Four Things I learned from Running a PPC Campaign

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Really the first thing I learned is that paid search is hard. There are so many different types of campaigns and ways to spend a budget. Finding the right media buy is super tricky these days and I’m still learning everyday.

1. Top of the funnel vs bottom of the funnel

The first thing that every CEO or manager jumps to look at is return on investment. They want to see that you’re making money from the money you’ve spent. But there are campaigns that can’t be measured in terms of return on ad spend. Certain keywords or ads act as a first touch point and drive people to your site and introduce them to your brand. This is known as “top of the funnel”. Those clicks don’t lead to direct last click sales because there are many paths to purchase.

For example, a user may search “surf wax” and find a search results page with brands like Sex Wax, Sticky Bumps, and your brand. They might click around on the other brands before clicking on yours. Then after browsing a while they search your brand name and convert from there. It’s important to bid on non branded search terms for top of the funnel brand awareness. It’s also important to bid on your own brand name because there is a chance someone else is bidding on your brand. The way to measure performance is to look at the level of engagement from your non branded search terms. Things to look at are average time on site and pages per visit. You also want to use your branded ad groups as a key indicator as you will be able to dig into the metrics and see what search terms are driving conversion. Another key indicator will be an increase in branded ad group revenue.

2. Pass the gclid
During the setup process you’ll want to make sure you set up tracking. For Ecommerce sites web masters often put a URL rewrite code on the site to get rid of any duplicate content and clean up the URL structure. This URL rewrite can strip any campaign tracking parameters thus totally mess up your data. This is really not good because you can’t make any decisions without good data.

It’s recommended that you set up auto tagging on your Google AdWords account. Google auto tags every URL with this after the URL

In order to test if your campaign is tracking properly, you’ll want to copy and into your browser. If the gelid is still there, you’re all good. If it strips it out, you’ll need to allow the gclid so your campaign will track properly.

3. Day parting

This goes back to the return on ad spend argument, but it’s also a way for you to extend your daily budget. There are peak times of the day people shop online, and there are peak times of the day people make purchases online. One of the easiest ways to stretch your daily budget and increase impression share during peak times of the day is to implement a day parting bidding strategy. First you’ll want to take a look at all your data from your campaigns. You’ll want to segment it out into days of the week and time of the day. You’ll find this in the dimensions tab on the ad group level. Here is the easy way to look at this:
AdWords REporting Time of Day
After you figure out what time of day people make the most purchases, you’re ready to set up day parting. Go into your campaign settings and find ad schedule. Click on custom ad schedule. There you can set up times of the day that you want your ads to show. You can also increase and decrease bids from there.

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 7.44.31 AM

4. Text ads vs Google Product Listing (PLA) ads
One of the most obvious differences is that PLAs have images and appear in the Google Shopping results. For Ecommerce, PLAs make a lot of sense. If you’re not selling products, PLAs don’t really make sense. A big benefit to running PLAs is that you get a lower cost per click (CPC) on competitive keywords that would be more expensive if you were to bid on them in a text ad campaign. The result is a lower CPC, top of the funnel activity, and bottom of the funnel activity as well.

About the author / 

Nicole Grodesky
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Nicole loves surfing, photography and developing her skills in online marketing and publishing.

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