5 Practical Ways To Improve Your PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Marketing

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) can take your website and traffic leads from 10% to 100% in a small space of time through visibility on the search page for keywords that are relevant to your business. This can be done in many ways but in this blog, I will provide five simple practises you can incorporate to see results in no time.  

1. Keyword research and SQRS (search query reports) 

Keyword research is important for your PPC account to ensure you have a higher chance of ranking higher in the SERP. You can access the search terms by clicking on Keywords and then Search Terms on the left side menu. You can see search terms at the account, campaign and ad group level. This will allow you to run an SQR between search terms and search keywords to work out which ones provide the most traffic and are specific to your brand. 

Main things to take from an SQR: 

  1. New keywords – New keywords are important to compete with your competitors for the top spot on search pages. 
  2. Create negatives – It is important to add negatives as it is pretty wasteful to spend money on searches that are not related to your business if negatives are not set up properly.

2. Do A/B tests on a regular basis

An A/B test allows you to test two variations of ads against one another to determine a winner. This can test multiple things like ad copy, CTAs, landing pages and assets. When you run an A/B test, Google will serve your ads to random people with metrics at the end to show which one had more clicks, a higher CTR and bounce rate. 

3. PPC Account Structure

Whether you are starting with a new PPC account or sorting out existing ones, the PPC account structure is the foundation of having an effective account. Three ways to (re)structure:

  1. How many campaigns are there and why? – These can be reduced as it’s about quality rather than quantity 
  2. How many ads are in ad groups – Is there more or less than necessary? 
  3. Are keywords relevant or too similar to one another? – It is important to avoid similarity or keywords being irrelevant to selected ad group.

When all of this is done correctly it allows the account to become cost effective while having the ability to really home in on different areas and capture more qualified traffic that is likely to convert.

4. Demographics are just as important in PPC 

One of the things that makes PPC so effective is that you can decide exactly who your ads are served to, based on demographics. Demographics that can be targeted within PPC are age, gender, income level, education, geographically and relationship status This is just important as you are able to target certain target audiences more where you see fit. 

5. Optimise ads 

If your ads aren’t enticing your potential site visitors, searchers aren’t going to click on them, resulting in less traffic to your site. You should ensure you continue to optimise your ads in every way possible. You can optimise and tweak your ads in the following ways:

  • Relevant ads can allow your ads to be higher up thus being seen by searchers more by including things like CTAs, USPs and new headlines.
  • Adding sitelink extensions, callout sitelinks etc can provide your ads with more information resulting in more clicks and traffic. 

Changing things like this along with seasonal/promotional ad copy keeps your brand/business in line with current trends and also gives your ads the opportunity to out do competitor ads.

 If you enjoyed this blog, check out our other blog to find digital marketing tools to help you excel in 2023!

What Is Paid Search and What Does It Have to Do with Digital Marketing?

Typically, when people think of Digital Marketing, most immediately think of Social Media Marketing as being the only Discipline. However, there are multiple Digital Marketing Channels, with Search making up a huge proportion of Digital Media Ad Spend, you probably see Paid Search in action every day without realising…

What is Paid Search Advertising?

Paid Search or Search Engine Advertising (SEA) is Advertising on a Search Engine such as Google or Bing. Ads appear at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) before organic website listings. Any results on the SERP which are advertisements will have the word Ad just before them. These are paid for through a Cost Per Click model (CPC), meaning that every time a user clicks on an Ad the Advertiser is charged a fee, these fees vary based on search interest, competition, and the type of keywords they have chosen to advertise on.

This differs from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) where your website is built out and optimised to the algorithms and processes that various Search Engines employ to find users the most relevant content/websites for their search query.

Photo of Google sign on the top of a building.
Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

What Is the Benefit?

With Paid Search you can see what public interest is showing in real time, allowing you to optimise your campaigns to current events. It allows us to:

  • Capture the Right Audience – Those who are searching for our keywords
  • At The Right Time – When those searches occur
  • In The Right Place – Where the query takes place
  • With The Right Ad – With A relevant message
  • At the Right Cost – At a reasonable CPC

Imagine you’re advertising Allergy Medicine, you can target the right audience (allergy sufferers), at the right time (Peak Allergy season when Pollen count is high), in the right place (on Google or Bing), with the right Ad (Ad copy tailored to specific keyword focus) at the right cost (better quality ads mean a lower CPC).

