PPC Checklist: Optimizing Your Campaigns for Success (2024)

PPC Checklist: Optimizing Your Campaigns for Success (2024)
Article by Szabolcs Szecsei
Last Updated: July 03, 2024

While pay-per-click (PPC) is a great way to get an instant boost in terms of traffic, conversions, and sales, it’s a multi-step process that often poses challenges for newcomer business owners to keep track of everything.

The problem is that one small oversight may massively decrease the effectiveness of your campaign, resulting in what’s essentially money out the window. To help you maximize the effectiveness of your paid campaigns, we asked our trusted expert partners to create the ultimate PPC checklist to keep your campaigns on the right track.

The Ultimate PPC Checklist: Getting Started

In essence, PPC campaigns are advertising campaigns that are usually part of every comprehensive marketing model. During these campaigns, a company pays a fee every time a user clicks on the advertisement.

While this may look pretty straightforward, without a sound strategy and a good PPC optimization checklist, it’s easy to miss important steps. If you already have experience with running such campaigns, think about this as a PPC. Regardless of your situation, complete each of the following steps before launching your upcoming campaign.

  • Keyword Research
  • Create Content and Landing Pages
  • Get Your Targeting Right
  • Think About Tracking
  • Don’t Forget Negative Keywords
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1. Keyword Research

Every campaign, part of a robust PPC management strategy, starts with keyword research. As PPC ads appear in Google search results, they, just like in the case of optimizing your page, need to target specific phrases so Google will show them in relevant searches.

The best way to get started with research is by using keyword research tools such as Ahrefs, Moz, or Google Keyword Planner to see the most relevant phrases you need to target. Look for keywords relevant to your business and aim to use long-tail keywords over short phrases, since the latter will usually have a lot more competition, resulting in an expensive campaign.

PPC Checklist - Moz
Source: Moz

You may also form ad groups based on different keyword groups, with each ad group consisting of all the key phrases you want to use for a particular ad. It’s important to have at least 15 to 20 target phrases for each ad group.

That said, don’t target too many keywords, as you can run the risk of the ads becoming overly generic to cover every keyword; create ads that are specific for each search intent.

2. Create Content and Landing Pages

In PPC, content is also crucial for creating high-performing ads. According to Bryan Phillips, Head of Marketing at In Motion Marketing, content should be attention-grabbing and address the specifics.

“Creating content that stands out and clearly articulates or illustrates how you help your prospect is crucial,” he tells DesignRush. “This approach ensures that your ads capture attention and communicate the value you offer, making it more likely for prospects to engage.”

Similarly, your landing pages should also provide additional relevant information for your prospects. Opt for custom-made landing pages for a more powerful branded message, and don’t forget the best practices regarding SEO content.

On the note of creating copy and landing pages, Chris Snelling, Founder of TopOut Group, recommends continuous testing to ensure that your ads always perform well.

“Implement A/B testing for different elements of your campaigns, including ad copy, visuals, and landing pages. Analyze the results and continuously tweak your approach to find the optimal mix for performance,” Chris explains.

3. Get Your Targeting Right

Targeting is also crucial for effective PPC campaigns, as it helps you reach the audiences that are most likely to interact with your ad. You can set your ads to reach users with specific characteristics, like location, gender, age, and even the type of device they use, all in Google Ads.

It’s vital to ensure that you are targeting the group of users most likely to interact with your ad and not waste resources. For instance, if you want to advertise a mobile game, you will likely be better off targeting younger audiences than people over 70.

4. Think About Tracking

Tracking is one of the best methods to measure how well your campaigns perform. To see the number of people you convert, you will need to get a tracking code for the pages that users land on after making a purchase. This is available on Google Analytics.

5. Don’t Forget Negative Keywords

In some cases, your targeted keywords will be searched in different contexts that aren’t necessarily relevant to your business. To improve your chances of getting your ad shown to the right people and right searches, create a list of negative keywords — or phrases you can exclude from your campaign.

Let’s say you run an antique shop but don’t sell any furniture. In that case, adding ‘antique furniture’ to your negative keyword list can make perfect sense and block your ads from targeting that phrase.

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Daily PPC Checklist

Once you are done with your audit checklist, you can launch your ads, but the work is far from finished. Maintenance is key to the success of your campaigns, ensuring you don’t waste any money and time on ads that aren’t driving results.

Here are a couple of things you can do for your ads daily.

1. Track Your Main KPIs

Spend and revenue should be the two key performance indicators (KPIs) you will want to monitor every day. These two figures show the ratio of the money you are making and spending, enabling you to see the most cost-effective ads in your campaigns. You may also want to look at other metrics, such as ad quality score and click-through rate (CTR).

Checking these metrics regularly helps see how well your ads are doing and whether you need some adjustments. For instance, if you have a low CTR ad, you might want to change your copy, visuals, or simply look for different keywords for it.

PPC Checklist - KPI
Source: Practical Ecommerce

Advertising experts also agree that continuous monitoring is the key to success. According to Snelling, eCommerce advertising needs frequent adjustments so the ads can adapt to changing trends and customer behavior.

