What Is PPC?

PPC, also known as pay-per-click or search engine marketing is a form of online advertising marketers use to bid on keywords to have their ads presented to a specific audience, platform, or keyword search. Advertisers only accrue costs when their ads are clicked on, which is one of the main reasons we love doing PPC for our ecommerce clients.

PPC Basics

PPC can help you increase sales, generate leads and brand awareness. How? These ads are extremely relevant because end-users are searching for a specific product, service or information, and your ad is triggered because it meets certain criteria. 

For example, if you are looking for the perfect “black dress”, an advertiser can indicate they would like their ads to be shown for these specific search queries.

This form of advertising is highly effective when implemented properly and can help your brand be front and center to your prime marketing audience. 

Top PPC Platforms

Google

Google Ads is the largest PPC platform; it includes Google Search, Search Partner Sites, Display Network sites, and Google Shopping. Google Ads is a platform that can be accessed and utilized from small to enterprise sites. 

Bing

Microsoft’s search engine — Bing — is an alternative to Google Search. Bing is the default search engine for all Microsoft products and utilizes Search Partners as well. According to Microsoft Advertising, Bing has 137 million unique desktop searchers on its network. 

How to Setup Your Google Ads Account

Visit the Google Ads page and select the “Start Now” button in the upper right-hand corner. You will need a Gmail account to proceed. Enter the email you want to register the account with. Don’t worry, you will be able to invite other users to access your account once you’ve created one. 

Layout of Your Google Ads Account

Company Data: You can use company data in several different areas in your account. You can manage these resources by navigating to your Company Data section. Examples of company data may include parameters for the behavior of your ads in a certain context or product inventories that you use to create dynamic shopping ads. 

Security: Google Ads allows you to share different access levels with fellow employees. Sharing access controls will better ensure passwords are kept safe and secure. Navigate to the account access settings, add a new user and select the specific access required for the user. You are able to add and remove access at any time. 

Link with Google Analytics: You can link your account to your very own Google Analytics account. This link allows you to see ad performance data in your Google Ads report in Analytics. It also allows you to import analytics goals and ecommerce transactions. 

How to Link Google Ads and Google Analytics

  1. Sign into your Google Analytics account. 
  2. Click the Tools & Settings icon, select admin and find the property you want to link to your ads account. 
  3. In the Property column, select Google Ads Linking. 
  4. Once in Google Ads Linking, click + New Link Group and select the Google Ads account you want to link. 
  5. Turn on linking for each view where you would like Google Ads to receive data. 
  6. If you have enabled auto-tagging in your Google Ads accounts, skip to the next step. If you want to mutually tag your Google Ads links, navigate to Advanced settings > Leave my auto-tagging settings as they are. 
  7. Click Link Accounts.
  8. Congrats, it’s complete!

* For more detailed instructions, you can consult Google’s official instruction webpage. 

Transactions: In this section of your account, you will be able to update and make payments.

Google Merchant Center: Under this account, you will be able to upload products and link your Google Ads account to your Merchant account. 

How to Link Google Merchant Center and Google Ads Account

When you approve a link between Google Ads and Merchant Center, you will allow all of your product data to flow from Merchant Center to Google Ads. This connection makes it possible for you to create Shopping campaigns, dynamic remarketing campaigns and so much more. 

Only the Merchant Center account user can request to link Google Ads with their account. New account links will appear when you navigate to your “Linked Accounts” page located in the “Setup” section of the Settings drop-down menu. 

Once the Google Ads account owner approves the request, information begins to be shared between accounts. Merchant Center’s product info can then be used for campaign creation.  

Conversion Settings

Conversion tracking is essential for all effective campaigns. Let’s break down how to set up conversion tracking. 

Within your Google Ads account, you will get a piece of tracking code that you will need to add to your website. In order for the code/tag to be implemented properly, you will need access to the backend of your website to insert the code in the proper location. 

Step 1: Create a Conversion Action

  • In the upper right-hand corner, click the Tools icon and under “Measurement” click Conversions. 
  • Click the plus (+) button.
  • Click your website. 
  • From there, you will select the type of action you want to track from categories that include sales and leads. 
  • Next, you will give your conversion tracking a name. This will help you identify conversion action in conversion reports you can generate. 
  • Select how to track value for each conversion. This will help you identify the worth of each action.
  • Next, select how you want Google Ads to count these conversions, once or every time. 
  • Select how long to track conversions after ad interaction on the Click-through conversion window. 
  • Click Include in Conversions, which will allow you to decide if the data is included in the conversions reporting column.
  • Click Create and you will be taken to a page that shows your conversion tag. 

Step 2: Set up Your Conversion Tracking Tag

If you are setting up the conversion tracking tag for the first time, you will need to add two tags to your website: the global site tag and the event snippet tag. 

