How To Build A PPC Plan

Google Ads on laptop screen

What Does PPC Stand For?

PPC, or Pay Pay Click, is a type of advertising whereby you pay a fee each time one of your ads is clicked on by a user. Essentially, with PPC Advertising you are paying for qualified visits to your website, landing page or phone calls. Some examples of PPC advertising include paid social media advertising, google search advertising and google display remarketing advertising. 

One of the biggest forms of PPC advertising companies use is Google Ads. “Over 1.2 million businesses rely on Google Ads to market their products and services.” Google is the largest search engine in the world, and it is critical for companies to be able to show up and compete on Google in order to capture qualified traffic and turn those leads into sales. 

Google consists of two types of listings on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), paid and organic listings. Organic listings do not involve PPC advertising, and instead are visible due to being highly relevant to a users search term, as well as the website following certain SEO best practices. You can learn more about competing effectively in the SEO space here

Paid listings are search results from Google Ads that appear on the SERP. They can be an extremely quick way of bringing traffic to a new site, as well as a method of targeting your ideal customer with high-intent keywords and bringing in conversions and positive ROI for your business. 

What Is A PPC Plan?

When setting off on your PPC journey, having an understanding of PPC, and formulating a plan for your campaign is an essential first step. It can be overwhelming at first, but it will ensure that you can keep your campaigns on track, and achieve your goals. Here at Salt Water Digital, we create customized PPC plans based on your business’s unique requirements, goals and budgets. You can learn more about our PPC services here

Some important steps when creating your PPC plan are: 

  • Objective Setting: The first, and arguably most important aspect of any PPC plan is to clearly define your goals for the campaign. It is vital that these goals are clear, quantifiable and measurable. They should outline where you are now in terms of performance, and where you want to get to. You should have clear business and marketing objectives set out, and then these need to be broken down into metrics and KPIs that you are looking to achieve. 
  • For Example, my goal is to increase sales on our new website. In the first month, we turned over $5,000 with little to no advertising. We have started a Google Ads campaign with a $500/month budget. Our aim here will be to increase web sales to $10,000. Some key metrics to look out for in Google Ads will be a conversion Value of over $5,000, Cost per Conversion and Conversion Rate. 
  • Keyword Research: It is also crucial to conduct in-depth keyword research when creating a PPC Campaign. Once we know our location, we should create a keyword list of the way in which people search for your product or service. You then need to analyze the cost and competitiveness of these keywords to determine the opportunity in Google Ads. So when building out a new campaign, use Google Keyword Planner to forecast costs and volumes when creating your keyword lists. 
  • Budget: The next important element of a PPC plan is your budget. The two aspects that will influence your budget decision most will be the keywords you target and the location you target. So if you are targeting a larger geographical area, you will generally need a larger budget to buy up more traffic. Similarly, if you operate in an industry with a very high average CPCs (cost per clicks), you will need to allocate enough budget to be able to afford enough clicks. This is why your keyword research is such a crucial aspect of your PPC budget. Check out our blog – How much Should A Small Business Budget For Google Adwords.
  • Geo-Targeting: It is also crucial that you know the area you are targeting, as this will determine your keyword costs and competitiveness. You can also set up multiple campaigns targeting different regions, and tailor your approach to each region, for example by having region-specific ads to help boost conversion rates. To get a better understanding of how to use Geo-Targeting on Google ads click here.
  • Tracking: Finally, when completing your PPC plan, you need to ask yourself, what does success look like? If my aim is to get X amount of sign-ups online or Y amount of sales, how will we measure this? It is crucial to have accurate and robust conversion tracking set up within your Google ads account in order to measure success and optimize for the future. Have you heard of our Fee Free offer? This includes account setup, optimization, conversion tracking set up and a 45-minute training session for one low price!

Why Is It Important To Make A PPC Plan?

A PPC plan is crucial for any business or marketeer in order to set out clear and concise objectives, and have benchmarks to compare performance to. By forecasting keywords and costs, decision makers can get an accurate portrayal of expected performance and compare and contrast this to their campaigns’ actual performance in real-time. It allows for greater flexibility in decision-making and can help to make changes and optimize an account quicker to boost conversions and Return on Investment.

