A PPC campaign that reliably delivers - that’s the dream. Unfortunately, success on Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising doesn’t come instantly or consistently. No, success requires research, an in-depth understanding of your target audience and a good knowledge of the tools at your disposal.

Having said that, there are a number of steps you can take to get your PPC campaigns set up and headed in the direction of success. Even if you’re a seasoned pro, it’s essential that you don’t head straight for campaign build; first, you must understand your goals, KPIs and what a conversion looks like.

Then there’s the other side of the coin - the checklist below will help you get started, but it’s also essential to know what the pitfalls of PPC look like. And there are a few common mistakes we see all the time...

8 Step PPC Checklist for Campaign Success

The Right Direction

It’s easy to get a bit excited when starting out with PPC. Most people just want to see the data roll in and revenue stack up. But getting to the point where you’re making the most of your ad spend largely depends on a base of knowledge.

1. Map out your marketing goals - what do you want to achieve and how can PPC help you achieve it?

2. Define your target audience - who are you current clients? Who do you want your new clients to be? Why should they choose you? Why should they care about your services or products?

3. Define your KPIs - what does success look like? What are your key performance indicators?

Tick these three boxes and make sure they’re reflected in your Google Ads campaign build and you’ll be off to a strong start. Knowing your goals, who your audience is and what success looks like already puts you ahead of 90% of people running PPC campaigns.

A Strong Foundation

You can go further, however. You may have set out in the right direction, but if you want to build a truly strong PPC campaign there are a few other best-practice boxes you can tick before embarking on that all-important campaign build.

4. Create a customer journey map - Depending on the campaign type (shopping, display, search, video, or all of the above) and landing page capabilities, you should now try mapping a general customer journey.

Where will your customers arrive upon interacting with your ad? Where can they progress from your landing page? And how can they interact with your website? This puts you in control of conversions and helps you ensure that the customers you drive to your landing pages are taking the actions you defined previously.

To find out more about conversion optimisation and get your website converting as well as possible, click here....

5. Structure. Budget. Bidding - Now that you know what you want to achieve, who to target, how to measure success, and which actions to measure on your website, we can turn our attention to making it all happen.

There are 3 key things to keep in mind:

  • Structuring
  • Budgeting
  • Bidding

Structuring not only helps maintain transparency, but it also makes monitoring, optimising, and reporting much easier. With a clear structure in place, it is possible to shift focus between each part at any given time, allowing you to be one step ahead instead of reactive.

Budgeting makes sense for everyone – we want to control the allocation of spend. This is where structuring really helps, as it allows quick and easy division of spend between each campaign in your account. If data is showing you that a particular product is performing better than others, you can quickly assign additional budget to these respective ads.

Bidding strategies might seem a little hard to grasp at first, but there is so much brilliant automation today that you can navigate the terrain with ease. If you know what you want to achieve, choosing the right bidding strategy will not be a problem.

Crafting the Ads

With the campaign shell in place it’s now time for ad copy. This is where our previous prep-work comes in handy, as understanding the target audience is key to writing relevant ad copy. And, depending on your campaign goals, you could either go for manual data input or dynamic ads.

6. Get the ad type right - Dynamic ads will create all of the headlines and URLs automatically, with you only having to insert description lines. They do allow some targeting, including negative keywords, showing ads on as many relevant searches as possible.

The benefit of dynamic ads is their ability to show ads to potentially interested untargeted searches. But they could also spend a bulk of your budget on totally irrelevant searches if poorly implemented.

Manual input lets you tailor every aspect of the ad specifically to your target audience, but it takes a lot of time and effort. This makes it a great option if your product or service solves very specific problems or interests only a small proportionof the general population.

For most campaigns it is best to use a combination of both to maintain good control and keep your hand on the pulse of things, but also to let machine learning find new prospects and potential ad groups.

The Finishing Touches

Finally, it’s time to put an end to your anxious waiting and press go! Your ads are live, there’s no turning back.

7. Optimise to infinity - Not to ruin your good mood, but this is far from the end of a successful PPC campaign. It’s now time to monitor and optimise.

Unless necessary, let your campaign run for a couple of days or even a week before making any major changes - the more data you have the better you can optimise. No two ad campaign are the same, but from there you can use the data you’ve collected to optimise and refine any aspect of your campaign.

8. Keep an eye on the bigger picture - The temptation will be to focus on your favourite metric, but try to look at the bigger picture. If you feel stuck or don’t know where obstacles could hide, it is wise to take a step back and look at everything as a whole.

Another thing to keep in mind is to look at your original objectives and measure progress in time to see if you can make new, more ambitious objectives or steer the campaign back on course if it’s gone off the rails.

Final Thoughts

Success in paid search gets more difficult with every passing year. Ad blindness means that understanding the wants and desires of your audience is absolutely critical. When we search for certain keywords we are pre-programmed to match our search with text displayed in the results.

For example, when searching for coffee, we might also stop for words like milk, latte, 200ml, and various brand names. We must be able to go beyond everyday keywords and interpret context.

Successful PPC campaigns are built on the foundations of solid research, in-depth understanding of your target audience, and transparency in structure that let you stay ahead of the curve and make proactive decisions, instead of reacting to past events.

And, of course, if you have any questions about your PPC campaign and how to get off to the best possible start, you can always drop us a line...