Your Ultimate PPC Account Campaign Checklist for 2024

By Maria Szatkowski

In the changing world of digital marketing, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising remains a powerful tool for businesses seeking immediate visibility and results. As competition intensifies, it becomes crucial to approach PPC with a strategic mindset. 

When it comes to new account building, it can be daunting to start from the beginning. This PPC checklist guides you in launching and optimizing your PPC campaigns for success. 

1. Plan Your Budget

Establishing a realistic budget is crucial. This will help determine the scope of your account. Allocate your budget strategically across campaigns and continuously monitor spending after launch.

2. Define Your Audiences

Before launching and your PPC ad takes flight, define your audience. Uncover their online persona, from desires to behavior. Speak their language, address their needs, and tailor your message to feel like a conversation, not a broadcast. This laser focus attracts the right clicks, fuels engagement, and transforms your campaign into a targeted dialogue that drives results.

3. Do Keyword Research

One of the first steps to running any PPC campaign is to conduct keyword research to find high-performing and relevant keywords for your campaign. For the most balanced and effective PPC strategy, you’ll want to explore both long-tail variations and short-tail variations. 

Long-Tail Keywords:

  • More specific and descriptive: Typically 3 or more words, like “women’s running shoes for wide feet” or “cheap vacation packages to Hawaii.”
  • Lower search volume: Fewer people search for them each month, but still enough to reach a relevant audience.
  • Less competitive and more affordable: Lower Cost-Per-Click (CPC) due to fewer bidders.
  • Highly targeted traffic: Attracts users with a specific need or intent, increasing relevance.
  • Higher conversion rate: Users searching for specific terms are closer to a buying decision and more likely to convert.

Short-Tail Keywords:

  • Short and generic: Often just one or two words, like “shoes” or “travel.”
  • High search volume: Millions of people might search for them every month.
  • Competitive and expensive: Many advertisers bid on these keywords, driving up the cost per click (CPC).
  • Less targeted traffic: Attracts a broad audience, possibly including many irrelevant users.
  • Lower conversion rate: Users searching for general terms may not be ready to buy yet.

You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner or other third-party platforms to perform keyword research.

4. Understand Keyword Match Types

Keyword match types (broad, phrase, exact) in PPC campaigns determine the level of precision and reach. Broad matches broaden your targeting, maximizing visibility but potentially sacrificing relevance. 

Exact matches narrow your focus for increased relevance but with a more limited reach. Phrase match can be a middle ground, matching searches containing your phrase in order, delivering both targeted traffic and some flexibility.

5. Do Negative Keyword Research

Don’t let irrelevant clicks drain your budget! Before launching your ad, do some “negative keyword research.” Negative keyword research is the process of thinking beyond your target audience and adding specific keywords to campaigns, preventing your ad from showing for them. Completing negative keyword research ensures your ad focuses on qualified leads, saving clicks and boosting conversions. 

6. Conduct A Competitor Analysis

Understanding your competitors is key to gaining a competitive edge. Identify what keywords your competitors are targeting to see what’s successfully driving traffic, conversions. and identify gaps to create better-performing ads. 

Check out our article on a variety of tools you can use to gather data on your competitor’s PPC performance.

7. Create a Measurement Plan and Track Conversions

Set up proper conversion tracking to measure the success of your campaign and identify areas for improvement. Without proper tracking, you’ll be left assuming your campaign’s performance.

8. Ensure Ad Compliance and Policy Adherence

Understand platform policies to avoid ad disruptions and potential penalties. Familiarize yourself with common pitfalls and mistakes that can impact your ad performance.

9. Create and Test Ad Copy, Assets

Craft compelling ad copy that applies to your target audience. Conduct A/B testing, experimenting with different headlines, descriptions, and calls to action to see what resonates with your audience.

In addition to ad copy, create and test ad assets like images, site links, call-outs, and structured snippets. This combination of powerful copy and engaging assets will capture attention, drive clicks, and propel your campaign to success.

10. Locally Optimize and Geo-target

Customize campaigns for local audiences by adapting your approach to specific geographic audiences. You can geo-target to reach relevant users in targeted locations. This may not be relevant for every business or PPC campaign.

11. Remarketing Campaigns

Remarketing campaigns involve separating your audience into specific buckets based on their previous interactions with your website or ads. You can then create targeted ads for each bucket, reminding them of what they considered or offering deals tailored to their actions. This refuels their interest and drives them back to your website, with the goal of converting them into customers.

12. Target Ad Placement

For non-search channels, explore different ad placements and targeting options based on demographics, geography, and device preferences. Minimize wasted spend by balancing outreach with efficiency. 

13. Monitor Ad Performance and Relevance

Regularly track key metrics like click-through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), and conversion rate to identify areas for improvement. Identify underperforming ads and conduct A/B testing for improvement.

Pay attention to Quality Score to enhance ad relevance. This not only reduces costs but also increases the chances of conversions. Monitor and optimize ad relevance over time.

14. Monitor Keyword Performance

Regularly monitor keyword performance in your PPC campaign to identify inefficiencies and opportunities. Pinpoint keywords with high spend but low conversions, look for balanced impressions across terms, and capitalize on top-performing keywords.

15. Search Term Audits

Analyzing the search terms that trigger your ads, even under your chosen match types, can reveal unexpected and potentially irrelevant traffic. By adding these to your negative keyword list, you eliminate budget drains and refine your targeting to attract only qualified leads. 

16. Optimize Landing Page

Make sure there’s a seamless transition from the ad to a landing page, and continuously test and refine your landing pages. 

Optimize page load speed, maintain relevance to ad content, and include clear calls-to-action for a higher conversion rate and to maximize the ROI of your PPC campaigns.

17. Utilize Ad Platform Features

Stay on top of new features offered by ad platforms. Leverage automated bidding for efficient budget management, target past visitors for increased conversion potential, and target custom audiences to reach highly relevant user segments. 

18. Report and Analyze

Use analytics platforms to generate customized reports. Use these reports to find actionable insights for strategy improvement and recommendations for future campaigns.

19. Scale Campaigns and Expand

Once you’ve identified successful campaigns, ramp them up and explore new opportunities. Expand your reach across different platforms to diversify your advertising efforts.

20. Stay Updated on Industry Trends

Embrace the evolving PPC landscape and stay up to date with industry trends to stay ahead of the curve. 

By following these recommendations and adapting them to your specific campaign goals, you can launch successful PPC campaigns for new accounts and achieve your desired results.

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