10 golden rules to manage your PPC Campaigns

#1. Never run PPC campaigns without a “great” understanding of your client’s business & goals

Nothing can be more damaging to your PPC optimization than this. Make sure that you fully understand the client’s business, products/services and the target audience.

Because if you don’t, you will target wrong keywords, you will create ad copies which won’t sell, you will target wrong people/websites and you will lose lot of £££££ and that too pretty fast.

Make sure that you have clearly defined goals (branding, conversions, leads etc) for your PPC campaigns. So if your main focus is on brand building, then you run CPM campaigns. If the focus is mainly on conversions, then you run CPA campaigns.

Without goals there can be no strategy and without any strategy you are not optimizing.

#2. Always set your Max. CPA targets

Max. CPA is the maximum amount you are willing to pay for each conversion without getting into loss.

So if price of your product is say £20, then your Max. CPA is £20. You can spend up to £20 to sell a £20 product. If your marketing spend is more than your product price then you will be in loss.

Obviously you want your client to make profit on each sale. So you will keep your CPA lower than the product price.

While this logic sound so straightforward, many marketers don’t implement this logic and may end up spending £200 to sell a £70 product, that too without even knowing as they have not set up any CPA targets.

You need to work with your client to determine the maximum amount they are willing to pay for each conversion and still make profit on sales.

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#3. Setup your Adwords account with proper thought and planning

I have seen lot of Adwords account which were setup without any planning.

This generally results in:

  • Multiple campaigns targeting a single product category.
  • Multiple ad groups targeting a single product.
  • Keywords duplicated across campaigns and ad groups. Google shows only one ad per advertiser on a particular keyword, so there’s no need to include duplicate keywords in different ad groups or campaigns.
  • Difficulty in measuring and monitoring the performance of the campaigns.
  • Ad groups containing 15 to 20 ads.

A well structured account is easy to manage and monitor.

  • Use descriptive names for your campaigns and ad groups.
  • Make sure that one campaign targets only one product category.
  • One ad group targets only a single product/service or keyword theme.
  • An ad group doesn’t contain more than 4 ads.

Google automatically monitor the click-through rate (CTR) of each ad and display the better performing ads more often than ads with lower CTRs.

#4. Run campaigns with Conversion Tracking

I have seen PPC accounts being run for years and years without any conversion tracking setup.Guys who managed these accounts either measured the effectiveness of their ads and keywords on gut feeling or wrestled with Google Analytics.

Both of which are not the best way to monitor the performance of your PPC campaigns.

You as a marketer must need to know what happened after a user clicks on your ad. Did he purchased your product? If yes, then which keyword, ad, ad group or campaign triggered the conversion.

By getting such insight, you will know which ads, placements and keywords lead to conversions and are worth bidding on.

#5. Smell what is selling

Reinvestment skill is what sets one PPC expert apart from the competition.

If a product is selling like hot cakes then sell more of it.

As a marketer your top priority is to generate maximum possible revenue for your client.

So if a keyword, ad group or campaign is resulting in lot of conversions, then it is wise to increase its budget or transfer some budget from the low performing campaigns esp. during sales times.

Similarly if something is not selling even after lot of testing then just leave it and focus on what is working. Don’t waste your time and money beating a dead horse.

#6. Optimize your campaign settings

Campaign settings can eat lot of your budget if you have not set them up to align with your business goals.

For example if your target market is only ‘Southampton’ then their is no point running PPC campaigns across Hampshire.

If your website is not designed for mobile devices then you should not run ads on mobile devices. Similarly if your main focus is on conversions then you should not run CPM campaigns.

So check the campaign settings.

  • Make sure that your campaign is targeting only the locations, languages, network & devices that are relevant for your target market.
  • Make sure that the campaign is using the right bidding option, budget and ad scheduling.
  • Make sure that the ad extension feature is being used. It can improve the CTR of your ads.

#7. Run re-marketing campaigns

Re-marketing campaigns have proved to increase the ROI for many businesses and are almost always profitable.

#8. Never Ignore Negative keywords

You always make sure that your ads appear for all relevant keywords which is a good practice. But it is even more important that your ads don’t appear for irrelevant keywords as they easily outnumber the relevant keywords.

To keep the bad guys away from your shop, you need to identify them individually and then get restraining order from the court (here Adwords system).

Spend a lot more time in managing a comprehensive list of negative keywords than managing a list of relevant keywords.

Make sure that you add negative keywords on daily basis, like first thing in the morning when you log into your MCC. This will help you a lot in controlling ad spend esp. if you have a low budget.

#9. Don’t monitor and manage everything manually

You may end up paying dearly some day, if you continue to monitor the performance of your campaigns manually.

To begin with, once I went over budget by few grants when I used to manage everything manually.  I was pardoned by the client only because I recently made them richer by £1 million through my SEO & PPC efforts. You may not be that lucky.

Moreover if you are managing half a dozen or so PPC accounts, you just can’t monitor everything manually.

Create customized alerts and automated rules to manage & monitor the performance of your campaigns effectively.

#10. Continuously optimize ad copies & landing pages

An ad copy without any strong Call to Action and USP is not going to help you in getting many clicks & conversions.

Similarly a landing page which takes a loooong time to load, provides no value to a visitor is not going to help either. So you need to optimise your landing pages. You need to test them.

Experiment with different offers and call-to-action phrases to see what drives conversions.

Optimization is not a one time activity. The ad copy or landing page which is working today may stop work tomorrow. Moreover there is always a room for improvement. So continuously run test to improve conversion rate.

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Himanshu Sharma

Certified web analyst and founder of OptimizeSmart.com

My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

  • Over twelve years' experience in SEO, PPC and web analytics
  • Google Analytics certified
  • Google AdWords certified
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Award for Excellence
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