Our Approach To PPC Management

If you are considering a Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaign, you may be aware that there are many ways to accomplish the same thing through PPC. We believe it’s important that you understand our perspective on your PPC campaign:

Structural Best Practices

A PPC campaign should be organized as follows:

Campaign level

- Campaign Level is where we want to target by:

o   Specific geographic area (For example: “US”, or “Canada”, or even more localized focus)

o   Device

o   And interest group (For example: differentiating your services or verticals)

Ad Group level

- Ad Group Level should further divide each campaign into smaller groups. The smaller the group, the better. These should be organized as you would organize “interests”.

Keyword Level

-  Keywords should further break down the Ad Group target into much smaller groups still. Organized by how we match the target search phrase:

o   “Exact match” phrases are those that meet all the criteria: Campaign level (device, geographic etc), “Ad-group” level (interest), and then exactly match the keyword.

§  If structured properly exact match keywords will cost much less than broad match keywords because there is far less competition.

§  For Example: If “Joe” from Indianapolis Indiana (Campaign) searched for “exact match keyword phrase”, if you had a campaign, ad-group and keyword to match that, the cost would be much lower than a nationally targeted “catch-all” campaign because there is much less competition for Joe’s search.

o   “Broad match” and “Phrase match” should be used as more of a catch-all strategy and your bid strategy should reflect that.

Bid Strategy

o   We want our “exact match” terms to win the traffic because they will always be cheaper, even if you bid higher as they should have a higher quality score. So these should be your highest bids.

o   “Phrase match” terms will be slightly broader, matching only related terms, so these will be your second best option, so make these bids approximately 5% lower than “exact match” terms.

o   “Broad match” terms will always be the most expensive, but are important in case there are search phrases you didn’t even think of yet. Make these bids approximately 10% less than your “exact match” terms.

Ads,  Banners and Ad Copy

o   Possibly the most overlooked opportunity in any campaign. Ad copy should be relentlessly tested for improvement, constantly adding new text ads and crafting eye-catching display ads.

§  Each campaign should include one example of the dynamic keyword insertion ad: {keyword:Default Ad Text Here}. This will insert the exact Search into your ad, assuming it can fit.

§  Each campaign should contain campaign specific display ads

§  Each campaign should have an “escalation strategy”, that is, how to handle “soft conversions”, or those that haven’t converted at all.

Landing pages

o   It is very important that page content reflect the above points in the reverse:

§  Has your landing content page been optimized, or at very least contain the keyword you were targeting?

§  Does your ad copy contain the search phrase or keyword?

§  Does your landing page copy contain any reference to the geographical area your campaign is targeting?

§  Has your landing page been optimized for the device you are targeting? How does it look on mobile or tablets?

§  Do you have a strong and clear call to action on your landing page?

§  Does your landing page contain a phone number easily found, and local to the campaign area you are targeting?

If you map back each keyword with these questions in mind, you will quickly see why Adwords has assigned the quality score it does.

Notes on Quality Score

o   Keyword Quality Score is a reflection of:

§  Expected Click Thru Rate. You can improve this by writing an ad that matches each search query.

§  Keyword relevance. Improve this by optimizing landing page content for the keyword you are targeting through PPC.

§  Landing page quality. How well it is expected to convert. Therefore, a clear conversion path and tracking of conversions is imperative.

§  Quality score is important because it determines how much you will actually pay in the keyword auction.

* Your “actual cost” is determined by: your bid X your keyword quality score. So you can actually pay way less, simply by focusing on improving keyword quality scores one campaign at a time.


o   If you work hard to get someone to visit your site (be it through organic or paid traffic), and they don’t convert, that doesn’t mean they’re not interested.

o   Remarketing is one of the easiest things to implement, and hardest strategies to get right.

§  Remarket by product, service, geographic area, bucketing visitors into groups by behaviour and with escalating “intent”:

·         “introductory copy” for those who perhaps only saw top level pages, or only a few pages on your site.

·         “influencer copy” for those who may have visited your site multiple times, or spent an above average amount of time on your site.

·         “conversion copy” for those who may have downloaded a white paper, or are more familiar with your product through multiple visits.

§  Landing page copy and content should reflect this escalation, gradually displaying less and less navigation items for example, until finally, if someone clicks on a “conversion copy” ad, the page they may be familiar but contains no navigation, and has become a one page site and a clear call to action.

In Conclusion

Of course this is a cursory overview of Pay Per Click best practices. If you have any questions about how the Google Adwords Algorithm actually works, consider a guest post on the subject I wrote a short while back.

If you have any questions about setting up a PPC campaign, or if you agree or even disagree with anything I've said here, feel free to comment or tweet me about it: @ainsleymuller