Marketing Guide —Creating a PPC Campaign

Introduction

As with any marketing effort, it’s key to establish the business goals for your campaigns first. In PPC, this is particularly important because those goals often inform the structure of your campaigns. One way to structure your campaigns, for example, is to do so based on where people are in your marketing funnel.

Figure out what it is you want to achieve with your paid search campaigns: Is it to build awareness and consideration among prospects? Generate leads? Sell products? Increase average order value? Upsell existing customers? Increase loyalty? Drive app installs or in-app actions? Whatever your goals, map those out first.

Creating a PPC Campaign

Setting Your PPC Budget
An important aspect of any pay per click (PPC) campaign (whether you are using Google AdWords, a different search engine, or social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook), is to determine how much you can afford to spend. Your budget for PPC campaigns has to be a part of your overall marketing budget, so first of all, make sure that you have money set aside for this. You also need to pay for your ads with a credit card, so make sure you have enough card space so that your ads do not stop running unexpectedly.
Setting a budget for your campaign may not be quite as straightforward as it sounds, especially if you really want your ads to have an impact. In an average campaign, you set your spending limit, create your ad, and wait for the clicks to start.

To create a campaign that gives you the best return on your investment and brings the ideal number of conversions (visitors who become customers), one of the things you need to do is optimize your budget and be aware of how Google handles your spending limits.

If you set your click budget to $100 per day because that is what you can afford, Google will handle that limit in such a way that you actually get a lower number of impressions (views and then clicks) than you want in order to meet your budget, in order to bring you in at below $100. If your quality score (which we will discuss in a moment) is also low, and your clickthrough rate is poor, it can potentially mean you come in at $33 or $66.

If this happens, you need to look at what is happening in your results. If Google is sending you $33 worth of traffic each day and you then adjust your budget for that ad from $100 down to $33, this ad will probably generate almost nothing. Instead, keep your budget at that $100 amount and adjust your keywords and ad copy.

You’ll figure this out with a bit of practice as your refine your skill with PPC advertising. Remember to be patient with yourself and to always respect your marketing budget.

The Quality Score
In addition to assessing your keywords and AdWords copy, Google also assesses your ads, your landing page (the web page your ad sends people to), and the rest of your website. Once it has reviewed all of your content, it gives you a ranking from 0 to 10. This is your quality score.

Based on this, Google decides how often it will show your ad when people select your keyword, where on the page the ad will be positioned, and the click price that it will be set at.

The higher your ranking (or quality score) the better it is, because you will get a lower cost per click, a higher position in search results, and your ad will appear more frequently when people search for your keywords.

On the other hand, if you set up some new ads and keywords and Google does not think you will perform very well because your website only has minimally relevant content, you’ll be assigned a low quality score. When your clicks start accumulating, you can also see your quality score drop dramatically if your click-through rate is way lower than your competition.

This rating system is far from perfect. Campaigns with low quality scores (even three or four out of ten) can still perform well because Google shows the ad frequently, and it becomes a numbers thing. Don’t panic, then, if your quality score is low: check to see if your click-through rate or impressions are also low and if you are showing in trailing positions on the page. If everything is low, prepare to adjust, but if your click-through and conversion rates are strong, you’ll have to weigh out the benefits of making adjustments.

Google doesn’t disclose everything about AdWords, so keeping up on how they establish your quality score requires some sleuthing. Also, they can change these rules when they like in order to meet their own business needs.

Quality Score Breakdown
This is how we believe that Google determines your quality score:

  1. Most of the score (50–60%) is based on having clickthroughs on keywords in your ad group for the entire time you have had that particular keyword in your account.
  2. A small percentage (probably 10%) is the quality of your landing page (the URL that your ad brings a visitor to when they click your ad).
  3. Another small percentage (probably 5–10%) is a rather vague determination of your account history, likely a combination of click-through rates on all the ads and keywords in your account.
  4. 5% is about how well you match your keywords to the ads in the ad group.
  5. 30% are factors that we really cannot determine, but we will keep trying!

History is also an issue for quality scoring. The older your account gets, the better you will measure against newer advertisers. While a high click-through rate at the start can put you in a good position, a troublesome one can take several months to overcome and will affect your other scores. (This is called an account level quality score.)

Increasing Your Score
Here are some tips for overcoming a poor quality score:

  1. Plan your ad so that your keywords match it perfectly. That means your keywords need to also be part of the content on your landing page.
  2. Your landing page needs to easily link to other high quality pages on your site, not just act as a sales brochure. Consider including links to other sites that are also about your keyword.
  3. Your page needs to load quickly.
  4. Great content is the structure that your site reputation relies on. If you are providing information, solutions, articles, videos, blogs, and images, you are on your way to keeping people on your page just a few seconds longer before they click ahead on one of your links, or return to Google. There is no workaround for great content.

In Conclusion

Once your campaigns are built and you’re working to improve conversions, the work doesn’t end.

With your campaigns live, you need to continually monitor the performance of your ad groups and ad variations as you accumulate data.

Based on that data, you can adjust keyword bidding, add new keywords, find opportunities to test new ad copy, eliminate poorly performing ads, and continue to optimize your funnel.

Even with the tips above, you’ll still run into hurdles. Even professional marketers with years of PPC experience still have campaigns that don’t perform as expected.

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