If you’re getting ready to start your first PPC Campaign, your head is probably swimming with a million things you’re trying to remember or worried about messing up. The good news about PPC is that it’s an ongoing process. You don’t have to get it perfect from the start and you will continually make adjustments as you go; however, if you’re worried about making any colossal mistakes, I’ve distilled what I have found to be some of the more essential points of setting up your first campaign.

Don’t Advertise for Anything You Don’t Have a Specific Landing Page for

At the end of the day, the whole point of any PPC ad should be to get somebody to take some kind of action. Even if you have the best ad in the world that everyone clicks on, your effort will be in vain if nobody converts after clicking your ad. In fact, you’ll just be wasting money.

Whether you are promoting a product, service, piece of content, or event, you must send people who click on your ad to a specific landing page designed to get people to convert for that specific action. Don’t just use some existing page you already have with content close enough to what the ad is about. Don’t just send them to your home page and assume they will get to the place you want them to go. If you don’t have a specific landing page with a specific call to action and copy that matches the ad, either build the landing page first or don’t run the ad. I always say that the start to a great PPC campaign begins with a great landing page.

Do Good Keyword Research

It pays to do good keyword research, literally. Don’t just attach a couple of the big keywords to each ad group and call it good. I’m going to give three methods of doing keyword research that I recommend you do for each campaign or ad group, but don’t feel limited to only these methods.

  1. Check Webmaster Tools to see which keywords are already organically driving visitors to your website. You can check Google Analytics as well, but it will have less data.
  2. Check your competitors’ websites to see which keywords or terminology they are using. You can use SEMrush.com or SpyFu.com in order to check the keywords your competitors are bidding on.
  3. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What would they search for? Does your product fix a problem or answer a question that people would search for instead of the name of your product? What might someone call your service if they weren’t familiar with the technical jargon? You may even consider asking people outside your industry what they would search for in a particular scenario.
  4. Think of synonyms and various ways of phrasing all of the searches that you discovered in the first three steps.

Don’t Use Broad Match on Every Single Keyword

It might be tempting to use broad match on all your keywords because 1) it’s easy and 2) you want to get a lot of traffic; however, you will also get a lot of irrelevant traffic and waste a lot of money on clicks from people who are looking for something else. Not only should you not use broad match on every keyword, but you probably should just not use broad match, period. An exception might be if your keywords are already very niche and there is already a small amount of traffic for those keywords, but cases like that aren’t frequent.

It’s worth the time to think about which keywords you want to limit your focus on by either using broad match modifier, phrase match, or exact match. In fact, you can use all three match types on the same keyword in order to test them, but save yourself money and don’t just use broad match.

Do Set Up A/B Testing

Considering that this is your first PPC campaign, I guarantee that within a few days you will be looking at some metric and asking yourself or someone else the question, “So is that a good number?” Unfortunately, there’s no concrete answer. Sure, there are industry standards and competitors’ numbers, but even if you happen to have access to all of that data, every situation is different given your goals, product, industry, competition, budget, location, seasonal factors, and a host of other variables.

The only way you’re going to know for sure whether your results are good or not, is by comparing them to your own results and trying to continually improve. Thus, it’s paramount for you to set up A/B testing. Basically, you should have two different ads for each ad group. If the ad group has an inordinate amount of traffic, you could consider trying three or four ads at a time, but for your first campaign you should probably keep it simple at two ads. After you have sufficient data to decide that one ad is better than another, pause the lesser performing ad and create a new ad to test in its place.

Have Fun

PPC can become extremely tedious if you’re looking at it the wrong way or stressing out about it. Try to gamify your campaigns and strive to beat your best numbers. Think creatively about what new messaging you could try or what kind of new keywords you could go after. Finally, talk to customers or people outside your industry to get their feedback and input.

What do you think the most important dos and don’ts of a first PPC campaign are? Tell us in the comments below:




  • Drew Whitmill, September 16, 2015 @ 10:50 am

    I have add the chance to do some PPC in the past- A/B testing is a lot of fun. Lots of these points could be used for organic research as well. Thanks

  • Becca Watters (Vaughn), September 17, 2015 @ 2:12 pm

    I agree that it is fun, but it is also soooo helpful to perform A/B testing! This way you know what little tweaks and changes can do for your campaigning. It is funny to see how people respond differently to even one change in verbiage or color.

    This is really great info, Jamison! I completely agree about checking your Google Analytics first! If you haven’t set that up, you can always use Google Keyword Tool to check out other options. Could be incredibly beneficial for a PPC campaign.

  • Jamison Michael Furr, October 12, 2015 @ 4:45 pm

    A/B testing is one of my favorite aspects of marketing because I think it’s fascinating from a human psyche standpoint!

  • Parker Wood, October 14, 2015 @ 4:03 pm

    Great Post, making sure you have a great landing page with a call to action is key. Thanks for the information!

  • Tonya Davis, October 15, 2015 @ 11:12 am

    PPC has been something I have always wanted to get into. I’ve tried doing some PPC ads on Etsy with my little shop there, but it doesn’t let me pick my target keywords or the different times I want my ad to be displayed. I guess I should make my own website and actually try real PPC. I want to have more control over my ads than what I get with Etsy.

  • Jamison Michael Furr, October 16, 2015 @ 2:05 pm

    Anytime! I’m glad you found it useful!

  • Jamison Michael Furr, October 16, 2015 @ 2:09 pm

    Yeah that makes sense. Setting up your own website and then running PPC ads is probably the way to go, but if you’re really looking for a quicker fix, you could try setting up a solid Facebook page for your store and then running Facebook ads through Facebook ad manager. The minimum budget is only $1 a day and while you can’t target keywords on Facebook, there is a lot of phenomenal targeting that you CAN do. They also just released a new update so that you can now run Instagram ads through Facebook ad manager as well!

  • Tonya Davis, October 22, 2015 @ 10:05 am

    I do have a Facebook for my shop as well. Facebook has been trying to get me to try their ad campaign, but I honestly never thought that a lot of people would click on my ads through Facebook. I mean, it comes down to user intent, really. When I go to Facebook, it’s just to see what my friends have been up to, I am not logging on there to do shopping. Sometimes I will click on an article or something, but I don’t generally click on ads. It’s hard to determine where to put your money when it comes to PPC, since you never know which social network will gain you the most traffic. I guess in that case it comes down to trial and error.

  • Jamison Michael Furr, October 27, 2015 @ 5:18 pm

    Definitely true that there’s really no way to know for sure until some trial and error. Having said that, I think you’d be pleasantly surprised at how many leads/sales/clicks you can get through Facebook and at pretty low costs. One reason I think is because you can be so targeted with Facebook ads. In my experience of doing both PPC on Google and Bing, and Facebook PPC, it’s very common for the Facebook campaigns to be far cheaper/more effective. It’s not always the case, but it often is. But of course, you can never know for sure until you try 🙂

  • Maria Williams, October 29, 2015 @ 4:18 pm

    I have never use PPC before but I really want to try and see how it works. You gave great tips and I agreed with @disqus_EiO6fKdEzl:disqus having a great landing page is always good.

  • Josh Virchow, November 9, 2015 @ 8:12 am

    For the longest time, I’ve always just known the basics of PPC. So it’s always been great trying to find more information on the subject whenever I can.

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