11 Secrets to a Successful Paid Search Campaign


Pay-per-click (PPC) is a form of digital advertising and is based on the model that marketers only pay when someone clicks on their ad. PPC marketing ranges from digital display banners to paid search ads, sometimes referred to as text ads. You will often see these ads placed on the sidebars of web pages, within your “feed,” as pop-ups, or at the top of search engine results pages.

A quick note: when we mention PPC here, we are referring to paid search ads, but we will also explain the importance of display banners in tandem with paid search below.

PPC marketing is a vital component to the marketing mix of a brand, as it can boost brand awareness and generate conversions (i.e. achieve a brand’s goals such as calls, online sales, and website purchases), especially when it is used in tandem with traditional media, like TV, radio and sponsorships.

Paid Search Secret 1: Use it!

Are you using paid search ads? If you’re already running ads through traditional channels, you should seriously consider using PPC to boost conversions and brand awareness. Additionally, running traditional radio ads alongside PPC can help lower costs per click (CPC) on these ads and increase conversions. Paid search ads can’t benefit your business if you are not running them.

PPC Secret 2: Use the Google Ads Keyword Planner to gain keyword insights.

A large component of PPC is finding the right keywords to target so you can narrow search intent and get the right people to click on your ads. Just because a keyword has a high search volume, does not mean that the user is looking for your content. Google wants to rank pages highest that fit the search term as well as the search intent of a specific search query. 

Using a keyword planner tool is important to gain insight on exactly what terms people are searching that relate to your brand. Keyword planner tools allow marketers to see monthly search volume by market, find new keywords and estimate CPCs for future months, based on historical data. 

Paid Search Secret 3: Google just opened up its keyword match types. Combat this limitation by taking advantage of negative keywords

What does any of this mean? Google provides marketers with several keyword match options to specify exactly what type of search queries they want their brand’s ads to be served on. These keyword match types include exact match, modified broad match and phrase match.

Google recently opened up its keyword match types, and this has changed the way keyword matches work.

To help combat this new limitation with search ads, be sure to take advantage of negative keywords for each ad group. Negative keywords are the search terms that you can use to block your ad from appearing on unrelated SERPs so you can eliminate wasted impressions and keep your ad groups targeted. For example, if you’re a restaurant, you may want to add “food poisoning” to your negative keyword list so your ads are not being served on this and related keywords. 

To read more about match types, visit Google Ads Help, where they break down each match type in detail.

PPC Secret 4: Use targeted keywords together with audience segmentation to create an effective strategy.

While identifying the right search keywords is vitally important to PPC campaign success, just as important is targeting the correct audience who is searching the keywords on your lists.

Identifying exactly who your audiences are, segmenting those audiences, and then serving them creative and messaging that will resonate most effectively with their lifestyles and psychographics is important to maximize conversions.

Paid Search Secret 5: Find the most popular keywords, and possibly your biggest competitors on Google, by performing search queries.

To perform a search query, begin typing in one of your keywords in the Google Chrome browser. For example, if you type in “dog food,” Google will suggest the following search terms. This shows a marketer the most popular searches. 

A marketer may also identify competitors and customers who are in danger of converting to a competing brand by getting creative with their search query research. This may look like seeing what pops up when type in a query like “Blue Buffalo dog food alternative.” Viewing what competitors are placing ads on this search query and related queries can help a marketer accurately identify digital competitors. 

Paid Search Secret 6: Use an SEM Tool like SEMrush to peek at competitor rankings.

SEM Tools like SEMrush.com are valuable for finding profitable keywords for your brand. 

This tool can also show competitor website rankings and keywords they’re targeting to help a marketer gain a competitive edge. Think of it as a digital spy tool. You can even see data related to costs per click!

PPC Secret 7: Implement tracking to monitor revenue, conversions & success. 

Google provides snippets of code that can be placed on your brand’s site in order to track consumer’s actions that you have identified as goals or conversions (i.e. clicks to call, sales on an e-commerce site, or signing up for an email list).

Conversion tracking is important to accurately track the success of a paid search campaign. The beauty of digital advertising is the granularity of results that allow marketers to determine what went right, what wasn’t effective, and how to tweak the marketing strategy to maximize conversions.

Without tracking codes implemented on your site, a marketer lacks the necessary tools to achieve campaign success. Plus, with this data, you can make informed decisions for campaigns in the future.

Paid Search Secret 8: If your objective is to build brand awareness, run YouTube pre-roll streaming ads before or during the run of a search campaign in order to build up audiences. youtube preroll

YouTube allows the placement of video ads on its creators’ content through Google Ads Manager. This is useful for PPC marketers because display can increase brand awareness and build lists of people who can be served ads again later to increase their chances of converting. Never forget the power of YouTube, it is the second largest search engine and 3rd largest site on the internet.

PPC Secret 9: Use retargeting audiences to push consumers further down the funnel and increase chances of conversions/sales. 

When a marketer builds audience lists, like the YouTube example above, they can remarket to or retarget these people who have not yet converted and effectively push them further down the conversion funnel. 

Statistically, consumers need to be exposed to an brand 5-7 times before converting, and retargeting is often the most cost-effective strategy.

Paid Search Secret 10: Tie your search ads to effective landing pages. 

Search ads require a link to your website, or a landing page, so that consumers who are intrigued by the ad can visit your site and hopefully take action.

Too often, marketers create beautiful search ads with compelling copy, but take their captive audience to a webpage with below average user experience or a page that has content that is unrelated to the search ad. Think of the user clicking on an ad for a hotel special and then clicking the ad to land on the homepage of that hotel. The user will not want to search for the special. They typically will end up leaving, therefore leaving you without a hotel room conversion.

When writing copy and determining a landing page for an ad, always ask yourself one question, “Does this landing page make perfect sense to the consumer as to why they ended up here?” If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure,” fix your webpage!

PPC Secret 11: Use websites that are SEO friendly and secure .


Type in Facebook.com in your browser. Does the URL show HTTP or HTTPS? 

For security purposes, your website should always be HTTPS. If a search ad is being directed to a site with HTTP, Google will either greatly limit the amount of times the ad is shown or not serve it at all to protect its users. Aside from providing critical security and data integrity for both your website, HTTPS is a requirement for many new browser features, and is listed as one of Google’s ranking factors.