Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is simple and effective. While a lot of more affordable marketing strategies have emerged over the years, nothing can replace a good old PPC campaign.

And, if you are able to make your PPC campaign more targeted and pocket-friendly, then it is really worth the investment.

However, PPC campaign management is not an easy task and requires a certain level of knowledge of advertising strategies. From knowing the different ways in which you can bid to understanding the advertising platforms and interface, there’s a lot you need to know.

In this post, we will discuss 11 key things that you need to do for successful PPC campaign management.

1. Define Your Goals

The most important part of successful PPC campaign management is careful planning and goal-setting. Your entire PPC campaign depends on what goals you want to achieve and how well you have planned to achieve them.

So, the first step towards effective PPC campaign management is to set the right goals. Whether it is to get website traffic, sales conversions, views on a video, or something else. You need to clearly define your goals and the metrics that you will use to measure those goals.

It is also important to set realistic targets for your PPC campaign. If your goals are unrealistic, you are just setting yourself up for failure. Set goals that can be realistically achieved and then plan your PPC campaign based on them.

2. Find the Best Target Keywords

Keyword research is crucial to running a successful PPC campaign as it affects various aspects of your campaign.

You need to optimize your ad copy with keywords to ensure that your ads are shown for the right search queries. Your keywords also determine how much competition you will face as money keywords usually have multiple advertisers competing.

Therefore, selecting relevant keywords is very important. You need to do thorough keyword research to fuel your PPC campaign strategy.

There are several tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and SpyFu that you can use to search for keywords.

Our keyword research tool, for example, can help you find relevant keywords in your niche. It can also find related keywords that might be useful for you. Apart from this, you also get other pertinent information like each keyword’s ranking history and SERP analysis.

3. Leverage Negative Keywords

While it is important to select relevant keywords that you want your ads shown for, it is equally important to stop them from being displayed for the wrong keywords. Sometimes your ads could show up for certain keywords that are not relevant for your business.

In such cases, you need to use negative keywords to ensure that your ads are not shown for those keywords. In a way, negative keywords are just the opposite of keywords. These are searches that could potentially trigger your ad because of overlapping words, but you want to be that your ads don't appear on them.

The primary benefit of using negative keywords is to avoid wasting your money by showing your ads for irrelevant search queries. As an advertiser, you need to pay for each click and the clicks that result from irrelevant keywords won’t yield any positive results.

You can select negative keywords both at an ad group level and a campaign level. None of your ads from any ad group will be displayed for campaign-level negative keywords. While for ad-group-level negative keywords, only the ads in that group will be prohibited from being displayed.

Image via Google AdWords

There are three different types of negative keywords.

Broad Match

This includes all variations of your negative keyword. As long as the search query has all of the words in your negative keywords, in any order, it will not show your ads.

For example, if your negative keyword is “winter jacket” then it will also consider, “jacket, winter,” “black winter jacket,” and “black jacket for winter” as negative keywords.

Phrase Match

This allows you to not display your ads when a user types an exact phrase i.e. words placed in the same order. For the same keyword “winter jacket,” your ads will not be shown for “black winter jacket” as it has the phrase “winter jacket.”

However, it will be shown for “black jacket for winter” as it does not contain the exact phrase.

Exact Match

As the name suggests, in this case, your ads will not display if a user types your exact keyword or close variations. Otherwise, your ads will show for any other variations.

This means that for the above examples, your ad will not be shown for “black winter jacket” even though it contains the exact phrase. This is because of the extra word, “black.”

4. Finetune Your Targeting

In building PPC campaigns, you have many targeting options. It depends on the campaign:  Google, for example, provides the option of search campaigns, display network campaigns, video campaigns, etc.

For search campaigns, keywords and audience targeting are the main targeting options. Display network campaigns provide a lot more targeting options including placement targeting.

Here is a list of some targeting options that are available, but not every one of these is available for all types of campaigns.

Placement Targeting

This lets you select the platforms where you want your ads to be displayed. It is, obviously, meant for display network campaigns and not search campaigns.

You can select the type of websites that you want to place your ads on as your target audience might frequent those websites. You can select websites from a specific industry as well.

Audience Targeting

This lets you select who you want to show your ads to based on their demographics, location, language, etc.

You can also use interest-based targeting to show your ads only to people with specific interests. This option is available for Google Display Network ads and not for search ads.

There are options available to target people with specific online behavior. This is usually used for remarketing campaigns.

Contextual Targeting

This is basically keywords-based targeting and is useful for all types of PPC campaigns. This is the primary targeting option for search campaigns as your ads are only displayed to people who search for specific keywords.

Topic Targeting

This is another targeting option for display network ads and lets you select where you want to show your ads based on the topic covered on the page.

This is a more granular level of placement targeting. You not only select the website to display your ads, but also specific pages of the website.

5. Select the Right Landing Pages

The goal of any PPC ad is to direct the users to another page and encourage them to take the desired action. This could be buying a product or service, signing-up for something, enrolling for a course, or something else.

When you create your ads, you need to add the destination URL of the pages that you want your ads to direct your prospects to. And, it is important to select the right landing pages.

You don’t want to spend your money on sending people to your blog and hoping that they will make the effort to reach a product or service page and convert. Similarly, sending people to your homepage is equally futile as it just adds an unnecessary step in your funnel.

You should always direct people to pages that have high conversion rates and are most likely to get more customers for your business. After all, the goal of advertising is conversions and not just website traffic, as the latter can be acquired with SEO.