This is the key benefit of paid search; it produces fast results and allows you to utilise trends and events to your advantage.

What Are the Metrics?

  • CPC = Cost Per Click

The amount actually paid for the click

  • CTR = Click Through Rate

The amount of people who click on the ad vs the amount of people who saw the ad

  • IS = Impression Share

Number of impressions received vs the number of impressions the campaign was eligible to receive

  • QS = Quality Score

A diagnostic metric that factors into Ad Rank and is a strong indicator of strength of your ads.

  • CPA = Cost Per Action

How much you have paid to attain a conversion (does not have to be a purchase)

  • ROAS = Return on Ad Spend

How much revenue you have generated vs every £1 spent on advertising.

Paid Search metrics do not live in isolation, a change in one metric can impact another. Therefore, when working in paid search it is important to look at all metrics together, not in isolation.

What Makes Up A Search Campaign?

A Search Campaign is structured as follows:

Account > Campaign > Ad Groups > Keywords/Ads/Landing Pages

There are 5 Steps to Creating a SEA campaign:

  1. Define Your Keyword List – What do you want to target? Select keywords that are relevant to your business that you believe will help generate leads, you can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner to give suggestions and insights on search interest. You should also include Brand keywords that include your Brand name and separate the rest as Generic (eg. Nike Tennis Shoes – Brand, Tennis Shoes – Generic).
  2. Create Your Campaigns – Lets create a campaign. Choose the campaign focus (generate leads, target ROAS, create awareness). Your campaign will likely need to be split into multiple campaigns targeting Brand and Generic search terms.
  3. Create Your Ad Groups – Categorise your keywords, are some of them more focused on a certain topic or are they at different stages of the consumer journey? Consider these factors when creating the Ad Groups in a campaign.
  4. Build Your Ads – Now that you have your Ad Groups set up you can begin to create your Ads. Ads consist of Headlines (Maximum of 15) and Descriptions (Maximum of 4), this allows the Engine to effectively tailor ads to the search query, ensuring the user sees the most relevant ad possible. Ad in as many relevant Headlines and Descriptions as you can to allow the engine to work at it’s best (add your keywords into the headlines for an added benefit) You can have a maximum of 3 Ads per Ad Group. Think about the focus of the Ad Group when creating your Ads to help with relevancy.
  5. Select Your Landing Page – Finally, choose which page of your website the ad will direct the user to, this will have a large effect on your Ad Strength as if the Ad is not relevant to the Page it is sending users to, the Search Engine will rank it as less relevant, meaning it will appear less frequently unless you pay more to boost its position.

What Else Can You Do?

This is just a basic overview of a Search Campaign, this can be expanded further with different Ad types, Keyword Match types, Bid Strategies, Extensions, and other performance features.

Search is complex, as with each topic explained, another 3 will unravel themselves. It is something that takes time to understand, and it is difficult to master as there are always ongoing updates, optimisations and new strategies to get the best out of your campaigns. However, it is an invaluable tool to businesses and is seeing increased investment every year as the Digital Advertising Landscape continues to explode.


Paid Search is one discipline of Digital Marketing, and this overview will give you a head start in your Digital Marketing Apprenticeship! Digital Marketing Apprentices will be expected to display knowledge of Search during their Apprenticeship. You will also get the opportunity to learn about Social Media Advertising, SEO, Coding, Programmatic and Display advertising. If you want to learn more about Search Advertising, check out the links at the bottom of this post which will take you to Google, and Bings dedicated search support pages. Google also offer training courses through Google Skillshop, allowing you to expand your knowledge in the world of Search.

Make sure you stay up to date with Apprentice Tips by following us on our social media Pages and regularly check our blog for new posts.




Google Ads

Microsoft Ads

Google Skillshop

Dos and Don’ts For PPC Digital Marketing Campaigns

When starting out on your Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, or coming from a more traditional marketing background, PPC can often feel like a different world. The below do’s and don’ts will help provide a clearer picture on what it takes to develop and run a successful PPC marketing campaign.

First let’s start with the basics – what does PPC mean?

Pay Per Click Tiles

PPC stands for Pay Per Click. It entails the use of search ads and discovery ads to encourage people to click through to your website. Each time someone clicks on your ad, you pay for that click.