Global Site Tag: This tag adds website visitors to “All Visitors” remarketing lists. It has the ability to set new cookies on your site, which will indicate the ad click that led the user to your site. You will need to install this tag to all web pages, but you will only need to generate one tag for each Ad account. 

Event Snippet Tag: An event snippet tag will track conversions. You will need to install this snippet on all pages that you would like to track conversion activity. Specific conversions will have their own unique event snippet tag associated with it, whereas the global site tags will be a single tag across all conversion actions. 

How to Structure Your Account

Campaigns and Ad Groups

When you first begin to structure your accounts, you will begin by creating campaigns that are focused on keyword themes. For example, you may create a campaign with a focus on “Indoor House Rugs”. Within this campaign, you may have subcategories that would fall under Ad Groups. These Ad Groups may include jute house rugs, vintage house rugs, washable house rugs. 

Ad Groups should be organized by keyword variations. Why? This allows you to break down your target focus to specific products you offer. For example, there should be one ad group for each specific type of rug being sold. One ad group for “vintage rugs”, another for “vintage Persian rugs”, etc. It’s crucial to only have one theme of keywords per ad group so the ads are directly related to the keywords.

Keywords

When you select the keywords you would like to rank for, each of the keywords can be assigned a match type. Match type indicates which ads will show. 

Exact – The keyword must be typed in word-for-word to be displayed.

Exact (Close Variant) – The keyword must be typed in word-for-word but can be misspelled.

Broad – The keyword can be typed in several different variations and your ad will have the potential to be displayed. 

Broad (Session-Based) – The algorithm takes into account other keywords searched from the user’s search session.

Phrase – The keyword can be typed in different variations but has to include all keywords in the actual query.

Phrase (Close Variant) – The keyword must be entered in a specific order but the search phrase may include misspellings. 

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords can be used to remove unqualified traffic from clicking on your ads. This will allow you to pay for ad clicks that are more relevant to your business. For example, if a user searches for “types of house rugs” they are not ready to buy a specific rug. They are still in the research phase of shopping. By adding “types” as a negative keyword, your ad will not be triggered. 

Audience

You can create audiences based on specific actions users take with your site. You can create these segments based upon specific page views, time spent on site, pages per visit and more. Audiences can also be bid upon based on relevance. At the end of the day, there are hundreds of different audiences that can be created to suit your needs and drive the most relevant traffic and conversions for your site.

Understanding Campaign Types

Within the Google Ads platform, you are able to build the following campaigns: Search Network, Display Network, Video, Shopping, and Universal Apps. Selecting the proper campaign can be the first step to building an effective long-term ad strategy. 

Search Ads

Search engine’s prime results are to match the end-user with a solution to their problem, a link to a product they are looking for, or more information on a topic they searched. This makes Google one of the most powerful marketing tools that businesses can use to get in front of specific audiences. 

Search ads allow you to research average monthly search volumes for specific keywords you would like to rank for. This can give you insight into the estimated cost per clicks when ads will be available and more. You are able to run search ads for individual products, product lines, and even certain geographic locations. 

You are able to create search ads that are displayed on search engine results pages. These are marked with the word “Ad” in a small box. 

You are also able to be found on Google Shopping ads. These ads can display product photos and ratings that can help ecommerce brands stand out among competitors.

Google Display Network

Display advertising allows you to get your ads in front of audiences that are browsing the web, using apps, or watching videos. These results are found outside of Google’s search engine results pages. According to Google, their Display Network reaches 90% of all internet users and has ads on more than 2 million sites and 650,000 apps.

Video Advertising

Advertisers are able to run ads on YouTube through the Google Ads platform. Approximately 1 billion hours of videos are watched each day on YouTube. That allows advertisers ample time to get their products in front of future prospects. You are likely familiar with the video ads that run prior to the video the end-user selected, but advertisers can also use banners and overlays as advertising options. 

Google Shopping

If you are looking to promote your products via Google Shopping ads, you will need to set up the Google Merchant Center for your company. If you took our previous steps in setting up your Merchant Center account and you can confirm it is receiving your store’s feed, then you can take advantage of targeted product ads.  

App Campaigns

You can advertise your app through Search, Display, and Video Networks. You should use this feature if you want to drive new app sales or if you are looking to promote your new or existing app. 

Remarketing

Google Ads remarketing allows your site to show targeted ads to users who have already visited your site or engaged with your brand. Previous visitors can come across ads through search queries, YouTube videos, news sites, or apps. This allows you to stay top-of-mind for consumers who have already shown interest in your brand. 

Source: wordstream.com/google-remarketing

This form of advertising can significantly increase your conversion rates and ROI. Past visitors are more familiar with your products, so they are much more likely to return and convert. 

How Does Remarketing Work?

If you are actively advertising on Google, you can add a remarketing code/pixel to your website to collect visitor information that can be added to your remarketing lists through browser cookies. 