6. Create Multiple Ad Groups

Never run a campaign with a single ad group as it is very limiting and does not allow many opportunities for campaign optimization.

You can target different keywords and audiences with different ad groups. Ad groups are actually the level where you become more specific with your targeting.

And, you will want to target different types of target segments with different messaging, keywords, and destination URLs. That is why it is important to have multiple ad groups, so you don’t limit your campaign to just one target keyword and audience.

Each ad group, in turn, has multiple ads in it. You can create different variations of ads and later use A/B testing to see which work best. But, more on that later.

7. Optimize Your Ads

At the most granular level of your PPC campaign structure, come the ads. Your ad content is what will ultimately decide whether people click on it or not. That is why it is important to create ad copy that immediately grabs the audience’s attention and get clicks.

Here are some key parts of an ad and ways to optimize each.

Title

These are the first, and often the only thing that people see before clicking on an ad. Your headlines need to be compelling enough to encourage people to learn more.

Here are some expert tips to write headlines that actually work:

  • Keep it short, to-the-point, and relevant.
  • Use numbers and statistics to establish trust.
  • Say something shocking or controversial to immediately grab attention.
  • Use positive words that will generate some sort of an emotional reaction in people who read it.
  • Put the most important information of your ad in the title itself.
  • Offers, discounted prices, or any other such promotions should be mentioned right at the top.

Body

This is the main content of an ad and tells people what you’re trying to sell using that ad. You can use text, images, videos, or a mix of these in your ad content.

Usually, visual content works much better than text-only ads. However, you can use any type of ad content and optimize it to get more clicks. Here’s how:

  • Select a clean and minimal ad layout that provides all information in a clear and precise manner.
  • Keep the points precise and add enough white space between text.
  • Use a font that is easy to read and also looks good.
  • Mention key points like your USP or product features or something that provides value and makes people want to click on the CTA.
  • Make your ads mobile-friendly, don’t write very long sentences.
  • Add your brand logo somewhere in the ad.
  • If you’re using images or videos, use only high-quality visual content without any blurring.

CTA

The call to action (CTA) is the final step where you urge your audience to sign up, click, or buy. Clicking on the CTA directs people to another page where you actually get conversions. Therefore, it is very important to create compelling CTAs.

There are several tried-and-tested strategies when it comes to creating CTAs that actually work. Here they are:

  • Use power verbs that encourage people to take action.
  • Make your CTAs interesting, so that people want to click on them to learn more.
  • Place the CTA button in a way that it is clearly visible and the focus is on it.
  • CTAs that create a sense of urgency, like those with limited-time offers, work well.
  • Choose bright, visually-appealing colors for your CTA button to draw attention to it.

8. Optimize Your Bids

One of the basic things that you need to do while running a PPC campaign is to set a maximum CPC bid. This is the highest amount of money that you will pay for a single click.

Your maximum bid should be high enough to let your ads display for high-ranking keywords. However, it should also not be so high that you spend all of your budget quickly. So, find the right balance while setting your maximum bid.

You should also continuously adjust your bids based on your performance. Some keywords might be doing better than others and it might be more profitable to bid more on those.

Some might just be a waste of money and you need to lower your bids for those. Basically, increase or decrease your bids based on which ads and keywords are performing well and which aren’t.

Also, there are different automated bid-optimization strategies that you can try to adjust your bids automatically. Most expert marketers prefer to use manual bidding, but automated bidding is a much easier option and can really help.

  • Enhanced CPC, for example, is a bid strategy that bids more on keywords that have a higher chance of getting conversions.
  • Target CPA is another one that lets you adjust your bids in real-time to achieve your conversion goals much faster.
  • Maximize Conversions is a broad-level optimization strategy that helps you get the most out of your fixed budget.

9. Run a Remarketing Campaign

PPC campaigns do not necessarily need to be for new customers, but could also be used to retarget existing customers.

Remarketing campaigns help you target people who have had some previous interaction with your brand. As these people already know your brand, they are more likely to convert than a new lead.

Remarketing can be aimed to target different user groups based on their past online behavior and interests.

If someone checked out a product, for example, but did not buy it, remarketing will show them a personalized ad showing that particular product to remind them to buy it.

This often works because these users were already interested in the product and just needed a push.

Just be clear on which types of users you want to target and use dynamic retargeting to run successful remarketing campaigns.

10. Track Your Conversions

No matter how brilliant your PPC campaign is, you will never know unless you track its performance. You need to determine the actual impact of your ads and how many conversions you are getting.

Tracking conversions will also help you determine which particular ads or ad groups are doing well. You can use this information to improve your future PPC campaign management strategy.

11. Use A/B Testing

Last, but not least, test your ads and optimize them. A/B testing lets you show one ad to a specific percentage of your audience and another one to the rest. This lets you make a direct comparison of which ad worked better with your audience.

This technique is used to test different ad elements like CTAs, headlines, images, colors, etc. You can try two different CTAs and choose the one that performs better. Similarly, you can conduct A/B tests for each ad element until you create the best ad copy that you can.

A/B testing can provide valuable insights into CTA placements, layouts, the effectiveness of visual elements, etc. This is the kind of information that will help you design better ads in the future and is, therefore, a worthy investment.

Conclusion

PPC campaign management is not easy, but understanding the tips mentioned here can definitely make the process much smoother. These 11 tips cover everything that you need to know for smooth and effective PPC campaign management.