It’s no secret that investing in pay-per-click (PPC) ads can drive a large amount of traffic to your ecommerce store. There are many existing online PPC guides that cover step-by-step instructions for setting up your first ad, but not all of them consider the planning phase that must occur beforehand to achieve success. Before you jump into advertising through Google, you’ll want to plan ahead for your campaigns by considering the following questions.
1. What is your budget?
Like the name suggests, advertisers are charged a fee when an ad in a PPC campaign is clicked. So before getting started, it is important to set campaign parameters and come up with a budget that you’ll be comfortable with. Cost accumulates as users click on your ads until the set daily budget is reached, at which point Google will stop showing them for the rest of the day. Finding a balance of a budget that allows for the desired exposure and maintaining a positive return on investment can take some time, but luckily you’re allowed to make changes at any time.
When picking keywords through the Keyword Planner for your ad, be careful—some may be much more expensive than others. Each keyword has their own estimated bid price, with final cost per click (CPC) determined later once Google factors in other aspects, such as landing page and overall relevance. Keep your budget in mind as you determine which keywords to use.
2. Who is your target audience?
Identifying your target audience helps in two ways: by limiting who exactly sees your ad, and by helping you speak directly to your audience.
Google Analytics allows you to view the demographics, interests, behaviors, 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 manu. 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.
When writing your ads, 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 example, you could write one ad that sounds very professional and formal while running another ad that sounds less formal and casual, and see which ad performs better to determine which form of writing best resonates with your audience.
3. What devices (mobile, desktop, or tablet) do you want to target most?
Once you have a better understanding of your target audience, you can determine which devices they are most likely to be searching on. Luckily, Google Ads allows you 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 device’s performance over time.
4. What is your 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 get 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.
5. Are you interested in location targeting?
Location targeting is an important factor in campaign success. Do you have a brick-and-mortar location, or just an ecommerce store? If you have a brick-and-mortar 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 shipping prices or other issues. Easily update location targeting based on where you’d like your ads to show.
6. What Google networks will you advertise on—Search, Display, or both?
Ads on the Search Network trigger at the top and bottom of Google search results. On Search, you can talk directly to consumers who are actively looking for your products.
Ads on the Display Network are shown 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. On Display, you can target consumers while they are researching relevant information related to your business.
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 since each network audience behaves differently. For example, standard metrics such as impressions, click through rate, and overall engagement may be inflated for Display when compared to a Search campaign. Likewise, metrics in Search may be difficult to gauge and adjust when viewing Display metrics. Overall, combining the two channels may make gauging campaign success and optimization more difficult than needed.
7. What product(s) should you advertise?
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. Then, look for products that are trending or are your biggest sellers. This will help you determine what you may want to advertise first without wasting any precious ad dollars.
8. How should you advertise?
After deciding which products you want to advertise, you will need to create Ad Groups that are separate for each product or product type. 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 that keywords are assigned as broad match by default, but can be modified accordingly.
When you take the time to plan specific aspects of your PPC ad ahead of time, you should end up seeing positive 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 effectively. Whether this is your first $100 or $1,000 on Google Ads, having a keen understanding of your goals and audience will help you make the most of your advertising campaign.