Pay-per-click best practices: Planning, building, bidding, and beyond

Blog post image

Managing multiple pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns is tough. How tough? Well, according to PPCsurvey’s The State of PPC Global Report 2022, agencies face several major challenges:

  • 18% cited client issues like unrealistic expectations or a lack of cooperation

  • 16% reported difficulties caused by slow, buggy ad platforms

  • 10% said poorly performing campaigns were their biggest challenge

While we may not be able to soothe your clients' ruffled feathers for you, or make updates to buggy ad platforms, we can help you make your PPC campaigns run smoothly and perform better. 

How? Check out our nine best practices below to help your agency build effective PPC campaigns that get your clients the results they want.

1) Clearly define your goals and plan project tasks accordingly

Goals are always the best place to start. The key thing to remember is that your goals should be as clear and concrete as possible — like measurably improving brand awareness, or improving your clickthrough rate by a certain amount. 

These are the kind of goals that will direct your next steps. For example, if your client wants to improve brand awareness, that means getting those ads out in front of more people, which comes with its own set of tasks. But if you want to improve your client’s clickthrough rate, you’ll need to plan out a different set of tasks to make ads more enticing. 

Need help creating goals and planning tasks? Try Teamwork. We're an app built specifically for agencies, which means you can manage multiple client projects while using tools to break each project down into manageable lists of tasks and subtasks. 

Learn more about what we can do for agencies like yours here.

2) Establish a viable budget

Whether you're a small agency or a large one with thousands of clients, managing your PPC budget is vital. A cost overrun here, a little extra spent over there — too much of this, and you could find your profits slipping away.

So, how much should your PPC budget be? That answer will depend on your clients and their needs. But, consider this: Businesses spend an average of $9,000 to $10,000 per month on PPC marketing campaign management. 

You’ll need to look at the size of the business, its industry, overall marketing spend, and other factors to determine not only what is affordable, but viable. In other words, aim for a number that gets your client the greatest return on their investment with your agency.

Below, we’ll explore some factors to think about that will help you arrive at the right number.

Blog post image

Factors to consider in establishing a PPC budget

  • Cost-per-click (CPC): The average price you pay for each click on your client's ads, calculated by dividing the cost of your paid campaign by the number of clicks.

  • Conversion rate: The number of people who click an ad, then convert (become a paying customer). Higher conversion rates mean more paying customers, which justifies PPC spending.

  • Business goals: Goals play a big part in determining a PPC budget. For example, a client merely wanting to generate great leads may be willing to spend more than one who simply wants to use PPC marketing to increase website traffic.

  • Competition: The higher the competition, the more you’ll spend. If you’re targeting high-performing keywords with a lot of competition, you’ll need to increase the PPC budget to be more competitive.

3) Track the right metrics

We’re living in a data-driven world these days — and there are dozens of metrics you could be tracking. But, remember this: Too much data can be just as bad as not enough. Rather than drowning in analytics, just focus on those that are most important. The top three are below.

Clickthrough rate

An ad’s clickthrough rate (CTR) is the number of times that ad has been clicked on divided by the number of times it’s been shown. This metric is crucial because it’s a simple measurement that tells you how enticing the ad is.

Conversion rate

After the clickthrough rate, your conversion rate is the next most important piece of the puzzle. In PPC marketing, conversion rates are the number of clicks that become paying customers. So, if an ad generates 100 clicks in a month, and 10 of those clicks “convert” into paying customers, you have a conversion rate of 10% for the month on that ad.

Cost per conversion

Cost per conversion (CPC) is the metric that tells you how profitable your PPC campaign is. To get this number, add up the number of conversions your ad campaign generates in a month. Divide the monthly ad spend by the number of conversions to find out how much each conversion cost.

4) Conduct thorough keyword research

Digital marketing campaigns of all kinds — from content marketing to social media marketing — revolve around keywords. PPC ad campaigns are no different. In PPC marketing, ads revolving around a target keyword are shown each time someone searches for that keyword. This means that to make a PPC campaign successful, you’ll need to identify the keywords that give your client the visibility you want while staying within budget. Also, don't forget that including negative keyword lists can optimize your keyword strategy, stopping your ads from displaying to the wrong audience.

Tips for keyword research

  • Use longtail keywords wherever possible. They’re often less competitive than highly targeted short keywords — but since many searches, especially voice searches, rely on questions and phrases, they still bring in plenty of traffic.

  • Use negative keywords to help filter out the wrong kind of traffic. If your PPC campaign is focusing on messenger bags, you can use negative keywords for handbags to exclude your ad from those searches.

  • Use match types. This helps cast a wider net or narrow your focus so that you’re pulling in not just more traffic, but the right traffic. 

In Google Ads, you can use any of the different keyword match types, from broad match to exact match, to tailor where your ads appear in search engine results. Learning what the client's competition is up to is important not only so you can see where their successes are, but also so that you can learn from their mistakes. 

  • Once you’ve developed a keyword list, put them to work. Then monitor them continuously to test and optimize. Keep the high-performing keywords, replace those that aren’t performing, and repeat this process to keep improving.

5) Write compelling ad copy

Compelling ad copy is copy that not only grabs the attention, but holds it. It’s not enough to get someone’s attention if all they do is glance at your client's ad, then keep scrolling. They need to look, click, and then hopefully convert. When your ad copy is compelling, you’ll see the numbers of clicks and conversions go up.

Blog post image

Tips for writing great ad copy

  • Start with an attention-grabbing headline that hooks searchers and invites them to read the rest of the ad.

  • Avoid passive language. Use action-oriented language that motivates and inspires.

  • Use numbers and statistics where possible to provide proof of the things your ad copy asserts.

  • Keep your copy concise to improve the chances that people read it. People are inundated with things to read these days — and they’re short on time. 

  • Consider your target audience — and use that information to create copy that is near and dear to their collective heart. Emotional appeals make copy relatable. 

  • Create strong, clear calls to action (CTAs) designed to encourage users to make a specific action — click, sign up for a free download, make a purchase, and so on.

6) Optimize your landing pages

Landing pages should be a big part of your PPC marketing strategy — and that’s because this is where your client's potential customers will land after clicking your ads. 

Optimizing them means two things: Fully SEO-optimizing landing pages according to your overall marketing project plan, and optimizing each landing page to be compelling enough to convert seekers into buyers. The list below will show you the key elements that landing pages need to be compelling and effective.

What makes an effective landing page?

  • Focus landing page content on subject material that matches the ad that points to it.

  • Use strong, contextual images that pull viewers in and keep them interested.

  • Create a strong headline and sub-headline that hooks readers.

  • Outline the features and benefits of the product or service in clear, strong terms.

  • Add social proof in the form of testimonials or other trust symbols to back up features and benefits.

  • Create a focused, singular call-to-action that directs users to make a specific activity.

7) Identify retargeting opportunities

Global average conversion rates for websites hover around 2%, give or take a few decimal points depending on the month. In other words, for every 100 visitors a site gets, two will buy, and the other 98 will bounce. It’s these 98 who are bouncing that you’re targeting with retargeting.

Retargeting (also known as remarketing) lets you reach out to these past visitors.

It works like this: Each time someone visits your client's site, Google Ads collects their data and adds it to a list. From there, you can go into your Google Ads account and set up retargeted ads so that as past visitors are browsing online, your ads pop up to encourage them to remind them of your client's brand. 

Many PPC marketers use retargeting to offer incentives or discounts. Since people who have visited your client’s site have already expressed an interest, this little bit of extra motivation might be just what is needed to make the conversion.

Now that you know how it works, you’ll need to learn how to identify retargeting opportunities. Follow these steps:

  • Look at pages where visitors are spending time to see what they find most interesting.

  • Check on abandoned shopping carts to learn which shoppers are not completing purchases.

  • Identify the customers who have interacted with specific campaigns.

  • Put the above information together to identify customer segments for which you can create targeted remarketing ads.

8) Consistently A/B test different elements of your campaign

A/B testing involves testing different versions of the same element against each other to see which one does better than the other. This should be a crucial part of optimizing your PPC campaign for the best results.

So, what elements should you test? Start with the list below.

Elements to assess for A/B testing

  • Ad copy

  • Landing pages

  • Calls to action

  • Targeting options

  • Bid amounts

  • Ad formats

  • Ad placement

  • Ad extensions

9) Utilize ad extensions

Google Ads offers ad extensions — and they’re a tool that you should definitely add to your search campaigns. They help you provide more information to target customers and increase your client's visibility in search query results. Those two things together can help you ramp up your PPC strategy to make it even more profitable.

Be sure to add the following ad extensions to your marketing project planning process:

  • Sitelink extensions ad links beneath the ad’s main copy to direct people to specific parts of a site, making it easy for people to find what they’re looking for (and increasing your clickthrough rate).

  • Call extensions add a brand’s phone number to the ad, which is especially important for users on mobile devices who can simply tap the number to make the call.

  • Location extensions add the brand’s location to its own line in the ad, which helps people quickly and easily locate in-person businesses.

  • Callout extensions are short, 25-character text snippets that can provide important context like selling points, information on discounts and deals, or other key information.

  • Structured snippets help you highlight products, services, or features that users want, which can dramatically increase the clickthrough rate.

  • Promotion extensions draw attention to sales and deals through an extra line of copy, which helps capture users’ interest.

  • Lead form extensions tweak ads to display a link to the brand’s contact form below the ad, which makes it easy for e-commerce clients to generate leads.

  • Image extensions make display ads more attention-grabbing by adding a small image to the ad.

As you can see, each ad extension adds something new and valuable to specific ads. And on top of everything else that PPC advertising entails, it’s a lot of detail to manage. That’s why tools like Teamwork are so valuable to marketing teams. 

Check out our platform to see how we can help your marketing agency automate workflows, plan and track projects, and easily manage all the fine details of optimizing a PPC campaign. 

Nail your PPC campaigns for your clients with Teamwork

PPC campaigns are challenging, with lots of elements to track and manage and a myriad of tasks that need to be done in order to create the best possible ROI for your clients. Teamwork is here to help you with automation, workload planning, project planning and management, resource scheduling, and more so that you can stay on top of multiple PPC campaigns at once.

Sign up for free today to give Teamwork a try!

Related Articles
View all