PPC Management: An Introduction and Beginner's Guide

What Is PPC Management?

PPC management refers to the ongoing process of overseeing and optimizing pay-per-click advertising campaigns. PPC advertising, such as Google Ads or Bing Ads, allows advertisers to bid on keywords relevant to their target audience and pay a fee each time their ad is clicked.

PPC campaigns cannot be set and forgotten. Continuous PPC management is essential to ensure campaigns remain profitable.

In this guide, we will discuss the components of PPC management, its significance, best practices, and more.

Let’s begin.

PPC management involves overseeing all aspects of a business’s PPC campaigns and strategies. This includes managing search ads, display ads, social media ads, and other types of PPC advertising.

For instance, here’s an example of a PPC search ad:

PPC management encompasses tasks such as:

  • Ad copywriting: Creating compelling messages that engage the target audience and encourage them to take action.
  • Landing page creation: Developing high-converting landing pages that convert visitors into customers.
  • Campaign optimization: Enhancing ad campaigns to achieve a higher return on ad spend.
  • A/B testing: Experimenting with multiple versions of ads or landing pages to identify the best-performing variant.

Why Is PPC Management Important?

PPC management is essential for achieving your desired outcomes in pay-per-click campaigns. It offers several benefits:

  1. Campaign Enhancement: By running and monitoring PPC campaigns, you can identify successful strategies and areas for improvement. This knowledge helps you optimize future campaigns, increasing your return on investment and minimizing budget waste.
  2. Fraudulent Click Detection: Monitoring your PPC campaigns allows you to detect click fraud, where malicious entities click on your ads to deplete your budget. This vigilance helps you safeguard your ad spend.
  3. Seasonal Trend Identification: Managing PPC campaigns enables you to identify seasonal trends and market fluctuations. This information empowers you to adapt your overall marketing strategy to capitalize on these trends and stay competitive.

Outsourced vs. In-House PPC Management

Both managing PPC ads in-house and outsourcing to a PPC management agency or consultant have their own set of advantages and drawbacks.

Outsourcing to an agency or consultant can provide you with immediate access to expertise, potentially leading to better returns on your ad spend. However, this comes at an additional cost, and you’ll need to rely on a third party, which can sometimes result in miscommunication and overspending.

To avoid potential issues, consider the following factors when choosing a PPC management agency or consultant:

  1. Services Offered: Clearly define your needs and find a partner who can fulfill them. This could range from managing campaigns to creating and optimizing landing pages.
  2. Communication Style: Choose a freelancer or agency that is responsive to your inquiries and aligns well with your company culture.
  3. Reporting Capabilities: Select a partner that provides regular and detailed reports on campaign performance. This helps you understand what strategies are driving results.
  4. Case Studies: Look for a partner with a proven track record, ideally supported by case studies with concrete numbers demonstrating their achievements.

When selecting a PPC management partner, it’s crucial to consider their range of services, communication style, reporting capabilities, and track record of success.

On the other hand, managing PPC campaigns internally may require upfront investment and time to acquire the necessary skills. However, in the long term, it can be more cost-effective since you won’t have to pay management fees.

6 Tips for PPC Management Success

Let’s explore strategies to maximize the profitability of your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns:

1. Get Familiar with the Ad Platform

Before launching your first PPC campaign, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with Google Ads and its features to maximize performance. Here are some key aspects to learn about:

  1. Campaign Types: Google Ads offers various campaign types, including search, display, video, and more. Even if you plan to focus on search ads initially, understanding the other options can help you achieve different goals in the future.
  2. Targeting Options: Google Ads allows you to target users based on search terms, interests, previous interactions with your ads, and more. Explore the different targeting options to determine which ones align best with your campaign objectives.
  3. Bidding Strategies: Google Ads offers both manual and automated bidding strategies. Understanding how each strategy works is crucial to prevent overspending and maximize your return on investment (ROI).
  4. Scheduling Options: You can schedule your ads to appear at specific times or days of the week. If timing is critical for your campaign, consider using ad scheduling to reach your target audience when they’re most likely to engage.

By familiarizing yourself with these key aspects of Google Ads, you can set up your first PPC campaign with confidence and optimize its performance for better results.

2. Perform Keyword Research

Performing keyword research is crucial for identifying the right search terms to target in your PPC campaigns. Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool can be a valuable resource for this purpose. Here’s how you can use it:

Enter a seed keyword related to your product or service into the Keyword Magic Tool and click the “Search” button.

The tool will generate a list of relevant keyword ideas.