PPC Quality Score

Quality Score is Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and ads. It is used in the calculation of your Cost per Click and also in the ad auction to determine where your ad will show. You should aim to have the highest quality score possible, by making your keywords and ads highly relevant to the website or landing page you are leading to. Your quality score is determined by the following factors:

  • Expected CTR (Click Through Rate)
  • Keyword Relevance
  • Ad Copy Relevance
  • Landing Page Relevance
  • Historical Google Ads Performance 

What To Consider When Building A PPC Plan

PPC Campaign Goals

As we discussed above, one of the first steps of any Google Ads campaign is to set your goals and objectives. Your account can then be set up and optimized with this goal in mind. For example, if you are looking to maximize the number of people who visit your website, you might select website visits as your overall campaign goal. You can then select the ‘Maximise Clicks’ bidding strategy, whereby google will automatically optimize the bid auction to provide the maximum amount of clicks, or website visits, to you with your given budget.  

PPC Advertising Network

When you create a Google Ads campaign, you will be able to choose between a number of different networks, including the following:

  • The Search Network: consists of text ads on the Google Search Engine Results Page.
  • The Display Network: consists of image ads on various websites.
  • The Video Network: consists of video ads on Youtube. 
  • The Shopping Network: consists of product listings on the Google Search Engine Results Page. 
  • The App Network: allows you to promote your app across many different channels.

PPC Competitor Research Tools

Competitor research tools can be an extremely effective way of understanding your competition on Google. One crucial competitor research tool within the Google Ads platform is Auction Insights. This is accessible under the ‘Keywords’ tab. The ‘Auction Insights’ tab provides us with detailed information about how we performed in the ad auction relative to competitors. It can show us competitor search impression share and guide us in making decisions such as budget increases or the need for additional keyword research. To learn more about conducting competitor research click here.

PPC Budget

Your Google Ads budget is a vital factor to consider when evaluating whether or not Google Ads is right for your business. As we discussed above, the first step in determining your budget is choosing your geographical area to target, as well as conducting in-depth keyword research. Using Google Keyword Planner is a great way to carry out this analysis. Once you have determined the average CPC of your selected keywords in a specific area, you can begin to forecast budgets and ROI. 

So, for example, I am a self-storage facility in Nanaimo. Based on my keyword search, there are very high search volumes in Vancouver, and the average CPC for my industry is $8. Based on a budget of $2,000 per month, I can expect to receive 250 clicks. Next, we estimate our websites conversion rate, which will vary across websites and industries. Assuming a conversion rate of 7%, we can forecast 18 leads per month, at an approximate cost per lead of $110. So, if the average lifetime value of a storage customer is $500, our return on investment (ROI) will be 450%. 

Audience Targeting

Audience Targeting is a feature of Google Ads whereby you can add audience segment targeting to ad groups to reach people based on who they are, their interests and habits, what they’re actively researching or how they’ve interacted with your business. 

You can specifically target your ads towards an audience, or you can set up ‘observational’ audiences, where you can get data on your ads performance amongst this group, without limiting your ads to only target that group. 

At Salt Water Digital, we always recommend setting up Observational Audiences first and then analyzing ad performance amongst this group before using Targeted Audiences in your campaigns.

Ad Copy

The next thing to consider when creating your PPC plan is the actual ad copy that users will interact with. The only type of search ad available on Google Ads is the Response Search Ad. Here, you can add multiple headlines and descriptions, and google will optimize to maximize ad performance. Ad copy should include your main keywords, and be descriptive of what the user will see on the landing page. 

Drafting compelling responsive search ads can often involve the use of dynamic keyword insertion and pinning. Dynamic Keyword Insertion allows you to enter a keyword in an ads headline and google will dynamically change this to the users’ search term. This can help boost Click Through Rates due to higher relevance. Pinning allows you to pin specific headlines in positions 1, 2 or 3. One common use of pinning is to pin Call To Actions such as ‘Learn More’ to position 3. 

Ad Extensions

Google Ads extensions extend your ads, claiming more real estate on search engine results pages (SERPs) and helping searchers make decisions. Their main benefits to your ads are that they can provide the searcher with additional information about your business, and they increase the visibility of your ad. There are many different extension types you can provide, such as Sitelink, Structured Snippet, Callout, Image, Location, and Phone extensions. 

PPC Landing Pages

Another consideration when creating your PPC plan is the landing pages you will direct traffic to from your Google Ads. For each ad you create, you will need to enter a specific URL that the user will be taken to. Often clients will direct their traffic to the website homepage, or a specific contact or product page. It is crucial that the content on your landing page is closely related to both your keywords and your ad copy. 

Many clients create custom landing pages for their Google Ads campaigns, as this leads to marked uptake in conversions. Learn more about our custom landing page service here.

In summary of what we discussed above, these would be the 5 most important things to focus on when creating a PPC plan and then launching your PPC campaign:

1. Clear alignment of Business Objectives and PPC Goals & Metrics 

2. Keyword & Market Research

3. Compelling Ads and Landing Pages

4. Accurate Conversion Set Up

5. Regular Account Optimisation

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