Marketing

14 Tips for Planning and Boosting Your PPC Campaign Performance

Looking to up your PPC game? Hear from our 50+ experts about types of PPC campaigns and how to boost your PPC campaign performance.

Archita Sharma Archita Sharma on November 10, 2020 (last modified on November 9, 2020) • 21 minute read

Imagine entering a market where you absolutely have no idea where your audience would be and your marketing needs a kickstart. That’s where PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising can help. 

With PPC, you pay only for the users that land on your website. Isn’t that a good way to start to acquire a new set of customers?

Let’s find out together.

In this guide, we’ll talk about what is a PPC campaign, the different types of PPC campaigns, how to plan a good PPC campaign, and walk you through the tips for boosting your PPC campaign performance. 

What is PPC?

PPC – Pay Per Click, is an advertising model where businesses can place ads on an ad network to attract their audience and pay the network for every click they receive on their ad. 

“The most effective form of online marketing is PPC advertising. It brings targeted and qualified traffic to your website”, says Dennis Bell of Byblos Coffee.

How Do You Plan a PPC Campaign?

Planning an entire PPC campaign can be made easy with the help of a combination of talent and tools. 

It starts with brainstorming the goal of the campaign, understanding which network and type of ads to run (search, display, or retargeting), structuring your keywords, working on your budget, creating your ad copies and creatives, launching, and finally, reporting tools to understand your campaign metrics.

Jennifer Willy of Etia, adds “A smartly made Pay Per Click Campaign (PPC) can give you increased traffic, leads, revenue, and ultimately, customers. For this, some important tips include using the targeted keyword tool, writing improved ad copies, and creating an effective landing page.”

Editor’s Note: Want to track your PPC campaign performance with ease? Use this free Google Ads PPC performance dashboard template to get a holistic view of your most important ad metrics, including cost-per-click, click-through rate and impressions, and so much more.

Google Ads PPC Performance Dashboard Template

What is a Good PPC Conversion Rate?

Most experts agree that the average PPC conversion rate across all industries is 3.75% for search and around 0.77% for display networks. However, the right answer to this question is – it depends on your industry. Some industries have a conversion rate as high as 9% for search, while others go below 2%. So, in order to determine what’s a good PPC conversion rate for your campaign, refer to your industry averages.

If your PPC conversion rates are below the industry averages, you should put in some extra effort to improve those rates. Fortunately, in this post, we’ll share some useful tips to increase your PPC conversion rate, so you know where to start.

How Many Types of PPC Campaigns Are There?

Based on the nature of targeting, PPC campaigns can be any of the following: 

  • Search advertising
  • Display advertising
  • Social media advertising
  • Retargeting campaign
  • Sequential remarketing
  • Google Shopping

And they can further be divided based on the ad network – Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Bing, Yahoo, Reddit, etc.

Now, let’s deep dive into pro tips for boosting your PPC campaign performance.

Related: 11 Tips for Creating a Custom Google Ads Dashboard to Track PPC Performance

14 Tips for Boosting Your PPC Campaign Performance

1. Define your goals

Without knowing what you’d like to achieve from a PPC campaign, you won’t be able to set the process right, optimize it, and track results accordingly. 

David Toby of Pathfinder Alliance explains the need for a goal.

“Without a definite and measurable goal, you cannot optimize your PPC Campaigns. Your campaign goals are the foundation of your optimization process. That is why you need to ensure that you have a roadmap to follow before starting with PPC advertising.” And goals can vary from business to business. 

“Do you want to drive more traffic to your site or do you want to maximize leads, sales, downloads, and subscriptions? The optimization process of your PPC campaigns depends on the goals you are trying to achieve. After defining your goals, you’ll be able to compare your campaigns and see if you have reached the desired level or not.”

2. Keep experimenting with your variables

Meisha Bochicchio of Wistia highlights this interesting PPC campaign performance tip. 

“ABT – Always be testing! There are so many small variables that can be tweaked and tested over time. Ad copy, headlines, extensions, callouts, landing pages to every single element of an ad can and should be tested and optimized.”

