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How to Launch Your First AdWords PPC Campaign

Published March 9, 2017
There’s a first time for everything.
The first time you tried caviar and discovered it’s an acquired taste. The first time you drove a new car and figured out just how sensitive the brakes are. Every time you try something new, there’s a learning curve and nothing is perfect right out of the gate.
In PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, when you’re diving in for the first time, the amount of information can quickly become overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’ll walk you through getting started.
While there are countless settings in the backend of Google AdWords to fine-tune campaigns, you should begin by seeing the setup process as a series of high-level steps. You won’t become a seasoned PPC account manager overnight. That takes time and experience. But you can begin wading into the waters with an AdWords account and building a basic campaign.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to work with a client to understand their goals and plan out a paid search campaign. Let’s start by talking with your client about their business.

 

How To Launch Your First AdWords PPC Campaign

 

Learn Your Client’s Goals

At the onset of any campaign, take time to learn about your client’s business operations and goals. You can’t start building a successful campaign without understanding how your client perceives their business. Sit down and ask open-ended questions like:

  • Who is your target customer?
  • What are your goals for the coming year (revenue growth, geographic expansion, etc.)?
  • What’s your typical sales cycle, or how long does an average consumer interact with your product/service before making a decision to purchase?
  • Why should customers choose you instead of your competitors?
  • What offers have worked in the past to attract new customers?

From these questions you can get a sense of what metrics matter to your client and how to manage both your and your client’s expectations in terms of behavior and timing.

Research & Categorize Keywords

Once you have a decent understanding of your client’s business, you can move to the research phase of the campaign. Start researching keywords to determine how people are phrasing searches that are relevant to the business.

To conduct your research, Google offers access to Keyword Planner for anyone who’s signed up for an AdWords account. You can type in words or phrases to see average search volume, expected costs per click, and suggestions for similar queries.

 

AdWords Keyword Planner

 

Other useful keyword research tools include paid options like SEMrush and free options like Ubersuggest. Once you’ve determined a list of keywords relevant to your target audience, organize these into similar themes, which will form the foundation of ad groups.

For instance, a bakery’s keyword selection may segment cakes for different occasions into categories like the following:

Wedding Cake

  • wedding cake bakery
  • wedding cakes near me
  • wedding cake design
  • wedding cake cost

Birthday Cake

  • custom birthday cake
  • birthday cakes near me
  • birthday cake delivery
  • order birthday cake

The keyword selections for these campaigns may evolve as you get further into the campaign and begin to learn more from seeing how people react and which keywords are working, which are not. Also, stay observant to which unexpected search queries may show up that can inspire new groups and new content.

Write Ad Copy

Once you’ve categorized keywords, you can begin writing ad copy. Note that within AdWords campaign structure, an ad group contains a set of ads and a set of keywords, with the ads eligible to show when any of the keywords are searched. Ideally, you should include at least two ads in each ad group, varying copy or landing pages. By rotating ads against each other, you can determine which tactics are most effective for driving qualified clicks and, ultimately, conversions.

AdWords now requires all ads to be written in the new Expanded Text Ad format, with two 30-character headlines followed by a single 80-character description line. You can also add two URL paths, up to 15 characters each.

Headline 1 - Headline 2
Description
url.com/path1/path2

Make sure that your ad copy closely aligns with the keywords in the respective ad group. Users are most likely to click an ad that relates closely to the term they searched. For instance, say a user searches for “Custom Birthday Cake” and sees one headline simply mentioning “Local Bakery” and another actually saying “Custom Birthday Cakes,” that user’s obviously most likely to click the birthday cake ad. In addition, Google determines Quality Score (a factor that affects where ads appear in search results and how much you actually pay for clicks) in part based on keyword relevance to ad copy.

For more PPC ad writing tactics, see Wordstream’s article on best practices.

Build Your Campaign

Once you have your ad group structure, keywords, and ad copy ready, you can begin building a campaign in AdWords. When you start a new campaign, pay attention to key settings, which will affect how your ads are targeted and how you reach your audience.

 

AdWords Campaign Settings

 

Geography

Note that all location targeting is set on the campaign level within AdWords. You can type in countries, states, counties, metro areas, cities, or zip codes, as well as defining a radius around a select location. Ultimately, you can combine multiple forms of targeting to reach the exact geography you want.

Budgeting & Bidding

You’ll also set a default bid and establish a daily budget from this screen. When initially researching a campaign, Keyword Planner will show recommended estimates. Start with a conservative overall average bid from your research. For a daily budget, enter the maximum amount you’re willing to pay per day (divide by 30 if you’re working with a monthly budget). Be aware that you may spend slightly more than your daily budget if search volume is heavy, but AdWords will ensure you don’t spend above a set monthly amount.

Ad Extensions

In addition to the default ad copy, you can include a number of ad extensions that will show beneath your ads at Google’s discretion. These help to provide additional options for people to click through to your site as well as simply enhancing the visibility of your ad by taking up additional screen real estate. You’ll see these options during the campaign setup process and can also access them from the main interface’s Ad Extensions tab.

 

AdWords PPC Ad Extensions

 

Some of the available extensions include:

  • Location Extensions: show a street address that’s clickable to Google Maps
  • Call Extensions: show a trackable phone number that allows users to call directly from search results
  • Message Extensions: allow users to text a business directly from search results
  • Sitelink Extensions: show links to additional sections of your site
  • Callout and Structured Snippet Extensions: highlight additional features and selling points
  • Price Extensions: show costs for products or services
  • Review Extensions: highlight a quote about the brand from a third-party site

Ad Scheduling

If you only want ads to show up during certain times, you can define these periods down to the hour. For instance, you may want to show ads only during business hours for a B2B service. You can always change these times later if performance indicates that a certain time isn’t working so well or if you want to expand. You can also use bid adjustments to adjust bids up or down for various times so ads are more or less likely to show.

 

AdWords Scheduling Your Ads

 

Conclusion

Now, once you’ve established your campaign, you can build out ad groups incorporating the ads and keywords you’ve researched and written. The next step is letting the campaign run and accumulate data. As you go, you’ll need to adjust bids, research new keywords, and identify new opportunities to test ad copy. You’ll also want to clearly report on the campaign’s effectiveness; for more on that, see our article on Determining What Data to Include in a PPC Report. If you want to get a running start, you can always take the AdWords Certification before taking on PPC responsibilities. It’s no substitute for real world experience, but it will give you a solid foundation. Remember, everyone who is a PPC pro started somewhere. Whether it’s your first campaign or your one-hundredth, there’s always more to discover.

ALSO IN THIS BLOG

When the client first came to you, you talked up the value of Google Analytics. You emphasized the importance of seeing where your traffic was coming from. You went on and on about how Google Analytics can show traffic sources to pinpoint whether people came from search, social media or a specific site referral, and how valuable this data was. You sold them on it, so much so that your client looked forward to receiving that first report, the magical day when they would finally understand where visitors were coming from.
But then the report came, and it looked like this:

 

 

It showed that 10% of your client’s traffic came from “(direct)/(none)”. What does this label mean? How do you explain Direct traffic to your client? Better yet, how do you explain “none”?
Let’s take a closer look at understanding Direct traffic in Google Analytics and how we can address it with clients.
Digital marketers spend a lot of time focused on PPC and SEO campaigns in order to drive desirable traffic to a website. The phrases we’re ranking for and bidding on get meticulous attention, so much so that we often forget about some of the other ways that visitors find us.

We put a tremendous amount of the effort we put into reviewing organic search data and PPC campaign performance in analytics. But how closely do we monitor referral reports?

If that’s not a channel you review regularly, you may be missing out on seeing traffic that is coming directly from links you’ve obtained around the web, local business listings, news mentions, and more. Many times, links are only considered as a means to an end, a metric that Google uses in determining how to rank sites in the SERPs (search engine results pages). But the fact is, many of a site’s links may be directly contributing to its traffic.

In this article, we’ll review how to look at referral reports in Google Analytics, and some of the many ways to use that data to better inform your web marketing decisions.

 

Remember how your mom told you not to stand too close to the television because it might hurt your eyes?

The same rules can apply to data. If you’re too close, you may miss the patterns and trends that are crucial to understanding your website’s performance. You can’t judge a site’s performance looking at data in the bubble of a single day, you must consider any day’s traffic compared to the days before and after.

Google Analytics makes it fairly easy to analyze trends over long periods of time. But it also allows you to stand right in front of that TV, to look at more granular levels of time, right down to the hour.
There’s a better way to get that close to the data, without burning your retinas. We’ll cover how to analyze traffic effectively in today’s post.