How to achieve great PPC results with a low budget

Ellie Burns Written by Ellie Burns

5 min read   -  18th June, 2024

How to achieve great PPC results with a low budget

In the world of digital PPC advertising, achieving results with a limited budget that impresses your clients and makes your marketing team look incredible may sound too good to be true.

However, with the right strategy and approach to crafting your campaign, it is entirely possible to make a significant impact with your next campaign, even with a smaller budget. You just need to know how.

This article breaks down the key steps to bringing in engagement and conversions for your campaign, all while keeping a firm eye on a limited budget. Let’s explore your options:

Setting the scene

If you’re working with a client that can only offer a limited budget, but still wants big results, you may feel like you’re overpromising if you offer them the chance for a positive ROI. But there are actionable tasks that you can start today to experiment with your existing campaigns. The core of finding success in low-budget PPC optimisation is in how experimental, specific and tailored you can be, so this is a chance to step out of your comfort zone.

There are a few areas that you can cover. Let’s go through some opportunities for optimisation, starting with the most vital part of your PPC management journey.

Analysis and Objectives

Before you make any drastic changes to your account, it’s imperative that you conduct a thorough analysis of your existing campaigns. Think a little outside the box with this part. You’ll want to look for weaker parts of your campaign on a keyword level, not just via the basic metrics of CTR or CPC. We’ll dig into some keyword management tips in a minute, but at the start of your optimisation, you want to take note of any unusual long-tail keywords and save them for later.

Understand what’s working with your existing campaign. Figure out what areas are a priority for improvement and where you’d most like to see a change in your campaign overall.

Next, it’s time to get your objectives in order. To make the most of your limited budget, you need to determine a clear objective, such as increasing website traffic, generating leads, or driving sales. You simply don’t have enough of a budget to stretch it across multiple goals at the same time. Be highly specific on what you want, as achieving each goal will require a unique and varied strategy. You want to stretch your budget to its maximum efficiency, so aim for one single goal at a time.

Finally, it’s time to set your goal. This needs to be realistic and estimated with your budget limitations and competition in mind. You’re better off being accurate and realistic at this stage, to help communicate and manage campaign expectations for your team and client. 

Location targeting can be your friend

Location targeting can work wonders for your campaign, especially if you localise your campaign geotargeting to focus your ads where your target audience is most likely to be. Having a thorough understanding of your audience helps with this, so take the time to get to know how, when and where your target audience is interacting with your content.

Tailor the times of specific campaigns to further stretch your budget in these locations. For example, if your audience is most likely to be scrolling online during their morning commute, that’ll be the time to show your ads to them. You may find that saving your budget for peak hours of interactivity is more cost-effective, even if that means not running your ads for several hours of the day as standard.

A quick and impactful change that you can do to these smaller sets of ads within your overall campaign is to localise your ad copy and target keywords to these locations. It sounds simple, but it can have a huge impact on how local, specific and tailored your ads look to a fresh audience. Which as we know, can be the difference between someone interacting with your ad, or barely noticing it in the first place. For example, residents living in Hove (close to Brighton) will respond more to “Hove” specific ad copy, compared to more generic “Brighton” keywords. Taking the time to tailor your copy to those smaller locations can make all the difference.

Finally, once you’ve segmented your locations into these smaller groups, use location bid adjustments to allocate more budget to high-value areas. After some time of gathering data from these smaller groups, you’ll get a good idea of where the majority of your clicks and conversions are coming from, so you can focus on maximising your ROI.

Being clear on the best-performing keywords

Here’s the thing; when working with a low budget in your PPC campaign, your keyword strategy needs to go beyond your usual routine, where you simply track the most vital and relevant keywords to your industry. Your usual strategy could be an option if (by pure chance) you’re in an unexplored, inexpensive industry that already doesn’t cost very much to rank highly for. But the chances of that being the case for your industry, especially in 2024, are highly unlikely.

You need a new strategy. Now’s the time to conduct thorough keyword research to identify low-cost, high-converting keywords that are relevant to your target audience and objectives. It may seem counterintuitive or unusual to put less of an emphasis on those more expected or stereotypical keywords relating to your industry, but this is how you get clicks without jumping your average CPC up to heights that your budget cannot cater for.

Focus on long-tail keywords with lower competition and higher intent to capture qualified leads at a lower cost. Considering your match types can also help with this ongoing, automatic research, with your broad match terms collecting data on real-time searches relating to your most relevant keywords.

It’s best to take a similarly bespoke approach for your negative keyword strategy. Implement negative keywords to filter out irrelevant searches and prevent wasted ad spend, including picking up on terms that you discover through your long-tail keyword monitoring. Looking to discover the best way to upgrade your negative keyword strategy? Find out more on negative keywords here.

Making the most of AI features to do the hard work

It’s worth considering how to use AI to help you with budget limitations specifically. Pairing this with your campaign strategy that is already aligned to maximise your budget efficiency is a strong foundation for campaign success.

Take advantage of AI-powered bidding strategies, such as Target CPA or Maximise Conversions, to optimise your ad spend and achieve your campaign objectives.

Use automated ad extensions and ad scheduling to streamline campaign management and improve ad performance. These can sometimes be overlooked but can make a real difference if implemented effectively.

You could even experiment with AI-driven ad copy testing tools, which can help you identify the copy that will most resonate with your audience.


While it may seem challenging to achieve sky-high, record-breaking results with a limited budget, more realistic expectations can be met. Success with a smaller budget is an achievable goal, provided you take the time to analyse your campaigns, target the most relevant audience to your goal, and focus on bidding and keyword strategy. With a bit of creativity and careful management, you can craft a campaign that makes an impact, without breaking the bank.

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It starts with discovery

Speak to us today and let’s start growing your business.