Andrew B of SocialChimp explains further adds, “There are always additional performance improvements to be made, and failure to keep an ongoing testing regime in place results in potential money left on the table.”

“One thing that is common across all the different forms of PPC campaigns is ad copy. Think about it. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about Google Ads, LinkedIn, Facebook, or any of the other platforms. Ad copy has a huge role in getting the all-important ad click” says Mark Lennon of Espresso B2B Marketing

Test and optimize your ad copies

“Your ad is the only part of your entire PPC account searchers see but is often neglected in favor of changing keywords or trying out a new bid strategy. If you’re tweaking title tags and meta descriptions for SEO, you should be testing your ad copy for PPC”, says Mike Henderson of Surety Bonds.

Bradley Key of PatchMD adds further, “Experimenting on different ad copies gives you insights on which keywords work better with the other elements you have, such as the headline and call-to-action. It also gives you a much wider test sample, letting you know which variations yield better results and which ones you should ditch.”

Test based on audience type

Chris Lu of CopyAI adds, “Testing new audience-based copy can boost performance! New tools like Copy.ai allows marketers to create more relevant variants for specific target audiences.”

3. Avoid generic funnel targeting

“One tip to boost PPC campaign performance is to avoid all general top of the funnel targeting. General targeting includes broad words that don’t include your specific product or service. It also includes display ads that aren’t hyper-targeted to a niche. When you drive loosely interested traffic to your site, your conversion rate will be much lower so it will cost much more per sale” says, Stacy Caprio of AcneScar.org.

“The key to boost PPC performance is to target and drive hyper-targeted traffic to your site so it converts at a higher rate and lower cost per conversion”, adds Caprio.

Rob Sanders of Socially Found adds, “If you’re looking to improve the performance of your PPC campaigns, which can include average CPC and CPA, you really need to have a solid understanding of your target audience.”

How do you do this?

“Depending on the PPC advertising platform you are using, there are many options in the back end that can help narrow down to whom you are showing your ads. Where possible, break out each group or ad set into separate targeting options eg. interests, behaviors, topics, etc. as by grouping them all into one, you may not easily identify that one is working better than the others.”

4. Track your conversion rate

“You simply can’t optimize what you are unable to measure”, says Geoff Gurevich of AgencyPPC.

“To boost your PPC campaign performance, excellent (and complete) conversion tracking is needed. A large portion of PPC management is flowing budget towards top performance and away from poor performers. Without a feedback loop of whether a click met your goal (a purchase, phone call, contact form, etc.) you can’t distinguish what to pause or push on harder” adds Gurevich.

Max DesMarais of Hiking And Fishing explains, “If you want to make the right decisions, and not make decisions off of limited or unimportant data, you better be able to determine which keywords, which campaigns, and which ads are driving not just conversions, but actual business revenue.”

Marek Meiesaar of Holini adds a key point, “ Businesses must keep in mind that if they use conversion tracking that’s set up incorrectly, all of their optimization activities will be wrong. Invest time and money into making sure that conversion tracking is set up as well as it can be because that is the ABC where all high-performance campaigns start.”

5. Choose the right set of high-performance keywords

“One of the most important factors in PPC campaigns is choosing the right, high-performance keywords. Get a grip on which keywords have the highest click-through rate and work on them”, says Lukasz Zelenzy.

“See which keywords work locally if your client is in a different region. Consider using a VPN for that, so you can see for yourself which keywords work the best there. Surf the internet as a local for some time to get the idea of how that works. Then, make an effort to only choose the keywords that perform the most superb”, adds Zelenzy.

Another important note – “Pause keywords with poor performance. Make sure the keyword has had sufficient time and data in the ad group to back up the reason in pausing it”, says Moises Parada of Fidelitas Development.

Identify and target BOFU keywords

“PPC campaigns are primarily for conversion and lead generation so that means the marketers need to target those keywords that are possibly used for acquisitions. The bottom of the funnel (BOFU) keywords are those that visitors used to perform acquisition.

Marketers must identify these BOFU keywords that pass through the process of consideration and evaluation. This practice will help to hit the bullseye on the very first PPC campaign.

