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PPC 101: 5 steps to setting up your first PPC campaign

If you’re a digital marketer planning your first Pay Per Click campaign, phew, you’re in the right place.

You already understand the broad principles of why and when to use PPC. You know that for a proportionately small outlay, you can get big results. You’re excited to be able to adapt and improve as the campaign progresses.

And now it’s a case of getting stuck in. So let’s do just that. Let’s imagine you’re setting up a new business that streams music. Cue very bad song references…

See also: What is digital marketing? Everything you need to know

Step 1

*Suppressing urge to make Steps joke* 

It sounds obvious but the first thing you need to do is to work out what you want to achieve. ‘Imagine’ *ahem*:

  • Why are you setting up this particular PPC campaign? Do you, for instance, want people to sign up for a subscription or to receive special email offers?
  • What will you see as a success? And how will you measure it?
  • How much do you want to invest per sale/sign up?


Image source: YouTube.com 

Step 2

Decide where you’re going to set up your campaign. Sooo…Google is pretty popular. And there’s Bing too.

Look into how much online advertising services charge and match it to your budget. There will be a calculator on each site to work out estimated ad reach. It will also show you the number of clicks you’re likely to receive for a particular daily investment.

Use this information to decide how much you want to spend ‘till the money runs out’ – Men at Work… anyone?

See what offers are around too. If this is the first time you’ve set up a campaign, chances are you’ll be able to spend a certain amount and get some lovely free credit – thank you very much.

See also: 6 movies every digital marketer should watch

Step 3

‘Word up!’. Now you need to work out the keywords to use in your ad. There are a few good tools out there to help you do this and it’s likely you’ll have a good idea based on your overall marketing strategy. There’s, you guessed it, Google Keyword Planner. Look into what Moz and SEMrush are offering as well.

Step 4

Make sure you know where you’re going to direct people that click on your ad. Now is the time to set up a new webpage if you ‘wannabe’ explaining a new offer, for instance, a discount or free listens.

See also: Digital marketing tips: 5 top social media blogs to follow

Step 5

‘And now, the end is near’: it’s all starting to come together. Sign up and start inputting information. Systems like Google Adwords Express are brilliantly set up to guide people through the process so it’s ‘easy like Sunday morning’.

You’ll need to input ‘The Who’: choose where your ideal customers are located. And you’ll need to decide how to make the most of the limited space available in your ad – just two headlines and a description of 80 characters.


Image source: toulesfestivals.com


Before you know it, you’re all set up…


Sounds simple, right? Well, it kind of is. And it’s also really not. Sorry.

Great PPC needs skill and strategy. There are tons of marketing and business processes sitting behind each of the five steps outlined above. The sort of thing a blog can only ever gloss over. 

To really get to grips with PPC and make the most of the immense opportunities it offers, you need a solid foundation in the principles of digital marketing. 

The good news is, learning those skills is incredibly valuable. By 2020, it’s projected there will be 150,000 digital jobs in the UK. There simply aren’t enough digital professionals to fill them, and that’s ‘more than a feeling’. Look at any jobs board and you’ll see that already most marketing jobs are digital. Even those that aren’t, all require digital skills and understanding. 

Digital skills are no longer a nice extra but an essential for creating credible marketing strategies, having influence with key stakeholders and one day becoming ‘Chairman of the Board’ – What? Not an Iggy Pop fan?! – Yet many marketers are failing to keep their skills up to date.

As the King said: “It’s now or never”. So best of luck with setting up your first PPC campaign, and diving into your digital marketing career. 

See also: 4 reasons a Digital Marketing Institute course advances your career


Image source: YouTube.com 

Music to your ears

If you want to update your skills so ‘nothing compares to you’, we offer online marketing courses covering PPC, SEO and plenty more. Our professional diploma in digital marketing really helps practically build your skills. Or you might need the more advanced postgraduate diploma which provides you with everything you need to know. 

Our specific diploma in search marketing delves even deeper into PPC if you want to really specialise in it. All three are run in conjunction with the Digital Marketing Institute so you can be confident you’re gaining a qualification employers recognise and respect.

See also: Which digital marketing course is right for me?