Five Tips for Your First Pay Per Click Campaign

five tips for your first PPC campaign

Pay per click marketing is an exciting yet daunting idea for many small business owners. With careful planning and refinement, small firms with a limited budget can reap the rewards of an efficient pay per click campaign. Knowing exactly where to focus when building a new campaign can save valuable time and money. We’ve used our experience with PPC management to find the best cost-saving yet effective ways to begin a PPC campaign for yourself. Read on to learn the five key focus areas for a successful PPC campaign launch.

Search Network Versus Display Network

There are a variety of networks to utilize on the Google ad platform. The most common places to begin a new campaign are on the search network and the display network. Search network ads are the text ads you see above and below organic results on the search engine results page (SERP). These text ads connect users already in discovery mode, with search results from keyword input.

Display network ads combine text and photos or videos. They appear across a variety of website partners across the internet, sites ranging from news, entertainment, and video watching sites. These ads are most often found at the bottom or on the right side of website content. Display ads are most commonly associated with branding campaigns, which allow a broad audience to gain exposure to your brand and service in a passive viewing mode. While useful, it is more difficult to attribute direct leads from these ads.

There are benefits to each network type, and both can be highly effective, however, for small businesses starting a campaign, the best place to begin a lead driven campaign is Google’s search network. With the ability to show up with the right message at the point of discovery, as people are looking for services like yours, search campaigns allow for better budgeting control and result measurement.

Location, Location, Location

Google’s platform allows advertisers to specify location parameters. Options include everything from running global campaigns to select zip codes in a region; the possibilities are endless. It can be enticing for small firms to choose a wide location threshold to draw in new customers. However, when starting a new PPC program, the goal is to keep tight control over ad spend and campaign results. Keep location parameters narrow and focused. Achieve success early with the first campaign; then, there will be an opportunity to repeat and scale over time.

For example, if your firm provides a bookkeeping service to customers across the country, but your best customers are all located within one metropolitan area, like Philadelphia. Your PPC campaign should keep the location parameters around your core client base in the Philadelphia area. Future campaigns can help you scale your business into new target markets.

Focus on your top product or service

Just like the location selection, it can be tempting to build a broad ad campaign that collects leads for all company service offerings. Resist the urge, at least for now. Build an ad group around your most popular service. A flagship service with solid social proof and SEO ensures the best return on investment for PPC from the start. PPC campaigns that use SEO indicators and reviews to bolster their success see a higher click-through rate and a higher sales conversion rate. Taking advantage of digital assets you may already have working in your favor is smart and cost-effective.


Refinement is the secret sauce to any good PPC search campaign. It is where most ad campaigns succeed or fail. Here’s why. At the start, campaigns require educated guesses to determine the best text, placement, location, and keyword selections. But remember, search campaigns are dynamic and data-driven. Search engines connect users with desired results. Searches ebb and flow, terminology shifts, competition is continually striving for better placement.

The data collected in the first weeks of your campaign will guide the direction of your PPC campaign. Using A/B testing, keyword adjustments, and a good negative keyword list will work to keep your campaign collecting reliable data. Data will drive campaign growth and a steady return on investment. Knowing how to read data indicators will be a critical key to success. Start reviewing keyword performance, click-through rate, and conversion rates. These metrics will tell the story of a customer’s journey from discovery to sale. Spend time fine-tuning your campaign to drive return on investment success.

Measure results

One of the best reasons for a small business to dive into PPC is for the data insight. Unlike other forms of digital marketing like social media, SEO, where results can be challenging to measure, pay per click campaign results are visible almost immediately. It’s actionable data you can use. No other digital platform can provide site lines into a user’s discovery and sale the way pay per click can. Better understanding your target market and the sales journey will strengthen your marketing while providing solid leads and sales too.

For best results, check your data often. Learn which metrics are impactful for your business. Commonly, PPC reveals how potential customers use a website. Finding which information is most valuable in the customer’s journey can be highly useful and finding new keyword combinations can provide more growth opportunities. Seeing exactly how new prospects interact with your business will drive future business decisions while strengthening the sales lead pipeline.

Finding success with pay per click marketing can provide a terrific lead funnel that will scale with your business. But pay per click marketing is NOT a set it and forget it platform. While the Google Ads platform has a tremendous amount of data and opportunity, it can be easy to lose money and effectiveness without a plan. Keep your small business’ parameters and goals narrow to drive leads and new business. Have patience and a willingness to tweak the campaign often to achieve success. Over time, your small firm will gain insight into your best customers and new business leads.