Use the “Intent” drop-down menu to filter the keywords by search intent. Select “Commercial” and “Transactional” to focus on keywords where searchers are interested in researching brands, products, or services, or taking action like making a purchase.

And click “Apply.”

Select the keywords you want to include in your ads by checking the boxes next to each keyword.

Click the export icon to export the selected keywords to a file. This makes it easier to add the keywords to your Google Ads campaign later on.

By using the Keyword Magic Tool, you can discover a wide range of relevant keywords to target in your PPC campaigns, helping you reach your target audience effectively.

3. Use Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are terms you specify that you don’t want your ads to show for. They can help you prevent your ads from appearing for irrelevant searches, saving your ad budget and improving your campaign’s overall performance.

Here’s how to create a negative keyword list in Google Ads:

Navigate to the “Keywords” tab in your Google Ads dashboard.

Click on “Negative keywords” in the left-hand menu.

Click on the blue “plus” button to add a new negative keyword.

Choose whether you want the negative keyword to apply to the entire campaign or just a specific ad group.

You’ll need to choose one of the three match types: Negative exact match, negative phrase match, or negative broad match. Here’s a brief overview of each:

  1. Negative exact match: Your ads won’t show if the search query contains the exact term you enter, with all words in the same order. However, your ad can still be displayed if the search query contains the exact term you enter along with additional words.
  2. Negative phrase match: Your ads won’t show if the search query contains all the words in the phrase you enter, with all words in the same order. Additionally, your ads won’t show if the search query contains additional words, as long as the specified terms appear in the order you enter them.
  3. Negative broad match: Your ads won’t show if the search query contains all the words in your negative keyword, regardless of the word order. However, your ads can still be displayed if a search query contains only some words from your negative keyword.

Click “Save” to add the negative keyword to your list.

4. Analyze Your Competitor’s Ads

Analyzing your competitors’ ads can provide valuable insights and a starting point for your own campaigns. It can help you understand what strategies are working in your industry and how you can differentiate your ads to stand out.

To do this using Semrush’s Advertising Research tool, follow these steps:

Enter your competitor’s domain into the Advertising Research tool’s search bar and click “Search.”

Navigate to the “Positions” tab and scroll down to the “Paid Search Positions” section. Here, you can view a comprehensive list of keywords that your competitor is bidding on, along with the average cost per click (CPC) for each keyword. This metric represents the average amount that advertisers are prepared to pay for a single click on their ad.

Head to the “Ads Copies” tab to view the specific ad copy your competitor is employing, as well as the number of keywords that prompt these ads. This insight can serve as inspiration for crafting your own messaging strategy.


Next, navigate to the “Pages” tab to discover the landing pages associated with each ad.

Click on the links to your competitors’ landing pages to analyze their messaging, imagery, and calls to action (CTAs). Additionally, review the estimated traffic numbers and related keywords for each landing page to gauge the potential impact of your own ads.

5. Choose the Right Bidding Strategy

PPC advertising operates on an auction model, where advertisers bid to have their ads displayed on search results pages for specific search terms. The winning ad is determined by factors such as bid amount, ad quality, and relevance.

Choosing the right bidding strategy is crucial for the success of your PPC campaign. Different strategies can yield different results, so it’s important to test and refine your approach. Understanding how bidding works and selecting the right strategy can significantly impact the effectiveness and efficiency of your PPC campaigns.

Here are some of the most widely used bidding strategies in Google Ads and when they are most effective:

Target CPA

Target CPA (Cost Per Action) is an automated bidding strategy in PPC advertising that allows you to set the amount you’re willing to pay for each action, such as a conversion or a purchase.

This strategy utilizes historical campaign data and other contextual signals, such as user behavior, to optimize bids. While not all conversions will necessarily meet your set CPA, the strategy aims to achieve your average target CPA over time.

For example, if you sell leather bags and set your target CPA at $15, some conversions may cost more or less than $15, but the average cost will trend towards meeting your target CPA.

Target CPA is particularly effective for campaigns with a significant history of conversions (at least 30) as it leverages past data to optimize bids.

Target ROAS

Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) is an automated bidding strategy in Google Ads where you set a target return on ad spend that you aim to achieve from your ad campaign.

Google Ads utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and various signals to adjust your bids in real time to maximize the conversion value while meeting your specified target ROAS.

This bidding strategy is ideal for advertisers with a significant amount of historical conversion data who want to improve their return on investment (ROI) by leveraging Google Ads’ AI-powered algorithm. It is a more advanced strategy suited for advertisers looking to maximize their ROI while maintaining a specific target ROAS.

Maximize Conversions

Maximize Conversions is a bidding strategy in Google Ads designed to help you achieve the highest possible number of conversions within your specified budget. This strategy can be used with or without setting a specific target cost per acquisition (CPA).

