Effective PPC campaigns – Part 1

Tips on how to solve common PPC mistakes and boost the performance of your campaign.

Published by 

Alexis Pratsides


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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.

Working in one of the best PPC agencies in London, 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 under-performing 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 are 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. 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.

Perform adequate keyword research

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.

Analyse your competition

By doing this you will be able to spot those gaps that your competitors cannot fill. This is a golden opportunity for your PPC strategy. Look for those organic keywords that your competitors are ranking for, and make them yours. You can try to find competitors for your blog or website, although going for those that rank for a single keyword is not an easy path. This is because you are surely targeting thousands of keywords across multiple pages. Use the competing domains report option in Ahrefs to see who is competing with you within the landscape. Just click on:

Site Explorer > enter your domain > Organic Search > Competing domains 

ahrefs competitor analysis
Image: ahrefs

Create a killer ad copy

Once you have spied on your number one competitors, the next step is to write the perfect ad. Keep in mind that the shorter the message, the better. Go straight to the point and you will catch the attention of your target audience. Before setting up the Call to Action (CTA), outline those goals that you want to achieve: respond to your audience needs, and reshape the CTA. On the other hand, the time that you put into writing the ad copy will make the difference when looking at your ROI. The more personalised and original your message is, the more value you will add to your campaign. Surely you can produce an average, generic ad but, the more closely it targets your audience, the more conversions you will get. This is, the time you put into writing better ad copy is correlated to your Return On Investment.

Optimise your site & conduct regular audits

As above mentioned, both your landings and ads must act in combination. Clicks on your site can easily decrease by having a webpage whose content is not updated or non-relevant for your target audience: your website acts as a salesperson, so do not forget to optimise it. Check that its performance is good, and schedule professional site audits quarterly. Last but not least, make it mobile-friendly and offer attractive visuals.

The power of 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.

negative keywords neil patel
Image: neilpatel.com

After the campaign is set-up and your ads start running, you will need to monitor and refine the campaign.

RELATED: Importance of negative keywords

Track how visitors interact with your ads

How visitors use your website says a lot about your quality content and its user experience. Getting relevant data on how consumers interact with your platform is vital to convert more enquiries into sales. Nowadays, most of the analytics tools in the market give you the opportunity to set goals. Therefore, monitoring your goals will help you check how many of those visitors are clicking where you want them to click. If your conversions are decreasing, this means that you need to check on how much time visitors spend on your pages. Analytics will let you track what your visitors are doing, and which ads are producing those results that you are looking for.

In our next article, we’ll look at how you can use Google Analytics to do this.

The future is here: PPC + AI

Artificial Intelligence is reshaping the world in ways we have never think of. With regards to PPC campaigns, AI is set to enable marketers to produce more effective strategies. This will be determinant to:

  1. Predict the CTR of future ads
  2. Calculate the impact of ads on quality scores
  3. Identify the likelihood of conversion from a given customer
  4. Analyze the bids that are likely to get the most of traffic

Moreover, you can set up your Amazon PPC campaigns using AI to:

  • Automate bids for keywords with high search volume
  • Run keyword optimization rules
  • Provide detailed diagnostic information for active keywords at once

The perfect PPC campaign checklist

  1. Be clear and establish your goals.
  2. Decide where do you want to advertise. Is it on Google Adwords or Microsoft Advertising?
  3. Choose those keywords you want to rank for. And set up negative ones as well!
  4. Perform competitor analysis.
  5. Write THE BEST ad copy.
  6. Schedule a site audit and optimise your landing pages.
  7. Track customers’ interaction with your site.

Did you our paid search management article? Check out the Part 2 here – also if you need further assistance, contact our Adwords consultants.

Created by

Alexis Pratsides

Published at 

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