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Planning Your First PPC Campaign

by: Peter Palmer Digital Strategist

This is the first post in a new series on our blog, “Introduction to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Campaigns.” In this series, we’ll provide need-to-know tips in developing and implementing a successful PPC campaign for your business.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising can either be a productive, online lead generation machine or nothing more than a money pit depending on how it is set up and managed. There are multiple PPC channels, including Google, Bing & Yahoo, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter to name a few, which open the doors to prospective customers in the most targeted and measurable way possible.

The biggest strength of PPC is that it levels the playing field for any business competing in the market for new customers no matter how big or small they are. However, if there is no strategy, research, or management behind it, all it does is costs a business money.

The good thing, though, is that there is a clear path to ensuring that you get a return on the money invested into this market of hundreds, thousands, sometimes millions (dependent on budget size and business type) of potential customers that will view your ads each month.

In this blog post, we will look at how to set-up a PPC campaign that performs right off the bat.

Goal and KPI Setting

As with any marketing or advertising campaign, goal setting is really important. As the advertiser, you should decide what your goal is early on, because this will determine whether or not you are able to measure the success of the campaign. Usually PPC campaign goals come down to two things – Brand Awareness and/or Lead Generation.

Once you know what goal you are trying to reach, ask yourself how you are going to measure it. If you’re interested in brand exposure, you might be primarily concerned with the number of people that are seeing your ad and brand name in each day, in addition to generating an increase in the number of visitors to your website. If you’re concerned with lead generation, then you will probably want to capture customer data for future follow up or maybe even a cold, hard sale.

Your goals and KPIs will determine how you set up the campaign, and measure its performance. So get this right early on. Failing to do this will make it difficult to measure your return on investment.

Make Sure the Foundation Is There

To set up a cost-effective PPC campaign you should start with thinking about how you are going create a strong foundation, which will ensure efficiency and effectiveness. While some businesses opt to connect a page on their website to their ads, a specific landing page with relevant content relating to the campaign goal is ideal.

A successful campaign will be founded upon a landing page that is relevant to your ad copy and overall messaging. When creating this landing page, as yourself, does it use the same tone, context, keywords, and calls-to-action? This is important to answer, as all of these factors determine how costly your ads are on a click-by-click basis. If you don’t have a solid foundation, which in this case is a landing page with content that has a high degree of relevancy to the ad itself, then your costs will be much higher than they should be.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is at the heart of any successful PPC campaign. Choosing the wrong keywords and using the wrong keyword match types (which we’ll talk about in another blog post) can result in costs spiraling out of control. They are also what provide the relevance between the ads and the landing pages that they link to, which, as we just discussed, is also important for keeping costs down.

When researching keywords it’s important to think about context. This is a significant part of what Google ultimately wants to achieve – the best results for its users. When considering context in the world of B2B and B2C sales, you should consider the customer buying cycle. What keywords a prospective customer is searching for at the beginning of their research for your service/product will be drastically different from what they search for when they are about to make a decision.

Customer location should also be a consideration, especially for local businesses or businesses with an international presence. The more targeted you are able to be with your keyword research and choices, the more refined your campaign will be. Ultimately, that will translate into making your advertising dollars work harder for you.

Don’t forget these keyword research tips! They could cost you a lot of wasted dollars if you do.


Now that you’ve set goals, laid the campaign foundation, and completed your keyword research, it’s time to get creative with your ad and landing page content. Remember that you’re effectively selling in the world’s biggest market. What will you say to ensure your voice is heard above the others? What are you going to offer to visitors that click on your ads that other businesses aren’t offering already?

The nature of Google’s ad platform requires you to be creative. You only have a certain number of characters to play with when writing your ads, so you should make sure that you deliver your message and call-to-action creatively and concisely. There are other advanced features that you can activate in your ads to boost engagement rates with potential visitors before they even click your ad, which we will explore in a later post.

Once visitors click through to your landing page, you have a second chance to engage them further and convert them into a lead. You have your own blank canvas to do this with text, images, videos, and calls-to-action that are so compelling that the visitor has no choice but to submit their details via a contact form, fed straight to your lead database.

Be sure to use your researched keywords intelligently to create relevancy and context between your ads and the landing pages to ensure that visitors aren’t questioning why they clicked on your ad in the first place.


This is perhaps the most important part of setting up a PPC campaign. This should tie back to the goals of your campaign and is an essential part of determining whether your campaign is successful enough to give a return on investment. So you can’t afford to get this wrong!

Google and the other PPC advertising platforms allow advertisers to track the success of their campaigns by adding a simple snippet of code to the website, which sends that all-important campaign and conversion data back to your reporting platform.

By navigating to the “Tools” option in the menu and selecting “Conversions” you can complete the process of setting up your goal tracking. Here you can select to track:

  1. Website-based conversion actions, such as lead/contact form submissions
  2. App downloads
  3. Phone calls originating from your campaign ads

Simply select which conversion goal is most relevant to your campaign requirements and generate the conversion tracking code that you will need to paste into the landing pages you wish to track.

In the next post we will look at how to set up a campaign using the different options in “Settings” to ensure that your campaign is as targeted and engaging as possible – both essential for success.