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PPC: Tips for success

The success of a PPC campaign is determined by many factors. Most of them you can influence, some are a little harder to control (See: Google's Quality Score and Google's AdWords Ranking Explained).

But there are some key ingredients every Pay-Per-Click campaign administrator should implement.

  • Be relevant.
    The better structured your AdGroups are, containing only the most relevant keywords for the ads in this group, the better the performance will be. Users and Google alike will reward you: users by choosing and clicking on your ad and Google by raising your Quality Score and lowering your CPC.
  • Understand the keyword matching types perfectly. Know when to use broad, phrase, exact, negative and negative embedded match options and their implications.
  • Use the keywords from the search query in your ad.
    This works best with tightly structured AdGroups, and can also be done via Dynamic Keyword Matching. But be careful, otherwise you might risk ending up with really stupid combinations (But you might make it onto the Funniest Google Ads list).
  • Research the competition.
    See what they are doing. Spy on them (they are spying on you, too). Read their headlines, their ads, check out their websites. If the bids are too high for a specific keyword they're using, find a new one.
  • Never send a user to your homepage.
    You can send him to a different page for every keyword. Take advantage of this option.
  • Have different landing pages for different ads.
    If the user is searching for "red square boxes" don't send him to the boxes overview page.
  • Optimize your landing pages.
    Make it as clear as possible that this page contains exactly what the user has been looking for. Don't make him guess if he is on right page for "red square boxes" — tell him.
  • Use the headline wisely.
    It's hard to create an attention-grabbing headline within 25 characters. But it can be done.
  • Have your ads contain a clear Value Proposition and/or Call To Action.
    Offer free shipping, 10% off the first order, money back guarantee. This week only. Anything that adds value to your copy and grabs the user's attention. Something that sets you apart from the competition. Don't forget to repeat the value proposition on your landing page.
  • Don't lie in your ads.
    You better deliver what you promise in your ad. Otherwise you are not only wasting money, but could also damage your reputation. Word travels fast on the internet.
  • Do not forget to use negative keywords.
    If the user was searching for "red rectangular boxes" but all you are selling are "square boxes" there's no need to show him your ad. Keep your CTR and your conversion rates high by excluding certain terms.
  • Test, test, test. Rinse, repeat.
    Don't think it works, know it works. Experts are surprised when testing new versions they were convinced would work, fail. We all tried, failed, and tried something new, something better. That's the beauty of testing. It doesn't matter what you think works, the users decide. Get rid of what doesn't work.
  • Measure the results.
    Not monitoring and measuring the results of your campaign is a crime. A crime against a potentially higher conversion rate, a crime against higher profits, a crime against your budget. Looking at a campaign twice a month is not enough, but expecting to collect measurable and reliable data within 4 hours isn't either. Be patient but determined.
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