One of the most evident advantages of pay-per-click advertising is the ability to control how much of a budget is spent over short periods. If your campaign or ad messaging fails to deliver the expected volume of clicks, you can easily pause a campaign or adjust the spend to prevent wasting more dollars on ineffective marketing.
One means of regulating your media spend is budget flighting. Budget flighting simply means you allocate more media dollars in specific time frames than others. The strategy behind flighting is often based on seasonality or product offerings a such as special pricing or promotions. By matching the volume of advertising spend to reflect the fluctuation of searches, you can control the effectiveness of your budget.
When should you flight your budget?
You probably are already aware of which months make up your “busy season.” But how can you know if there are other opportunities for you to take advantage of? Often times, keyword research can provide insight into the patterns of search volume for a topic or term.
The health care sector, for example, often encounters seasonality for certain treatments or procedures. Last year, the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that searches related to mental illnesses follow seasonal patterns, indicating the severity of seasonal affective disorder. Industry research and knowledge such as this should be applied to online strategy.
How to strategically flight your media budget
To learn how you should flight your budget, it is important to look at a few different metrics in analytics.
- Return on Investment: The months of the year that yield the highest return on investment for products or services should direct how you flight the budget. Your brand should invest the highest amounts of budget in months where the ROI is at the highest. Always look at the big picture before finalizing a flighting plan. Some months may deliver a high lead volume, for instance, but the leads convert at a lower rate than other months. This example indicates that though interest is high in these months, the purchase intent is low.
- Lead to Acquisition (LTA): The rate at which you convert leads into acquisitions is another key metric to digest and factor into budget flighting. If this rate is low, you may be driving unqualified leads to your site and adjustments should be made. This will also help you understand how many leads you need to drive in order to hit acquisition and revenue goals.
- Cost Per Lead (CPL): To weigh the effectiveness of your campaign, you need to divide the number of leads you acquired by the amount you’ve spent. You will probably notice that some months yield much higher CPLs than others. With this information in mind, you should reallocate your PPC budget.
- Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Similar to CPL, look at how much are you spending to acquire a new customer. This number will probably fluctuate throughout the year, so a best practice is to flight your budget to ensure you arenat overspending media dollars during periods of slow acquisition. You must also understand what your LTV (lifetime value of a customer) is in order to determine what an acceptable CPA is for your organization.
Understanding how these metrics can play into budget flighting will improve the bottom line numbers that mean the most to the C-Suite: Increased revenue and reduced wasteful spending.