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When managing a Google Ads account, it is very likely that you will run into campaigns that are “Limited by Budget”. But what if you do not have enough budget to increase the campaign’s budget to the amount Google is recommending? Rather than increasing the campaign budget (like Google Ads wants you to), there are plenty of other workarounds that we will get into below.

Negative Search Terms

Before we hop into smart bidding strategies, it is important to mention that identifying irrelevant search terms is your first line of defense against inefficient spend. If you have campaigns that are “Limited by Budget”, take a look at what search terms your keywords are matching to. I recommend a date range of the last 30 days and sorting clicks and spend highest to lowest, so you can see which search terms are eating up most of your spend. Then you can negate any unwanted search terms.

Google Ads Search Terms

Smart Bidding Strategies

Now to the good stuff. Google might say otherwise, but you can still benefit from using smart bidding strategies on campaigns that are “Limited by Budget”. More specifically, I would recommend testing tCPA and tROAS with a lower target than your goal. In our previous testing, we have seen that Maximize Clicks or Maximize Conversion settings do not do well for campaigns ‘Limited by Budget’. With these bid strategies, it is very possible for them to spend the entire daily budget in the first few hours of the day.

With tCPA and tROAS, your dollars are likely to go farther since the campaigns are constrained by a lower CPA target. However, the goal needs to be realistic. For example, if your account has a CPA goal of $50, and the campaign limited by budget has a budget of $250, test lowering the CPA target to $30 or $25.

To opt a campaign into a tCPA or tROAS bid strategy select the campaign in Google Ads and select “Settings” on the left hand side.

Google Ads Settings

Once in “Settings”, navigate to “Bidding” and click the drop-down arrow.

Google Ads Bidding

Select the bid strategy that aligns with your goals and enter your target amount.

Google Ads Target CPA

Note: You are not able to do a Target CPA strategy with Google Shopping. It can only be fore search.

Portfolio Bid Strategies

If you have a handful of campaigns that are limited by budget, setting up portfolio bid strategies is a great way to ensure a set number of campaigns are driving towards the same goal. Portfolio bid strategies allow you to group campaigns together and set a smart bidding strategy like tCPA or tROAS that automatically set bids for every auction to help you reach your goals. Also, rather than setting updating individual targets for campaigns using smart bidding, portfolio bid strategies provide a single place for you to quickly change bidding settings for all campaigns that use a single portfolio bid strategy.

To set up a portfolio bid strategy, navigate to “Tools & Settings” in the top right corner of your Google Ads account and under the “Shared Library” column, click “Bid strategies”.

Google Ads Bidding Strategies

Select the bid strategy that aligns with your goals and write a name for your new strategy. Select the campaigns you would like to include in the bid strategy and if you selected Target CPA or Target ROAS you will need to set a target.

Google Ads Target CPA

The last thing to keep in mind while setting up a portfolio bid strategy is that you have the option to set a minimum or maximum bid limit. This is the minimum or maximum amount you will pay for each click. Although this may not be required, it is important to keep in mind because Google smart bidding can set bids at will if the algorithm believes the click will lead to the desired action. It is not uncommon for you to find  1 Impression, 1 Click search terms with a CPC of >$50 when your average CPC is $5. If you have a maximum bid in mind that you would like set, click “Advanced Options” and input your desired limits. This may result in lower volume, but your budget will last longer rather than getting exhausted from a few clicks throughout the day.

Google Ads Max Bid Strategy

Shared Budgets

Taking this a step further, rather than having individual campaign budget, try pooling budgets across campaigns with similar tactics into a shared budget. For example, if you have a NonBrand campaign that is “Limited by Budget”, I recommend creating a shared budget with other NonBrand campaigns. With a shared budget, Google Ads can automatically adjust how a budget is allocated across different campaigns to help you improve your return-on-investment and reach your goals.

Setting up a shared budget is not necessarily something we at Socium do on our end, though this could make sense if you’re in house and do not have time to make the advanced optimizations that a paid search agency team would be able to accomplish.

To set up a shared budget, navigate to “Tools & Settings” in the top right corner of your Google Ads account.

Google Ads Shared Budgets
Google Ads New Shared Budget


In short,

  • Smart bidding strategies like tCPA or tROAS may be worth testing on campaigns limited by budget
  • Portfolio Bid Strategies coupled with Shared Budgets can work together to ensure budgets are allocated efficiently across campaigns and help you reach your goals.

Of course, every account is unique and while the techniques discussed above are not definitive solutions to campaigns that are “Limited by Budget”, at the very least they are thought-provoking suggestions that could help you get one step closer to reaching your account goals.

Do you have a Google Ads or Facebook Ads question that was not answered above? Please reach out by filling out the Free Consultation form in the top right corner!

Matthew Smith
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