The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to PPC


So, you want to start online advertising with Google Ads? Congratulations! Google Ads use a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) system, which means that you're charged for the ad only when someone clicks on it. PPC advertising is a great way to get your business out there and quickly increase traffic. Whether this is your first time trying online marketing or one of many, setting up and launching a campaign can feel like a huge task. But with the proper tools and instruction, you’ll experience a boost in conversions, website traffic and other website health indicators in no time.

Create & Set Up Your Google Accounts

First things first, let’s set up Google accounts.

After you create your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts, it’s important to connect your accounts together. In your Google Analytics account, make sure to add your Google Ads so it can keep track of clicks, conversions and other goals.

First, click the Admin tab on the bottom left corner of your Google Analytics account, then look under property setting and find Google Ads Linking. Connect your Google Ads account here.

Once you have those accounts set up, you can start on your first task before making your campaign.

Before You Start

Questions You'll Want To Answer.

What Google networks will you advertise on?

Search, display or both? Search ads trigger at the top and bottom of Google search results. Display shows ads across various websites where either Google determines the content is relevant, or you specifically tell the platform which site you’d like them to appear.

If you chose to opt in to both, then make sure to segment each channel into two separate campaigns. Separating search and display campaigns allows you to focus on crafting your messaging based on the scenario in which your audience is viewing your ad.

On search, you can talk directly to consumers who are actively looking for your products. On display, you can target consumers while they are researching relevant information related to your business. Each network audience behaves differently and should be treated as two separate campaigns for optimization purposes. For example, standard metrics such as impressions, click through rate and overall engagement may be inflated when compared to a search campaign.

Likewise, metrics in search may be difficult to gauge and adjustment when viewing display metrics. Overall, combining the two channels may make gauging campaign success and optimization difficult more difficult than needed.

What is the campaign’s overall objective or goal?

What do you want to achieve? What would you want this campaign to do for your business? Would you like to increase website traffic or phone calls? Or even getting people to your door? Decide what it is that you want to do for your business. You don’t need to do everything at once, just pick whichever task you would like to accomplish first.

What kind of keywords and ad copy will you utilize?

Each business has their own personality, so you want to figure yours out and make the most of it. Are you a more serious brand or are you a fun brand? Can you use loose language or do you need to use certain terms when connecting to your audience.

Then when picking keywords through the Keyword Planner, you have to be careful because some may be more expensive than others. Each keyword has their own estimated bid price. Final cost per click (CPC) is determined later once the engine factors in other aspects such as landing page and overall relevance. Keep your budget in mind as you determine which keywords to use.

What devices (mobile, desktop, or tablet) do you want to target most?

On Google Ads you can choose to target a certain device — such as mobile smartphones, tablets or desktops — more than others. You can even make Google Ads target a device less. These targeting can be adjusted at any time during the campaign run. Check back often to see each devices performance over time.

Are you interested in location targeting?

Location targeting is an important factor in campaign success. Do you have a brick-and-mortar location? Or is it just an ecommerce store? If you have a brick-and-mortar location and would like to target consumers to come to your business door, then location targeting is great for your business. If you only have an ecommerce store, you may still want to think about location targeting if you don’t want to sell to countries outside of the United States due to issues such as shipping prices. Easily update location targeting based on where you’d like your ads to show.

Planning & Setting Up Campaigns

Creating campaigns for your business.

Approaching your campaign this way will ensure that you stay focused. When planning, ask yourself questions about your business and which goals you would like to achieve with your campaign. It’s okay to start small and gradually make your goals bigger and better.

Researching your competitors, CPCs for keywords, and reviewing analytics data will help you remain observant. This will also help you stay on top of potential keywords and negative keywords. For an example, if there is a new slang or saying that might involve your keywords, then you may want to keep an eye out for that.

You could avoid wasting your ad spend budget by remaining knowledgeable about what’s happening on the internet. And if you ever find yourself thinking too hard and stressing out over what to do, consider this last tip: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) your campaigns. Not everything is rocket science and it doesn’t have to be either. Since this is your first campaign, you don’t need to stress out to make everything perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes and optimize campaigns based off that.

What Should You Advertise?

Specialties + Products

First, see which of your products have the highest ROIs. If you have cheaper products, it’s usually not advised to advertise them as much. Especially if the product is $5 and the CPC is $1.

After narrowing your products down by ROI, look for products that are trending or are your biggest sellers. This will help you get started with what you may want to advertise first without wasting any precious ad dollars.

How Should You Advertise?

Time to get the band (campaign) back together.

After deciding which products you want to advertise, Ad Groups need to be created and should be separate for each product or product type.  

Match types: Broad, +Modified +Broad, “Phrase”, and [Exact].

Using match types allows advertisers to control the types of searches that trigger ads. Helping advertisers and businesses reach people who are actively looking to buy the product they are selling. Keep in mind, keywords are assigned as broad match by default, but can be modified accordingly.

Who Is Your Target Audience?

Who would you like to talk to?

Identifying your target audience helps in two ways: one, limiting who exactly sees your ad and two, helping you write ads to hit the people you want to be talking to. Write ads that speak directly to your audience.

Use language that your audience will best react to. If you currently have no data on how to approach your audience then test different types of writing to find out. For an example, you could write one ad that is very professional and formal, while having another ad be less formal and casual. See which ad performs better to determine which form of writing best resonates with them.

Additionally on Google Analytics you can view the demographics, interests, behavior, etc. of the consumers who are clicking on your ads. This can help narrow down who your target audience is and give you insights on how they act as consumers. You can access this data by navigating to your Google Analytics account and clicking Audience on the left hand. Then you can view features about your audience such as what language they speak, what technology they used to get to your website, and more.

Identifying your target audience may seem like a difficult task at first, but after pinpointing them you can then tailor the ads you create to fit your audience’s needs.

Run a Low Budget Brand Campaign

Run a campaign - brand it!

Create a campaign just for your brand - a branded campaign. This will increase brand awareness and more people could know about your brand and what you have to offer. This will ensure that you will claim a high ranking spot for your own brand name, regardless of what organic search results produce. But if you already have a high organic listing, this will be a double-win!

When bidding for keywords for your branded campaign, it is good practice to target all forms of keyword match types. For an example, if your business is called Cats4Us then you should bid on the broad, modified broad, phrase, and exact match.

Consider Product Listing Ads

Google Shopping Ads

After you put thought into your campaigns, both branded and targeted search you can start thinking about product listing ads. Google Shopping ads let the consumer preview products that you are selling by viewing the price and an image of the product directly in search results or the Google Shopping tab. These ads are also known as comparative shopping ads as they allows the consumer to compare the same item side by side to determine which is better for them.

Using paid campaigns to meet your goals

With the use of the PPC campaign, you should be seeing results such as an increase in impressions, brand exposure, website traffic, flexibility in branding, and, most importantly, quick results. Once you find out what works and what doesn’t for your target audience, you can tailor your ads more efficiently and effectively by doing so. For more help in measuring the success of your PPC campaigns, check out our guide to PPC metrics. No matter if this is your first $100 or $1000 on Google Ads, by having a keen understanding of your goals and target audience you can make the most of your advertising campaign.