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This year’s first PPCChat session was hosted by Duane Brown. PPCers shared their thoughts about how they wish to go forward with the budget plan for this year, the new channels they intent to test and allocate their budget to.

Here is the screencap of the discussion:

Q2. Do You Budget Plan With Clients/Internal team/your boss? Click the tweet if you are on mobile/desktop if you don’t see i BTW, HOSTING IS HARD. Keeping up with y’all is my workout today.


I answered “yes” but it’s really on a campaign-by-campaign level. Overall budget planning isn’t discussed with me – @ferkungamaboobo

Every client is different, some provide their budgets for me to work within and others ask for help in working out budgets for the year/quarter ahead. – @lchasse

Depends on circumstance and what our role is. Sometimes I have more say in overall strategy than others. Most of the time on the agency side, I’ll propose a budget and forecasts of what can be obtained and then they consider that internally with everything else. In-House it depends on the role but for sure there is a lot more say. If I own PPC then my opinion and forecasts/business cases hold weight. When I’ve managed multiple channels then even more so! I will add that we 100% SHOULD be involved. Don’t just let people assign you a budget and say make due with it. Come up with different options and provide forecasts and plans. I think failing to do this really is a disservice to clients. It sets expectations too! – @markpgus

It is wonderful when I am consulted about what budgets should be for a coming time period. More often though, I am given a figure(s) and then provide my recommendations on how to best allocate those funds. – @NeptuneMoon

Every client/team is different, but in my experience, SEM has always influenced budget & planning – @nateknox

I voted maybe for this one as it depends on the situation. Sometimes we’re super involved in budgeting and sometimes the client just tells us what they’d like to see. Of course, we still give our input but, as we all know, clients don’t always listen. – @adwordsgirl

Yea, looking at what budget will actually be impactful, and what the client can handle in terms of leads, etc is key. – @MixedUpCody

we answered yes but it does vary. We certainly do this during the account build, and then it tends to be more down to the client to tell us if anything changes with the budget. – @ROARdigitalUK

Some of our clients come with a clear budget and plan, but others – especially really small businesses, might take some advice from our owner first before creating the budget. – @ClkContrl

Yes Yes! I did realize recently that due to fluctuating budgets we are at a lack of one place to keep track of all of it. I’m working on that part. – @amaliaefowler

I voted no to #ppcchat poll because , rightly or wrongly, I stake our agency’s work on a plat we formulate. Mostly, clients want whatever is going to give them results. Limits to how much sausage-making they want to know. – @heyglenns

Budget planning is essential. I plan with clients and my boss for internal purposes. We have to help client hit budgets, and then internally we have to project where revenue is tracking. – @JoshKelson

Already answered “Yes” in the poll, but to elaborate, we discuss budgets with clients and get their approval before launching. – @marccxmedia



Q3. If so, why do you do it? If Not, why not? Especially I want to hear from the Nos… so our collective braintrust can help you do it in 2019. Budget planning and excel sheets are SEXY


Simple, without understanding/controlling the budget, you don’t have a campaign – @JonKagan

Process is often different for established vs. new clients. New want to know “”what should we expect to spend” and established want to know how to grow from current level and how or in what ways, platforms, etc. – @NeptuneMoon

Collaboration – its important for everyone to be on the same page for what we have to spend both with our clients but also internally. I find openness around budgets allows me as a Director to give better strategic advice/reasoning – @amaliaefowler

Without strategists helping pick a budget for strategic/marketing reasons, you’re often at the mercy of your sales team, and the budget they pick is almost never optimal. – @MixedUpCody

Budget planning for clients is essential to help them plan for seasonality, maximize times of year to spend, as well as monthly budget. Internally we plan to understand revenue the company is going to get and identify yellow flag clients. – @JoshKelson

It’s vastly important to do so, but sometimes the client simply doesn’t have enough money, so there’s always a cap to how much you can actually have control over. – @gilgildner

because I’m accountable for performance, I’m by definition accountable for spend & identifying gaps. We can’t always get what we want, but we can always operate with the best information possible. – @JuliaVyse

it especially helps us to understand how to split the budget between the campaigns, making decisions on which ones should have more of the set budget than others, due to higher ROI for these particular services/products. – @ROARdigitalUK

