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Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaign Strategy

Posted on September 4, 2020 by Brent Wildman

Everything you need to know for an awesome Pay-per-click (PPC) campaign strategy. [graphic] Man sitting in front of monitor, surrounded by money, target, chat bubble and other icons

The most hotly-contested real estate on the internet is to be ranked at the top of search results. The best way to reach the top of Google rankings is to use proper SEO practices, but it takes time to build equity. The higher you rank, the more visibility and customers you're likely to get—which means more money!
A popular way to shortcut the process (though not to replace SEO entirely) is with pay per click (PPC) ads. In exchange for payment, search engines will push your content to the top of the results, and you pay them every time someone clicks your ad. 

Statistics show that PPC ads are among the top three generators of high-volume leads and website conversions, so it’s no wonder that the number of PPC ads on Google, Yahoo, and Bing increase every year. In 2019, companies spent over $55 billion on search advertisements in the U.S. alone

PPC might sound simple enough, but with the millions of other businesses buying ads, it takes some strategy to stand out. Follow our short guide below to increase the ROI from your PPC investments.



Select the Right Keywords

Keywords are the bedrock on which every PPC campaign is built. If you choose keywords that are generic and high volume, you'll compete with more businesses. Choose keywords that are too obscure, and you won’t show up in any search results.

The first step is to create a list of all the keywords you can think of. The trick is to understand your customers and select the words and phrases they’d most likely search for. Look at the landing page you want to promote and choose relevant keywords that appear in the text.

There are four types of keywords you should look for:

  • Brand terms – keywords that include your brand name or any terms you’ve trademarked.
  • Generic terms – anything that relates to your product or service.
  • Related terms – words that aren't directly related to your product or service but might be included in a search. For example, "how to run faster" would be a good related term if you manage a PPC campaign for athletic shoes.
  • Competitor terms – the brand names of your competitors that offer similar products or services.

Compile your list of keywords and separate them by type.


Put Yourself Into Your Customers’ Shoes

Now that you have your list of keywords, it’s time to get specific. Think about the types of search queries your customers will make when looking for your products or services. It helps to start broad and then narrow it down.

For example, sticking with the “shoes” metaphor, the process could go something like:

 Shoes -> women’s shoes –> women’s running shoes -> women’s black running shoes. 

You can also add in variations or synonyms like “ladies running sneakers.” They mean the same thing but might show up in different search results.

Remember, the broader a keyword, the more search volume you’ll get. Someone searching for women’s shoes might be looking for work flats instead of running shoes, but you’re going to pay for that click all the same. On the other hand, if your keyword is very specific, your ad will show up in only a handful of results. Choosing the perfect keywords is all about walking that line between general appeal and specificity. 

It’ll also have an impact on your budget.



How to BidPPC strategy - You might be bidding on ad space, but are you bidding smart? [graphic] Hands holding auction paddles inscribed with a dollar sign.

PPC advertising is auctioned to bidders based on parameters that include the ad's relevancy, ad format, and of course, the bids themselves. When you set up your PPC campaign through a platform like Google Ads, it'll ask you how much you're willing to pay whenever someone clicks on your ad. If you bid $0.20/click and your competitor bids $0.50/click, there's a good chance they'll rank higher for that keyword.

The tricky part is that you can’t see your competitors’ bids. You just have to guess based on your budget and the amount of competition for a keyword.

Broad keywords, like “shoes,” are going to be more expensive. There’s just much more competition that you need to outbid. Specific keywords will be less expensive since you won’t have to fight too hard to rank.

Organizing a PPC campaign for competitor terms is an aggressive way to outrank the competition for their own branded keywords, but it can get expensive. It’s not suggested unless you have a decent budget to play with.



Check Out the Competition

It’s always helpful to see what your competitors are up to. For a PPC campaign, just head over to your favorite search engine and type in your list of keywords and phrases. Right away, you’re going to learn two things: 

First, you’re going to see which brands you’re bidding against. If there are a lot of them, or some with deep pockets (nobody wants to compete against Amazon), you know you’re going to have to up your bid or go for a less competitive keyword.

Second, if you notice that many of the companies aren’t related to the products or services you offer, it might be time to rethink your keyword choices.

While you’re looking at keywords, take a look at your competitors’ ads. They might have some good ideas for you to use.


Keep Up with the Competition

Competitive research isn’t a “one and done” type deal; it needs to be continuous throughout your entire PPC campaign. 

If you start a PPC campaign and your ad goes straight to the top of a search result, good for you! But what if a competitor outbids you two days after your ad goes live? PPC campaigns aren’t “Rock, Paper, Scissors” where you make your choice and have to live with it. This is a chess game that involves making multiple strategic moves over time. Regularly monitor the competition and adjust your bid rates and keywords to stay at the top.



Use Assessment ToolsPPC campaigns need strategy, and strategy comes from using the right tools to assess data. [graphic] A search bar surrounded by three icons - Google’s G, stick men fighting, magnifying glass.

PPC campaigns come with a lot of data to track, but luckily, you don’t h› ›ave to do it alone. There are plenty of tools available to help you out.

  • Google’s Keyword Quality Score – Keyword research can be confusing, so Google created a keyword quality score guide that ranks keywords on a scale of 1-10 based on elements like click-through rate, relevance, landing page quality, and historical performance. This is a great tool to help you choose the most effective keywords.
  • Competitor Assessment Tools – These tools will help with the espionage portion of your PPC campaign. They can quickly find your competitors based on keywords and show you their ad copy, other keywords, and some can even show you their budget. Here are a few of the best PPC spy tools available:
    •  Spyfu – See the keywords your competitors are using and, furthermore, which ones are finding the most success.
    • SEMRush – Not only can you see your competition’s keywords and ad position, but you can also see their biggest competitors for even more keyword snooping action! The best part is there’s a free version for brands on a budget.
    • iSpionage – The free version of iSpionage offers many of the same features as other competitor assessment tools, but if you choose to pay for the premium version, you can manage and create campaigns straight from the tool. This makes it much easier to transfer your competitor knowledge directly to your active PPC campaigns.
  • Monitoring Tools – These tools will help you keep a finger on the pulse of your PPC campaign. They can show you how your ads rank, their performance, and where they stand against the competition. Use them to keep an eye on your PPC campaigns:
    • WordStream PPC Advisor – Automatically analyzes your current PPC campaigns and offers helpful suggestions and recommendations for improvement. This is best for small to medium sized companies that don’t have the budget to hire an SEO expert. It can integrate with several PPC platforms including Google, Bing, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
    • Optmyzr – For larger companies with bigger budgets, this tool can manage multiple PPC campaigns and includes many automated features to help save time. Think of it like WordStream but in bulk.
    • Google Ads Editor – This app is free for Google Ads advertisers and can help you manage and track analytics for your PPC campaigns. It doesn’t have many of the automation features of the other monitoring tools, but it’s great for smaller advertisers who are just getting started with Google PPC ads.


Form a Winning PPC Marketing Campaign Strategy

While it might seem simple enough, there's much more to a PPC campaign strategy than just paying a search engine to put your ad at the top of the results page. Of course, don’t forget to use plenty of assessment tools to give yourself a competitive edge.

If you’re looking for help getting your marketing campaign off the ground, contact the experts at The Creative Momentum to learn more about how to use PPC ads to attract qualified leads.



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