Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is arguably one of the quickest ways to find and convert new customers.
Even more important than investing in PPC is investing in effective PPC management.
Many components make up a PPC management strategy.
Whether you’re a marketer just getting started in PPC, or a brand that’s looking to invest in PPC management, read on to learn:
- What PPC management is.
- Why you need PPC management.
- How to get the most out of your PPC management.
What Is PPC Management?
PPC management is the process of creating, executing, and optimizing a brand’s PPC strategy.
There are several key responsibilities and duties within PPC management to deliver effective and efficient campaign results.
Some key aspects of PPC management include:
- Keyword research.
- Audience research.
- Competitive analysis.
- Identifying target channels.
- Ad creation.
- Budget monitoring & optimization.
- Landing page optimization.
- Performance reporting.
- Ongoing testing & campaign optimization.
The goal of performing keyword research for PPC campaigns is to identify relevant and high-converting keywords that align with the company’s product or service.
Typically, PPC managers use a variety of tools to help conduct keyword research. These can include:
- Google Keyword Planner.
- Google Trends.
- And more.
Once keyword research has been completed, the next step is to organize them into succinct themes for campaigns.
This type of research can help pull additional levers in Google Ads campaigns. When conducting audience research, try to identify key traits of the core audience persona:
- Age range.
- What digital channels they’re active in.
- Online purchase and browsing habits.
- And more.
With Google Ads, demographic attributes like the ones above can be layered onto PPC campaigns for a more targeted approach.
Higher quality users and engagement out of PPC campaigns.
Keeping track of top competitors is a core component of PPC management.
Competitive analysis should not be performed just once but on a regular basis. PPC marketers can use 3rd party tools such as the ones listed above in keyword research.
When reviewing competitor insights, try to keep tabs on the following:
- What keywords are they bidding on?
- What SEO keywords do they rank for?
- What ad copies are they using?
- What channels are they advertising on?
- What budget range are they spending on Google Search?
Staying up-to-date on how competitors approach PPC management can help in many ways.
It can identify any similarities in marketing efforts or uncover any gaps in your current strategy that you may be missing.
Remember: The goal is not to be just like your competitors, but to stay current with what’s happening in your core market.
Identifying Target Channels
After completing initial research on keywords, audiences, and competitors, the next phase in PPC management is to identify target channels.
If your targeted keywords have high volume or interest, Google and Microsoft Search are great places to start.
To gain more brand reach, try testing out Google Video ads on YouTube.
If your target audience is active on social media platforms, make it a priority to create an ad strategy for those platforms.
During ad creation, it’s critical to keep your users in mind. Make sure the ad copy for each ad group is optimized for the target keywords.
Try including target keywords in the headlines.
In the description lines, choose a mixture of elements to test to understand what resonates with users most:
- Product/service benefits.
- What problems the product/service can solve.
- Social proof or brand authority.
- Sense of urgency.
Don’t forget to utilize the available ad assets such as sitelinks, images, business logos, price promotions, and more!
Budget Monitoring & Optimization
A critical component of PPC management is budget monitoring and optimization.
If you think that budget monitoring is simply ensuring that campaigns aren’t going over budget, you are mistaken!
Each campaign and advertising channel will have different daily budgets, bidding strategies, goals, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
It’s important to keep track of individual campaign performance to not only monitor the budget, but shift budget accordingly.
If a handful of campaigns are performing well but are constrained by budget, make sure to fully fund those campaigns and reduce the budget for underperforming campaigns.
Landing Page Optimization
Campaign optimization doesn’t stop after a user clicks.
You’ve spent all this time and effort perfecting and managing campaigns, only to find that users aren’t converting like you’ve hoped.
This is why landing page optimization is an underrated element of PPC management.
Landing page optimization ensures that the landing pages from ads are relevant, user-friendly, and optimized for conversions.
A proper landing page should address the specific needs of a user based on their search and intent.
The purchase experience should be as frictionless as possible, not only from the navigation but from the speed of the page.
PPC performance should always be measured from the start. It allows you to identify what’s working, what’s not, and where to take action.
Tools such as Google Looker Studio have a variety of dashboard templates available.
Once your data sources are connected to those templates, you can customize reports however necessary for optimal impact.
As part of PPC management, performance reporting measurement should be rooted in the company’s goals. These could include:
- Cost per acquisition.
- Conversion rate.
- Return on investment.
Blending the data between PPC campaigns and the ultimate purchase is important because those goals will guide the analysis of what is performing well.
Ongoing Testing & Campaign Optimization
Once campaigns are set up and launched, it’s time to sit back and let the systems learn.
However, part of proactive PPC management is leaning into data, and early and consistently testing elements of a campaign.
This could include testing items like:
- Ad copy.