Bigger brands have accounting departments with very strict rules. The clients who work with me, we usually base it off results and return vs. a hard number. Spend can increase as long as we can maintain xyz% return on non-brand as an example. – @lchasse

Someone has to do it right? In all seriousness, it’s used for new business, planning, etc. Can’t imagine not being a part of it. Even if it’s just budgeting what a client allocates. – @mikecrimmins

I like to work with the client when determining a budget for several reasons. 1. Collaborating is fun 2. Keeps the client in the loop, but also gives them an idea of how my mind works. 3. I think it builds some trust when you’re involving them in some decisions. – @adwordsgirl

Yes we budget plan! But we center planning more strictly around return targets rather than allotted dollar amounts – maintaining a target ROAS/ROI/appropriate KPI’s (at a campaign level) – @jlash_digital

My first experiences at my first agency we were not involved. We just executed on the budget the client gave us. In reality we needed to be involved. PPC efforts were largely flat YoY as a result. – @markpgus

At my former agency it was a mix between clients dictating budgets and clients collaborating with us. Our goal was to provide quarterly data-backed recommendations tied to their strategies/goals/etc and let them make an informed decision. The best budgeting processes were with clients that were open about their greater business goals/plans/environment so we could fold that into our overall recommendations/planning. – @StormyMears

It’s the clients’ money, and if they have an idea of how to budget/break things up across campaigns based on priority, great! If not, we provide our input. – @marccxmedia



Q4. What is/was Your Current Process for figuring out this years budget? We heard from one person in ecom they use ROAS to help. What do y’all who don’t do ecom do?


If it was an existing client, looking at areas that are performing well and could be expanded on with additional targeting or adding more budget to cover lost IS. – @mikecrimmins

pretty much look at last year’s budget as guide. Then break down seasonality and quarters. Finally, layer on ad networks where we’ve had success and add ones we want to experiment. – @jdprater

Open two way communication is key – I have ideas for where we could expand, but those must be balanced with what the client is comfortable with spending in total or by platform. – @NeptuneMoon

I run some models to show expected cost increases (cpc, CPA, impression share, etc) and use that to start. Then it turns into a sort of negotiation. “well, we need $x for ABCD, but we can can move $x to SEM” Things like that after using previous year as a start – @nateknox

Using results from the previous year, but also looking at the opportunities. I also believe it is important to build in some testing budget outside normal testing. – @lchasse

While there isn’t usually a firm budget already in place, there are typically ranges. Taking last year’s metrics and applying them to next year, and then including new initiatives gives a good idea of where to be. A fluid budget based on COGS is ideal. IMO – @markpgus

I work with a handful of small/medium businesses, so our budgeting is rarely set on a yearly basis. Usually we review the previous quarter’s performance and do a product review, and determine if budget might be better spent on PPC rather than Facebook or whatever. – @MixedUpCody

We use last year’s budget to help look at the seasonality of cost & CPA. From there we’ll make some decisions on what the budget needs to look like. – @adwordsgirl

We’ve already discussed the 2019 budget plans with our main hospitality PPC client based on their internal plans and guidance. – @marccxmedia

Last year as a base. I’m communicating w/ clients constantly to see where we can improve programs, what I think budgets could be with continued ROAS, forecasting, etc. Internally, usually last year as base, then what new clients we may have, increases in budget, etc. – @JoshKelson

After we assess what drives value and needs more funding, we calculate the IS Lost to Budget, add 5% for typical CPC growth and add it to the current budget, for the following year. We try and do this campaign by campaign. – @JonKagan

Take into account last year’s budgets, seasonality, YOY changes in traffic/cost inflation, budget for testing, and (I know I’m a broken record) major client business shifts (ex: opening/closing locations, adding product or service line, etc.) – @StormyMears



Q5. Great to see some of y’all mention testing as that was my next question. I’ll tweak the ask. How much of your budget do you usually put towards testing?


