There’s no doubt that running a successful paid search campaign can be a profitable strategy for your business if done properly. But to get that ROI back, you need to fully understand what you’re getting yourself into. Not surprisingly, Google makes it VERY easy to spend money in AdWords, and things can get out of hand quite quickly if you aren’t sure what you’re doing.

Here are 4 considerations to help you kick-start your paid search campaign,  attain a healthy CTR, and drive positive ROI!

1. Prepare a destination for your paid search campaign

Often overlooked, but arguably the single most important piece of any paid search campaign is your overall website/landing page experience. After all, what’s the point in putting so much time and effort into keyword research, ad copy development, and bid optimizations to drive traffic to a lousy website?

Think about the actions you want your visitors to take once they arrive on your site, do you have any conversion points like a contact form, downloadable resource, or newsletter signup?

One of the best ways to deliver an optimal experience from your ads is by using dedicated landing pages. Ideally, you would create a landing page that is highly specific to your keywords and ad copy. Remember our piece on Landing Page Best Practices? You don’t want users to get distracted and bounce off, so you’ll want to employ those tips to ensure that doesn’t happen. Use a form, have a call to action, avoid distractions, and KEEP IT RELEVANT!

2. How will you measure success?

“We got nearly 3,000 clicks this month!” Says the marketer.

“Ok, but what did that really get us?” Says the marketer’s boss.

Another common mistake digital marketers make using AdWords is forgetting about what happens after you earn that coveted click. Having insightful data that shows the number of people who made an inquiry on a contact form, downloaded a whitepaper, or made a phone call to your business from your AdWords campaign is arguably way more valuable than a few clicks to your site. Enter conversion tracking.

The types of conversions you will track for your paid search campaign is up to you – although the aforementioned conversion points are a good starting point. Deciding what is an important conversion point will differ from one company or industry to another and that all depends on how your website is set up and the value you place on certain actions. If you need more convincing, here’s Everything You Need To Know About Web Conversions.

You can track conversions in AdWords, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, or even within your marketing automation platform. But that’s a topic for another blog.

Aside from seeing how many people are performing important actions on your site, conversion tracking will inform future data analysis. You will be able to tell exactly which of your ads or keywords are driving the most conversion and which aren’t, so you can optimize your paid search campaign to get more conversions.

3. Do your research

Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. Start Googling terms that you think they might be searching for and see what comes up. Pay particularly close attention to those paid ads at the top. Who else is bidding on those keywords? What is their landing page experience like? These will likely be your competitors.

Next, it’s time to do some keyword research. Develop a list of around 20-30 keywords (don’t forget your branded terms!) that you think you want to rank for. Use a tool like Google Keyword PlannerKeyword Magic Tool, or Keyword Explorer to get an idea of the search volume and average CPC you can expect from each keyword. This will help you determine an accurate budget and get an idea for how competitive the space you’re working in is.

Keep in mind your industry will mostly determine your keyword cost. In the great fight to the top of the SERP, it’s all about competition. According to WordStream, The top three most expensive keywords are:

  • Insurance ($54.91 CPC)
  • Loans ($44.28 CPC)
  • Mortgage ($47.12 CPC)

4. Don’t “set it and forget it”

Always be optimizing! Never just set up your campaign and hope for the best. Once you have a few days’ worth of data you can begin making optimizations.

There are endless optimizations that can be made but here are some of the essentials to get you started:

See how/if your budget is spending

Did you allocate a $100 daily budget to a paid search campaign that is only spending $20/day? The search volume for that campaign’s particular set of keywords might just not be that high, in this case, it’s time to shift some of those funds to another one of your campaigns that might be limited by budget.

On the contrary, those campaigns that are limited by budget can earn you more impressions if you allocate more funds toward them. Tip – click the “budget explorer” to see click estimates for increased budgets, see example below:


Check your Search Terms

The search terms report is a handy feature that allows you to see the actual keywords users are typing in that trigger your ads. This is extremely important for finding negative keywords, those keywords that you deem your ads ineligible to show for, and can save you a lot of money. Similarly, you might see searches for terms that are closely related to your product or service that you might want to add as one of your keywords, you can add that keyword right in the search terms report.

Quality Score

Quality score is the AdWords holy grail, as it is the determining factor for how well your ads will rank among your competitors.  The 3 main components of your quality score are illustrated below and are all taken into account in determining your score on a 1-10 scale. Remember going over landing pages and ad relevancy? That will come in handy big time here.


Don’t fear! This may seem daunting, but with a little time and effort, you can be off and running your own Google AdWords campaign in no time.