Maximize Conversions utilizes historical campaign data, contextual signals, and artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize bids in real time. It aims to get the most out of your ad budget by adjusting bids to maximize the number of conversions your campaign generates.

It’s important to note that using Maximize Conversions may result in your campaign using up your entire daily budget every day, especially if it’s not currently fully utilized. Advertisers should be prepared for a potential increase in ad spend when using this bidding strategy.

Maximize Conversion Value

With this strategy, Google Ads optimizes your bids for the highest conversion value, which is typically the order value or the value of the action you consider most valuable.

Google Ads uses historical data, contextual signals, and machine learning to predict which clicks are more likely to result in higher conversion values. It will bid more aggressively in auctions where it predicts a higher conversion value and less aggressively where the conversion value is expected to be lower.

For instance, if your historical data shows that users from a particular location tend to make larger purchases, Google Ads might increase bids for clicks from users in that location, anticipating a higher conversion value. This strategy can help you maximize the total value of conversions generated by your ad campaign.

ECPC

Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC) is a bidding strategy in Google Ads that is designed to help you get more conversions from manual bidding while still retaining some control over your bids.

ECPC automatically adjusts your manual bids for clicks that are more likely to result in conversions. It uses contextual signals and historical campaign data to predict the likelihood of a conversion for each click.

This bidding strategy is a good option if you want to take advantage of Google Ads’ machine learning capabilities but still want to have some control over your bids. ECPC can help you optimize your bids to achieve more conversions while still allowing you to set maximum limits for your bids.

6. Create Enticing Ads and Landing Pages


After adjusting your campaign settings, the next step is to create compelling ads and landing pages that encourage users to click and convert. Here are some tips to help you create high-converting PPC ads and landing pages:

  1. Incorporate Keywords: Include the exact keywords that searchers are using in your ad copy to improve the click-through rate. This helps grab attention and increases the likelihood of clicks.
  2. Ensure Ad-Landing Page Consistency: Maintain consistency in messaging, tone, and voice between your ads and landing pages to avoid confusing visitors.
  3. Utilize Trust Signals: Use trust signals like customer reviews, money-back guarantees, or security certificates on your landing pages to increase confidence among visitors, especially those unfamiliar with your brand.
  4. Include a Strong Call-to-Action (CTA): Clearly state the action you want visitors to take (e.g., “Click here” or “Buy now”) to encourage more clicks and conversions.

FAQs About PPC Management

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about PPC management:

When Should You Use PPC?

PPC advertising is beneficial for many businesses, especially those looking to achieve specific goals quickly. Here are some scenarios where PPC is particularly advantageous:

  1. Fast Results: PPC can deliver immediate results, making it ideal for businesses that need to generate attention and sales quickly, such as during a new product launch.
  2. Highly Specific Audience Targeting: PPC platforms like Google Ads allow businesses to target users based on various criteria, including location, income level, and interests. This level of targeting is beneficial for businesses seeking to reach a highly specific audience.
  3. Promoting Limited-Time Offers: PPC is well-suited for promoting limited-time offers or promotions due to its ability to drive immediate traffic. Businesses can easily turn campaigns on and off to coincide with the offer’s timeframe.

Is It Easy to Learn PPC?

PPC advertising can be relatively easy to grasp but mastering it requires continuous learning and optimization. Thankfully, there are numerous online resources available to help you improve your PPC skills. Here are a few guides that can be particularly helpful:

How to Create an Effective PPC Strategy in 7 Steps

12 Best PPC Tools for Research, Automation, and More

How to Do a PPC Audit in 10 Steps

Is PPC Better Than SEO?

When choosing between PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it’s essential to understand their respective strengths and weaknesses.

PPC can yield quick results in terms of generating conversions, as ads are immediately visible to users. However, it can be expensive, especially for competitive keywords, and requires ongoing investment to maintain visibility.

SEO, on the other hand, may take time to show results as it involves optimizing your website’s content and structure to rank higher in organic search results. Once your site starts ranking well, however, it can drive consistent traffic and conversions without the ongoing costs of PPC.

A balanced digital marketing strategy often includes both PPC and SEO.

Get a Good Return on Your PPC Campaigns

Proper PPC management is crucial for achieving tangible business results, and using the right tools can make a significant difference in the performance of your campaigns.

Tools like the Keyword Magic Tool and Advertising Research can help you find the most effective keywords and messaging to generate a positive return on your investment.

These tools can provide valuable insights into your target audience’s search behavior and help you optimize your campaigns for better results.