No set amount. Varies from client to client and what I see possible for testing. Would like to do a set 10% at some point. – @mikecrimmins

We usually do 10% give or take what we have to spend that year for the client. The testing budget also have it’s own CPA/ROAS target. – @duanebrown

It varies by channel and vertical. We usually allocate 1-2% for testing, but often most tests encompass current efforts, so there is little incremental. – @JonKagan

Ideally, at least 10% available to use to try things out. – @NeptuneMoon

10-15% – @heyglenns

10-15% is common for us. We are testing new KWs or bids on 0 impression KWs constantly. – @JoshKelson

Absolutely dependent on the client. Early adopter clients are much more likely to approve a bigger upfront testing budget if we can provide sound strategy behind $ we’re requesting. Other clients want years of proof that something we’re want to test works for others – @StormyMears

Testing new keywords, ad copy and landing pages constantly, I would say 10% sounds about right. – @MixedUpCody

10% ish. Some clients are very picky so we ask/don’t test against my better judgment (I speak about testing, after all) – @amaliaefowler

We traditionally start campaigns with ad testing and narrow down text and display ads (depending on the client and available assets). We also test keyword match types, too. And over time, we narrow it down to what’s converting. – @marccxmedia

About 10-15% generally, but it also varies by client. Some love to be aggressive with testing new opportunities and some are more conservative. – @lchasse

With testing it depends on the % of the budget is being spent on campaigns with high CVR. If the current budget is very constrained with high CVR I’m cautious. Other times, the budget is larger and the big wins are taken care of, I’ll be more liberal with testing. IMO testing is valuable for gaining knowledge but you need to have a decent chance of beating the metrics of the “replacement” campaign. If that’s doable then it just depends how risky you want to be. But like most are saying 10% is typical and safe. – @markpgus

Are we talking intra-channel testing or new-channel testing? Intra-channel should be more or less built into your system. New channels are a pitch, just like anything else. You’re gonna burn a % of spend already through the year on a bad campaign idea anyway? Like, yeah trying something weird in search ads when you’re already running it? Should be fine to try it no matter what. Moving your GDN budget to earned media? That’s a shift that probably is a bigger discussion because you started w/ GDN as an outreach strategy. – @ferkungamaboobo



Q6. May be our last questions of today’s chat. I see a few of you mentioned testing new channels. What are you top 2 or 3 channels you want to test in 2019 and why?


really want to do something in Quora. cc: BTW – JD will be guest hosting in 2 weeks to talk all about Quora Advertising! – @NeptuneMoon

Most of my clients are lead based, so usually we do bottom of funnel. Excited to do some top of funnel testing for sure. Never thought I would miss doing display/brand awareness until I switched agencies and wasn’t doing any brand awareness anymore. – @mikecrimmins

I’d like to learn more about Amazon Ads. It seems like a potentially good way to build brand recognition for clients with written collateral. – @MixedUpCody

I feel I grossly under use the keywordless efforts in Reddit, Quora, and other alternative search partners. So I want to go more into those for 2019. – @JonKagan

Quora… I’m about to start a new position next week where I intend to spend as much as I can there if it’s as good as claims for B2B. Not really PPC but podcasts are on my list for 2019 too – @markpgus

Quora and video. I have done some video with clients, but it is really a great medium for the right brands. – @lchasse

I’d love to check out Quora … probably because of  –  @adwordsgirl

Reddit. It’s a tough crowd b/s self-promotion is so frowned upon, but engagement in target communities and the preciseness of subreddit targeting is impressive. – @StormyMears

Really looking forward to what Amazon comes up with this year! – @gilgildner

Really excited to test out Quora for our accounts. I’ve been noticing it show up in the SERP for some keywords and always been interested to see how it’d perform. – @atjoshnelson

Depends on client. That said, areas looking to enter or test with various clients: programmatic display, FB, Instagram, Baidu, Yahoo – @JoshKelson


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