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Behind the PPC Build

By Youssef El-Mansy | February 05, 2015

Ever wonder what Logical Position’s PPC account builders are doing back here on our computers? Besides drinking tea and eating popcorn, there is a lot that happens in the back office. As an account builder with three years of experience, I have the PPC build down to a science.

Let me show you my process:

Step 1: Research

When we take on a new client, the account builder is one of the first people to assess how we will approach the advertising process. If they were running AdWords before, I start by taking a look at their previous PPC build. Looking at the statistics, it’s usually pretty easy to see where the strengths and weaknesses lie. I compile some important profile information, such as their previous monthly budget, average CPCs, highest expenditure within the account, largest traffic source, and which targets bring in the highest ROI.

After inspecting the client’s account, I briefly familiarize myself with their website and business. I look at the conversion funnel on their site and determine how they are asking for potential customers to contact them. I look for landing page ideas and come up with some specific questions to ask the client during the next phase of research: the discovery call.

Before I even start the build, I touch base with the client by phone for what we call the discovery call.  There’s no better way to know a client’s business goals than to simply ask them. One of the most important questions is regarding the client’s target audience. Who are we trying to appeal to with these ads? What makes them different or similar to others? Almost every single business owner is trying to minimize their costs, maximize their campaign efficiency and limit the amount of money being wasted moving forward -- who doesn’t want to spend less and make more?

Step 2: Basic Structure

After the discovery call, I go back to the website with a better idea of what I am looking for.  I build campaigns mostly on the structure of a client’s website so that I can portray all aspects of their business accurately, giving each portion its due.  I also look for key industry phrases and ad copy ideas, and decide which pages are the best to use for landing pages.

In terms of campaign structure, I divide the campaign in a number of ways. For example, while sometimes I build a separate ad group for each aspect of the client’s business, other times I prioritize a few of them to emphasize the most lucrative aspects in order to get the highest profit.

From there, I incorporate any successful practices from the client’s old account into this new structure, weeding out anything else that wasn’t working. Usually I go back into the old account and take a closer look at all areas with good historical data – keywords that have brought traffic, keywords that have converted, and bidding that is tailored to your industry. I also pull your best-performing ads based onconversions, CTR, and percent served. Finally, I look at the client’s all-time Search Query Report and use that to build a strong negative keyword list.

From there, I fill in the blanks to make up what is needed, whether it is ad copy, keyword lists, bidding, or targeting.  With so many variables, we have developed different strategies to achieve different results, so I take into account what has worked well for us in the past with other accounts in similar industries.

Step 3: Competitor Research

In order to build a competitive campaign, it’s important to see what others in the industry are doing to get results. The best way to do this is to check on the companies with whom the client is competing for ad positioning. I usually take a look at the ads that dominate the top three positions for my client’s most valuable keywords to see if there is any wording that I can try to play with to improve the copy that we have already.

In addition, I use a third party resource that provides insight into a competitor’s website performance based on PPC and SEO. I can differentiate which keywords bring in the most traffic, as well as see the competition’s best performing ads. The goal of competitor research is to be able to learn from your competitors and identify different variables for success. It’s key for us as outsiders to a given industry to know what can give the client an edge and find ways to differentiate them from others.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

With the campaign is structured and the research is completed, the hard part is over. Forming the new account and refining the details can be time-consuming, but by the time I’m done, I can use the information I have compiled to complete the build. The data allows me to identify a clear strategy for success, and for everything else, there’s testing. To finish out the account, I make sure all the AdWords settings are dialed in, fill in any blanks with the targeting, and make sure I covered all my bases.

With AdWords, I try not to get too attached to my builds, because often, clients may want to tweak a few things during the launch call. And over time, the data we accrue tells us which type of traffic works best to bring in conversions, so we will be trimming and adjusting bids for several months to come.

But despite its fluidity, the account build remains one of the most important parts of a successful campaign and I do my best to set up the client and their Logical Position Account Manager for success.

Questions? You just might have to give us a call!

Youssef El-Mansy

As Director of SMB Search at Logical Position, Youssef oversees Paid Search strategy and implementation across all small to medium-sized business clients. Outside of work he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, camping, hiking, fishing, and reading books.
By Youssef El-Mansy | February 05, 2015
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