Ads On A Budget: What To Consider When Times Are Tough

When it comes to paid advertising, it can be hard to make the initial jump into a campaign, especially if you’re a smaller business with a tight budget. Whether you’re just starting out or need to pivot to a new market, taking the time to understand your options — and your budget — is crucial!

There are four areas you should familiarize yourself with:

  • Platform
  • Keywords
  • Campaign Type
  • KPI (Key Performance Indicators)


Not all platforms are created equal, and this includes their ad costs! Depending on what product/service you’ll be marketing, you’ll need to narrow down what platforms work best for you. 

  • Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are known for their low average CPC (cost-per-click) and high reach, making them a potential budget-friendly option. This may work best for you if you already have a social media presence, a large portion of your target audience is on the same platform, or if you have an online store and not a brick-and-mortar location. 

  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Google and Bing are considered the foundation for PPC (for good reason), but this is reflected in their high competition and CPC (cost-per-click), although Bing has a lower CPC on average than Google. If visibility is what you’re after, these may be the platforms for you, especially if you have a physical location and are planning to target your local area. 


Although this only applies to SEM, keyword research can play an important role in the overall costs of your campaigns and how well they perform against your competition. 

For example, let’s say you own a company that offers gutter cleaning services within city X. It would be apparent that you’d want to target “gutter cleaning” but other gutter cleaning companies are doing the same thing. Higher competition within a specific area means your competition is bidding (generally) on the same keywords.

  • Find your niche! 

This is where SEO keyword research can come into play. Essentially, it’s the process of finding the phrases/words that people use to find particular products, services, or companies. Maybe you provide commercial gutter cleaning, not just residential. This related keyword may have less competition within your area and have a lower cost in comparison while still performing for your campaign. 

Campaign Type

I’ll be going through campaign types for SEM (specifically Google), but social media platforms have their own campaign/ad types to utilize as well. 

  • Display 

    • Display campaigns utilize Google’s display network, which takes creative assets and advertises to their network of millions of websites. These are great for both lower CPC and awareness, but you may see an increase in spam/low-value conversions. 

  • Search 

    • Search displays your ads on the search engine results pages (SERPs) and is perfect for going after conversions. Due to high competition, you might see increased CPC or CPA (cost-per-acquisition) for this campaign type, but it generally results in higher value conversions. 

  • Performance Max 
    • Performance Max (or P-max for short) uses a variety of creative assets, including video, to create unique ads utilizing the display network, which uses multiple networks and allows you to target each within one campaign instead of needing separate campaigns. It’s similar to Display and is great if you have an online shop/are selling products and utilize Google’s Merchant Center. 


Last but certainly not least, you’ll need to know what you want out of your campaign. Are you looking for awareness? Form Fills? Product sales? Narrowing down your KPIs allows you to not only maintain the focus of your campaign but also allows you to estimate cost. 

Ultimately, if you’re looking to increase brand awareness then you’d want to target clicks. Meaning you’d want to focus on keeping the CPC down. For conversions, you’d focus on keeping the CPA down. 

In the end, what’s important is making sure your ads campaign works for you. Webfor has years of experience working with a wide variety of clients from all industries (with large and small budgets), so if you’re ready to take the next step, contact us today.

Posted in PPC