These keywords vary from industry to industry and may be costly to target but surely provide a boost to the conversion rate via PPC campaign”, says Bilal Uddin of Withintheflow.

Noelle Del Grippo explains why this practice is important. “You do not want to pay for clicks when a user is just learning about a topic. You should focus on targeting users who are looking to buy a product or services.”

“For example, if you were selling a medical device, would you bid on keywords for the conditions/diseases you focus on or bid on keywords focusing on the device product itself. Always check what the SERPs for the keywords you are bidding on. Are there results of educational articles or businesses that provide services? This should help you focus on what keywords to target.”

Editor’s note: With Google Ads – Ad Groups and Keywords Performance dashboard template, you can optimize ads based on keywords and search terms, and find negative search terms that are costing you money.

Google Ads – Ad Groups and Keywords Performance dashboard template

6. Eliminate negative keywords to drive more conversions

Louisa von Ingelheim of Louisa Ingelheim: Digital Marketing Consultant suggests to eliminate those searches that don’t drive your ultimate goal – conversions. Ingelheim says, “Be very diligent with your negative keyword list to minimize wasted spend. Always keep an eye on your search terms report and include any queries that don’t drive conversions.

“Creating a negative keyword list is an incredible way of optimizing the performance of your PPC campaigns. These negative keywords will ensure that your ads only appear in front of people that are looking for your specific offer. This way unwanted/irrelevant traffic is filtered, saving you money on your PPC budget”, says Carol Tompkins of AccountsPortal.

How do you eliminate negative keywords?

“Depending on the network your PPC campaign is on – search, display, or shopping – there are specific metrics that can inform optimization decisions. But, the cornerstone of optimizing most PPC campaigns is analyzing Search Term Reports. By understanding what search queries are driving relevant traffic to your ads, you can fine-tune both your keyword list and your negative keyword list to improve your ads’ performance”, says Jack Landess of Online Optimism.

Eric Bergman of Serendipit Consulting adds, “You should be checking these every 7-10 days. This report tells you exactly what people are searching for that is triggering your ads.”

Paul Franklin of SideGains details the process of this activity, “You can add “negative match keywords” at the account, campaign, and ad group level to ensure your ads don’t display for any searches that contain irrelevant keywords or phrases and terms that never convert.

Go through your keyword reports seeing the actual search phrases people use that trigger your ads and examine the number of impressions, clicks, and conversions they generate.

Make a note of any that are irrelevant to your business and those that don’t convert after 100 clicks or that convert with a negative ROI. Look at each phrase to determine if they should be excluded from triggering your ads or whether some tweak might make them profitable.

For any words or phrases, you decide are not something you want to buy clicks from, add them as a negative match.”

Another pro tip suggested by Patrick Garde of ExaWeb Corporation – “If your client is selling high-end products or services, make sure to add to your negative keyword list keywords like free, affordable, cheap, etc. This allows your ads to show only in the eyes of searches that are more likely interested in what you are offering.”

Let’s get deeper into this with a few examples:

Beth Cooper of KNB Communications explains, “As a healthcare marketing and public relations (PR) agency, we were getting traffic from people looking for healthcare information for Puerto Rico (PR). We’ve also added negative keywords like “jobs” and “cheap” because we are not trying to attract potential employees and our services are not value-price.”

Kimberly Smith of Clarify Capital says, “If you sell running shoes, for example, you want to make sure that people searching for hiking boots aren’t receiving your ads. Using negative keywords lets you eliminate words that might be related semantically to your ad, but aren’t a good match overall.”

Dennis Bell of Byblos Coffee concludes, “No matter what the shape and size of your business are, PPC advertising can help you gain higher visibility on search engines and boost conversion. By creating negative keywords, you can effectively improve the performance of your PPC campaigns and see desirable results.”

7. Avoid spending your PPC budget on weekends

When the whole world is tuned in the mood of a weekend, it might not be a great option for a B2B business to run ads. But it might be viable for the B2C industry. 

Kelly Jacobson of Mirabel Technologies highlights, “One tip to optimize the performance of each PPC campaign and get the most out of your budget is to decrease spending on weekends. Following the industry standard for social media posting and SEO, web users are less active on Saturday and Sunday. This will stretch your budget further when it matters.”

