PPC campaign optimization: 4 simple fixes to maximize ROI

PPC campaign optimization: 4 simple fixes to maximize ROI

by Pier-Yves C Valade / Wednesday, 04 June 2014 / Published in Measure & Optimize, PPC & Advertising

Your main goal as a Google AdWords PPC campaign manager, both on search and display networks, is to actually make your campaigns generate a profit from the money invested. With this in mind, there are some key techniques and quick fixes I have developed and learned over time that can help you score a positive Return on Investment (ROI) on every campaign. Here are 4 of them:

1. Filtering search terms that trigger your Google AdWords ads

The first thing you want to do each week is find out which keywords actually trigger your ad, and see if these are actually the targeted search terms. Here are the quick steps to do this:


  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Select the “last 30 days” view.
  3. Make your way under the “Keywords” tab.
  4. Beside the red “+ Keywords” button, you will see a “Details” dropdown menu.
  5. In the dropdown, click under “Search Terms” on the “All” option.


You should now see a table that tells you exactly what triggered your ads, and either add them to your keyword list or block them through your negative keyword list. That way, you will be able to better target your audience and lint off  non-profitable search queries, optimizing your ROI.

2. Measuring your position vs. your Google AdWords competitors

Another thing that can help you better aim your Google AdWords PPC campaign is by knowing where you stand with your current campaigns when competing for first place on bids. Here’s how you can easily find this data:


  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Select the “last 30 days” view.
  3. Make your way under the “Keywords” tab.
  4. Beside the red “+ Keywords” button, you will see a “Details” dropdown menu.
  5. In the dropdown, click under “Auction Insights” on the “All” option.


What you will get is some sort of magic table like this one. And what you’re looking at are actionable metrics you can use to optimize your campaigns and ROI! From there, you will be able to make changes to your max bids, budgets and quality scores to get to the top of the charts! Take note that my example might not be the best one because I’ve already managed to get to ahead of my competitors.

3. Setting up and tracking conversions from your Google AdWords efforts

First off, for those who don’t know what a Cost per Acquisition is, it’s simply the amount of money you currently need to spend to achieve a conversion (also seen as an acquisition or even a sale/transaction in the case of an e-commerce). In order to track the CPA of your campaigns, you need 2 metrics: clicks and conversions. Here’s how to setup simple conversion tracking for your Google AdWords campaign. Take note that there may be many other ways of tracking, but these two are the simplest:


  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Right beside the Google AdWords logo, you should see a “Tools” option in the menu. Click on it.
  3. In the dropdown menu, select the “Conversions” option.

From there you have many options. The simplest option (if you have your Google Analytics account linked to your Google AdWords account and already have Google Analytics goals or e-commerce tracking setup) is to follow these steps:


  • Beside the red “+ Conversion” button, you should see an “Import form Google Analytics” button. Click on it.
  • From there, you will see a list of all your available Google Analytics goals and e-commerce transactions.
  • Check the ones that apply, and define their tracking purpose.
  • Once you’re done, click on the “Import” button and enjoy shared conversion tracking.

The other classic way of tracking conversions in Google Analytics goes like this:



  • Click on the red “+ Conversion” button.
  • Enter a name for your conversion and the type of conversion (usually this is a webpage). Click on “Next”.
  • Then select the conversion category, and assign it a value, if desired. Other settings are good as they are by default. Click “Next”.
  • Lastly, you will need to add a snippet of code to the Thank You page that will trigger the conversion. Just follow the remaining steps and click “Done”.

4. Pausing high Cost Per Acquisition Google AdWords ads and keywords

The Cost per Acquisition metric is one of the most (if not the most) important KPIs you should always keep track of when leading your Google AdWords campaigns to positive ROI glory. Keep in mind you will need to set up conversion tracking in your AdWords account in order to have this metric. But once you have conversion tracking set up and running, filtering out and pausing costly keywords is actually pretty simple. Once again, here are some simple steps to do this:


  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Select the “last 30 days” view.
  3. Make your way under the “Keywords” tab.
  4. Right under the “Keywords” tab, you will see a “Columns” dropdown menu.
  5. In the dropdown, click on the “Customize columns” option.
  6. Click the “Apply” button.


And there you have it, conversions for a specific keyword, the keyword’s cost per conversions (CPA), and its conversion rate, which is the percentage of clicks on the keyword that actually become a conversion. Once you get to 1,000 impressions or more on a keyword, you can start to filter out those that cost too much by simply sorting them by highest CPA fist and pausing them. This will allow you to control your campaigns and steer keywords toward your average CPA goal. Note that the same process can be made throughout the sections of your Google AdWords Campaign panel, so you can filter out costly ads, too.

Final thoughts

While these are not the only things you can do to make sure your ROI stays positive when dealing with Google AdWords campaigns, reviewing these 5 steps on a regular basis should give you good results on your PPC campaigns. Until then, don’t forget to share this article on your favorite social networks if you liked it, and engage in the comments below!

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Pier-Yves C Valade, Ludis Media
I'm currently an SEO, PPC and Analytics specialist here at Ludis Media! Always looking for new challenges, I am a leader who’s not afraid of anything! I am in constant improvement in all facets of my life and aims at every moment to excel. I am an excellent communicator and also have an open mind. On a more personal side, I am fond of scotch, cars, bikes and great food! I love Hans!

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