Google Ads is typically very good at helping you spend your budget, as doing so benefits Google! But sometimes, your well-targeted, finely-tuned campaigns just cannot spend as much as you’d like.
I’ve run into this before, including the situation I first wrote about in 2015, when one of my clients was reimbursed by their parent company for ad spend. However, I felt compelled to revisit this idea when I encountered a scenario in which the budget for an account skyrocketed abruptly and I needed to meet new spend expectations without throwing cost-per-conversion out the window.
So, here are a few ideas on how to spend to a high budget.
First, take a look at your current campaigns’ potential to spend more. Check out how much impression share you’re losing due to budget restrictions by adding the column named “Search Lost IS (budget)” to your table in the Campaigns tab. This estimates how often your ad didn't show on the Google Search Network due to budget limitations. Increase budget on any campaigns that show more than 0% (assuming they are running at a profitable cost/conversion).
Cast a Wider Net
Now that you’ve established your budget, let’s consider other options. While increasing your location targeting to expand your reach may not make sense for all businesses, it can be worth testing. Perhaps there are potential customers making relevant searches just outside you reach.
You can also expand your campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. Keyword research can help you uncover additional groups of relevant terms. Start by reviewing your Search Terms Report in Google Ads to identify opportunities related to your current keywords. Then, go back to the drawing board with an open mind, using Google Search, Google Keyword Planner, and third party sites and plugins to help generate new ideas. Another set of eyes can help. Because you know the account so well, you may not be able to take off the blinders and consider other opportunities. Increasing the amount of searches your ads are eligible to show for can increase impressions and clicks (which will spend more budget), and hopefully increase conversions too.
The next option is broadening your keywords with different match types. If you’re currently bidding on exact and/or phrase match, add modified broad-match keywords. For example, include +new +toyota +corolla in addition to the more specific “2019 Toyota Corolla.” While the search queries to which you’ll start matching might not be as specific and targeted, you’ll be able to reach more searchers. And the nature of modified broad match will enrich your Search Terms Report with new information with which to create new keywords and negative keywords.
Did you know you can spend more by increasing keyword bids without adding to your campaigns? This often increases average position, which can help lead to higher click-through-rates. You’ll be generating more clicks at a higher cost-per-click, which helps you spend more of your budget quickly. You can do this manually—but nowadays, automated “Smart Bidding” strategies are usually the way to go for bidding in general. The “Maximize Clicks” and “Maximize Conversions” options are both good at spending your full daily budget.
Also, click into your campaign settings. Under “Budget,” click the dropdown for “Delivery method” and select “Accelerated.” The default option, “Standard,” tries to pace your spend evenly throughout the day, so you don’t run out of budget early. But Accelerated will enter you into every relevant auction as early in the day as possible until your budget runs out. It’s not usually the setting you want to stay on for the best conversion results, but it can definitely be helpful for getting under-spending campaigns off the ground.
Additional Campaign Types
If you’ve employed all the above strategies and still have budget left over, consider moving up the conversion funnel and creating or adding budget to Display campaigns or Video campaigns. If you can run a well-targeted campaign with enticing responsive display or YouTube ads, that can be an effective way to use any unspent budget. You of course cannot expect them to convert like search campaigns. But you can set awareness goals for other metrics like Viewable Impressions or Views. And you can review the Assisted Conversions report in Google Analytics to see how your Display campaigns are supporting the conversions of your search campaigns.
All of these ideas assume you are only authorized to spend in Google Ads. If that’s not the case, you may want to explore other platforms like Bing, Facebook, or LinkedIn. I have a LinkedIn guide that can help you determine if it’s right for you!
The options 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. If you'd like some expert advice on where and how to spend smarter, start with our free guide to a complete Google Ads audit. Happy bidding!
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