It is recommended that when you first start remarketing to your audience, you target everyone who visited your website. While this can increase potential costs upfront, you can collect additional data to further refine your retargeting efforts. For example, you can choose to display ads to users who have already purchased from your site and a completely different ad set to non-buyers.

Types of Remarketing

Basic Remarketing: This type of remarketing is focused on displaying ads to past visitors as they search the Internet, use Google Display Network apps and surf social media websites.

Dynamic Remarketing: Dynamic remarketing serves ads that are tailored to specific visitors. With custom messages, businesses can increase the chances of having a visitor return and make a purchase.

For example, ecommerce websites can use dynamic remarketing ads that include specific products that visitors abandoned. This is extremely beneficial because you can remain top-of-mind for users who are actively looking to make a purchase for a relevant product you offer.

Another benefit of dynamic remarketing ads is that you can be feature-specific. If a user abandoned your website on the pricing page, you can remarket with a message focused on payment plans or free trial offers.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

This type of remarketing allows you to customize your search ads to visitors who have previously visited your site. There are two strategies to follow when it comes to remarketing lists for search ads:

Specific Bids on Existing Keywords: Visitors who have previously visited your website may use specific keywords to navigate back to your site. You are able to bid on those keywords as a strategy to get previously engaged customers to click back to your site and to perform actions on your website. 

Broad Keyword Bidding: You are able to bid on keywords that you normally don’t bid on. You can use this strategy as a way to target broad keywords but only to be shown to people who have already been to your site. This allows you to cast a wider net without spending on clicks from disengaged users. 

Understanding Device Targeting

Device targeting is a tool that allows you to showcase your ads on specific devices. You are able to designate that ads should only be displayed on mobile devices, desktops, tablets or a combination of devices. This enables you to run different bidding strategies for each device. 

You can also be more specific in targeting ads to users with specific operating systems. If you are selling a product that requires a specific operating system, it is beneficial to target your ads to those users. 

Understanding Location Targeting

You can take advantage of geotargeting techniques to display ads where your customers are located. This will ensure you are using your marketing budget on searchers in areas where your business performs well.  

While geotargeting focuses on locations to target, it also includes excluding locations that can be just as important. If your company is unable to ship to Hawaii and Alaska, it will be beneficial to not pay for unqualified users interacting with your ads. 

Understanding Ad Scheduling

If you are looking to schedule your ads, follow these steps: 

    1. Navigate to the Dimensions tab in the campaign you would like to focus on. 
    2. Within the Dimensions tab, navigate to the View drop-down and select Time. 
    3. Analyze what days and times are most profitable for your business to run ads to your target audience. 
    4. Update ad schedule based on this analysis. 
    5. Navigate to the Settings tab and select Ad Schedule.

How to Set Budgets

Your budget dictates how much you would like to spend each day on a campaign over a month’s time. While your daily budget may fluctuate based on clicks, Google will not exceed your overall monthly budget. 

You can determine a simple Google Ads budget with the following formula:

Budget/30.4 = Daily Budget

If you plan to use this formula, it is highly recommended that you research industry average cost-per-click for the keywords you would like to target. Once you obtain these numbers, they can help you calculate how much your ideal number of clicks will cost.

Understanding Ad Extensions

Location Extensions: This type of extension allows you to generate foot traffic to your business and can indicate to users where they can locate your business. 

Call Extensions: This type of extension encourages customers to call you directly. You can use this extension in two forms: your phone number and a call button. 

Sitelink Extensions: Sitelinks allow you to match your landing pages to user intent. You can display deep links to specific pages across your website. 

Price Extensions: Consumers want to know what a product is going to cost them upfront. Price extensions can display product costs directly in your ad. 

App Extensions: Google app extensions encourage users to download your app; they are shown on mobile searches. 

How to Write High Performing Headlines

Having a compelling ad headline can be the difference between a qualified click and a scroll past your website. Below we will break down a few tips to help you write ad headlines your prospects won’t be able to resist. 

Add Keywords: Users are entering specific search queries because they understand exactly what they are looking for. Adding those keywords to your headlines can make it easy for your prospects to identify if your business can fill a need they have. Make it as easy as possible for your user to find what they are looking for. 

Simple Questions: If you are able to ask the searcher a question in your headline, this can help increase your conversion rate. 

Solve Your End-Users Problem: It is important to remember people do not want to be sold, instead they want to have their problem solved. Include a message on how your product alleviates an end-user’s pain point. 

Highlight Statistics and Numbers: Empirical evidence is highly influential. Data can build trust and signals to your end-user that you are highly knowledgeable in the industry. 

How to Write High Performing Ad Copy

High-performing ad copy incorporates keywords whenever possible. Ads bold keywords whenever they are included in the ad copy. This is a quick signal that indicates your ad is relevant to the user’s query. 

