20 tips for a successful PPC Campaign

PPC Campaign tips

I’ve run pay-per-click (PPC) paid search campaigns for several brands. Paid search is a fast and effective way of marketing your product or service on search engines. Especially if you’re a small business, lacking domain authority to compete with larger brands in the SEO space. But PPC can be quick to burn through budget if you’re not careful.

Here are 20 tips to help you create and manage a successful PPC campaign. 

Before you start your PPC campaign

  1. Spend time researching which keywords are worth bidding on. Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool is the best starting point. It’ll show you search volumes, predicted costs and the level of competition. Paid options from SEMrush and the Moz Keyword Explorer are worth considering for more insight.
  2. Brainstorm to come up with keywords or search terms that may not be immediately obvious. Involve other relevant parties such as the sales team to come up with ideas.
  3. Do your homework on the competition. Look at their Ads, keywords and landing pages. How can you improve on them?
  4. Consider your audience. Adwords lets you specify locations, times and devices to best target your ads and ad budget. You should already have a good idea of who your customers are. Plus, Google Analytics has useful metrics on the breakdown of your current website traffic and conversions.
  5. Set KPIs and goals before starting a campaign. These should align with your overall business and marketing strategy. This will give you metrics to measure against and help determine campaign success.

Setting up your PPC campaign

  1. Start small and build out the campaign. Begin with the most targeted keywords. And I’d usually advise setting these to exact matches. You can always build out the volume once the campaign is up and running. You don’t want to be burning budget on broad search terms early in the campaign.
  2. Make sure not to have too many keywords in one ad group. 10-15 should be the maximum. Any more and you risk your ads becoming too generic.
  3. Create three different ads for each ad group. This’ll make it easier to test and optimise.
  4. Work out your product or service’s unique selling points (USPs) and include these in your ad copy.
  5. Set up a dedicated landing page for each PPC campaign. Your goals for a PPC campaign are often conversion based. Content may differ from pages you’ve created for SEO to target the same keywords. Make sure you tag your unique PPC landing pages as noindex, nofollow to avoid duplication with your SEO ranking pages.
  6. Make sure that your ad copy and landing pages work in harmony to deliver the same message. The keywords you’re targeting should be on the landing page. There should be a clear call to action (CTA) that highlights the conversion result you’re looking to achieve.
  7. Work out your monthly budget and set a daily limit as appropriate. Google calculates a monthly budget as 30.3 x your daily limit. One thing to be aware of is you can spend up to 2x more than your daily budget when there are traffic spikes. But Google guarantees that you won’t spend more than the calculated monthly budget. Or rather if you do, they’ll credit you the difference.

Managing and optimising your PPC campaign

  1. Optimise your ads and landing page regularly. This is important as these impact click-through-rate (CTR) and keyword quality score. Both of which go a long way to determining how much you pay for each click. Keep your best performing ad in each group and work on improving the other two. And A/B test your landing page.
  2. Break out high performing keywords into their own ad groups so that you can target them with more effective ad copy.
  3. Bid on your brand. This is good practice, even if you’re top ranked in organic results. Brand keywords are generally inexpensive and if you don’t bid on yours you may find a competitor does.  
  4. Broad Match modifier is a great way of increasing volume for campaigns by targeting long tail search terms, while still maintaining good control over quality.
  5. If you keep hitting your daily spend limit you’re missing out on impressions and clicks. You could increase your budget but this may not always be an option due to cost. There is another way. You could reduce your bid amounts to make your budget last longer.
  6. Use ad extensions to make your ads stand out in search results. For call extensions use a unique number and display it on the landing page. This will let you attribute incoming calls to the PPC campaign.
  7. Consider also using Bing for PPC campaigns. The cost of search terms can be substantially less than Google Adwords. Best of all you can import your existing campaigns from AdWords.
  8. Soak up as much as you can on PPC best practice and trends. AdWords is constantly evolving and adding new features. Google has a lot of guides available. I’d also recommend Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. 

Of course, this advice is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to managing a PPC campaign. Other suggestions are welcome in the comments below.

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