The title of this post may have you scratching your head thinking “I thought I was supposed to spend as little as necessary to get my desired results.” And you’re right! But sometimes clients may increase their budget abruptly, or raise to a point where you’re having trouble spending the full amount. This came up recently for me with a client that began getting reimbursed by their parent company for ad spend, meaning a dollar not spent was a dollar wasted. The new budget was much higher than what I had been managing previously, and I had to implement ideas to start spending quickly.
The first and most obvious way to increase your daily spend is to increase your campaigns’ daily budgets. Thankfully, AdWords helps you determine if this would be a worthwhile tactic. Add the column named Search Lost IS (budget) to your table in the Campaigns tab. This tells you the percentage of times your ads have been eligible to show but didn’t due to lack of budget. If it’s more than 5 – 10 percent, try increasing the budget and see if that percentage decreases over time. If it’s already very low, at or near zero, increasing budget will generally be ineffective. In that case, your ads are either already showing whenever they are eligible, or something else, like quality score, may be preventing them from showing.
Cast a Wider Net
Now that your budgets are set, let’s look at other options. Something you may consider is increasing your location targeting to expand your reach. This may not make sense for all businesses, but for others it could be something worth testing. Another choice is expanding your ad groups and keywords. Do some more keyword research and see if there are any other groups of terms users may be searching for that are relevant to any of your campaigns. If so, expand your current keyword lists, or even create new ad groups. The idea is to increase the amount of searches your ads are eligible to show for, hopefully increasing clicks, and therefore spending more budget.
Following that same strategy of increasing impressions, the next option is broadening your keywords with different match types. If you currently bid on exact and/or phrase match, consider adding modified, broad-match keywords. For example, including +new +toyota +corolla as a keyword alongside the more specific “2016 Toyota Corolla.” The downside is that the search queries your ads will show for may be less targeted and relevant than the ones generated by the exact and phrase match keywords. These may cause CTR (click-through-rate) to decrease, so if you value that metric highly, this may not be the best option for you. I do like this option though because it adds a lot of terms to your search terms report, which can help you expand keyword lists. You can then remove the irrelevant ones that are hurting your CTR.
One of the quickest ways to spend more budget is through display campaigns. If you can create a well-targeted display campaign with good banner ads, that can be an effective way to use any unspent budget. If you cannot get banners, you can implement display campaigns for text ads. They generally perform less well than banner ads, but if you’re in a tight spot, they can help you close that budget gap. If you are in a time crunch, you can also set your delivery method to “accelerated” in order to spend your budget more quickly.
Without adding anything to your account, you can spend more by increasing keyword bids. This often increases average position, which can help lead to higher CTRs. You’ll be generating more clicks at a higher CPC (cost-per-click) which will definitely help you spend more of your AdWords budget quickly. The most responsible way to do this if you want to avoid overspending is to manually adjust your bids. But the easiest way to do this is with automated rules, especially if you have a large account or if overspending isn’t much of a worry. When I needed to spend a lot very quickly, I set a rule that raised each of my keyword bids to the top of page CPC if they fell below a 1.9 average position. And this isn’t as quite as reckless as it may seem, because you can set a maximum bid.
Now, all these ideas assume you can only spend your budget in AdWords. If that’s not the case, you may want to determine if spending it in other platforms like Bing Ads or Facebook would make sense for you. If so, exploring other channels may be a good way to allocate your “extra” money.
The options I’ve given here are by no means exhaustive, but hopefully they’ve at least given you a place to start in your quest to spend those dollars. Happy bidding!