A World Cup Approach to Paid Search

One of the globe’s largest sporting events world cup pay per click digital third coast chicagokicks off this week in Brazil, which makes for a great excuse to write a sport-centric PPC post. Now, the two may seem unrelated – and to some degree they are – but the steps taken to field a winning World Cup team and the steps taken to field a world class PPC account do draw some heavy comparisons.

Choose your Host Country

Your host country should be a clear representation of the goals you are trying to accomplish. You want to make sure that the expectations you have thoroughly align with the bandwidth of the ‘country.’ The ‘country’ in this case is your advertising platform. Just as the World’s Largest soccer event should never be held in a country that doesn’t have the infrastructure/climate to yield success, you shouldn’t choose a platform that doesn’t meet your goals and needs. For example, an e-commerce client would most likely benefit more from a PLA campaign, rather than a campaign run on the display network.

Get A Feel For the Pitch

Teams arrive for the World Cup days in advance in order to get acclimated to their surroundings. Scouting opponents and game film are often part of this process, and you should be doing the same for your PPC campaign. How do your competitors describe themselves in the search landscape? What key words or phrases are they using to position themselves? Just as Jürgen Klinsmann is keeping tabs on the landscape of Group G, good PPC managers are always keeping tabs on their competitors and the general landscape of their industry

Identify Your Roster and Lineup

The roster and lineup are the backbone of your team. Both can have a huge effect on your team chemistry which will ultimately affect wins and losses. The same can be said for your account structure (i.e. Campaigns, Ad Groups and Keywords.). A poorly structured account can be a nightmare to analyze and optimize which will make it difficult to ‘play’ to the fullest potential.

Debut Your Kits

One of the most exciting times during the World Cup is each country’s unveiling of their kits, or jersey. Think of this as your account’s ad copy. Each country takes a bit of pride incorporating their heritage on a jersey in order to make a splash, and the same can be done for your ads. Copy that features your unique offerings are more likely to grab the user’s attention, which may lead to better quality traffic.

Below are two ads that are served upon searching “World Cup jerseys.” The one below features World Cup ad text, but it’s missing some major bells and whistles, such as site links and advertiser ratings. This is the equivalent to the South Korean kits. It says “Yeah, we’re here,” but that’s about it.


fifa world cup jersey kits pay per click ad 1 south korea

This next ad, however, features many of the available ad extensions and does a nice job of grabbing the user’s attention.


fifa world cup jersey kits pay per click ad 2 ghana

Nothing says Ghana kits quite like this ad. Just look at those collars. A+. *

Always Be Analyzing

Like any footy squad, the search landscape is always changing. Just because a keyword or ad text worked in the past, doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for the present or future. Reviewing search query reports, bidding, and quality scores can be the equivalent of reviewing game film, practicing, and staying fit during the month-long tournament. Training for the World Cup and managing a world class PPC campaign are not ‘set it and forget it’ activities. Both take constant maintenance and analysis in order to be successful.


So while you’re at the pub, sipping on a pint, and watching the beautiful game this month, take a moment to think about how else the World Cup may relate to paid search. I’d love to hear your ideas. Also any input on jerseys is appreciated too. Go USA.

*Nice collars? Sure. But it’s all Red White and Blue on June 16th. I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN.