Significant PPC campaign results generally start to surface in 2-3 months, but the serious growth and ROI come after one year. Our CEO Sam Yadegar shares timeframes, data tips for speedy results, and factors that affect PPC campaigns.

Here, you’ll find: 

  1. How long it takes PPC to work
  2. One-year timeline of successful PPC campaigns
  3. 3 tips to speed up PPC campaign results

Think pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are your fast-track to sales, leads, conversions, and traffic? The Google Ads’ homepage sure makes it sound that way.  

Yet after your first month, you may just see wasted ad spend and minimal results. What gives?

For starters, you need to know how long PPC takes to work to set realistic expectations. 

Sam Yadegar, CEO of HawkSEM, has seen hundreds of slow and slumped PPC campaigns across his client roster of SaaS, ecommerce, finance, and education brands. 

After Yadegar and his PPC experts tackle them? They see a stellar average of 4.5X return on investment (ROI), often within a few short months. 

Want to bring that same fire to your paid ads? Keep reading for the lowdown on PPC campaign timelines, factors affecting them, and optimization tips to supercharge PPC conversions and revenue. 

How long does it take PPC to work?

PPC campaigns cost more than search engine optimization (SEO) tactics since you pay for every click. However, they’re known to generate faster results.

According to Yadegar, it typically takes 2-3 months to see preliminary PPC results that signal your strategy is on the right track. However, it can take up to one year for significant results. 

The difference is in the data.

PPC campaigns cost more than search engine optimization (SEO) tactics since you pay for every click. However, they’re known to generate faster results. (Image: Adobe)

“A true winning strategy can take up to a year to establish enough data and get proper sales feedback loops,” he says.

Can you expect the same timelines for all PPC marketing channels? Not quite. Yadegar highlights that PPC search campaigns on Google and Microsoft tend to show primary results faster than those on social media marketing channels:

“I would say three months [for initial results] for search marketing campaigns, while it may be 4-5 months for social advertising platforms like Facebook Ads and LinkedIn.”

Let’s rewind to the “year for significant results” concept. What does that look like? 

One-year timeline of successful PPC campaigns

Not sure what to expect in your first two, six, or 12 months of a PPC campaign? Yadegar shares HawkSEM’s organized strategy for each phase of the first year, along with realistic results you can expect:

Core phase: first three months

  • Audience research: Conduct keyword research and build audience personas to identify ad elements and search terms that will reach them.
  • Foundational setup and structure: Use your marketing budget and competitive analysis to inform keyword bids, ad groups, placements, and other account structure components. 
  • Results: Your preliminary work will help you grab onto low-hanging fruit like an initial traffic boost and new conversions.

Amplification phase: 4-8 months

  • Predictable results: Observe and note patterns for clicks, view times, web behavior (heat maps), and conversions.
  • Identifying winners and losers: Conduct A/B tests to determine which ad structures and landing pages generate the best and worst results, then optimize accordingly.
  • Results: You’ll notice amplified rankings and a prominent presence amongst the competition, higher ad positions, a defendable product, and buzzing brand rep. 

Domination phase: 9-12 months

  • Scale campaigns: Increase marketing budget to nurture winning ad combinations, reach more of your target audience as well as new audiences, and speed up conversions.
  • Remarketing: Leverage insights and data on an ad’s performance by identifying leads (bottom-funnel customers) and nurturing them with personalized remarketing tactics. 
  • Results: Now, the numbers really start talking. Performance analytics will show you significantly Increased impression share, optimal return-on-ad-spend (ROAS), and sky-high conversion rates.

Does this PPC schedule translate to results? It does if you partner with HawkSEM.

California State University – Northridge (CSUN) case study: one year of PPC with HawkSEM

Let’s look at an example from our education client California State University-Northridge

We conducted audience research within the core phase to learn what CSUN’s target audience’s pain points and locations were. 

What did we find when we compared that research with CSUN’s existing campaigns? 

They spent precious marketing dollars on location demographics and keywords that weren’t generating clicks. In other words, they weren’t targeting the right audience

The fix? With a few negative keywords and location pivots, we were able to increase leads by 50% for certain university programs—all within two months.

A bit further down the line, we continued to tweak budgets and perfect action-oriented copy to garner steady conversions and bolster brand awareness

Once we hit that coveted domination phase (9-12 months), we scaled campaigns and doubled down on remarketing with new banners to reinforce CSUN’s niche authority and speed up conversions for ripe leads.

Serious results already came at the two-month mark, but after a year of our PPC strategizing? We generated the following: 

  • 50% year-over-year (YoY) SEM revenue
  • 50% reduced CPA
  • 2X conversion rate

CSUN garnered PPC results that surpassed the standard for three months after working with us. 

But can every brand expect these same results from their industry? Good question.

PPC results timeline: SaaS vs ecommerce

We love partnering with niche brands. From finance and investing SaaS to apparel ecommerce and health, the marketing landscape is vast and varied for different industries.

It’s only natural to wonder what role your industry plays in your results. 

Overall, we maintain our 2-3 month timeline for initial results and one year for optimal ones across most industries. That said, Yadegar’s experience and data show that some industries might need to practice a bit more patience to see PPC results

Business team working together on PPC campaigns

Some industries might need to practice a bit more patience to see PPC results. (Image: Unsplash)

Ecommerce brands can show results faster than B2B/SaaS, which have longer sales cycles.”

For example, our SaaS client Datadog sells application monitoring for IT teams and operations. With a higher price point and B2B audience, their sales cycle (and PPC results) traditionally took longer to demonstrate results.

Pair that with a series of expensive keywords that weren’t reaching, bland landing pages, and forever-outdated search term reports? Datadog was one of many SaaS brands hit with turtle-paced results from poor PPC structure and the nature of their industry. 

