Setting up a PPC campaign involves quite a few steps and it can get rather confusing.
In order to manage your PPC campaign in the most efficient way possible, we’ve put together the ultimate essential PPC management checklist. Before you launch your campaign, make sure all these tasks are checked off and complete so you don’t run into trouble shortly after you launch your PPC campaign.
There are important steps to take before you even launch your campaign, so here’s a checklist to complete during your campaign setup.
1. Define Your Goals
Before you start to create or launch your PPC campaign, you should clearly define your goals. What are you hoping to accomplish? How will you know when you’ve accomplished it? Layout all the details and make sure your team knows what your goals are too.
Some common PPC campaign goals are to generate more leads and increase sales. Driving more traffic to your website is also a common goal. Depending on your business, you may have several common goals or more specific ones. Whichever it is, make sure to define and list them clearly.
2. Research Keywords
Your PPC campaign will appear in search engine results, so make sure you’re choosing good keywords. Take the time to find well-targeted keywords so your ad isn’t accidentally triggered by Google for an irrelevant search.
You can use free tools like Google Keyword Planner to find related keywords. When choosing your keywords, include some longer ones. Short keywords are often expensive and have more competition. They can also trigger your ad for an irrelevant search.
Make sure to use the keyword match settings, choosing broad, phrase, or exact match for each keyword added.
Make sure to also include negative keywords as these will help prevent your ad from being triggered for searches you know aren’t relevant.
3. Create or Choose Landing Pages
Once you’ve determined which keywords you’ll be using, create or choose relevant landing pages for them. An ad for school backpacks shouldn’t lead to a page talking about school notebooks or pencils.
If your website doesn’t already have specific landing pages, create custom landing pages for each of your ad groups so that customers are immediately directed to the correct page without having to search around for it.
Your landing pages should contain useful and relevant information. Make your call to action clear and easy to find while also keeping your landing page interesting and captivating. You don’t want a potential customer to leave because your website looks unprofessional or they couldn’t find your call to action.
4. Implement Tracking Settings
You should always have access to how successful your campaign is. In order to accurately measure your success, you have to implement tracking before you launch your campaign. You can easily connect Google Ads or another system to your Google Analytics page to see everything clearly.
It’s possible to customize your tracking settings. Do you want to track how many people find your page or how many people make a purchase? Adjust your tracking settings to properly show you either or both categories.
Even after you’ve launched your campaign, you’ll have to perform daily maintenance checks on it and keep a close eye. To make sure you’re keeping track of everything you need to monitor daily, here’s a checklist to follow.
5. Check Your KPIs
Your key performance indicators (KPIs) are critical in understanding how your campaign is doing. To see where you may be lacking and what should be improved, check your KPIs every day. If you don’t want to check all of them, at least make sure to check your ad spend and revenue.
If you can catch where your campaign is lacking, you can improve it before any damage is done. Your campaign will be improved early on and you’ll see more success than if you wait to catch any problems a few weeks or even a month later.
6. Add Negative Keywords
While you should have set up some negative keywords before launching your campaign, you should always be adding and adjusting them as your campaign continues.
You can see which keywords are triggering your ads for the wrong kinds of search by analyzing your search terms reports. As you find them, add them to your negative keywords list to prevent them from triggering your ad in the future.
7. Pause Underperforming Keywords or Ad Groups
You don’t necessarily have to remove keywords that aren’t performing well. Instead, just pause them and test them later. It’s possible that in a few days or weeks, those keywords will become more relevant and you can resume using them.
Some keywords depend on the season so pausing them is a better option than removing them. If you aren’t sure why a particular keyword is underperforming though, you can always check Google Trends.
Some tasks are important to keep your eye on but don’t need to be checked every day. Instead, they can be reviewed and completed once every week.
8. Review Budget and Bids
PPC campaigns will need little adjustments for the time they’re in use. Reviewing your budget and the price of your keywords can make sure your business can continue affording it.
If you’re making great progress and the bid price remains relatively the same, that’s great. However, if the price jumps and you end up going over budget, you may need to adjust your campaign.
By checking the weekly bid price and regularly reviewing your budget, you can adjust your campaign to be more successful without wasting your budget.
You may end up needing to adjust your budget slightly, but in many cases, you can just as easily adjust your keywords to keep you from going over. Google will not spend more than the daily average budget you have set.
9. Run a Search Query Report
How will you know which searches trigger your ads? By running a weekly search query report, of course.
This will help you find keywords that pull up your ads for irrelevant searches. Once you find these keywords, add them to your negative keyword list.
10. Display Network Review
If you notice any platforms or placements (such as websites or apps) that aren’t helping your campaign, remove them. By checking which sites your ads are being displayed on, you can choose to eliminate any particular one that doesn’t line up with your brand.
Whether they don’t agree with your business’s mission statement or they just aren’t related, you can choose.
If you know you don’t want your ad to run on mobile apps, you can completely remove this possibility. Likewise, you can ban certain types of websites from displaying your ad.
11. Project Performance
Each week, you should check the overall project performance. Are you on track to meeting your goals? Is your campaign performing how you expected? If not, how can you adjust your campaign so it does?
You’ll have to make changes to your campaign in order to stay on track with your goals and stay within budget, so it’s important to check how the overall project is performing once a week, but also look at trends over longer periods of time.
12. Optimize Bids
Take advantage of Google’s automated bidding strategies. In most cases, these are the best option to choose when running ads. If you’re tracking conversions, the Maximize Conversions bidding strategy is a good place to start.
13. Keyword Expansion
You should have a pretty clear idea about which keywords work well and which ones don’t. Using Google Ads Keyword Planner, you can easily track them and monitor your competition.
If you notice some keywords receiving more attention, expand your list of keywords to include them so long as your budget allows for it.
Additionally, keep an eye on any paused keywords. If they suddenly start trending or start to gain a larger audience, consider resuming them. Keep a close eye on how they perform and critically analyze how they’re impacting your campaign, but as trends change, your paused keywords could become relevant again.
Since PPC campaigns will track data over time, keeping an eye on certain monthly tasks can help you improve your campaign as you go along.
Here’s a list of what you should be doing every month so that your campaign stays on track and continues to bring in the desired results.
14. Check Campaign Settings
Each of your Google ads account campaigns should have accessible settings. At least once a month, take a moment to check them and ensure they are still up to date. Are they in the right language and location? Are they on the ideal networks and devices?
You’ll be making slight adjustments to your campaign all month and it’s much easier than you may think to accidentally make a mistake. By keeping an eye on your campaign settings at least once a month, you can prevent your campaign from being ruined beyond the point of return.
Make sure those settings are still correct and if not, you’ll catch them before they become a problem.
15. Review Landing Pages
To make sure your landing pages aren’t weak, run a Final URL report. If you find any that are performing poorly, you can either remove them or update the page. For any pages you remove, make sure to direct traffic to a top-performing landing page or a new landing page.
If you decide to create new landing pages in place of those that performed poorly, take the time to experiment with different lengths, images, and headlines. You can base these new pages on your top-performing pages as well as customer feedback.
16. Keep Up With Keywords
By now, your keywords will have changed and you’ll have made several adjustments over time. You should definitely head over to Google Trends and take a look at how your keywords are doing as well as analyze your opportunities.
Some of your original keywords may be holding strong, but it’s likely that many of them have started to drop.
Check your entire list of keywords every month. Go over your search terms and make sure to adjust your keywords and negative keywords accordingly. All the keywords you keep should be leading you towards your goals and if they aren’t, consider changing, removing, or pausing them.
17. Check Visitor Site Metrics
In order to see how well your campaign is doing in terms of bringing customers to your site, check your visitor site metrics. These are things like the bounce rate, how long they spend on your site, and so on. You can easily access all these site metrics from Google Analytics.
By checking and analyzing your visitor site metrics, you can determine which landing pages are performing well. All these site metrics will help you understand your visitors and how to improve your site, so it’s worth the time to go through and carefully look at them.
You should consider including geotargeting features and running a geographic report to determine where your ads are mostly being viewed. Even if your business isn’t locked to a specific location, geotargeting your audience can help you get more relevant views and customers who are more likely to be interested in your product.
If your campaign is widely based on geographic location, then it’s especially important to stay up to date. Consider blocking poor-performing locations and expanding around locations that have a high engagement rate. By trying out different target locations, you’ll reach and expand a larger audience.
19. Observe Your Competition
Much of how you run your campaign should be based on how your competitors run theirs. You should keep an eye on what they do so that you can keep up and see where their successes and failures are.
If you notice their ads seem to be doing well, determine what aspects are helping them succeed and apply them to your own campaign. In order to keep your campaign relevant, you have to observe and keep up with your competitors or your campaign could become yesterday’s news.
By following this PPC management checklist, you’re less prone to missing out on any steps or making any major mistakes. Remember, a good PPC campaign not a one-off event that you just set and forget. You do need to monitor your campaign closely and keep tweaking it for the best results.