“The challenge lies in optimizing campaigns for a diverse range of products and maintaining engagement across various platforms,” he adds.

Phillips, on the other hand, tells us that some demanding industries require constant strategies to avoid being drowned out. According to him, the SaaS niche is one such industry, as agencies and businesses often compete against companies with massive budgets, who can spend more in a day than smaller players in a year.

2. Pause Underperforming Keywords

If there are keywords that don’t generate conversions, pause them. You can tell if they are performing by looking at the collected data from your tracking codes in Google Analytics. If you see a phrase that simply isn’t working and you can’t really find a way to improve its performance, pause it for the time being.

Weekly PPC Checklist

There are also a few things you will need to check weekly to ensure that everything’s running smoothly. Here are three tasks you should prioritize.

1. Review Your Bids and Budget

Looking at your bids and budget will help determine what you can afford. If you see that one of your ads is getting lots of clicks but its conversion rate is poor, this indicates that you’re wasting your budget on an ad that generates no revenue.

If that happens, consider adjusting the ad, or reevaluating the amount of money you want to devote to it from your PPC budget.

2. Perform a Weekly Search Query Report

Search query reports tell you which keywords will trigger your ads. Check this list and look for keywords that don’t generate relevant searches for the ads you want them to pull up. For instance, if you’re selling air conditioning units in Los Angeles, but show in searches under "air conditioning in Buffalo," you might want to add the latter phrase to your negative keywords list.

3. Check Ad Placement for Display and Banner Ads

It’s advisable to check your banner and display ads that appear on web pages and not in the search results. Review them every week to see where they are showing up. If they appear on sites that don’t align with your target audience’s preferences and your brand, feel free to delete those sites from the list.

PPC Checklist - ad placement
Source: Viewst

PPC Management Checklist: Monthly Tasks

There are also a few activities that can be carried out monthly, namely:

  • Landing Page Maintenance
  • Gather Visitor Site Metrics
  • Monitor Your Competition
  • Review Keyword Trends

1. Landing Page Maintenance

It’s not a bad idea to take a good look at each of your ads, ensure that the landing pages function and that the information is up to date. Check all the links on your pages to make sure nothing’s broken and look for pieces of content that are no longer relevant or need to be changed.

2. Gather Visitor Site Metrics

There’s no PPC optimization without looking at site metrics like bounce rate and time spent on site. Monitoring visitor metrics and using heatmaps will allow you to see which of your landing pages perform the best and which paragraphs users are looking at the most and then adjust accordingly.

PPC Checklist - Visitor Site Metrics
Source: Factors.ai

For instance, if one of your pages has a higher bounce rate, you can either choose to adjust the copy, visuals, or simply pause the site. Usually, low bounce rates indicate ads that aren’t relevant to their target phrases. As such, you may either want to use a different keyword, or change the ad so it’s more relevant to the phrase you are targeting with it.

3. Monitor Your Competition

A considerable chunk of your success will always depend on the actions of your competition. Take a closer look at what they are doing at least once a month. If they get more clicks than you, find out what they’re doing differently and try to emulate their strategy and see whether those features bring you the same results or you need to look for other improvements.

4. Review Keyword Trends

Search patterns tend to change with time. That said, keep an eye on trending keywords and search trends to adjust your PPC campaigns. It makes no sense to display ads for phrases that people no longer use. Don’t miss out on the chance to actively target the latest keywords.

At least once a month, check Google Trends and look for relevant keywords for your business. The platform offers fantastic insights into all popular search trends for key phrases.

PPC Checklist: Wrapping Up

Getting PPC right is a fine balance between performing the necessary tasks at the appropriate time and being flexible enough to adjust to any changing patterns. Well-designed landing pages, engaging and relevant copy, and the patience to test out different features is all it takes to get the most out of your ads and PPC budget.

Sometimes, it can get overwhelming, but thankfully, there are always experts who you can turn to.

PPC Checklist FAQs

How can I maximize the amount of generated traffic to my site apart from PPC?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is also a great way to draw qualified traffic to your site. Better yet, you can maximize your converting potential by running specific ads and optimizing your related product or service pages to rank higher in the search results.

If you do everything right, you will still be able to see a substantial number of conversions even after spending your ad budget. That traffic will come from your SEO efforts, but it will take a bit longer for them to kick in — usually three to six months.

Can I compete with large organizations even with a smaller PPC budget?

Absolutely. Not all businesses can allocate massive resources to their paid advertising campaigns but still get excellent results. As our experts have pointed out above, creativity and constant testing are the key to success, along with compelling copy that addresses the needs of your well-defined target audience.

What is the most important aspect I should get right in my campaigns?

Just like in any other case of advertising or marketing, you need to know who is most likely to interact with your brand and content. Your target audience research must be on point.

You will also want to optimize your landing pages for conversions, and overall, ensure that visitors have a smooth experience on your page.

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