I am a strong believer that building PPC campaigns right the first time will save you money and hours of optimization time down the road.
Don't just set out aimlessly building your campaign. Have a plan. Have a strategy. You have to think long-term. Once you build your PPC campaign, you are going to have to manage it. The WAY you build it will dictate how easy or hard it will be to manage.
On a high-level, you need to BUILD your campaigns, then MANAGE them.
So how do you build successful pay-per-click campaigns?
By first understanding what the PPC build process entails, then coming up with a plan of attack to complete each process.
The PPC Build Process
- Perform keyword research
- Identifying negative keywords (optional but recommended)
- Group your keywords
- Write your ads
This process doesn't look like much but trust me, each step could take many hours if you do this manually in the Adwords and Bing Ads interface. Even with advanced tools like Adwords Editor, Bing Ads Editor and Excel, you will find yourself spending many hours applying advanced filters, manually grouping keywords, manually creating ad groups, and writing a lot of ads. I don't know about you but I hate doing things manually. I'm a systems and processes kind of guy.
That's one of the reasons I built PPC Campaign Generator.
After years of building PPC campaigns by hand manually using Excel and Adwords Editor, I created PPC Campaign Generator software. The program breaks down the PPC build process into a step-by-step roadmap that complete beginners with no prior experience can follow to build high-quality PPC campaigns. The software has helped hundreds of agencies, small business owners and affiliates build PPC campaigns faster and easier.
PPC Campaign Generator software breaks the PPC build process down into steps - Keyword Research, Grouper, Groups, Ads.
On the keyword research tab, you type a few keywords into the program and PPC Campaign Generator will find more similar to the ones you typed in. This helps you build huge keywords lists with ease.
After you find your keywords, you next step is to group them into groups using three keyword grouping tools on the Grouper tab. While grouping keywords, you will also identify keywords you know you don't want to bid on. PPC Campaign Generator helps you identify negatives this way.
With all your keywords grouped, you can do some clean-up on the groups tab and assign destination URLs. After that, you head to the Ads tab to generate ad copy for each group. At this point, you are essentially done. You just generate the results and use Adwords Editor to import your freshly built campaign.
This is the process that the typical PPC marketer goes through every time they build a PPC campaign. Using PPC Campaign Generator, you can build PPC campaigns in half the time using a systematic, repeatable process.
The PPC Management Process
- Mine search queries for negative keywords
- Define bid management rules
- Execute bid management changes
- Ad copy testing plan
PPC management also entails mining your search terms (query) reports to identify actual search queries that triggered your ad resulting in clicks that you pay for. To identify potentially negative keywords, I've created a negative keyword tool (warning! It's pretty complex) in Excel that can be used to identify keywords with low probability of converting.
Most successful ppc campaigns are not just built and forgot about. You need to manage your campaigns, ads, and keywords. In order to manage anything, this requires you to come up with a campaign management strategy. Start by defining what your goals are. In most cases it's maximizing conversions while minimizing cost-per-conversion. This assumes you have conversion tracking set up. If that's your definition of 'Success', you will want to formulate bid rules that align with your PPC goals.
In Adwords Editor and Bing Ads Editor, you can save these bid rules and download statistics for any time period to make bulk bid changes to your account.
Ad copy testing will require you to make ad pause/delete decisions. You need to decide whether to base the decision on highest CTR or highest conversion rate.
Arguments can be made towards both:
- Keep the ad running with the highest CTR because it will get shown more and deliver more clicks than the lower CTR ads
- Keep the ad running with the highest conversion rate regardless of CTR because this ad achieves your business objectives
Of course, you have to consider statistical significance based on the number of clicks. Think of a click as a trial. Every time you get a click, that's 1 chance that you had to convert that visitor into a customer. If you don't have enough clicks on your ads to make data-driven decisions, you may want to let the ads accumulate enough clicks.
How many clicks is enough to be considered statistically significant?
I've heard some crazy answers to this question from paid search managers in very high positions career-wise. One paid search manager told me they use 30 clicks as the threshold. Another paid search marketer told me they use 1,000 clicks. Another crazy marketer told me they don't use clicks but use 1,000 impressions instead.
The problem to answering this question is that it costs a ton of money (huge budgets) over large periods of time to have enough data to derive what people refer to as 'statistical significance'. When you are a small advertiser, you don't have massive budgets to play around with and don't generally care about being 'statistically' correct. You just want a rule of thumb to use while managing your PPC campaigns.
That's why, I say as a rule of thumb, use 100 clicks.
If clicks are cheap in your industry, then I'd recommend perhaps 200 clicks since your risk is lowered by the fact that your CPCs are low.
If clicks in your industry are $5.00 or greater, I'd recommend you use 100 clicks as a good rule of thumb on each ad before you make a pause/delete decision.