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    The Beginner’s Guide to PPC Advertising

    Last updated: January 23rd, 2014

    This blog post contains edited excerpts from our free whitepaper: The Beginner’s Guide to PPC Advertising. Get the full guide for more details on how to implement a successful PPC campaign for your business.

    Pay per click advertising is so passé,” some say. Why is that, when in fact PPC ads account for 65% of clicks for high commercial intent keyword searches?

    One reason for that belief is that customers are getting used to ads and tend to pay less attention to them. At the same time, many marketers have moved away from paid advertising in favour of cost-effective inbound marketing.

    SEO vs PPC - the two complement each other

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    Yet, Google made over $43.5 billion in ad revenue in 2012, and PPC is still part of numerous B2C businesses’ digital marketing strategies. Some of the reasons for that:

    • PPC campaigns can drive quick results;
    • PPC campaigns allow you to target a niche audience;
    • PPC campaigns help you improve your local search presence;
    • PPC campaigns are a good tool to address customers who are already well into the buying process.

    The thing to realize is that PPC is not at odds with SEO; the two complement each other. Below are some tips to get you started with PPC. For a more complete guide on setting up a successful PPC campaign, download the full guide.

    What is PPC?

    PPC ads are the results that show up at the top and on the right-hand side of some Google searches. They’re the ads that you see on the right-hand side of Facebook. They’re the ads marketers have paid to be shown to you when you search for given keyword phrases, rather than organic search results achieved through SEO.

    Paid links on google


    Unlike pop-up ads and Youtube ads that can’t be skipped, PPC ads don’t intrude on the content you’re trying to access. They are targeted to provide relevant solutions to your problems.

    The fee for a PPC campaign depends on the number of clicks or views (impressions) your ad gets. While only 30% of link clicks are for paid links, the conversion rate for people who do click on the PPC ad is much higher than for those click on an organic link.

    4 reasons to include PPC in your marketing strategy

    1. It’s a way to measure your online marketing efforts. If you can’t assess the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns, you’re wasting money.

    2. It gives you complete ownership of your entire campaign. Unlike SEO, which gives you only some influence over your rankings, PPC gives you control over all the variables involved.

    3. It allows you to reach a hyper-targeted audience. Niche market keywords often have a lower bidding price, meaning you can reach audiences that will have a high conversion rate for a low cost.

    4. It achieves quick results and gets you on the first page of search results right away. SEO has a more long-term effect. For that reason, you can’t dispense with SEO, but it’s wise to complement it with PPC.

    Step 1: setting goals for your PPC campaign

    The biggest problem people have, there’s probably two biggest problems.  One is not putting correct measurement in place. . . . and then number two is having a strategy of what you’re going to do.  Most people just kind of log into an account and they go here, they go there, they don’t really have a strategy of what to do on a day by day basis to keep growing the accounts.

    –Brad Geddes, in an interview with Philip Shaw

    The following information will help you avoid those mistakes. To get started, you have to establish the goals of your PPC campaign. To do that, you need to define your target audience and the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you wish to use to track the success of your campaign.

    Understand your buyer personas and their intent

    Defining your buyer personas and understanding their intent is crucial for a successful PPC campaign. That means knowing your potential customers’ background, demographics, goals, challenges, and how your product or service can help them.

    By now you probably already know who your business is targeting. The next step is to further define your buyer personas’ intent specifically for the campaign you’re designing. Knowing specifically which of your customers’ needs you’re trying to address will allow you to target the audience that will actually get you results.

    The #1 secret of copywriting is: “Enter the conversation inside your customer’s head.” The easiest way to do that is to write a page of your customer’s diary. You should actually try that. What does she wake up thinking about? What bothers her? What gives her indigestion? What causes her to snap at her husband or cuss under her breath?

    Related: How to Navigate Cookieless Tracking in B2B SaaS Marketing

    –Perry Marshall, in an interview with Elisa Gabbert

    If your company sells organic baby food, for example, is your ideal buyer persona only seeking to find out more information about organic baby food or are they looking to purchase organic baby food online? Knowing the intent of the people searching for the keywords you’re bidding on will allow you to understand where they are in the buying process and design ads specifically for them.

    Establish your KPIs

    Start with these three KPIs:

    Monthly budget

    Once you have done some testing on your PPC campaign and you’re achieving a high ROI, it makes sense to get rid of the budget cap. Until you start seeing those results though, set a budget aligned with your overall marketing budget, the competitiveness of the keyword you’re bidding for, and the timeframe of your campaign.

    Conversion target

    52% of [AdWords] accounts do not have conversion tracking enabled.

    –Larry Kim, in an interview with Nick Stamoulis

    Determine the number of conversions you want to achieve on your monthly budget. You will probably rarely be right on target, but it’s good to set a conversion target in order to measure the success of your campaign. And don’t forget to track that data!

    Cost per acquisition

    The planned cost per acquisition is your monthly budget divided by your monthly conversion target — in other words, how much it costs to convert a visitor into a client through your PPC campaign. Be sure to compare the cost per acquisition to the revenue you will gain from each client. Make sure you’re not planning to spend more than you’re earning.

    Next steps

    As useful as PPC campaigns are and as easy as they can be when you know what you’re doing, there are some points to note when starting out with PPC:

    • PPC campaigns can get very competitive and expensive to bid on. That’s why in addition to targeting the right audience, choosing the right keyword and using effective ad copy is crucial. See chapter 3 of the full guide for information on keywords and chapter 5 for tips on creating the perfect ad copy.
    • PPC campaigns are not the kind that you can create and forget. They must be monitored and managed constantly.

    I only covered the first two chapters of the full Beginner’s Guide to PPC Advertising. The full document covers five other immensely valuable topics for a successful PPC campaign:

    • Chapter 1: What is PPC?
    • Chapter 2: Setting Goals For Your PPC Campaign
    • Chapter 3: Choosing the Right Keywords
    • Chapter 4: Creating Your PPC Campaign
    • Chapter 5: Developing The Perfect Ad Copy
    • Chapter 6: Creating a Landing Page To Convert
    • Chapter 7: Platforms to Advertise On

    Download the full Beginner’s Guide to PPC Advertising!

    The Beginner’s Guide to PPC Advertising whitepaper was written by Karen Yu.

    If you want to learn more about how PPC can help your business, have a Free 25 minute marketing assessment with us.

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