What To Expect When Starting PPC Management

You’ve decided to get some help with Google AdWords from a trained, qualified professional, such as those on Exposure Ninja’s PPC management team. Smart move! But how does it work, what should you expect and, most importantly, how long until you are making money?

Transparency is Exposure Ninja’s middle name, so we’re here to give you all the key details about PPC management. Prepare for total peace of mind over what could be one of the best moves your business ever makes.

Every PPC campaign has similarities

No matter the business, product or market, every Google AdWords campaign has some key similarities. We have standard, best practice procedures in place for things like Campaign and Ad Group structure in order to maximise Quality Score. We have keyword bidding principles which are designed to ensure that ads are seen in the optimal position. Our ad copy guidelines have been refined to boost click-through from an audience with the right intent. These are principles we’ve developed over the course of hundreds of campaigns.

If we’re building a PPC management campaign from scratch, the initial setup will follow this Ninja framework. If we’re improving an existing campaign, we’ll usually spend time adding any of these elements that are missing.

Every PPC campaign is different

Despite the similarities, every business also has nuances which make their paid search campaigns different. As well as the obvious product and service differences, there are intent, motivation and language subtleties to take into consideration. All of this is before we even think about the performance of the website, landing page and the appeal of the call to action (CTA)!

One of the reasons professionally-managed campaigns tend to vastly outperform DIY campaigns is that the experienced manager can effectively monitor and optimise the performance by carefully navigating all of these variables. They know what to expect, but they also know what they don’t know, and where to find the trends which lead to improved ROI.

Let’s begin by looking at what happens in the first stages of the campaign.

Your first month of PPC management

After completing your initial questionnaire (including keyword suggestions), your PPC Managment Ninja will introduce themselves. They’ll then take a look through any previous campaigns that you have. They’ll review yours and your competitors’ websites. Only once this is done do they touch the campaigns. This initial work can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days. It all depends on the market and competition levels.

PPC Management Scenario 1: Taking over an existing campaign

If we are working to improve an existing campaign, your PPC Ninja will begin amending the campaign. This work can include stripping out low-performing keywords and changing the targeting of others. We might alter the campaign structure to improve Quality Score, create new adverts to test against the existing ones, and plenty more to ensure our strategy is optimised. As mentioned above, the exact work will vary according to what is required.

Typically, for any drastic changes, we’ll add these to the campaign rather than replace what you already have. This way, we have the old campaign there for reference and comparison.

Your short-term numbers may worsen

In order to maximise the campaign’s long-term performance, it’s often necessary to adjust it in a way that, on a surface level, appears to reduce the performance of a campaign. To illustrate, here are two examples:

Example 1: Excessively broad targeting. Particularly common in eCommerce campaigns, the previous group in charge of PPC management have targeted very broad phrases to maximise the number of clicks the campaign receives. Because these phrases have a lower cost per click (CPC), the campaign appears to be receiving a lot of clicks for the budget. But closer examination reveals this traffic is poorly-targeted, has a high bounce rate and low conversion rate. By removing these broad keywords and focusing on more expensive (but more profitable), narrower phrases, the campaign might bring in fewer visitors and CPC might go up. But we’d rather pay more money for a qualified audience than get cheaper clicks for an audience that isn’t buying. The goal is sales, not just maximum clicks.

Example 2: Ads that cast too wide a net. Sometimes, ad copy will be written to maximise clicks, regardless of the quality of the clicker. Making the ads too appealing, without attempting to disqualify unsuitable visitors, can maximise click-through rate (CTR) but waste ad budget on low-quality traffic. For example, when working with a premium screen protector client, we found that mentioning the high price of the product in the ad vastly reduced the CTR, but also significantly reduced the cost per acquisition (CPA). In other words, more sales for the same money. Why? Because the only people we were bringing to the site weren’t put off by the price. They had already seen it and still clicked on the ad. They were looking for a premium product.

As you can see, even when we are improving the performance of a campaign, it’s often necessary to reduce the performance of certain metrics. This is always done with the same end goal in mind: maximise the sales for the budget being spent.

PPC Management Scenario 2: Setting up a new campaign

When we build a new campaign, our goal in the first couple of months is to generate data which allows us to refine and improve the campaign over the short and medium term. Keep in mind that, except in extremely uncompetitive markets, it’s rare for an AdWords campaign to be profitable in the first month.

Whilst the structure of the campaign is important to ensure its future profitability, the real work begins once the ads are live and data starts coming in. The profitability of a campaign comes from its optimisation, not from the initial setup. If it were as simple as setting up ads using a particular structure and immediately generating huge returns, wouldn’t others in your market have figured this out by now?

How long until your campaign is profitable?

During the Initial Phase of a new campaign, we’ll usually recommend allocating a fairly small budget. This is because we want to minimise your exposure, whilst still bringing us enough data to perform the optimisation. Because your actual ad spend will be lower, our PPC management fee during this phase will be proportionally large — as much as 50% of your total outlay.

As we continue optimising the campaign, our first goal is that the CPA hits breakeven. At this point, you’re spending as much on the ads themselves as you’re making. Minus our management fee, you are acquiring customers at breakeven. Once we hit this point, we will suggest you increase your budget. We’ll continue optimising the campaign and having more data to work with (thanks to the increased ad budget) will allow us to increase the campaign profitability, moving into the Profit Phase.

As we scale the budget and increase profitability, our fixed management fee becomes a smaller percentage of your overall spend. Our job then becomes maintaining maximum profitability for you, giving you profit to reinvest in scaling the campaign, further marketing, or a well-deserved holiday!

How will my campaign be managed?

Your PPC Ninja will be a fully-qualified Google Partner PPC Manager. It’s their job to frequently check the progress of your campaign, monitor CPA movements and optimise as necessary to reduce the cost to acquire a customer. They do this using various techniques, including:

  • Looking through search query reports to see the exact searches that your ads have shown up for. If there are unqualified or irrelevant searches, they’ll add these as negative keywords.
  • Performing competitor keyword research and adding any relevant keywords
  • Adjusting bids for keywords that are performing well, to prioritise them and divert more budget
  • Adding new Ad Groups and Campaigns when necessary
  • Split testing new ad copy
  • Monitoring performance of landing pages and suggesting improvements

They’ll be reporting to you on a monthly basis, breaking down the ads and keywords that are performing best. They’ll explain the work they have done throughout the month and show you the campaign’s progress on KPIs (usually CPA). If you have any questions about your PPC management campaign, you can talk directly to your PPC Ninja. If you are on a multi-channel campaign, you can also discuss your campaign with your Project Manager.

To find out how Exposure Ninja can help with profitable management of your PPC campaign, request a free digital marketing review today. As well as designing you a bespoke marketing plan, we’ll be able to recommend the right PPC package for you.


About the Author

Tim is Head Ninja at Exposure Ninja and Europe's bestselling online marketing author.When he's not Ninja-ing he's playing in his band, going to the gym with his wife or fixing the destruction caused by their three fur babies, Ninja, Samurai and Shinobi.