- Landing pages.
- Bid strategies.
Remember – don’t try to test too many things at once. Ideally, testing one element at a time is the best route to understand what’s making an impact.
Other regular campaign reviews and optimization should include the following:
- Reviewing bid strategy performance.
- Campaign budgets and limitations.
- Keyword performance.
- Search term report review.
- Negative keyword research.
- And more.
Why Use PPC Management?
If you’re spending any amount of money on PPC advertising, some sort of PPC management is required. This could be executed in a few ways:
- In-house PPC management.
- Hiring a PPC management agency.
Before diving into how to choose the best option, let’s take a look at some of the top benefits of PPC management.
1. PPC Management Saves Money
Sounds counterintuitive, right?
How does paying for PPC management save money if you’re already spending money on ads?
In the long run, a well-executed PPC management strategy saves money in the monitoring and optimization of campaigns.
If campaigns were launched and allowed to run wild, you’re likely burning cash quickly. Effective PPC management can not only save money, but it can help make money.
2. PPC Management Saves Time
The time savings from PPC management are yielded in multiple areas:
- Hiring someone for PPC management allows you to focus on other projects or growth areas.
- Testing hypotheses via PPC campaigns typically yields results faster than any other channel – allowing for faster action.
Those are just a few examples of areas of time-saving.
3. PPC Management Helps Grow Other Channels
It’s no secret that investing in PPC advertising can allow brands to grow quickly.
However, PPC performance does not live in a silo.
In fact, PPC can be used to help drive insights for other channels, such as SEO. For example, PPC can help inform of long-tail, lower volume but high-converting searches.
If your brand is in a highly competitive industry, shifting some SEO efforts to those niche areas could be fruitful for overall business growth.
Additionally, investing in PPC advertising can help improve brand recognition over time, which can help reduce the reliance on paid media over time.
How To Get The Best Out Of PPC Management
As mentioned above, there are two common ways to go about PPC management: hiring someone in-house or outsourcing to a PPC management agency.
Let’s examine the key differences between each method to determine what route is best for your company.
In-House PPC Management
Hiring an in-house PPC manager means that they work directly for the company, usually on a salary basis.
The biggest cost for in-house PPC management is typically from maintaining the proper staff.
Depending on the needs, an individual can be hired specifically for PPC management or for a variety of marketing tasks.
Consider weighing factors such as time when determining an in-house role.
If this individual will be performing other marketing tasks, how much time can/should be dedicated to PPC? Will this affect the output or quality of other remaining tasks?
PPC Management Company
Hiring a dedicated management agency is no small feat. The costs associated with hiring an agency will vary widely based on their preferred models.
Some agencies prefer to set monthly retainer rates, while others will charge based on a percentage of ad spend.
Typically, the PPC agency will handle most, if not all, components of your PPC advertising.
However, it’s important to have a key contact in-house to work closely with the chosen agency to ensure clear communications and objectives are being shared.
Choosing The Best Option For PPC Management
In-house management and agency management both have their pros and cons.
Deciding which route to take will be completely individualized to each company, but there are some key areas to remember to get the most out of your PPC management.
- Proven track record of expertise. Do your research on an individual or an agency before hiring. Look for client testimonials, published case studies, and the industries they’ve worked in. Make sure their industry knowledge fits with the needs of your company. An inexperienced hire may lead to delayed performance if training is required.
- Knowledge of PPC platforms. Finding someone (or a team) who knows the ins and outs of PPC platforms is crucial. An experienced resource will likely understand the business needs and nuances to deliver effective results. Make sure to check their knowledge of different platforms like Google and Microsoft Ads, along with other social advertising platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and more.
- A mixture of strategy and execution. Not only should your PPC management resources know how to use the platforms, but they should also ensure their strategy is aligned with the proper campaigns. For example, if your budget is limited and you’re focused on lower funnel users to start, a recommendation of testing video ads right away is a red flag. Additionally, the resource should know advanced campaign settings from the start.
- Transparency and communication. Clear and kind communication is vital in any professional partnership. Ensuring your resource is transparent upfront about strategies, costs, and results is important. Make sure that their response time is acceptable to your needs as well.
Carefully evaluating the above factors can set you up for success with whomever you hire as a reliable PPC management resource.
At the end of the day, you’ll get the most out of PPC management when the resource’s experience aligns with your goals to help achieve success in your PPC campaigns.
PPC management is an equal mixture of strategy and tactical execution.
From the initial research and setup to optimizing campaigns, PPC management is vital to any campaign’s short- and long-term success.
Choosing the right PPC management resource takes time and effort, but should be viewed as an investment in the company’s overall growth.
This in-depth look into PPC management can serve as a guide to kickstart your PPC campaign success.
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