PPC campaign optimization 101: Your guide to ad targeting strategy

Lindsey Greenwood

Updated: Sep 29, 2023 · 5 min read

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Paid advertising is an integral part of most marketing strategies. Whether your business is looking for better visibility or more conversions, pay-per-click (or PPC) advertising channels should be considered in your business’ media mix.

If your business is ready to learn about PPC campaign optimization (though it’s important to note that not all businesses will be ready for paid advertising just yet), read on to gain a better understanding of what’s needed to start paid advertising, plus tips for getting the best possible return on investment from your next campaign.

Let’s break down the key components of a successful ad campaign:

Know your audience

It’s crucial to get into the mind of your target user. To better understand your audience, put together a detailed persona. Some questions to consider when putting together your audience persona:

  • Who are they? What are their basic demographics? Where are they located?
  • What channels are they using? What devices are they using to consume media? Where are they most likely to engage and convert? What is their buying behavior?
  • What challenges are they facing? What are their personal and professional aspirations? What are they interested in?
  • What does this audience value or believe? What are their purchasing motivations?

Once you’ve created a persona, it’s time to apply that creation to the advertising platform targeting criteria. There are many different channels with varying targeting capabilities to choose from. Some of these targeting capabilities include: demographic, psychographic, behavioral, contextual, first-party, lookalike, and retargeting.

Familiarize yourself with these different targeting criteria and use your best judgment to create your target audience based on these parameters.

Choose your platform

As mentioned above, there are a lot of platforms to consider when starting a paid ad campaign — and each digital channel has its pros and cons. The audience persona you developed should help you determine your audience’s channel preference.

If you have the budget, consider using multiple channels when developing your media mix to expand audience reach, increase brand visibility, and/or enhance your conversion opportunities.

Define your objective

Every campaign should have a specific and measurable objective. There are a variety of objectives to choose from based on your campaign goal.

Here are some objectives to consider measuring your success by when you’re looking to start and optimize a PPC campaign:

  • Brand Awareness: Expand the reach and awareness of your brand
  • Engagement: Increase the amount of users who interact with your campaign
  • Traffic: Drive users to a destination such as a website, app or social page
  • Lead generation: Collect leads for your brand
  • Conversion: Drive users to purchase your product or service

Determine your budget

Budget allocation and ROI (return on investment) are two critical aspects of creating successful ad campaigns. These two factors play a significant role in determining the effectiveness and efficiency of your advertising efforts.

Determining the ROI for your campaign will help you make informed decisions regarding budget allocation and optimization — and it will help you understand the value your campaign generated.

Below are more factors to consider when determining budget allocations for your media mix:

  • Campaign goal and objective
  • Target audience
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Industry benchmarks
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Seasonal variations
  • Market share

Capture attention with your creative

Effective creative plays a key role in driving the desired actions for your campaign.

Here are a few overarching creative best practices that can be applied to most ad placements. (Keep in mind creative approaches should vary depending on platform, placement and objective.)

  • Simplicity: Keep your message clear and concise. Avoid jargon and other complex language.
  • Eye-catching visuals: Use visuals that are relevant to your message and audience. Creative should be on brand, but bold. Including branding in the first three seconds of video creative.
  • Strong CTA: Include a clear and actionable CTA that lets the audience know what to do next. Be sure to grab the audience’s attention and convey urgency.
  • Mobile-friendly: Considering user habits, most ad placements should be designed with mobile-first in mind.
  • Brand consistency: Maintain consistent branded elements (including colors, fonts, logos, product imagery, etc.) to reinforce brand identity.

Monitor and analyze your performance

Once a campaign is activated, you can’t set it and forget it. Campaigns should be monitored continuously for performance changes.

Some key metrics you should be tracking when you’re looking to optimize PPC campaigns (regardless of objective) include:

  • Reach and impressions
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • ROI
  • Conversion
  • Frequency

To make more data-driven decisions, consider the following:

  • A/B testing: Conduct tests on various ad elements including headlines, images, ad copy, landing pages, etc. Tests will help you identify what works best and refine your campaigns.
  • Conversion tracking: Set up conversion tracking to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. This will help you better understand which ads are driving desired actions.
  • Competitive analysis: Understand where your competitors are advertising. Look for gaps in their strategy that you can leverage for your campaigns.
  • Seasonal adjustments: Identify seasonal trends for your business and adjust your campaign strategy accordingly.
  • New ad format or platforms: Test new channels as they become available if there is audience alignment.
  • Creative optimizations: Continuously refine your creative and identify what works best for your audience.

There are many elements to consider when creating a paid ad strategy, and the ever-changing advertising space can make kicking off a campaign feel daunting. Ultimately, your team should let their best judgment about what works best for your business’ goals guide them — and at Keap, we’re here to guide you as you look for ways to stay up-to-date with digital advertising and industry trends.

About the author

Lindsey Greenwood is a marketing manager at Keap. Her expertise is in digital marketing strategies and execution. Lindsey has worked with a wide-range of brands from Fortune 500s to start-up businesses through her prior advertising agency experience. She holds a degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

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