Other key PPC terms to know before reading on are:

  • ETAs: Extended Text Ads
  • RSAs: Responsive Text Ads

Let’s get into the Dos and Don’ts!

DO: Consider Your Marketing Goals

When first setting up your PPC campaign there are a number of key decisions you will need to make, one of which is the bid strategy you set the campaign to. In order to decide this, you should consider the goal of your campaign.

There are multiple bid strategy options you can select that align with different aims. The two key ones are:

  • Target CPA Efficiency
  • Target Impression Share

CPA Efficiency Bid Strategy

This is the best option to choose if your campaign has a goal of maximising conversions within a certain budget. It works by selectively bidding to show ads only to the people that are likely to convert, reducing clicks with low intent and increasing CPA efficiency. KPIs to look at are CPA and CvR.

Target Impression Share Bid Strategy

This is the best option to choose if your campaign has a goal of increased visibility and awareness. It seeks to show your ads to a large number of people, meeting an impression share threshold on the search engines results page. It can help gain more share of voice and visibility over your competitors. KPIs to look at here are Impression Share, Impressions, and Clicks

DON’T: Be Too Generic

In PPC, budgets are important to keep track of and use efficiently. You don’t want to bid on irrelevant keywords that are only tangentially related to your product/website. No matter the search volume they may have, it will only lead to a high bounce rate, wasted spend and negative customer interactions as searchers can’t find what they’re looking for.

Do your research to find and understand which keywords are the most relevant and valuable to you to drive target audiences to your site.

Tip: Check out the Google Keywords Planner and Ahrefs tools for keyword insights!

Similarly to the above, being too generic with the language used in your text ads or discovery ads can also lead to lower CTRs and/or increased bounce rates, spending money without seeing any returns.

Ensure headers and descriptions are to the point, contain key messaging, and are relevant to the searcher as well as reflecting what’s on the landing page.

You can find out more about best practise for building Search ads here.

DO: Let The Data Guide You

PPC campaigns have a plethora of data measurements to look at to understand success. You can use platforms like Search Ads 360 to find Cost, Impressions, CTR, CPA, Impression Share, CvR and bounce rate all in one place.

After setting a campaign live, you should be checking performance regularly and constantly assessing whether the campaign is still meeting your marketing goals. Here it is best to let the data guide you – don’t be afraid to pause ads if they are not delivering the results you expected.

Staying reactive and basing decisions off the data will be a huge benefit. If you are able to see that one campaign or ad is doing great while another is getting no traction at all, you can re-phase budget to push the high performing ads further and capitalise on this.

Data also is the best indication that you need to make changes to your campaigns. Low performance can indicate the need to re-evaluate and update your keyword list, check landing page sitelinks are all correct, or to look into competitor activity and visibility.

Data Image

DON’T: Forget About The Wider Industry

Google and the wider PPC industry is consistently changing, and gaining new regulations. It’s important to stay across these things so you’re not caught out down the line and can plan for future campaigns.

For example, Google have announced that ETA search ad formats will be completely unavailable from June 2022, replaced fully with RSAs. Being across this news from early on allows a company to adapt, testing what messaging and copy works best in this format rather than be caught off guard. Read more about this change here.

Another interesting development is the news that we will be cookieless by the end of 2023, meaning third party cookies will no longer be supported across Google Chrome. PPC marketers need time to assess how this will impact audience (re)targeting and what this means for future strategy.

DO: Test and Learn

Within PPC campaigns there are many test and learn opportunities which can be utilised to optimise your campaign performance, meet KPI targets and achieve marketing goals.

A/B tests are a great place to start here. These work by having two ads put in rotation, standardised expect for one difference between them. Within platforms like Search Ads 360 you can view performance at ad level and compare across ads to understand which change should be optimised toward, for example which key messaging drives the highest CTR.

Similarly, you can test formats and creative of discovery ads in this way, i.e. carousels vs static images, to help inform activity for future campaigns. Testing different bid strategies as well as audience targeting strategies (using affinity audiences, in-market audiences, customer audiences) can also be valuable, especially when considering how to expand reach and grow.

DON’T: Forget You’re Part Of A Team

Though PPC activity can seem very self-contained, it’s important to remember that PPC is still part of a whole marketing strategy. Remember to communicate with the relevant teams to stay up to date about upcoming trading offers and new key messaging and/or campaigns to support, as well as with the site personnel to stay across landing page changes and potential updates you may otherwise miss.

