6 Tips to Improve the Performance of your PPC Campaign

Tue, 22/04/2014 - 08:53

A PPC advertising campaign, if properly executed is an effective way to drive traffic to your website and ultimately increase conversions.

The key to success of a PPC campaign is setting a strong foundation from the start. This involves structuring your account correctly, selecting relevant keywords, writing ad copy, negative keywords and most importantly implementing tracking.

Let’s start with structuring your account

  • This will depend on budget, keyword research and the industry your business operates in.
  • A common mistake made by those new to PPC advertising is to create one campaign that includes all products/services as ad groups. Be sure to avoid this! Here’s why:
  • If your budget is smaller, you’ll need to be more selective with the products/services you choose to promote.
  • If you run an ecommerce site, one way to do this is look at past orders to see which items are more popular amongst your customers.
  • Following this approach, if your budget is larger you’ll be able to create campaigns to promote a wider range of your products or perhaps all of them!

Keyword research

This is tied in with the previous point because the keywords you choose to target will help you with the creation of campaigns and ad groups.

  • Keywords should ideally be grouped according to themes/variations.
  • For example, let’s say that you own an online store that sells pet food. Keywords would most likely include: “online pet store”, “online pet shop”, “buy pet food”, “pet food delivery”, “pet food online” etc. Pet store related keywords could be grouped together, pet shop keywords in another ad group, pet food queries in another and so on. Creating campaigns and ad groups this way also makes it easier to monitor which variations of keywords lead to more visits.
  • Don’t forget to consider searcher intent when doing keyword research.
  • Searchers that click on PPC ads tend to be in the later stages of the buying cycle i.e. looking to buy rather than research. For example, keywords that includes qualifiers such as: “reviews”, “buy” or "for sale” all imply that the searcher is ready or almost ready to purchase. While in most cases these keywords may not have as much search volume as more generic terms, the quality of the traffic will be better.

The adverts

Choice of words and how effective ads are at promoting your products and services will ultimately determine whether searchers click on them.

  • You have a limited number of characters available, so make them count. Key selling points (same day delivery, fast turnaround times, no delivery charge etc.) that set your company apart from competitors should always be highlighted where possible.
  • Make use of ad extensions.. Site link extensions are great because they allow you to promote a range of products that you sell as part of one advert. For example: you run an eCommerce site that sells consumer electronics and create an ad that focuses solely on promoting home appliances in the ad copy. Adding site links to other products that are available can increase the overall effectiveness of the advert.
  • Extensions provide more comprehensive information and make your adverts more attractive to searchers.

Negative keywords

This is where many people fall short. Don’t be one of them!

  • Negative keywords prevent your advert from showing in response to queries that don’t correspond with the products/services your business provides.
  • For example: Let’s say that part of your websites product offering is books. This includes all types, except for text books. To prevent your adverts from showing for text book related queries, you could add “text” as a negative keyword to the relevant campaigns. This will save you unwanted clicks, which will in turn save you money.
  • An easy way to identify keywords that send irrelevant traffic is to look at the search terms report, which is accessible via the dimensions tab. I’ve found some rather odd queries that have resulted in clicks on adverts for the accounts that I manage. The thing that some people search for never ceases to amaze me and is one of the many reasons I love this industry.

Location Targeting

Failing to set relevant locations will result in your ads being shown to searchers in all countries by default, which will lead to unwanted clicks and higher costs.

  • Location targets can be changed via the setting tabs at the campaign level. Take care to only select regions or countries that you operate in.
  • If you service multiple locations, you’ll be able to compare clicks received in all the areas that you target. This data can then be used to further refine targeting i.e. only show ads in areas that received the highest number of clicks.


You need goals to track the performance of your campaigns. If you don’t have any goals setup in your AdWords campaigns, go and create some right now (finish reading this post first).

  • Monitoring clicks, CTR and CPC is one thing but you need to be able to monitor which ads and keywords are resulting in conversions (i.e. making you money).
  • If you have goals setup in Analytics, you can import them via the conversions link under tools menu in the AdWords account.
  • For ecommerce sites tracking conversions is made easy by enabling ecommerce tracking in Analytics and allowing data to be shared across the two platforms. You’ll also need to add a tracking code to the order receipt page that users get taken to when they complete a purchase. This can be somewhat tricky and you’ll probably need to enlist the help of a developer.

Following these steps you’ll hopefully be on the way to running a more structured (and more measurable PPC campaign, that if used in conjunction with a targeted organic campaign, will yield results in the long and short term.

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