Pay-per-click Advertising: Seven Pointers for Smaller Campaigns

Managing small-budget pay-per-click campaigns (under $3,000 per month) is typically more difficult than managing campaigns with higher spend levels. Lack of “workable” data in smaller accounts often pushes campaign managers to make decisions based on incomplete or inaccurate information. Below is a checklist of seven items you can do today to improve performance of your smaller PPC campaign.

1. Use Negative Keywords to Block Irrelevant Traffic

Negative keywords allow you to filter out irrelevant traffic. There is no reason to pay for clicks that were generated by search queries such as “(your product) defect”, “(your product) manual”, “broken (your product)”, and so forth. Read “Negative Keywords for Your PPC Campaign” to help understand this.

2. Research Long-tail Keywords

Clicks generated from keywords reflecting purchase intent are more likely to turn into actual buyers. Examples of such keywords include “buy widget” and “get widgets” Some useful tools to research keywords are listed at “Keyword Research Tools”.

3. Separate Search Network from Content Network

Google, Yahoo! and Bing, the primary search engines, offer both search distribution and content distribution. Traffic generated via the content channel is inherently different quality from that of search. More information about developing a solid content strategy is found at “Advertising On The Google Content Network”.

4. Split Keywords into Tightly Organized Ad Groups

Make sure your keywords are organized in the most logical order. For example, keywords describing one product should not be mixed with keywords describing other products. Imagine that you’re retailer selling socks and wine. It would be illogical to place both keywords (“socks” and “wine”) into the same Ad Group. The same rule applies to less obvious examples. “Green widget” and “blue widget cover” should be placed in separate Ad Groups, for example.

5. Include Different Match Types

“Match types” allow you to improve the quality of the traffic by more closely matching users’ search queries with your keyword choices. Additionally, having all three match types (Broad match, Phrase match, Exact match) in Google and MSN might help you get more clicks for the same overall price due to the quality score discount (which occurs due to ads being ordered based on multiple relevancy factors and not solely on the per-click bid price). In Yahoo!, running multiple match types simultaneously is not permitted. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to see if “standard match” would generate better return on investment than “advanced match.”

6. Re-configure Campaigns/Account Settings

Here is a list of standard settings that will typically optimize a smaller budget campaign.

Google (Campaign Level):

  • Targeting: United States only
  • Language: English
  • Network & Devices: Google Search; Desktop and laptop computers
  • Bidding: Manual bidding – Max CPC
  • Position preference: Off
  • Delivery method: Standard
  • Ad rotation: Optimize

Yahoo! (Account Level):

  • Sponsored Search: On
  • Content Match: Off
  • Match Type: Advanced
  • Blocked Continents: Check off all
  • Campaign Level Targeting: Block 0-18, Select U.S. only

Bing (Campaign Level):

  • Tracking conversions: Checked
  • Target by Location: United States

7. Use Free Pay-per-click Tools

Use free pay-per-click tools to work on your campaigns.
Don’t waste time going through slow account interfaces. Use these account tools to help you navigate through Google and MSN:

Greg Laptevsky
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