Many websites are interested in starting a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign as a tool to gain visibility on Google’s search engines. Before you do that you need to be clear about what your plan is and what it will require. With that in mind here are some questions that need to be answered before we move forward.

1. What are your campaign goals?

Be specific about the outcome you want to achieve – and record it.  Otherwise you can lose focus and not know whether your campaign is effective or not.

2. What is your budget?

It is easy to spend money. In a PPC ad campaign, you will pay for every time someone clicks on your ad. A daily/monthly limit should be in place before you start.

3. Which keywords are you going to use?

Keywords are the single words and phrases people type into the search box to find anything online. In a PPC campaign, you will bid on certain keywords to target.  The more popular keywords can be extremely competitive and tend to be costly. Targeting 3-4 word phrases that are commonly to describe your goods or service can get you higher exposure to your target audience and should result in a better return on investment.

4. Who do you want as your audience?

The keywords used in the campaign will draw different groups of people. Determining who those people are and what they need will set the foundation for the keywords targeted in your campaign.

5. Are you going to use geo-targeting?

Blasting your ad to the right audience can be challenging.  Fortunately, there is a feature that enables you to set how wide of a geographic region you would like to target.

6. Which pages will your visitors land on?

By tying your PPC campaign to specific landing pages, you will be able to determine which campaigns are working for you and where you might need to make adjustments. Always send visitors to a strong, well-developed landing page for optimal results.

7. How will you measure your success?

“If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know if you’ve arrived?”

This really explains the essence of why tracking metrics are so important. Setting your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will tell you what you need to monitor to determine how well your campaign is working.

8. How are you going to test and improve your campaign over time?

As campaigns age, they need to be tweaked. Regularly testing your campaign and improving on its strengths should allow you to see a PPC that improves over time.

9. How does your PPC campaign relate to and support your other marketing activities?

The best practice is to tie all of your marketing together: using your colors, graphics, logos, and tag lines consistently across all of your platforms help to convey who you are as a company. Creating a campaign stretches beyond simple PPC: it can include a blog series, Facebook posts, and a Pinterest board as well.

10. How long do you want this campaign to run?

Your budget will in part determine this, but sometimes you only need it to run a short period of time (i.e. if you are promoting an event). Other factors that may prompt you to end a campaign: you’ve determined that your audience is responding to another medium, a product or service is being discontinued, or it’s time to do something different. Consider your exit strategy throughout the process as you test your campaign.

Take time to answer these questions before you start to save time and energy in your next PPC campaign.

Interested in Developing Your PPC Strategy?


Originally published: April 12, 2012. 
Information updated: June 9, 2015.