PPC campaign management

While plenty of other, more or less effective marketing strategies exist, PPC campaigns are hard to beat because of their immediate impact.  

However, it is not enough to simply create a PPC ad campaign and let it run: constant management of current and future campaigns is essential to attract the most qualified audience, increase CTRs and potentially boost conversion rates. 

In this article, we look at 9 best practices of PPC campaign management – four essential and five advanced ones – and discuss the tangible benefits they bring to your business.  

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What Is PPC Campaign Management?

Pay-per-click campaign management is the process of running and organizing your business’ PPC strategy and budget.

Its goal is to get the most out of your PPC campaigns while ensuring they are set up correctly by optimizing and making adjustments when and where necessary.

PPC campaign management involves, but is not limited to:

  • Keyword analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Channel targeting
  • Landing page creation
  • Campaign monitoring & optimizing
  • PPC testing
  • And more

4 Essential Steps Of PPC Campaign Management

The most important part of successful PPC campaign management is careful planning and a clear definition of your goals. Your campaigns may run aimlessly without clear goal-setting.

Whether it is increasing website traffic, conversions or something else, you need to define the objective and the metrics that you will use to measure said goals. It is important to set realistic, measurable KPIs and then plan your PPC campaign accordingly.

1. Find And Pick The Right Keywords

Keyword research is a crucial part of running a successful PPC campaign.

The first step is to check if and how your customers search for what you’re offering. You need to verify if there’s a keyword with a sufficient search volume for what you’re offering.

To assist you with this, you may try using online tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush and Ahrefs. They can help you derive relevant keywords from the list of phrases your leads may be using.

These tools will also tell you:

  • How many people are searching those specific keywords
  • How competitive these keywords are
  • Are they trending or declining in popularity
  • What their related search terms and keyword variations are
  • What keywords are your competitors using

You’ll need to optimize your ad copy with chosen keywords to ensure your ads are shown for the right queries.

While it is crucial to select the right keywords that you want to optimize your ads with, it is of equal importance to stop them from being displayed for the wrong keywords. Your ad may sometimes show up for keywords, not at all relevant to your business and/or niche.

In this case, you need to use the so-called negative keywords to ensure your ads are not shown for them. The main benefit of using these is to avoid spending budget by showing ads for irrelevant search queries.

2. Monitor Your Competition

Now that you have a list of potential keywords it’s time to see what your competitors are doing.

By using the same product/service keywords and adding your competitors names you may be able to check if their PPC ads appear as paid ads in search results. Pay attention to the copy and images they are using and they connect with the ads’ landing pages.

You can also test your competitor’s retargeting PPC efforts by going on their website and looking at some of their Shop articles. If you are retargeted with the ads for these same products while browsing other websites, they have an effective retargeting PPC campaign in place.

The abovementioned Ahrefs and SEMrush also provide insights into the keywords your competitors are doing and how well they are performing.

3. Polish Your Copy

When managing your PPC campaign, make sure there is a robust unique selling proposition (USP) in place. It is what makes you stand out and what gives your prospect reason to choose you over your market competitors.

What does that mean and what can you do about it?

In your copy, focus on your offering’s benefits for the user that solve their pain points. Identify what you are doing better than your competitors. You need to clearly, concisely and effectively communicate your strengths to the person searching.

A quality copy attracts qualified leads but also repels those unlikely to convert. Here are some key sections of a paid ad and how to optimize each one:

Title/Headline

This is the first thing people see before clicking on an ad. Your headlines must be compelling enough to encourage prospects to learn more.

  • Keep your titles concise, straightforward and relevant to their search terms
  • Use attention-grabbing terms that entice a sense of urgency and FOMO in your target audience (“last chance”, “only X more left”, “sale ends soon” etc.)
  • Push forward the most important information

Body

It is the main content of an ad that tells prospects what you’re trying to sell. You can use text, visuals or a mix of these two in your ad.

Visual content is proven to work much better than blocks of text.

  • Keep your selling points concise and precise
  • Use an appealing and legible font
  • Mention key points like your USP, benefits or product/service features
  • Make your ads responsive
  • Add your brand logo in the ad
  • Make sure your ad copy aligns with what is on your landing page

CTAs

CTAs are the conversion steps that urge your audience to click, sign up or buy.