8. Utilize ad extensions in your ad copies

“Utilize ad extensions as they can showcase extra information about your product and services and improve your visibility and overall ROI”, suggests Avinash Chandra of BrandLoom

Here are some ideas on choosing the right ad extension:

  • Sitelinks extension
  • Call extension
  • App extension
  • Review extension

9. Understand your audience demographics and devices

“It’s important to understand your target demographics and what devices users most likely use to search,” says Tyler Tafelsky of Yisoo.

Tafelsky explains this in-depth and suggests to take into consideration your audience demographics and device usability. 

“With Bing, for instance, a vast majority of users represent an older demographic who largely use desktop computers versus tablets and mobile devices.

Implementing device bid adjustments to ensure ads appear prominently on those devices can help maximize CTR, and thereby improve the volume of conversions.

While Bing is a small fraction of the larger search share compared to Google, its users make up a highly-concentrated demographic of old folks with a little more money to spend.”

“Boost the effectiveness of your campaigns by adjusting your device bids. Go into your account and look at the device’s report. If you see that most of your conversions are usually coming from either mobile or desktop. So adjust your bid by decreasing your tablet bid by about 10% to start and increasing the other two by the same amount”, says Brad Ormsby of Colorstone Marketing.

Editor’s note: Need to track Bing Ads performance? This Bing Ads Overview Dashboard gives you an overview of all the key metrics in your Bing Ads account.

Bing Ads Overview Dashboard

10. Choose the right bidding strategy

“Choose the bidding option that best fits your marketing objectives and business goals.”

“This is an essential point that helps the system to focus on the conversions, action, or activity you prefer. Accordingly, the campaign is optimized and provides better performance”, says Vera Mirzoyan of Uteach

Nick Yee of Portent says, “You should always optimize your bidding strategy towards performance. Whether you are using target CPA or maximize clicks, try adjusting your current bidding strategy, like change what target CPA you want Google to achieve, or switch to a different bidding strategy completely.”

Editor’s note: If you wish to deep dive into PPC bidding strategy, check out our detailed guides on setting up a cost-effective Facebook Ads Bidding strategy and Google Ads Bidding strategy.

11. Setup high-converting landing pages

Landing page experience

User experience is equally important to wow them to convert. Jodie Cook of JC Social Media says, “Improve the landing page experience. Even the best-optimized PPC campaign can be undermined by a poor landing page. Provide a compelling value proposition and clearly signpost the next steps in order to boost conversion rates and drive down your cost per conversion.”

Jason Wong of Doelashes adds, “Make sure that all your pages are mobile-friendly. If your landing pages are ill-conceived you are fighting an uphill battle. Ads and pages need to be created in a way that accommodates each chosen device. That way each campaign and bidding strategy can be properly adjusted and be optimized to ensure more Pay Per Clicks.”

Customized PPC landing page optimized for conversions

Tom Mullaly of Working Funnel, LLC explains the need for a customized PPC campaign-specific landing page.

“ Unless you sell a single product or service, don’t send PPC traffic to your home page.

For e.g. Google Ads, as you make multiple campaigns/ad groups, each corresponding to a different service or product category you offer, you should send paid traffic to a page on your site dedicated to that service or product category”, says Mullaly.

What are the benefits of a customized PPC landing page?

  1. “Humans are more likely to convert if the journey from their query to the ad they click, to the page they’re sent to, all fit each other.
  2. That ‘fit’ plays heavily into your Google Ads quality score, which in turn impacts your cost-per-click and the position of your ad in the SERPs.
  • Bonus tip: dedicated pages that work to optimize your PPC campaigns in this way will also (usually) be the pages you use to rank organically for the same services and product categories”, adds Mullaly.

John Ross of Test Prep Insight highlights a pro tip. “Do not just link users over to the most closely related page you already have on your site. Create a highly optimized, tailored page that narrowly aligns with the ad. Put significant effort into this page to maximize your conversion rate”.

