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How to Run a PPC Campaign

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Pay Per Click (PPC) search marketing is a sure-fire way of quickly making sales.

What it means is that your site will show at the top of Google as an ad when a user searches for a keyword or phrase relevant to your business or any ads that you’re running.

When they click on your ad, you’ll have to pay Google some money. That’s why it’s called pay per click! You decide how much money you pay though by setting ‘bids’ for your ads.

Remember, you only pay for your bids when your ads are clicked. If you don’t receive any clicks, then you won’t be charged a penny, even if all of your bids are set in place.

Keep on reading for advice on running PPC campaigns, or see our article on how to increase PPC conversions if you want help turning your clicks into conversions.

PPC strategy

The first step to running a PPC campaign is figuring out what your overall aims and goals are for your budget. Define what success is for your strategy and how you want to get there.

If you know that your business is struggling getting noticed, then increasing traffic to your homepage can be a good way to throw your site in amongst others in your industry.

If one aspect of your business is getting less organic traffic when compared to your other pages and you want to try and push that service more, then increasing traffic to that specific service page through ads can help balance out the numbers.

Note: if you’re performing well organically, be careful when introducing a PPC campaign. There’s pros and cons to this – your profit margins will be smaller, but you do have the potential for absolutely dominating the market if done right.

Google Ads settings checklist

After you’ve outlined your strategy and your goals, it’s time to set up those ads.

And listen, we’re assuming that you’re going to be using Google Ads. In our opinion, that’s a fair assumption as Google has a 92.47% market share compared to its competitors, but if you’re set on running Bing ads then don’t let us stop you! We advise that you set everything up on Google first though, then it’s easy enough to transfer over your campaign data to Microsoft Advertising or Yahoo if you want to use other search engines.

Google Ads will act as your PPC hub where you can do everything you need. Plan your ads, set your bids, and identify your target audience through device, location and keywords. It might look overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be whizzing around the site setting up ads left, right and centre!

To make it a bit easier for you, we’ll give you a checklist of the things that you need to do when setting up your account.

Step one: campaigns and groups

With Google Ads, the first step is setting up your profile into campaigns and groups. Campaigns represent the broad, overarching services that your business offers. Groups are more specific elements that are within those categories.

For example, if your business is in sporting goods, then a couple of your campaigns might be:

  1. Football equipment
  2. Boxing equipment
  3. Tennis equipment

Within those will be multiple groups:

  1. Football equipment – football boots, football kits, shin pads
  2. Boxing equipment – boxing gloves, wrist tape, mouthguards
  3. Tennis equipment – tennis rackets, tennis shoes, tennis balls

Google uses these groups and campaigns to keep your ads relevant to your services and prevent users from seeing the wrong ads when they search for what they want.

Step two: budget and keywords

Then, you decide how much you want to spend on your ads. This is usually worked out daily and monthly.

Your monthly budget can be split across all of your campaigns evenly or weighted if you want more focus on a single campaign. This is good if you know that there’s an event on and you want to jump on the bandwagon to get a few extra sales. For example, you might want to increase your budget for your tennis equipment campaign around the time of Wimbledon.

Your budget is then used by setting up keyword bids. This is where you choose what keywords you want to appear for on Google.

Some keywords cost more than others because they’re more competitive. Seeking success with these keywords will eat up a lot of your budget.

Finally, choose your keyword match type. You can opt for broad match, phrase match, exact match, or highlight words that you specifically don’t want to appear by using a negative match. All come with their own benefits and will have a place in your campaign arsenal.

Step three: post-click settings

Last but not least, optimise your ads for their post-click settings.

This involves things like selecting what landing pages you want your customers to visit, what type of customer you want to reach (mobile? iOS specific? People in your area?), and writing the ads themselves!

At Blaze, we use Google’s favourite type of ad: responsive text ads. In June 2022, responsive text ads will be replacing expanded search ads so it’s good to get that best practice in so that we’re not panicking when the winds of change roll around.

Responsive text ads mean Google dynamically matches your ads headline and description to match the purchaser’s intent. You supply something like thirty headlines and, say, five descriptions and Google uses the best combination to maximise your ads performance. Impressive, right?

The final step is making sure your account is linked with Google Analytics so you can monitor how your ads are performing. This is super important as there’s no way to otherwise know if people are clicking on your ads then immediately bouncing or following through with a conversion.

Google Ads Analytics

How to improve PPC performance

There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to get the best performance out of your PPC campaigns. The most important of which is to listen to and follow what your ad metrics say.

Here’s a word of advice from our Paid Media Manager, JP, about PPC performance:

“The biggest, and most important factor to running any PPC campaign is letting the data drive you.

Leave your ego at the door, and be dictated to by the stats which come out of the system. Always be ready to test new ideas, try out new concepts and look at areas within the campaign that you can capitalise on.

On top of this, don’t micromanage accounts. You need data, but you also need quantity of data to make informed decisions like decreasing bids, exclusions or scaling. Be smart, because the data is only as smart as the person steering the ship.”

Trying out new concepts is really important. Nobody likes to plateau, but it happens to the best of us!

One of the best ways to implement new concepts into your ad campaigns is by A/B testing in Google Ads. This is where you run two slightly different versions of the same ad at the same time to see which one performs best.

PPC campaign optimisation tips

Well, this has been one hell of a ride! Running PPC campaigns can be quite tricky, and there’s a lot of information to know before you get started. But you should be off to a good start with the knowledge provided here.

For the cherry on top, here are a few last-minute tips for running your PPC campaign.

Firstly, choose low competition keywords for high chances of success with the lowest costing bids.

Secondly, keep up to date with your negative keyword list. If you find that you’re showing up for search queries not relevant to your business, then get them keywords outta here!

And finally, the biggest tip we can give you for running your PPC campaigns is to find a paid search agency to do it for you!

We’ve just went over a lot of information really quickly. If it seems like a lot to take in, then I hate to say it but it really is.

If you have the time to throw yourself in the deep end and develop this brand-new skill then by all means give it a shot. But if you want the best results as soon as possible, get in touch with our PPC experts at Blaze Media and we’ll take care of it all for you.

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