INside Performance Marketing
How to Get a Handle on Your PPC Campaigns
Image Credit  William Hook Creative Commons license

How to Get a Handle on Your PPC Campaigns

One of the challenges CMOs and marketing executives are currently faced with is how to get a handle on the way PPC campaigns are structured. Some consider it tedious, others feel they lack a clear starting point or strategic direction.  Most CMOs eventually reach the conclusion that campaign structure plays a critical role in determining the success of a PPC campaign once they understand the relationship between PPC and sales.

Defining the structure of a PPC campaign is not just about best practices, it is about establishing the right marketing communication mix, determining to effectively interact with your customers at all points of the purchase decision process and implementing a messaging strategy addressing each of your most valuable customer segments.  In short, your paid search campaign structure must support all stages of the purchase decision cycle, for all your customer segments.

Position, Place & Price

The structure in broad brushstrokes involves the following:

  • Designing campaign naming conventions – you must integrate factors such as messaging, categories, keyword types, segments, etc. into the campaign name to group sets of data easily. This can be helpful for filtering certain types of data for: similar types of campaigns, reporting, to analyse trends, and to make optimisations quickly
  • PPC campaign positioning – each campaign should be positioned at a specific point in the purchase decision process- whether the campaign is geared toward awareness at the top of the funnel, influencing the consumer, or to generate conversions
  • Maximising visibility – as with any other form of advertising, finding the right mix of frequency and reach are the basic goals; most conversions require multiple clicks, so you need to ensure you have adequate frequency to ensure top of mind awareness and reinforce messaging through all stages of the purchase decision cycle; another factor is ensuring you tailor the messaging and offers to the most applicable stages of the purchase process
  • Controlling costs – by understanding how each campaign connects and interrelates with another, you can maintain a better handle on cost containment; you need to know the value of each conversion at its corresponding stage of the purchase decision cycle to implement bidding strategies and determine the right budget for each campaign

Before you lift off, make sure you..

When you launch PPC campaigns you should follow this checklist:

  • Research business goals – before establishing your target audience or deciding what keywords to use, you need to establish what you want to achieve with the campaign.  Set the goals, measure against those goals and continually monitor and adjust.
  • Research target segments – defining your segments is key to your PPC campaign strategy and will help you arrive at insights that you can use throughout the campaign.
  • Research keyword – develop keyword lists using tools, such as the Google Keyword Tool, that correlate to what a consumer would search for to find a product on the website you’re promoting; include negative keywords in your keyword research to reduce wasted clicks, improve CTR (click-through rate), and lower costs.
  • Implement campaign structure – your campaign should be structured around a singular theme (one campaign for each major service line or website category) because search engines prefer tightly themed ad groups, your keywords should be all related and match your ad copy and landing page messages to maximise relevancy factors.
  • Develop relevant ads – using information gleaned from competitive research, leverage insights from your ad copy strategy to build your campaigns; each product or campaign should have its own benefit that differentiates it from your competition. 
  • Coordinate with the landing page ­– ensure the landing page features content that supports the offer in the PPC campaign. Your landing page MUST match the keywords otherwise your target segment will bounce.
  • Adjust your settings – target segment information determines the geographic location and language of each campaign you launch, so set the country/region/language preferences accordingly; adjust the networks and devices setting to “All” so your ads display on desktops and mobile devices as well; use “Rotate” in the advanced settings section to show ads more evenly and help better determine the performance of each ad within each ad group so you can better optimise your campaigns
  • Use statistical analysis to help direct optimisations – while the most important data about campaigns involve quality scores, conversion rates, and CPC, you need to monitor the performance of individual ads; comparing performing and underperforming ads will help with optimisation as will examining performance at the keyword level
  • Refine your campaigns – successful campaigns are determined by interactions with your choice of ad copy, landing pages, and keywords; test these elements on an ongoing basis and tweak accordingly to increase conversions and boost ROI.
  • Manage your bids – to determine how much you should pay for each click first, work backwards from the profit margin gained from a conversion and set your bid appropriately.  

Of all the things discussed in this whitepaper, the one thing that is paramount for you to remember is to keep your PPC campaigns singularly focused and targeted. You need to center your campaigns based on one objective that aligns with your goals and objectives, whether it’s a single product, theme, promotion or campaign segment. By choosing the right keyword and corresponding relevant copy and landing pages, you will increase conversions, cut costs, reduce waste, and get the message to the right people to the right people efficiently and consistently.

Judge Graham

Judge Graham

It’s fitting that Judge became president of Sq1, as he has been at the leading entrepreneurial edge of digital marketing his entire career. Before joining Sq1, he was co-founder and CEO of one of the most successful digital agencies in Texas. Judge helped his digital agency grow its client roster to include such notable companies as American Airlines, Mountain Dew, Pier 1 Imports, Dillard’s and Radio Shack.

The youngest recipient of Comdex’s “Small Business of the Year” award, Judge has been a leader in digital marketing/performance media, user experience and web design and development for well over a decade.

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