10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices
Having a strong paid search plan is vital to success. It ensures you allocate resources according to target market needs, allocate resources where they are most likely to have an impact, and ultimately help deliver returns on the investment of your marketing budget.
It’s exactly because paid search planning is so important that it’s also one of the biggest challenges marketers face today. We spend hours researching information about new opportunities, creating reports that detail findings from data collection efforts, or even creating new copy for ads… but planning what to do with all this information? This can often take less time than everything else combined!
So how can you get the maximum value from the research you’re doing? Here are 10 best practices for paid search planning.
1) Keep Your Eye on the Prize!
What is the goal of your paid search marketing? Is it to drive traffic, generate leads, or increase conversions? Knowing this will help you decide where and how much budget to allocate by giving you a benchmark for measuring success. If your goal is to drive traffic then you may want to rank high in organic searches, but if your goal is conversions then perhaps there’s not enough information available about potential clients’ behavior so investing more resources into paid search may be a better choice.
2) Know Who You’re Targeting
You can’t build an effective campaign without knowing who you’re targeting and what types of searches they use. Paid search advertising isn’t targeted by keywords; they’re targeted by people. Knowing who your target market is will help you better understand the types of search queries they use, which in turn can help you create more effective ads that show up on SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).
3) Remember that Not All Search Queries are Equal
It’s important to realize there are two different types of search behavior: short-term and long-term. Short-term searches are less likely to be made by consumers who intend to buy something than those conducting longer-term research or planning ahead. This is why it’s so vital to know what stage of the buying cycle potential customers are in when working with paid search. If your goal is brand awareness then don’t invest all your budget into top-of-funnel terms, but if you want to drive sales then make sure they’re included in your campaign.
4) Budget for Sticky Queries
The effectiveness of paid search relies on the frequency with which someone clicks on your ad when it appears in SERPs. If potential customers aren’t clicking because your ads are either buried or not showing up then it doesn’t matter what terms you use; there’s no chance you’ll be driving traffic! Be sure to plug down sticky queries (those that generate high click-through rates) by choosing longer-term campaigns and including them as keywords.
5) Don’t Ignore Top of Funnel Terms
It could be easy to fall into the trap of only using long-tail keywords at the top of the funnel and using shorter, more generic terms at the bottom. But potential customers can be looking for different things and you need to make sure your ads show up on those searches as well. PPC marketing is a balancing act between finding the right mix of long-tail and short-term keywords that will have an impact on quality scores and minimize costs while also making sure enough relevant queries are being targeted.
6) Be Creative with Your Ad Copy
Create ad copy that’s compelling, but remember that you can’t use every single word from the query in your ad to drive traffic! If there aren’t enough characters available then it may not show up or have a negative impact on CTRs (click-through rates). Use other relevant words from other parts of the search query as headlines and ad copy to create a more engaging experience.
7) Maximize Your Bids
It’s easy to think that your campaign will perform better if you maximize your bids, but there are times when it may not be the best choice. If you’re targeting a short-term query, increasing your bid just a little bit could result in a lower quality score because Google might deem your ad as being too relevant or top of the funnel for that keyword. Also, maximizing just one of your keywords isn’t going to have much impact on traffic volume since many competitors are likely doing the same thing. In this case, optimizing towards long-tail terms would be a better use of resources.
8) Stay Consistent
Once a campaign is started it’s a good idea to stay consistent with the ad copy and keywords you choose so that Google can better understand what your ads are about. They’re not just going to assume they’re relevant by themselves but rather as part of an overall group of ads/keywords associated with those terms.
9) Test, Test, Test!
PPC marketing is a dynamic field where what works today may not work tomorrow. Not only should you be continually testing new ad copy and keywords, but also try different platforms – such as Bing – to see if they deliver more traffic for less money. Just because something worked in one situation doesn’t mean it will yield the same results next time around, which makes A/B split testing invaluable for staying on top of your paid search marketing strategy.
10) Don’t Forget About Mobile Searches
It’s important not to forget that a high percentage of potential customers are now searching on their smartphones as opposed to desktops or laptops. This means that it’s necessary to have a mobile-friendly website and ad copy in order to drive traffic from those sources. It may seem strange since searches from mobile devices typically have a lower average cost per click, but there could also be less competition for keywords so it’s worth testing.
If you want to save yourself from all this hassle, then hire a Google Ads Ecommerce Agency to look after your Ads campaign, they will look after your ads account and optimize your account to help you reach the goal of your ads.