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PPC Campaign Strategy helps increase revenue, drive traffic, and boost brand recognition. It works shoulder to shoulder with organic search marketing, which gains traction as search advertising increases sales. And it’s also how, according to Google, businesses receive an average of $2 of revenue for every $1 spent on paid advertising on Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords).
But for pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to work, they need to be built on stable foundations. A solid PPC Campaign Strategy is the key to planning, executing, and optimizing paid ad campaigns. Without a paid search strategy, you’re at risk of spending your budget reactively; with a strategy, you can build and refine a targeted, goal-focused ad campaign.
This post takes you through the nine essential steps of a successful PPC Campaign Strategy, from competitor and keyword research, through Ad Groups and landing page design, to optimization and reporting. No matter how you plan to organize your Google Ads auction bidding, we recommend following the same 5 steps.
Step 1: Define your goals
Defining what you actually want to achieve with PPC is probably the most important part of building an effective PPC Campaign Strategy. Today there are so many different PPC targeting options available within AdWords and beyond it. Defining your goals will help you choose the platforms and ad types that are best suited for your marketing needs.
Consider these common PPC goals:
- Increase site traffic
- Generate leads
- Drive sales
- Raise brand awareness
If your main goal is brand awareness, then social media and display ads are ideal for your strategy. Also; If your main goal is to drive sales, then most of your PPC investment should be in search or PLA. If your priority is to generate leads, then you can explore using Facebook’s lead capture ads.
Sophisticated PPC strategies use a combination of ad types and platforms to target their audience. For example, digital marketer, Ben Wood, has some actionable advice about distributing investment between social and search ads: 4 Advanced AdWords Audience Targeting Tactics.
Determine your main goals and prioritize them, then use this information to determine which platforms and ad types you should be investing in.
Step 2: Analyze competitive landscape
Analyzing the competitive landscape teaches you who your main paid search competitors are, what they’re doing that makes them successful, and how aggressive your PPC Campaign Strategy should be to compete.
If you’re not sure who your competitors are, use Alexa’s Audience Overlap tool to identify sites competing for your audience. You can then jump to the Competitor Keyword Matrix to see both organic and paid keywords from up to 10 of these competitors. Export these competitor keywords and prioritize them based on how well they’re performing for the competition.
The Alexa Keyword Matrix reveals both paid and organic competitor keywords.
Google Ads also has specific features to help you outrank competitors. For example, if you use the Target outranking share feature, Google Ads automatically raises your bids to help you beat a competitor to the top spot. But you can target only one domain to beat at a time, so choose your competitor wisely.
Step 3: Optimize your landing pages
Your PPC Campaign Strategy should take searchers to specifically created landing pages. The closer the match between landing page content and search intent, the higher the conversion rate. If you just send all searchers to a generic page—say, your home page—they’ll feel frustrated and bounce. This will negatively affect Quality Score, meaning the ads will have a lower chance of showing up in searches.
Most importantly, keep the messaging and keywords consistent between the ad text and the landing page. Optimize found that changing just three words to make landing page copy more similar to ad copy increased conversions by 39 percent. Follow their lead by reiterating search terms and your brand’s unique selling point from the ad in the landing page header and body text.
Each landing page should have just one call to action (CTA) based on your key metric from the planning stage. If your objective is to get people to subscribe to a free trial, make that the only CTA on the page.
Keep the design simple and user-friendly. Elements that slow page loading (for example, heavy image files) should be kept to a minimum, forms should contain only the most essential fields, and testimonials or reviews should add social proof. Your only objective at this point is to get the visitor to accomplish the goal of your campaign, so steer clear of anything that could distract them from doing so.
Step 4: Create your ads
Once you have your audience targeting set up and created your relevant landing pages, you’re ready to create and optimize your ads.
Your ads serve as the link between search intent/audience interest and the landing pages you’ve already optimized. The goal is to briefly illustrate your unique selling proposition and offer value. You’ll want to experiment using different copy, visual media, extensions, and other elements to optimize your ads.
In recent years, AdWords has done a lot to help you automate ad creation and optimization. So the real key to success here is providing AdWords with a sufficient variety of ad variations to rotate and test. Of course, creating 3 or 4 ad variations for a hundred ad groups is a tall order. But it’s a much simpler task if you take advantage of all of AdWords features to do this.
In AdWords, you can test different headlines, calls-to-action, extensions, and more by setting up ad variations. Create your own experiments by duplicating ads then using find and replace to swap out text and elements. Ensure you’ve enabled ad rotation in Advanced settings and AdWords will identify the most effective ad variants for you over time. Set your ad rotation optimization to automatically prefer the best performing ads:
Social media ad creation/optimization can also be automated. Facebook Dynamic Creative will actually take your ad components (image, video, title, description, etc.) and create ad variants for you:
Even the most experienced advertisers can benefit from these intelligent technologies to create and optimize their PPC ads. Just make sure you create and test a variety of ad elements to get a real idea of what resonates with your audience.
Step 5: Analyze and optimize your PPC Campaign Strategy
As mentioned above, optimizing your ads integrates well into the ad creation process when you use the right tools. So the real focus of your analysis is identifying what keywords and targeting features help drive your campaign goals.
On a basic level, here are important metrics to consider for search, display, and/or social ads (depending on your PPC Campaign Strategy goals):
- Click-through rate (CTR): Can help you determine how relevant the content of your ads is to your keyword or audience targeting for social or display.
- Conversion rate: A low conversion rate could be an indication that your ad spend is better suited for higher-performing keywords.
- Cost per click (CPC): How much are you willing to pay to get the attention of a member of your audience? That would be your ideal CPC.
- Cost per acquisition (CPA): This can indicate how competitive your keyword is, and whether it’s worthwhile to invest in it given the profit margin from conversions.
- Quality Score (For AdWords): This metric is an aggregate of the effectiveness of a variety of factors, including ad relevance, landing page relevance, and click-through rate.
- Return on ad spend (ROAS): This is a bottom-line metric that evaluates the effectiveness of ad spend overall at driving financial goals.
If your goal is lead nurturing, you may also want to take into consideration on-site engagement metrics, like number of page views, new or returning visitors, etc.
Keeping track of key metrics can help you evaluate the relevance/effectiveness of your advertising elements (ad copy, targeting, landing pages, etc.). It can also help you understand which keywords and audience targeting strategies are most valuable for your unique business.
There are a lot of ways to optimize your PPC ads for conversions using data science. Once you have a good understanding of the best keywords and audience targeting, you can use these insights to implement advanced targeting strategies to improve your ROAS even more. Using query segmentation to prioritize revenue-driving keywords is one example of an advanced bid optimization strategy you can implement manually.
Conclusion – PPC Campaign Strategy
With these five PPC Campaign Strategy, your business can start to revolutionize your advertising campaigns. From launching ads on different platforms to designing mobile-friendly landing pages, you can take a variety of approaches to enhance your PPC strategy — including partnering with a PPC agency.
If you’re searching for performance-driven search, display, and social ad campaigns, Imbassy can help. With our award-winning PPC services, plus social media advertising services, we can provide your business with a PPC strategy that drives results.
How do you manage your PPC Campaign Strategy? Let us know your favorite tips in the comments!