Increasing Your Google IQ – AdWords Budget Limits & Local Search Phone Numbers

Thought I’d try something new, although me writing about Google is certainly not new! What is new is a quick post sharing some interesting information about how Google works that I hope will be helpful. If the response to this is positive, I will probably make this a regular type of post.

Topic #1: Is Your Daily Budget Limit REALLY the Limit?

I’ve been working on a new account over the past couple of weeks that has a very limited budget. This is nothing new for many of us who work in PPC. What has been interesting though is learning more how AdWords deals with your budget limit. Most of us would assume that if you set a daily budget limit of $50 that AdWords would not allow your ads to show more often than $50 worth of clicks. That is not necessarily so – they may serve your ad beyond your budget limit, up to 20% beyond. When you read about “Overdelivery” as it is called by AdWords, they state:

  • When this happens, your total daily cost could be up to 20% more than your average daily budget.
  • However, our system makes sure that after an entire month of service, you’re never charged more than your monthly charging limit — the average number of days in a month (30.4) multiplied by your average daily budget.

Ok, this seems reasonable. If you are under budget on another day, Google might slightly overserve on a day with more demand, because they are really viewing your Daily Budget Limit as a Monthly Budget Limit which = Your Daily Budget Limit x 30.4 (average number of days in a month). See full document here.

That is all well and good, but what happens if you change your Daily Budget Limit at any point during that month? According to AdWords:

While the cost of your campaign can be 20% above your average daily budget on any given day, you won’t be charged more than the monthly charging limit that AdWords uses to prevent you from accidentally getting overcharged. This means that as long as your budget is consistent for an entire month, you won’t be charged more than your daily budget multiplied by the average number of days in a month, which is 30.4  (365 days in a year ÷ 12 months). (Emphasis mine. You can read the full article here.)

Essentially, all bets are off because by changing your Daily Budget Limit, you’ve thrown their formula off. Consider this – what if you want to really blow out traffic for a day or two (and there is more traffic to be had)? Let’s say your normal Daily Budget Limit is $100 but for 2 days you increase it to $350. That auto-protection that you won’t pay more than the total of your “normal” Daily Budget Limit (in this case $100) times 30.4  ($3,040) for the month no longer applies. Again from AdWords:

A monthly charging limit won’t be used if your daily budget changes throughout the month, even though the 120% daily limit still applies.

This is not necessarily a huge problem, but for clients with really tight budgets, it could be an issue. Definitely something to be sure you are aware of so that you can manage spend more closely in months when you change your DBL.

Topic #2: Local Search & Phone Numbers

I tweeted about this yesterday and realized that it required a little more explanation. I realize that telephone number searches are not the most popular method of searching, but again, this is something that I think you want to be aware of. If a person searches for a telephone number, such as 215-555-5555 in Google and that number belongs to your client and they do not have a Google+ page set up that includes this telephone number, a searcher may be directed to another business’ Google+ page with your client’s number displayed.

How does this happen? In most places these days, there are at least two area codes that cover the area. In the Philadelphia metro area, we have at least 4 currently. I did a search for one of my client’s telephone numbers with the 610 area code. It is not a number we want to have listed on directory sites, so I was looking for listings to delete, especially within the Google ecosystem. The result I was directed to was for another business, who owns the 215 version of the telephone number. In other words, my client owns 610-555-5555 and this other business owns 215-555-5555. What was so disturbing was (a) the other company’s G+ page was displayed with my client’s telephone number at the top, (b) it gives the impression that my client does not exist any more and is confusing and (c) the other company had a lot of bad reviews.

I spoke with someone at Google Local Support and he told me that if you search by phone number you will often get results for the last 7 digits of the phone number from different area codes. They treat a phone number search just like they treat every other kind of search. What I found odd and troubling for small businesses was the fact that it was not clear in the results that not all results were for the number I searched on.

My advice? Make sure you have a Google+ page set up for your client’s primary phone number (and you can list secondary numbers on that main page as well). And, if you have additional numbers associated with the business that should not be appearing online, make sure that they are not.

That’s it for today’s Google IQ segment! As always, comments are encouraged. I’m interested in what others have experienced in these areas.


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