Small Budget, Big Results – PPC

Sam Ovenden

Handling PPC campaigns can be hard work at the best of times, but especially when you have a tight budget. I mean, you actually have to think about things. Gross.

But it’s not all despair, for we also have done some thinking and fortunately for you, we wrote them down. So forget worrying about how to advertise PPC with a small budget, heck even log yourself out of AdWords; sit back and relax (but keep reading).

Sensible Bids

If you have a small budget you can’t afford to throw your money at keywords and hope to get a return. Instead, you need to come up with a strategy and stick to it.

Max CPCs are a good, albeit obvious, place to start to ensure you aren’t spending a fortune on any one keyword. When starting out we recommend focusing your bids on keywords with high user intent, but once you start collecting data you can analyse which keywords perform best, and edit your bids on a very granular level.

When identifying which keywords are working best it’s important to not just look at clicks, but the amount of conversions they’re bringing to your business as ultimately this is where you make your money. Bidding more for keywords that work well means you will have to bid less for those not working as well. This is where ruthlessness is key, and you should consider cutting keywords altogether if they rarely/never bring in conversions.

Quality Score

Another easy win when it comes to saving money on PPC is improving your Quality Score. High quality scores mean Google likes your ad, meaning you have to bid less to reach the same position.

But, how do you get a high quality score? Your quality score is based on the relevance, expected CTR and bids of your keywords, ads and landing pages. Therefore, improving any of these to be more relevant to the users’ search can boost your quality score, and lower your CPC.

The best way to do this is to create ad groups based on tightly themed keywords which all reflect the same intent. You can then create ad copy which perfectly suits what the user is searching for, and send them to a landing page relevant to their search so that the whole journey is tailored to them.


With some forms of advertising to test different approaches you do need a big budget. Fortunately, this is not the case with PPC, and the importance of testing is heightened with smaller budgets as everything you’re investing in needs to work.

Almost everything through PPC can be done in another way therefore there are always new things to test. Some popular tests we run include trialling different keywords, trying out display campaigns, shopping ads, ad extensions, new ad copy, changing the landing pages, editing our targeting and more.


Part of your targeting approach should be setting which locations to target or exclude. This is particularly important if you’re a local business who only deliver to/are likely to attract customers from a certain area. You can add the locations from which you expect conversions and exclude the ones which attract clicks but not conversions.


Last of all is the use of AdWords scripts. These allow your campaigns to update themselves 24/7, resulting in your campaign to be optimised to a level us humans simply can’t do.

Popular scripts include scripts to edit/pause keyword bids based on their performance, quicker ways to upload keywords, and even to change your bids based on the weather in the users’ location! Many users share their scripts online so it’s easy to find out more or even find some to copy and paste for yourself. Here at Gravytrain we boast a whole database of unique or bespoke scripts and applications which we use with many of our clients.

Hopefully these 5 tips can help you save some money and create innovative and effective campaigns on nothing more than a shoestring! If you’re interested in finding out more about how we use AdWords scripts on our clients or if you have any more ideas of ways to run PPC campaigns on a small budget then please get in contact!

Find out how our PPC solutions team can provide results within your budget 020 3813 7545.