AdWords on a Small BudgetAdWords – and PPC in general –  is a great way of driving traffic to your website instantly, and getting those valuable leads and sales, but what if you only have a small budget for your campaigns? How can you make sure that you hold your own and get the clicks and conversions you want?

Worry not! Here are 7 quick tips for managing AdWords on a small budget:


  1. Target long tail keywords – if you’ve not got much money to spend, targeting those high-level, ultra-competitive keywords isn’t going to help you much. A couple of clicks and you’ll have exhausted your daily budget. But if you go for the long tail (e.g. “personal injury lawyers milton keynes” rather than “personal injury lawyers”, your cost-per-click (CPC) will be far lower, and you’ll get more for your money!
  2. Take a look at your structure – Account structure is vital in AdWords when it comes to keeping Quality Score high and costs low. So make sure your campaigns and adgroups are tightly themed and highly relevant to their landing pages.
  3. Create a branded campaign – I’m a big fan of these as they seem to work rather well. People searching for your brand most likely know what they want, they know you’re it and they’re therefore likely to convert, so make the most of this and bid on your name. Your competitors probably are, so you should too!
  4. Be negative! – weed out traffic that’s never likely to convert by looking at your negative keywords. Search Query Reports, found in the Keywords section of your campaigns, are a good starting point for negative keyword research. So if you’re selling fabulous, expensive designer handbags, you’ll want to get rid of those people looking for “fake designer bags”, won’t you!
  5. Use ad scheduling – AdWords allows you to schedule your ads to appear at certain times of the day, or only on certain days. So if you’re closed over the weekend, and there’s nobody to answer queries, consider turning your ads off on Saturdays and Sundays.
  6. Use geo-targeting – If you’re a small business, the likelihood is that you’re serving quite a small area. A solicitor’s firm in Chester isn’t going to get much out of visitors from Cornwall clicking on ads, for example. So think about where your clients and customers are, and use geo-targeting to really focus your efforts on that area.
  7. Don’t think that position 1 is the be all and end all – it isn’t. Necessarily. You may find that you can still get conversions in a lower position, and at a much lower CPC.

Of course, the above tips apply to most AdWords accounts, not just those with small budgets, but it’s good to know that there are ways that you can make the most of a smaller budget and still get what you want.

How do you manage AdWords on a budget? Share any tips in the comments below!

Image credit: Stuart Miles /

Further reading:

How Can I See which Keywords Trigger my Ads?

Improving Ads in 5 Minutes Using Negative Keywords

Can I Talk to a Real Person at Google?

5 responses to “7 Quick Tips: AdWords on a Small Budget”

  1. I would add the following:

    1, Test, test, test: Run multiple versions of an ad targeting a single group of tightly relevant key words so you can continually establish what works best.

    2, Education, education, education: Read as many blogs like this one as possible, attend courses and read books. Find out everything there is to know about AdWords and your spend will go down while your return goes up.

    Thanks for another interesting blog post Hallam!

  2. Helen Laird says:

    You’re welcome Richard, and thanks for stopping by!

    Completely agree with those – two really good tips. Testing multiple ads against each other is so, so important.

    And I firmly believe that you can’t read enough round the subject. Blogs like PPC Hero and Search Engine Jounral are often my first stop of the day to find out what’s happening in PPC-land.
    Have a good weekend!

  3. In your opinion, would it be better to target long tail keyphrases such as “personal injury lawyers milton keynes”, or “personal injury lawyers” & then geo target the ads to only display to searchers within x miles of Milton Keynes? Would the reduced number of potential searchers available from using geo targeting reduce the CPC for “personal injury lawyers”, or would you still paying the same CPC? Plus, if you’re geo targeting do you still NEED to use a location in the keyphrase?

    • Susan Hallam Susan Hallam says:

      Hi Reece

      You’ve raised a lot of interesting questions there, and of course the answer is always “it depends”

      There are a number of different tactics you can use with AdWords, including long tail phrases and geo-targeting. The best course of action is to test each tactic and see what gives the best response for your own particular campaign.

      Geo-targeting has its benefits, but keep in mind IP addresses can be notoriously unreliable in the UK, as well as the fact that people searching for a solictior in Milton Keynes might not actually be in Milton Keynes, they could be at their office in London. And of course if you are both geo-targeting and at the same time including the town name in your keyword then you are really narrowing things down so much that you are very likely to be excluding the market you are trying to reach.

      As for cost per click, this is dynamically priced and depends on an number of variables that are outside the actual words you are bidding for.

      We do offer Pay Per Click training, so get in touch if you would like an individual coaching session.

  4. “AdWords on a Small Budget | Managing PPC with a Small Budget” was a remarkable
    posting. If merely there was more sites such as this amazing one in the web.
    Nonetheless, thank you for your personal precious time, Celeste

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