There are some key elements when setting up your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign that can make the difference between a campaign with a below average and good level of performance. These elements are:
- Location targeting
- Ad scheduling
- Ad extensions
- IP Exclusions
It’s well worth putting in the time up front to refine these elements to ensure your campaign gets off to a great start.
At any point in your campaign set up it’s worth the time going into the “Locations” set-up within “Settings” to refine the geographical targeting of your ads. This will ensure your ads meet the most relevant audiences and help you to avoid wasted expenditure of what can be sometimes limited daily budgets for those just looking to test and experiment with PPC.
In the Locations setting, you can add the geographical locations that your target audience live in. Furthermore, you can add locations you don’t want your ads to show in to an exclusions list. Once you have your geographic targeting finalized, be sure to navigate into the “All Settings” area of the campaign set-up to make one last adjustment to the “Location options (advanced)” setting. To ensure the campaign is targeted according to the preferences you have just selected in the previous step, ensure that the “Target” option is set to “People in my targeted location” and the “Exclude” option is set to “People in my excluded location”.
There can be times in the day that your target audience are most likely to be viewing your ads. One such example comes from a campaign that we’ve recently worked on for a client in the Education sector. Our research showed that the target audience, which in this case was teachers, was most active in the mornings before classes started, lunch times, and in the early evenings.
While it makes sense for some businesses (especially in the B2C sectors) to adopt an always-on approach to their campaigns, it also makes sense for other businesses to target their ads to established times of the day that their target audience is most active online. This will, again, assist in minimizing unnecessary expenditure of that precious ad budget.
Within the campaign “Settings” area, navigate to the “Ad schedule” section and customize your schedule by adding the day and hours of the day that you would like your campaign on. If you are unsure of the most common days/times that your target audience is active online, then you can leave this setting for the first month until you have enough data to inform any adjustments you want to make to the ad scheduling later on. This data can be gathered from the “Dimensions” menu tab.
Ad extensions are great enhancements to the look and messaging of your ad that can be added without taking away from the already limited character limits associated with the ad text. Not only can they improve the visibility of your ads, taking precedence in the search results over other ads that don’t use them, they can also help improve the campaign return on investment (ROI) if used correctly. The additional information can help increase click-through-rates (CTR), which means more clicks and visitors.
So, what additional information can you include by using ad extensions?
- Site links - add links to other key pages on your website to help your audience find what they’re looking for and drive engagement with your brand
- Location extensions - show your audience the nearest location of your business, your phone number, and a map marker to offer directions
- Call extensions - enable your target audience to click a call button on your ad to immediately contact you. This is a great feature for mobile ads
- App extensions - this link that appears below your ad directs your audience to the app store to download your business app
- Review extensions - add your best quoted or paraphrased, third party reviews using this extension to help drive higher CTRs
- Call out extensions - call-outs are additional snippets of information that you can add about your product or offer - another great way of increasing CTRs.
- Structured snippet extensions - activating this extension allows Google to automatically show additional details about your landing page or website content
IP exclusions are a simple and effective setting to activate in your campaign set up. It’s used to limit ads showing to networks that aren’t likely to be used by your potential customers, which can include employees within your business or organization that may curiously click on an ad and subsequently waste part of your precious daily ad spend. However, it can also be used to prevent competitors from clicking your ads and maliciously depleting your ad budget for the day, so that their own ads can gain more exposure. Sounds like an unethical and far fetched scenario, but it does happen.
So now you’ve planned and set up your PPC campaign and it’s ready to go live. What next? In our final post in this series we'll look at how to optimize your campaign performance, so that you can continue building on your success and maximize your return on investment.