Here’s how we repaired Datadog’s inefficient PPC campaigns

  • Adjusted geography and day parting
  • Adjusted keywords and negative inclusions
  • Implemented new, intuitive landing pages optimized for conversions
  • Executed new campaigns to highlight unique product features and capture more leads
  • Increased remarketing exposure on Google’s Display Network

Here’s what we learned: The longer sales cycle for B2B businesses didn’t trump the value of a data-backed strategy and expert PPC tactics. We boosted the budget, but it generated the following results within one year:

  • 75% increase in sales demos
  • 40% reduction in CPA
  • Increased clickthrough rate (CTR) from 1% to 3%

Intrigued? Learn our insider advice on ramping up your PPC results.

3 tips to speed up PPC campaign results

Sluggish PPC campaigns might feel like a wasted investment, but that hasn’t been our experience here at HawkSEM because we always find a way to boost results fast

So if your PPC advertising campaigns still don’t show results after a couple of months, don’t panic. 

Maybe your bidding strategy craves a little more data to give you the return you need. Sometimes, a new ad isn’t the quick fix for speedy results. Instead, you can jump ahead in your timelines by optimizing your existing ones.

Keep reading for a few quick tips to speed up your profitability.

1. Optimize your landing page

Your landing page requires every possible trick in your marketing book to close the deal on a customer without coming off as pushy. It’s a calculated dance of persuasive ad copy, personalization, visual appeal, and undeniable brand value for your audience. 

Sure, you could have a perfectly coiffed PPC campaign structure and setup, but Yadegar says it won’t give you quick results (if any) without an optimized landing page:

“An advertiser can have the most optimal PPC set up; however, if the landing page isn’t resonating, it can lead to lackluster results.”

So, how do you make sure your landing page resonates? 

For starters, you want a solid handle on your product’s unique value propositions (UVPs). Your landing page should weave them into concise, compelling ad copy that clearly demonstrates how your brand’s product benefits your audience. 

And the best way to help them visualize those benefits? Personalized copy. 

Did you know that personalized CTAs convert 202% more on landing pages than standard ones? So, ditch the third-person formalities. Instead,  zero in on exactly who you’re talking to and speak directly to them. 

Here’s a great example from As You Are Therapy: 

This landing page’s copy speaks directly to the pain points of an audience that might be considering therapy. The second-person verbiage, paired with therapy benefits and empathetic storytelling, is compelling.

Looking for more landing page inspo? Check out our roundup of landing page optimization tips.  

2. Inform PPC marketing strategies with the right metrics

Marketers face a laundry list of metrics to measure PPC success. Quality score, bounce rate, and cost per click (CPC) all help you assess campaign performance

But Yadegar emphasizes a select few PPC metrics that speak directly to results speed. Plus, they help generate insights that can improve your strategy and quicken your ROI. 

These data points include:

  • Traffic: How many web visitors you get to your website month over month
  • Conversions: How many potential customers take action on your landing page or website, including purchases, demo schedules, email newsletters, or downloads
  • Cost per conversion: The amount of money you have to spend to generate one conversion
  • Conversion value: The true impact of a conversion to your business, beyond a transactional number

Keep tabs on these across all of your PPC campaigns, whether on search or social. And if you can’t handle the constant back and forth of platform analytics? We don’t blame you. 

That’s why our seasoned PPC connoisseurs leverage real-time data insights and asset attribution from ConversionIQ, which shows us every vital metric in a unified dashboard. 

Once we pinpoint what’s working? 

3. Double down on winning ad combinations

First, hat’s off to you for figuring out which ad types and copy combinations generate the most interest. 

We know data collection and interpretation isn’t a walk in the park (which is why we use our innovative marketing AI system ConversionIQ to translate the data into strategic insights).

Now, it’s time to up the ante on your campaigns with:

  • Budget: If you have a solid list of search queries generating interest, scale those campaigns to expand reach with a higher budget allocation.
  • Remarketing: Create more personalized, persuasive ad copy for new campaigns that target the segment of your audience with expressed interest in your product (I.e. long session time, multiple web visits, request for more information).
  • Conversion rate optimization: Keep tweaking web elements to ensure more conversion from search traffic.

Our client 686 is one prime example that comes to mind. Despite decades in the winter gear ecommerce industry, 686 was facing serious PPC lags as a result of an influx of competition. 

To boost results, it became paramount to capitalize on existing leads with shopping and search ad remarketing tactics. This gave us that additional air time with conversion-primed leads to seal the deal and reap a YoY revenue increase of over 562%.

If you don’t have results resembling 686’s, don’t beat yourself up over it. 

The expertise it takes to truly understand Google Ads campaign structures and results in and out takes years, if not decades, to garner. That’s why Google recognizes agencies that have successfully done so with Google Premier Partner status (ahem, which we totally have by the way). 

The takeaway

PPC campaigns take 2-3 months for initial results and up to a year for maximal ROI and results. But that’s only if you’re backed by a high-quality PPC strategy, meticulous performance monitoring, and the expertise to act fast on data switch-ups. 

Don’t get us wrong; speeding up PPC results is truly a labor of love. Yadegar stresses that keyword, bid adjustment, CTA, and headline trials and tweaks amount to weeks of marketing effort and grit:

“You need to start slow, establish benchmarks and winners, and then slowly expand.”

Luckily, that’s not a burden you have to take on yourself. 

Join hundreds of other brands across SaaS, ecommerce, retail, finance, and legal niches in reaping major ROI on your PPC campaigns. Your first step: Partnering with an agency that takes pride in generating proven results and revenue for your business. 

Ready to accelerate your PPC ad campaigns’ ROI? Let’s get you to the finish line with our PPC management services

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation