PPC 101: 6 Steps to Easily Set Up Your First PPC Campaign

With a thousand reasons to set up a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign for your business, now is as good of a time as any to learn how. While it may seem overwhelming at first, the entire process of creating a PPC campaign can be broken down into six doable steps.

1.       Google Ads Account Setup

The first thing to get out of the way is to set up a Google Ads account. Billing will need to be set up with Google using a credit or debit card, and a name for the account will need to be chosen. If you change your mind later and think of a cooler name for your business, don’t worry! The PPC account name can always be changed later on. However, the time zone and currency type that you select at this stage are permanent and cannot be changed from this point onward.

2.       Keyword Research

The next step toward launching your shiny, brand-new PPC campaign is keyword research. PPC marketing offers a great opportunity to reach people trying to find you without wasting budget on people who are not your targeted audience. This way of making sure relevant audiences are targeted is achieved through the use of keywords

But how are keywords chosen ahead of time without any data? Google already has data on what terms people are searching for, and the Keyword Planner will help you use it to your advantage.  Using the Keyword Planner is not a requirement to set up keywords, though. Other keyword planners, Google search suggestions, and your own intuition as a human can all be put to good use to make your account’s keywords as strong as they can be at launch!

One note about keywords – there’s something called Match Types, that allow for how tightly or loosely Google adheres to a search that’s done. Exact match is the tightest, phrase in the middle, and broad match is the loosest. We advise you to start with Exact match keywords, or exact and phrase, but not broad match. You can go through your budget very quickly by using broad match. Once you learn more about what works and doesn’t and get more familiar with match types, you can test broad match. You can learn more about match types here and here.

 3.       Ad Groups

Once keywords are properly researched and gathered, it’s time to create ad groups. Since our process involves showing a targeted audience one of our ads, ad groups are essentially the connective tissue between targeting and advertising. The goal in creating ad groups is to tie similar keywords together. With relevant keywords put into appropriate ad groups, we can tailor the ads to a landing page and create ad copy that specifically speaks to what the audience is searching for. Did someone say ad copy?

 4.       Ad Copy

Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) are the current standard for Google Search. These allow for fifteen headlines and four descriptions, which Google will mix and match to create the ads that are shown. (Starting on June 30, 2022, Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) will no longer be creatable or editable, so we advise simply using RSAs.) 

When writing ad copy, make sure that it resonates with the keywords used to trigger them. For example, if you are selling new and used guitars on your website, and your audience executes a search for “used telecaster for sale,” make sure not to waste any ad real estate talking about new guitars. While the ads are good to go at this point, loads of statistical success can be tacked onto your ad by utilizing ad extensions as well. (Best practice is to add all the extensions that are applicable to your account.)

 5.       Campaign Settings

Now it’s time to create your new PPC campaign with the ad groups, keywords, and ads you created in the previous steps. There are multiple settings that can be altered at the campaign level, including the bidding strategy, budget, goals, audiences, locations, and ad schedules. Make sure these settings are set purposefully, as they hold control over all of the ads and ad groups below them.

 6.       Measure and Monitor

Setting up a successful Search campaign involves setting up the tools to monitor its health at all points in the future. Without the ability to know which ads convert more or which products sell more during which seasons, how can decisions ever be made to improve? 

First, you will need to set up conversion tracking for your website. This involves code, so ask for assistance from your developer if need be. The easiest way is to install and configure Google Tag Manager to allow you to update tags on your website in the future. Finally, link Google Analytics to your Google Ads account to see data on the full customer cycle.

Three, two, one . . . We are ready to launch! Now that the PPC campaigns are up and running, care must be taken to monitor and adjust strategies as new data enters your account. The tools to know what your customers are looking for are now in place; with proper strategy, the accounts and their levels of success have nowhere to go but up from this point. Congratulations!

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