Keep being collaborative to ensure your campaigns are updated with the correct information, messaging and targeting!


Though invaluable for anyone to learn about in today’s marketing landscape, for current Level 3 Digital Marketing apprentices, undertaking a PPC campaign is an amazing way to hit specialist area and implementation competencies.

I hope these Dos and Don’ts have offered some insight into best practise and how to develop successful PPC digital marketing campaigns, optimising performance for your business. If you’re looking to learn about PPC marketing in more detail, check out this course on Skillshop that gives a comprehensive introduction to all things Search ads.

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Top 3 Tips For Creating A Paid Search Campaign

A paid search campaign can be a really daunting task, especially for those that haven’t had any experience with Google Ads before.

There are a number of really great tips that you can follow to make your life easier when creating your PPC campaigns:

1. Keyword Research

File:Purchase-funnel-diagram.svg - Wikimedia Commons

The first and frankly most important tip for creating campaigns is keyword selection. Your campaigns live and die based on how well you select the keywords your ads will show for and without carefully considering this, you may struggle.

Using Google’s Keyword Planner, you should be aiming to select keywords that have relatively high search volumes and ideally lower competition.

Higher search volume allows you to show your ads to a higher number of users, and lower competition means, your ads are more likely to show, instead of your competitors.

When selecting keywords, however, you also need to consider the intent behind the keyword.

For example, if I were advertising Nike trainers, the keyword [nike trainers] doesn’t necessarily mean those searching for this are going to immediately buy the shoes. Generally, the shorter the keyword, the lower the intent of the users, as they tend to be browsing the subject, rather than looking to purchase a specific product.

However, if instead, the keyword was [red nike air max 270] anyone searching for this keyword is far more likely to have already decided this is the specific product they want, and thus more likely to buy.

This means alongside volume and competition, you need to consider the intent too. If you can do this, you’re well on your way to a successful paid search campaign.

2. Optimising Ads

Pay-per-Click (PPC) - Seobility Wiki

Another vital part of ensuring the success of your campaigns is creating your ads.

Search ads provide you with a variety of different headlines and descriptions to use, and here’s some guidance on how to optimise these.

  • Make use of calls to action (CTAs)
    • It has been shown time and again that calls to action have a huge impact in the success of ads.
    • From a simple ‘Click here’ to a ‘Sign up for free’, these can be the difference between someone clicking your ad, and someone scrolling past.
  • Use figures in your ad copy
    • Another way of confirming more clicks and conversions is to include numbers in your ad text.
    • Whether it be ‘20% off’ or ‘£34 Special Offer’, simply including numbers within your ad text has also shown to vastly improve ad performance.
  • Use all the headlines & descriptions available.
    • Google does actually allow you to only use 2 headlines and 1 description. However, in doing so, you’re missing out on invaluable ad space which could be used to draw more users to click your ad
  • Ensure you use as many characters as possible within each headline & description
    • You have 30 characters in headlines and 90 characters in descriptions, try to ensure you use almost all of these when creating ads.
    • As you’re competing again others ads, you ideally want to take up as much ad space as possible – the more ad space you take up, the more likely the ad is to be clicked over competitors

The use of all of these techniques when creating your ads will help to ensure that users click your ads and not your competitors!

3. Negative Keywords

I’ve come across numerous ads accounts, that may have well-written ads, and relevantly chosen keywords, however the accounts themselves are spending vast amounts without converting profitably. The #1 reason for this in most cases, is lack of negative keywords.

Negative keywords work the opposite way to keywords; they provide a way of targeting searches that you don’t want to appear for.

For example, if I were to be selling only green Nike trainers, however, the keyword I was using was ‘nike air max running trainers’, I would still be receiving traffic for all the searches that are looking for colours other than green.

It is hugely important that you examine your search query data, and what search terms your keywords are showing up for. Anything irrelevant here, you want to add as a negative.

Without doing so, you’re literally throwing money away on searches that would never be interested in what you’re offering.


Creating a paid search campaign can feel very complicated and sometimes, you don’t know where you’re going wrong. Hopefully, the above tips will help you approach the topic with a better grasp of ensuring success.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.