Effective PPC campaigns – part 1

PPC Google Adwords

For many, PPC advertising is a click generation machine; they put some money in and get a certain amount of clicks that might generate some enquiries for them.

However, what they don’t realise is that PPC is a complex science where many different factors collide, determining the final result of the campaign.

I have seen many cases where clients overspent and wasted money with PPC advertising. They achieved little or no results at all. Although every case is different, there are certain patterns that usually repeat in underperforming campaigns:

  • Inaccurate keyword selection
  • Bad campaign structure
  • Excessive cost per click
  • Low engaged traffic

Creating a good campaign structure

When planning your PPC campaign you will need to have a clear idea of what products or services you want to target, what monthly budget will be and how you going to distribute it across the different campaigns. It is important to know what areas you want to target and the type of advertising you are planning to do e.g. text ads, video ads or banner ads.

Once you have decided on the main points, draw up the campaign structure (see diagram below). Different locations will require different campaigns. Depending on the kind of ads you want to do, you might want to split the campaign into several for better analysis.

Good campaigns tend to replicate website structure, creating a campaign per category and an ad group for each sub-category or product. If the website is small, or you only want to advertise a few products or services, you can fit them all in one campaign. However, if you want to specifically control how much you spend in each one of them, you will need to separate them into different campaigns.

It is important to know what areas you want to target and the type of advertising you are planning to do

If you have identical campaign structures targeting different regions or countries, you can replicate them using the Adwords Editor. This way, you will only need to make small changes in the settings of the duplicated campaigns, saving lots of time.

Reaching your target audience

With a finalised campaign structure, you will need to start looking for the right keywords to drive traffic your website. Keyword research is one of the most, if not the most important part of the advertising campaign. If keywords are not targeted and specific, the campaign won’t be profitable.

The keywords tool in Adwords will show you how many monthly searches a keyword generates, the cost per click (CPC) and how competitive the keyword is. At this stage, the most important thing is to be specific when picking keywords to use. Many people pick keywords with the highest amount of searches when utilising the keyword tool. This is wrong because it is likely that your ad will start showing for irrelevant terms and potentially waste money as users will click and discover that your website is not relevant to them. Don’t be afraid to pick keywords that have very low search levels as long as they are relevant. It is better to generate 40 relevant clicks than 100 clicks that are 90% worthless.

If keywords are not targeted and specific, the campaign won’t be profitable.

For example, imagine that you sell organic cosmetics and you research keywords around what you sell. The keyword tool will show terms such as “cosmetics”, “beauty products” or “skin products” as they are related to your product and have a much higher amount of searches. Now you must ask yourself “How many of the people that searched for those terms would be interested in buying my product?”.

Keep that in mind when doing the keyword research and your keyword selection will be much more accurate.

Negative keywords

Negative keywords prevent your ads from showing for particular keyword phrases. When users search online, they don’t restrict their language to just a word. They often write many different variations of a keyword. For example, users will write variations such as “wholesale organic cosmetics”. If you are a retailer instead of a wholesaler, clicks from this search term will be wasted.

When doing the keyword research, keep a list of terms that you identify as negative keywords. During campaign creation, they can be added to the campaign or ad group. This way, you will stop these terms from triggering your ads, saving money for future quality clicks.

After the campaign is set-up and your ads start running, you will need to monitor and refine the campaign. In our next article we’ll look at how you can use Google Analytics to do this.

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