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How to decide a starting budget for paid search advertising

In this article, we will navigate through the process of determining the cost of getting started with paid search for ones business. Delving into crucial factors, strategic insights, and actionable tips that not only aid in setting a starting budget but also empower you to leverage it effectively.

Published November 20, 2023

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising - also known as paid search - remains a prominent digital marketing channel for businesses striving to establish a strong online presence. However, the challenge for many marketers lies in determining the cost of getting started with paid search for their business. In this article, we will navigate through this process, delving into crucial factors, strategic insights, and actionable tips that not only aid in setting a starting budget but also empower you to leverage it effectively. The goal is to transform budgeting from a daunting task into a handy tool for enhancing online visibility. 


PPC on a budget is not a myth 

Contrary to a common misconception, paid search campaigns are not exclusive to corporate giants. Success lies in strategy rather than sheer budget size. Start by examining your business's foundation —its goals, target audience, and industry competition. The proven thought process here is that, with the right strategy even a modest budget can yield outstanding results. Smart allocation, focused objectives, and efficient optimisation can transform smaller budgets into PPC game-changers, highlighting the significance of expertise over extravagant spending. 


Unlocking the PPC budget formula 

Determining the right PPC budget can be easy. Consider this straightforward formula: 


Budget equals Desired Clicks divided by Click-Through Rate multiplied by Cost Per Click. 

Deconstruct this formula by defining your target clicks, understanding the average CTR, and establishing an acceptable CPC based on industry benchmarks. This strategic approach provides a clear framework to calculate your budget, allowing you to forecast a budget that aligns precisely with your campaign goals. 


Crucial influencers of your PPC budget 

Understanding the factors influencing your PPC budget is pivotal for making informed decisions. Industry competition, keyword competitiveness, and PPC bid management play important roles in determining required budget. A thorough analysis of these elements enables you to set realistic expectations. 


Strategic budget allocation across campaigns 

Once your channel budget has been confirmed, efficiently planning and distributing it among structured search campaigns is an essential tactic that elevates your advertising impact. Refine your budget allocation to support the unique goals and qualities of each campaign to ultimately provide the strongest overall return on investment against your objectives. This approach to PPC management ensures your budget works diligently to drive digital success. 


Pro tips for budget management  

Budget management is not a ‘set and forget’ and requires consistent attention and subsequent adjustments. Here are some key pointers: 

       Regularly monitor your campaign's performance using platform dashboards and supporting analytics tools. 

       Adjust budget allocation to reinforce high-performing elements and strategically tweak or pause underperforming aspects. 

       Set daily budget caps to control spending and prevent unexpected overspend. 

       Optimise your campaigns for various metrics such as device targeting, geo-targeting, or day and schedule to allocate spending where it matters most. 

       Keep an eye on impression share; a low percentage may warrant an increase in budget to capture more opportunities. 


This proactive approach maximises your paid search budget and ensures it seamlessly supports the ever-evolving dynamics of your campaign. 



Establishing a starting budget for paid search activity demands a thoughtful approach due to the various factors that influence campaign success. You can choose a budget that maximises your advertising impact by understanding your business goals, target audience, and industry dynamics. The provided formula is a practical guide, and ongoing monitoring ensures adaptability in a constantly changing landscape. Armed with these insights, you are ready to embark on a PPC journey that aligns with your objectives and delivers tangible results. 


About Novicell 

Novicell specialises in PPC management, guiding clients through the intricacies of digital advertising with a strong focus on effective budget management. Our paid media team are experts, equipped with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions and maximise your marketing ROI. Within digital marketing, we delve deep into tracking, paid search marketing, and paid social advertising. Novicell can be your trusted partner for paid media campaign management, analysis and optimisation, ensuring that your advertising spend translates into meaningful results. Contact the team to find out more today.  

Want more advice on your PPC activities?

Do not hesitate to reach out to us today! 

Sam Mountstephens
Senior Paid Media Consultant
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