It is also beneficial to have ad copy be as specific as possible to the way your users search. For example, if your users use the keyword “shoes”, use the word shoes in your ad copy. If the user types in “women’s running shoes”, then you will want to match that specificity to remain relevant. 

How to Write High Performing Calls to Action (CTA)

It is important to include a call to action in your ad copy. This will indicate to your end-user what you are looking for them to do. This simple addition can help frame the future visitor experience. 

Visible CTA: Ensure your CTA is included with your ad. This can be found in the headline or description.

Clear Benefit to CTA: Clearly indicate what you want the end-user to do will help them understand how you want them to interact with your brand. Examples may include: save $10 when you buy today, book today and pay later, or get your first month free.

Create Urgency: Users want the best offer and they are willing to shop around until they find it. Creating a sense that your best offer is limited will help encourage users to act on your offer. The word “now” is used often, so pairing it with a description of why it is necessary will be beneficial. For example, “Book Now – 24 Hour Sale” indicates the end of the deal.

PPC Tools

Change History: You are able to pull a complete full change history report that allows you to see all the changes that you have made to your campaigns. This can help you understand what changes you made that resulted in improved performance or a weaker performance.

Keyword Planner: Keyword Planner is a tool that allows you to identify new keywords to bid for and will also give you information about search volumes and cost per click. 

Display Planner: Display Planner can help you plan your ad campaigns based on the interests of your customers or landing page. The tool will provide targeting recommendations as well as inventory estimates. You are able to save these plans directly to your Authorized Buyers account. 

Ad Preview and Diagnostics: This free tool allows you to identify whether your ads appear for searches and allows you to preview what they will look like when they appear in different countries. 

Shared Library

Audiences: Here you can create and manage remarketing lists. You can designate whether you would like to share audience lists with multiple campaigns or ad groups. 

Bid Strategies: Advertisers can share bidding strategies across multiple campaigns. This allows users to save time. The available bidding strategies include: target CPA, enhance CPC, target ROAS, maximize clicks, and target search location. 

Budgets: Shared budgets allow advertisers to manage campaigns with one budget across all campaigns. Here you are able to select the campaigns you want to allocate the most budget to. 

Negative Keywords: Negative keyword lists allow advertisers to assign common negative keywords across multiple campaigns. 

Placement Exclusions: This tool allows you to exclude placements where you do not wish to show your ads. 

Reporting

Search Query Reports: The search query report identifies what search queries are driving traffic to your site and which search queries are not working. 

Placement Reports: The placement report tells you the actual placements of your ad. You are able to see what medium is driving profitable traffic, and which placements are just providing exposure and not clicks. 

Auction Insights Report: The auction insights report offers a wealth of information. It can indicate where your competitors are bidding against you and it can help you identify potential places to optimize your campaigns.

Segmentation Options: Segments allow you to select which type of criteria you would like to see insights for. You can filter by the following segments:

  • Time
  • Conversion
  • Network
  • Network (With Search Partners)
  • Click Type
  • Device
  • Experiment
  • Type vs. Other

Filters: Filters allow you to show only campaign data that you are interested in. For example, you can filter by keywords, click-through rates, device types, and more. 

Bidding

Automated Bidding Strategies: Bid strategies attempt to set bids based on your ads likelihood to end in a click or conversion. 

Maximize Conversions: Using the maximum daily budget, Google will regulate the bidding for you so you can get the most conversions for your buck.

Maximize Conversion Value: Maximizing conversion value is similar to Target ROAS, where Google will attempt to maximize the return on your ad spend. The only difference is that you will need to identify a target ROI. 

Target ROAS: This bidding strategy is when Google Ads sets your bids to maximize conversion value based on the return you want from your ad spend. 

You can calculate this by the following formula:

Sales ÷ ad spend x 100% = Target ROAS

Target CPA: If you are looking to drive conversions, you can set a target CPA that will focus on trying to convert users at your specified acquisition cost. Google Ads will automatically set your bids to meet this cost. 

Conclusion

This guide is a tool advertisers can use to get started in the complicated world of PPC. It touches on a variety of tools that you can use to get started. PPC campaigns are constantly changing, so it is important to always test different settings. Each account is unique and will have its own features, so implementing a variety of strategies will help you find what works for you. 

Looking for some help with your pay-per-click marketing? Schedule a consultation with us today and let’s see what we can do for your business! Not quite ready but curious what makes a good Stryde client, check out our ideal client description.

I left Florida for Utah’s mountains in 2007. My passions are making pizza, mountain biking, skiing, and making movie props (ask me about my helmets). My tips for being happier include drinking more water, eating more vegetables, sleeping 7-8 hours, and finding opportunities to exercise outside. I love accountable, responsible marketing. I’m not happy until I get results or answers for my clients.