Unfortunately, while Google AdWords provides the easiest and most thorough tools of all of the search engine PPC programs, Google doesn’t provide real time data on campaign performance. This data lag can cause certain problems for advertisers — most specifically monitoring ad serving and budget.
One client we work with had this problem recently. Using Google’s budget estimator tool, we determined an appropriate daily budget for the client, ensuring that his ads would run throughout the entire day. However, we recently found that, even though we followed Google’s budget estimator recommendation, we are actually running out of budget sooner than expected.
Our campaign was set to “Standard” for ad delivery, meaning that Google attempts to spread ad serving throughout the day. Standard ad delivery, however, does not evenly serve ads throughout the day — the demand for particular keywords may alter when and how often ads are delivered.
By setting our campaign to “Accelerated” for ad delivery, our ads then were served as quickly as possible — spending our budget as quickly as possible in a given day. This allowed us to see how quickly in the day that the budget was running out. By setting the ad delivery to accelerated for a day then running an hourly impressions and clicks report, we were able to identify exactly how quickly the budget was running out, for instance six hours into our eight hour day. That then allowed us to extrapolate that we needed to potentially increase our current budget by 25% to cover the remaining two hours.
While the Google AdWords tools are helpful, they don’t always tell the full story. It’s important question results in Google AdWords — they aren’t infallible!