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.