CTAs need to be compelling and there are several tested strategies that you can use to enhance them:

  • Use power verbs (Enter, Jump in, Join, Try...)
  • Make your CTAs interesting, visually and content-wise
  • Place them strategically so they are clearly visible
  • Use FOMO

4. Select The Right Landing Pages

The aim of every PPC ad is to drive visitors to a relevant landing page and encourage them to take the desired action.

When creating ads, you need to choose the right destination URLs (landing pages) that your ads will direct users to.

Sending your prospects to a homepage or a blog section from your ad may not be fruitful from the conversion standpoint. You should direct people to landing pages that have high conversion rates and are most likely to attract more leads. Your users should all land to pages that are most relevant to the ad they clicked on and that deliver on the promise from the ad.

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5 Bonus Steps To Fine-Tune Your Pay Per Click Campaign Management

Having gone through the essentials of PPC management, take these additional steps to make most of your paid ad campaigns.

1. Optimize Your Targeting

In PPC campaign management you have a multitude of targeting options, depending on your campaign type (search, display network, video, etc.)

Keywords and audience targeting are the main targeting options for search campaigns, while display network campaigns offer a lot more targeting options (including placement targeting).

  • Placement targeting: It lets you select the platforms and types of websites where you want your ads to be shown. You can select websites from a specific industry.
  • Audience targeting: It lets you select who you want to show your ads to, based on their demographics, location, behavior patterns, specific interests, devices they use, language and more (available for Google Display Network ads).
  • Contextual targeting: It is essentially keywords-based targeting and is applicable for all types of PPC campaigns. It is the primary targeting option for search campaigns (your ads are displayed only to people who search for specific keywords).
  • Topic targeting: It lets you display network ads and select where you want them to show based on the topic on the page. What differentiates it from placement targeting is that you not only select the type of websites but also specific pages related to the topic at hand.

2. Bid Optimization

One of the important optimization steps of PPC campaign management is to set a maximum CPC bid, e.g., the amount of money that you want to spend on a single click.

Your maximum bid should be high enough to give your ads an opportunity to display for high-ranking keywords, but not too high as you’ll quickly run out of your funds.

Besides finding a clever balance you also need to continuously adjust your bids based on your campaign performance as some keywords might be doing better than others.

Basically, you need to determine which keywords give you the most profitable conversions and how much you can afford to pay while making a profit. This depends on factors like:

  • Your customer lifetime value
  • Your business objectives
  • Conversion type (sign up, phone call, demo, sale, etc.)

Additionally, there are different automated bid-optimization tactics that you can try to adjust bids effortlessly. While most PPC advertising professionals prefer manual bidding, its automated counterpart is a more streamlined option, especially to the uninitiated.

  • Enhanced CPC bids more on keywords that have a higher chance of conversion
  • Target CPA lets you adjust your bids in real-time to achieve your conversion goals faster
  • Maximize Conversions is a broader optimization strategy that helps you get the most out of your budget

3. Remarketing Campaign

While attracting new prospects is the main goal, PPC campaigns don’t exclusively focus on new customers. They can also be used to retarget and retain existing customers as well as people who were once in your conversion funnel but never converted (for example, were in the process of buying but abandoned their cart).

These people are already familiar with your brand and are more likely to convert again.

If some of them checked out your product/service but did not make a purchase, remarketing can show them a personalized ad that reminds them now is the time to buy it.

4. Track Conversions

You will never know what exactly works or doesn’t work about your PPC campaigns unless you track their performance. You need to precisely determine the actual effect of your ads and how many CTRs, bounces and conversions you’re getting.

Tracking your prospects' behavior once they come to your page from your ads will help you identify which ads or ad groups are doing well and why. This information can help you improve your future PPC campaign management strategy.

5. Use A/B Testing

A/B testing lets you show one of your ads to a specific segment of your audience while directing another ad to the other segmented. This gives you an opportunity to compare them and see which ad worked better with your chosen audience.

You can use A/B testing to test different ad components like titles, CTAs, visuals, color choice and more. Testing is a worthy investment as its results will help you write and design better ads in the future.

What Benefits Does Pay Per Click Campaign Management Offer?

Here are the most immediate benefits of managing and optimizing your PPC campaigns.

Benefit #1: Fast Results

Instead of the time and patience required to grow your traffic organically, PPC is an online equivalent of building a freeway to your website, at the click of a button.

With the proper keyword and competition research in place, the only thing you should worry about is which campaigns to run. Once you’ve gone through the process and your ads are set, you can see the results hours after starting the campaign.

Benefit #2: Very Specific Targeting

Specific targeting in pay-per-click campaign management refers to the best combination of tactics, depending on your needs: where, when and how do you want to meet your audience.

Do you want prospective consumers to find you via their smart devices or desktop? Do they seek your product/service offering at a certain time of day?

With PPC campaign management you can narrow down the kind of search parameters you want to match. The more you understand your audience’s preferred devices, keywords, search times and their general behavior, the better your chances are to provide them with exactly what they’re looking for.

Benefit #3: Measuring Performance Accurately

Defining and measuring your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will give you a full insight into the performance of your PPC campaign. These include visits, views, clicks (CTR), cost, bounce rates, conversion rates and others.

KPIs provide an overview of how your budget is spent and, how well chosen keywords are attracting traffic

They can reveal the optimal route users take to make a purchase as some will go right to the product/service offering, while others will visit different landing pages before buying (to get educated before making a purchase).

Proper PPC campaign management does more than ensure the success of your ads, as it can also shed light on the UI/UX aspects of your website.

Benefit #4: Flexible Budgeting

When the above-mentioned KPIs don’t perform as expected, you can make changes to your campaigns immediately, before they end.

You can reallocate your budget, move funds to new devices, different times of day, or boost the budget for a specific set of keywords.

It is also very important to set daily limits on PPC campaigns as they cap long-term ads to intended runtime without running out of money.

Without the daily limit, the allocated budget is used to outbid the first keyword matches. Bids can pile up quickly unless you spread out your funds.

Benefit #5: Better Brand Recognition

Some industries are (getting) extremely saturated and the competition is fierce. Battling for consumers’ attention is easier with a PPC campaign.

One of the most ignored advantages of PPC management is the ability to gain impressions. As noted, you’re charged only when prospective customers click on your ad, so whether they click on the competitors above or below, your brand was in front of them the whole time.

Over time, the accumulated exposure can drive them your way as they have subconsciously become familiar with your ad.

Benefit #6: SEO Algorithm Independency

It’s true, quality SEO is your best friend when it comes to ranking, but the main problem with this long-term benefit is that they take a long time to develop.

The advantage of PPC campaign management is that ads are instant and their success is almost guaranteed as you can ensure the campaign runs based on the set of parameters without any influence from search engine processes and/or algorithm changes.

Additionally, you can make changes to your ads instantly. With SEO, these changes would have to be gradual and more often than not, you need to focus a significant time and effort to implement them.

Benefit #7: Test Different Strategies On The Fly

Do you want to experiment with the copy on your website, introduce new bold visuals, coming up with a new hashtag?

Before you start implementing your ideas, test them using PPC. Set up a couple of campaigns, let them run for a month and analyze the results. Which had the best CTR?

The data will speak for itself and it will tell immediately which one of your ideas is actually employable and beneficial to your website and/or brand.

PPC Campaign Management Takeaways

Pay-per-click campaign management may be challenging, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that it is an indispensable part of your marketing efforts.

A lot of work goes into PPC campaign management and many businesses don’t have enough time or resources to focus on their PPC campaigns. If that is the case, we would advise you to work with some of the best PPC professionals out there.

To properly manage your PPC campaigns you need to:

  • Define your goals
  • Select the right keywords
  • Check out your competitors
  • Work on your ad copy
  • Select the right landing pages for your ads

Your work is not done as PPC campaigns need to be constantly monitored and optimized. You might employ:

  • Optimizing your targeting
  • Bid optimization
  • Remarketing ads
  • Tracking conversions
  • A/B testing

The benefits of PPC campaign management are numerous but the most meaningful ones are:

  • Fast feedback
  • Targeting specificity
  • Ease of performance measurement
  • Flexible budgeting
  • Brand recognition
  • SEO Algorithm independency
  • Easy testing
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