This is “Planning and Setting Up a Campaign”, section 7.4 from the book Online Marketing Essentials (v. 1.0). For details on it (including licensing), click here.

For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. You can browse or download additional books there. To download a .zip file containing this book to use offline, simply click here.

Has this book helped you? Consider passing it on:
Creative Commons supports free culture from music to education. Their licenses helped make this book available to you. helps people like you help teachers fund their classroom projects, from art supplies to books to calculators.

7.4 Planning and Setting Up a Campaign

Learning Objectives

  1. Know the steps needed to get a campaign up and running.
  2. Understand the importance of landing pages.

Step 1: Do Your Homework

For a successful campaign, you need a full online and an offline analysis of the business, customer demographics, the industry, and competitors. While it is relatively quick to set up a campaign, preplanning will show dividends later. You need a brand, an identity, and a clear, unique selling point. You only get three lines to advertise, so you need to make sure you know what should be in there.

Step 2: Define Your Goals

You need to know what you want to achieve with your PPC (pay-per-click) campaign. Branding campaigns, for example, are very different from campaigns that increase sales. What do you want users to do once they click on your advertisement?

Step 3: Determine Your Budget, Cost per Action, and Targets

Determine how much you are willing to spend to achieve your goal—your target cost per action (CPA). Decide how much budget you are going to allocate to your PPC campaign. If your goal is to increase revenue, your budget might be unlimited so long as revenue is increasing and you are within your target CPA.

Step 4: Research Keywords

You need to determine what keywords potential customers are likely to use when searching for the service that you offer. Along with that, you need to know the following:

  • What common misspellings a customer might use
  • What words would show that they are not likely to purchase from you (words like free and cheap)

As part of your keyword research, you need to look at expected volumes for your keywords, so you know how to bid on keywords. See “Tools of the Trade” in Section 7.5 "Online Comparison Engines" for some suggestions.

There are also tools that will show you similar or related keywords, so you can expand your keyword list even further. Again, find suggestions in “Tools of the Trade” in Section 7.5 "Online Comparison Engines".

Step 5: Write the Advertisements

Using your keyword research, write compelling advertisements to promote your products. Advertisements can be unique to a keyword, or you can group them and have a number of keywords for one advertisement.

Make sure you use an appropriate display URL (uniform resource locator) and that you target the landing page for each advertisement. Always include a call to action.

Step 6: Place Your Bids

Based on your goals and keyword research, set the maximum bids for your keywords. Don’t set these too high at this stage—you’ll tweak the bids as you test your campaign.

Step 7: Measure, Analyze, Test, Optimize!

With conversion tracking in place, you can analyze your ROI (return on investment) down to a keyword level, and then focus on those keywords that are converting best. Consider seeing how changing the text of your advertisement can increase the CTR (click-through rate) or perhaps better your conversion rate. Test different landing pages to see what converts better.

Landing Pages

PPC advertising is not just about creating advertisements and bidding for keywords. The process continues once a user has clicked on your advertisement. The page that the user reaches by clicking on an advertisement is called a landing page.

Landing pages can make or break an advertising campaign. Poorly executed PPC campaigns will send all users to the home page of a Web site. Campaigns that convert will make sure that users land on a page that is relevant to their search. The aim is to keep the user as focused on the goal—conversion—as possible. Sending the user to the home page gives him too many other options to choose from.

For example, if someone searched for “Canon EOS 450D,” a poorly run campaign would send that user to A better campaign would have the user clicking through to

Landing pages also indicate relevance to the search engine, which can increase the Quality Score of the advertisement, and in turn lower the CPC (cost per click) of the keyword. Adding pages to the Web site that are keyword rich can also carry SEO (search engine optimization) benefits.

PPC campaigns often have thousands of keywords, which can mean that there will be a lot of landing pages to be built! Creating dynamic landing pagesUnique, keyword-rich landing pages that can be created for each search using a simple script. means that with a simple script, unique keyword-rich landing pages can be created for every search. The script will take the keyword that the searcher has used, and insert it in predefined places on the landing page. The user will then be landing on a page that is highly relevant to their search!

Dynamic landing pages can be created with a simple script that will allow for a landing page to be created for every keyword in the PPC campaign.


The bounce rate of the landing page also affects the Quality Score of an advertisement. See Chapter 15 "Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization" for more information.

Key Takeaways

  • There are some clear steps one should take before launching a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign. It is important to take each one seriously for best results.
  • Landing pages can make or break an advertising campaign. Sending a user to a home page is not wise. Instead, the page needs to be relevant for the user to get the most out of their search.
  • Landing pages also impact the Quality Score, and in turn lower the CPC (cost per click).
  • PPC campaigns often have thousands of keywords, which can result in many landing pages being built. For this, dynamic landing pages are helpful.


  1. Search for some keywords specific to a major brand you know. Click on the ad and evaluate the landing page. Do the same with another brand. What comparisons can you make? What did the two brands do differently with their landing pages? What did they do the same?