Tips for PPC campaign management

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertisement offers you a way to place your business ads on websites and search engine result pages that are themed around your keywords of choice. Advertisers bid to have their ads displayed alongside search results or websites with a particular keyword. But PPC campaigns are often much more specific than just a selection of keywords, and ads can be displayed only to Internet users from a particular geographical location, gender, age range or even by the device they are using to search or access a website.

There are many pros and cons of PPC advertising, and managing a large PPC campaign is often a specialist marketing skill. Keep in mind that PPC advertisement counts as one of your allowable self employed expenses, and that you can claim it against your company profits to reduce its tax liability. This means you can probably afford more time and budget to manage it yourself, or hire a specialist to do it for you. To optimise your PPC campaign you will need to select the right keywords, target audience and bid amounts that offer you the maximum number of clicks.

Exploit The Long Tail

It's easy to get carried away and compete for an extremely popular keyword, just to find out that you paid over the top for traffic with just a moderate or even low conversion rate. Sometimes this type of keyword is called a vanity keyword, because it serves more to satisfy the website owner than to actually bring business. However, if your goal is to bring sales to your online home business and not only traffic it's better to focus on what is known as the long tail keyword.

For example, a website that sells sport shoes may want to advertise on highly searched keywords such as "shoes". But how many people who actually want to buy shoes only type "Shoes" on a search engine? On the other hand, "Reebok Sport Trainers" is much more specific. And "Reebok Sport Trainers Reviews" may indicate an intention to buy while "Shoes" doesn't.

Be Specific About Your Target Audience

Ads that are heavily targetted often prove cheaper for two reasons: - There's less competition for them - The conversion rate is better If you are a local business, looking for local customers, competing with the big guys on the global market is soon going to prove a waste of your time and money. Any website that targets particular demographics should make sure that their advertisement is also targetted to those demographics and not the entire world. For example, if you are starting a jewelry business you'd be wasting your money if you pay PPC ads for audiences on countries you don't sell to.

By using different ads for different audience segments you can tailor the message to each of them more effectively. This will improve both your click-through rates and your conversion rates. Some PPC platforms such as Adsense also include other metrics such as a quality score to decide your absolute minimum bid, and since click-through is one of the metrics used it's worth investing on achieving as high a quality score as possible.

Customize Your Ad and Landing Pages

Identifying your target audience and segmenting your ads can increase your click-through rates, but all the benefit can be wasted if people who click on an ad find themselves on a generic landing page that has nothing to do with the ad message. You can set individual landing pages for each single ad, and you should make sure they are as optimised as possible for the particular demographic that will reach them. If you are using the message "Become fit" to sell shoes to your male audience, and "Health benefits" to your female audience make sure the landing pages for each of them match that message and build on it.

Analyse the Results and Fine-Tune

Running a PPC campaign without closely monitoring your website traffic statistics  is like driving blindfolded: If you get anywhere it will be because you are very lucky. Periodically review the traffic incoming from each campaign and your PPC statistics. You should identify the ads that are bringing conversions, the ones that only bring traffic and those that just aren't being displayed or clicked on. You can then change your daily budget to increase the amount of good working ads that are being displayed, review the landing pages and ad copy of the ones that aren't producing conversions and similarly correct the bidding price or message on those that are not getting any traffic.

Managing a PPC campaign is often a time consuming job that requires careful attention, an understanding of web metrics and an ability to know what works and what doesn't. Large campaigns can cover several thousands of keywords and are often managed by specialist full time marketers, but even small and medium business often find that hiring a PPC consultant offers better results for complex campaigns and makes paid advertising worth every penny.