Related: Increase Your Landing Page Conversion Rates with These 18 Proven Plays

Run surveys on your landing page

Running surveys is a decent enough way to know what your users think about a particular feature or landing page or experience.

Alice Jones of Pettable explains, “Running a short survey on a PPC landing page can be a powerful way to better understand your visitors and identify what’s getting in the way of them converting.

Asking a simple question like “What’s missing on this page” with an open text response can uncover information needs that are impacting the conversion flow. Often this will highlight information that hadn’t been considered necessary. Getting feedback from the mouth of potential customers is always invaluable.”

12. Keep an eye on competitor ads and bidding

Observing what your competitors are doing is a good way to start optimizing your own PPC campaigns. You get to see what is working for them and implement a better version of that in your PPC strategy.

Bruce Hogan of SoftwarePundit says, “You can optimize the performance of your PPC campaigns by using a software tool like SpyFu to see the advertisements other companies have used for your target keywords. In particular, you can see the ads that they’re currently using, and previous ads that have been tested in the past. It’s reasonable to assume that the current ad is the best performing version, and it’s best not to test the ads not being run any longer.”

Use auction insights in Google Ads to see competitors bidding

Alanna Young of Coalmarch says, “When it comes to dominating the SERP, stacking your ads up against the performance of competitors is an excellent part of optimizing your PPC campaigns.”

“If you’re only looking at your own company in a vacuum, you could be missing out on so many opportunities.

We recommend using Auction Insights in Google Ads on an account or campaign level to see how you stack up against competitors bidding on the same keywords in the same target locations.

This tool can help give you an idea of who your direct competitors are, how much more you could be spending based on demand, how competitive your bids are, and how you rank on the page.

Based on this information, you may decide to raise your bids, refresh your ads and landing pages to improve quality scores, or simply take advantage of potential demand by raising your budgets.”

Editor’s note: Need to quickly compare traffic trend data against account performance data to stay alert to encroaching competitors? With Google Ads: Competitive Health Dashboard Template, track your conversion trends as they happen.

Google Ads: Competitive Health Dashboard Template

13. Improve the Quality Score of your campaign

Keeping an eye on and improving quality scores helps in boosting your PPC campaign performance.

Bernadett Dioszegi of Bannersnack explains, “Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages and is determined by the expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience.”

Dioszegi further explains, “In order to improve the CTR of your ads, you need to check your “Search Terms Report”, to make sure that irrelevant queries aren’t triggering your ads. If they are, add them as negative keywords. If you find search terms that are performing well and not being targeted on your keyword list, then add them in. In case you have a higher CTR you can be almost sure that users found your ads useful and relevant. It is important to match user intent, make your ads highly relevant to the search query. 

14. Monitor your CTR and optimize it

Click-Through Rate lets you know how many users reach your landing page. And hence, it makes all sense to monitor the CTR metric and run experiments to optimize it.

Diana Tavares of Strategy Pixel explains, “I pay special attention to CTR. Usually, I review all my accounts CTR every week, addressing all campaigns/ad groups/ads with the lowest CTR.

It’s the best indicator of how relevant your ads are for a query, so by analyzing it frequently you’ll be able to improve performance.

When I identify an ad group with a low CTR, I analyze keywords and search terms performance to verify if the ads are relevant for all keywords. This analysis provides insights and ideas to group keywords into new ads with a more relevant ad copy.”

Related: Google Ads Click-Through Rate (CTR): What’s Considered “Good” and How Can You Increase It?

Wrap Up

To optimize your PPC campaign performance, the first thing you need to do is to define your goals. Feel free to experiment with your variables and never stop testing your ad copy – there’s always room for improvement.

Keep track of your conversion rate, optimize your landing page, and filter out negative keywords. Oh, don’t forget to keep an eye on your competitors.

Finally, don’t forget to improve the Quality Score of your campaign and to monitor your CTR. Is there anything you would like to add? Let us know. 🙂

About the author
Archita Sharma
Archita Sharma Archita helps B2B SaaS businesses with marketing (with a focus on content). She is happiest while helping founders unleash the power of content marketing and telling stories about her weekend artistic cafe visits!
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