by Ana Gotter December 20, 2018

How to Map Out Effective Ad Campaigns in 5 Steps

When it comes to PPC campaigns, the first hurdle for many clients is navigating and learning the interfaces. This can be incredibly intimidating at first as they sort through bidding strategies, types of campaigns to choose from and everything from broad match to negative keywords.

And then, slowly, they realize that to truly get high-converting ads, they need to tackle something a little more difficult: strategic, well-researched campaign creation.

It’s not enough to just invest in great PPC keyword research and hope that will carry your weight for you. Each individual campaign you create needs to be carefully thought out and based on your goals, your audience, and keywords that you’ve chosen.

In this post, we’re going to walk you through the 5 steps you need to take when mapping out your ad campaigns. We’re going to look specifically at Google Ads in this post for the sake of keeping it simple, but know that the same principles will apply to most PPC platforms.

1. Determine What Goals You Want to Accomplish

One big mistake so many advertisers make is not focusing on singular, specific goals. Do they want to promote a sale? A product? A lead magnet, or specific features of their services? You won’t accomplish much if you have no idea what you’re actually trying to do.

Typically with Google Ads, the goal is to increase conversions, but some brands really do better when optimizing for calls or pushing people through to a landing page with a free lead magnet. Think about what you want to accomplish with your ad campaigns and go from there.

An example list of the goals you might have could include:

  • Use sales or discount campaigns to drive conversions by creating urgency
  • Sell more by promoting individual products or services based on keyword phrase
  • Generate leads by sending users to a landing page

2. Refine the Audience You Want to Target

Step 2 is arguably the most important part of your campaign creation. Understanding your audience, their search intent and what they need is crucial to 1) using the right keywords so you can show your ad to them and 2) creating relevant messaging that appeals to them.

First, you need to understand who your audience is overall. Who uses your product and why?

Breaking your audience down into buyer personas is typically helpful so that you can understand the different audience sectors you have and what they need. Go Liam Neeson on them, and figure out exactly who they are.

It’s important to break down your audience if at all possible, because then you can create more targeted messaging to them.

Last month, for example, I was doing some research about fitness studios that I could check out on my holiday vacation  to see my boyfriend’s family. I searched specifically for kickboxing classes and three out of three ads instead showed me generalized fitness classes. I’d all but given up and almost didn’t click on the last ad which was advertising Zumba dance classes, but clicked only because a friend had mentioned the studio before. Sure enough, they actually had kickboxing classes, but their ads campaigns were so badly targeted that I almost missed them.

You need to segment your audience, niching it down as much as possible. Go ahead and create more buyer personas if needed, and make sure that you fully understand how each sector is going to be interacting with your product.

If you aren’t sure where to start with audience research, you can check out this excellent resource for more information.

3. Create a List of User Pain Points and Needs

Once you’ve broken down your audience into distinct niches, it’s important to map out exactly how you can help each audience and what they’re looking for.

Let’s say you have your own dog training classes. You’ll have different types of clients who have different pain points and needs, and they’re all looking for different things.

Some clients might have new puppies and are just looking for basic obedience training and a setting where they can socialize their energetic little balls of fur. Others might want assistance with training for competitions and there might be a smaller section who wants one-on-one training for aggression, shyness, or specific behavioral issues.

It’s going to be important to figure out exactly what pain points and needs each audience has so that you can market the right things to them and understand what they’re searching for.

Someone who wants puppy training or basic obedience training is looking for an affordable trainer close to them. An owner who needs help with a grown dog peeing on everything in the house after multiple rounds of obedience training won’t care how much it costs to get someone in because they’re tired of replacing all the carpet in the house. These individuals will look for one-on-one and quick availability.

4. Select Your Keywords

Selecting your keywords in order to create ad groups can really only be done after you’ve identified your audiences and what each is looking for. Each audience niche should have its own ad group so that you can create targeted copy that shows you have what they need right away.

While you’re doing keyword research, try to find keywords that will match a high value search intent that aligns with the campaigns you want to create with the highest search volume but lowest cost and competition level possible.

Relevance is key when it comes to search intent. “Puppy training classes,” for example, would put you directly in line with the services you sell; “puppy housebreaking” could, but people also might be looking for products or tips, not classes. In this case, you could use the negative keyword “puppy housebreaking products” to ensure that you don’t waste an ad impression on the wrong search.

An example of an ad group for puppy training classes might include:

  • “puppy classes”
  • “group dog classes”
  • “dog classes”
  • “puppy obedience training”
  • “puppy training”
  • “dog classes”
  • negative keyword: potty training dog
  • negative keyword: dog training products

5. Craft the Copy You’ll Use

It’s important to craft your ad copy and your messaging after you’ve set your goals and understood your audience’s pain points and search intent, because it’s really almost never a good idea to work in reverse. Following these steps in order allows you to gain a firm understanding of what your campaign should do before you write the ad itself, giving you focus to know what messaging you should use, features you should highlight, and even the offers you should have available.

Google Ads copy is different than ad copy on other PPC platforms, where there’s room to tell stories and really create emotional appeals. These ad campaigns have copy that’s matter-of-fact, feature-oriented, and unbelievably concise.

When creating your copy, think about the specific features and offers that will appeal to their immediate pain points.

In the examples below, the first ad offers “pick-up and delivery services,” alongside a 14-day out-of-house boarding/training program. This directly contradicts the ad below, which focuses on “in home” dog training. One also mentions being licensed and insured, featuring sitemap extensions to explain their programs, while the other makes sure to emphasize that they have reviews.

No matter how great your keywords are and how beautifully you executed your audience segmentation, it won’t matter if the copy isn’t good. If you need some ideas, take a look at the ad campaigns your competitors are running for similar keywords and then find a way to be better. Highlight different features, express things more clearly, or even use site extensions to give your ad some extra oomph in the results.


If you want to create high-converting, perfect-for-your-audience ad campaigns on the first try, this is the process you should be using. It leaves little to chance and guesswork and instead focuses on what you know about your audience, what they’re looking for, and what they need. This is a powerful combination that will help you uncover how to best frame your products and services to each audience niche you’re trying to connect with, increasing your CTR and your conversion rates over time.

Are you struggling to map out ad campaigns that resonate with your audience, or need help managing them? Drop us a message and see how we can help.

What do you think? How do you create your PPC ads campaigns? What process do you use to ensure that you’re creating relevant, targeted ads? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below! 

  • AdWords

Ana Gotter

Ana Gotter is a freelance writer specializing in social media and content marketing, though she writes on a variety of other niches and subjects. She can be contacted at

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