panic if you’re not hitting your daily budget limit or if you’re consistently topping out early in the day. Just audit your budgets after you launch and be prepared to optimize your account and adjust your budgets when needed.

For some more tips and suggestions, my colleagues Nick and Audrey posted about budgeting and Google’s Keyword Planner last year. Check ‘em out.

Happy New Year and Happy PPC’ing!