PPC management is a collection of marketing tasks that help brands monitor, manage and optimize PPC campaigns and strategies.

Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about PPC management, like:

  1. What is PPC management?
  2. What’s included in PPC management?
  3. The difference between SEO and PPC management
  4. What are the benefits of PPC management?
  5. Why PPC management matters
  6. How to manage PPC campaigns 
  7. PPC management mistakes to avoid
  8. The perks of PPC management software
  9. FAQ about PPC management

PPC advertising can spark an explosion of sales and scaling, or send your ad budget up in smokes. The difference between the two? Strong pay-per-click management. 

But what does PPC management entail, and how do PPC experts use it to increase organic traffic, conversions, and revenue? 

Top-3% digital marketing agency HawkSEM has an average of 4.5X of ROI for our wide client roster. CEO Sam Yadegar shares his take on effective PPC management, why it’s important, and how you can perfect it for better results. 

 What is PPC management?

PPC management is a series of steps that help you optimize PPC campaigns. It uses competitive analysis, keyword research, bid management, split testing, ongoing campaign optimization, and more to give your ad campaigns the best chance of ROI and success. 

This involves optimizing keywords and paid ads channels, to audience and competitive analyses, split testing, and other ad optimization tactics.

Essentially, PPC management allows brands to offload the day-to-day tasks involved with strategizing, launching, and optimizing PPC campaigns.

Let’s dive a bit further into what each of these tasks looks like.

 What’s included in PPC management?

PPC experts juggle multiple tasks, but the most fundamental ones include:

  1. Keyword optimization
  2. Channel optimization
  3. Ad campaign monitoring
  4. Audience analysis
  5. Split testing
  6. Competitive analysis

First order of business? Find your audience with the right keywords. 

1. Keyword optimization

Keywords connect your PPC ads to your audience’s search engine results. To find the right ones, PPC managers research audience behavior and keyword KPIs and create a target keyword list. Keyword optimization includes: 

  • New keywords based on audience research
  • Negative keywords
  • Match type adjustments
  • Ad copy keyword changes

2. Channel optimization

The right channel, messaging, and schedule can make or break your campaign’s success. PPC management helps you divide which channel to use and how to use it for the best results. 

You can launch ads across multiple channels, including text and display ads on search engines (like Google Ads or Bing Ads), shopping ads (like Amazon Advertising), and social media ads (like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn).

3. Ad campaign monitoring

PPC is a feedback cycle. You design and run ads, monitor their campaign performance and metrics, and use the data to improve your ads and ad groups. Just peep TimeWarp Trading’s impressive transformation over two years, consistently fine-tuned to achieve optimal click-through and conversion rates — 471$ ROAS, anyone?

4. Audience analysis

Paid advertising isn’t just about knowing the search queries you want to target. It’s also about understanding the audience using those keywords and what they want from the results. If you use the wrong messaging with the wrong target audience, your ads will fail to resonate.

5. Split testing

You can split test (also called A/B testing) alternative versions of your search ads, landing pages, keywords, and other campaign elements to see what aligns best with your audience.

Our advice? Test only one element at a time for the most accurate insights to optimize your strategy.

6. Competitive analysis

When managing PPC, it’s just as important to gather intel about your competitors’ ads as your own. Estimate their performance, assess audience reactions, and use those insights to hone your PPC management strategy.

Noticing some parallels with SEO? It’s true — PPC and SEO overlap in some areas, but they remain distinct strategies with their own objectives and methods.

 The difference between SEO and PPC management

As outlined above, PPC management involves tracking, iterating, and optimizing online advertising campaigns. Search engine optimization (SEO) management, however, involves using similar tactics to keep track of and improve your brand’s visibility in unpaid organic search results. 

When used together, both PPC and SEO bolster your online presence to generate higher clickthrough rate (CTR) and lead quality, as well as more brand awareness and conversions. 

Furthermore, one method can give you actionable insights to help inform and improve on the other. If you discover you don’t rank well for a certain keyword in your content, for example, you can add that keyword to your PPC campaign and rank for it faster.

So, why’s PPC such a game-changer for your marketing strategy? We’re glad you asked.

 What are the benefits of PPC management?

Only 10% of advertisers optimize their Google Ads accounts each week. Meaning? PPC management creates a huge opportunity to beat the competition.

Along with that, here are a handful of other reasons why PPC management is key:

  1. Improve brand visibility
  2. Appear for relevant events
  3. Strengthen keyword research
  4. Rank for keywords faster
  5. Laser-sharp targeting
  6. Find conversion-ready leads

The purpose of management is to improve the performance of the PPC ads you run. (Image: Adobe Stock)

Improve brand visibility

With PPC, you’re able to employ an omnichannel strategy that lets you display your ads on different platforms. Why does this matter? Because each platform has distinct audiences and engagement styles.

When you tailor your ads for different channels, they appear for a wider, more diverse demographic. This helps you capture a more significant audience segment than you would with, say, SEO or word of mouth.

Another bonus? It gives you more control of your brand message and image.

For instance, Facebook Ads can help you maintain consistent messaging on a platform often dominated by user-generated content (UGC). Similarly, Google Ads can place your brand at the forefront during crucial search moments, ensuring visibility in a highly competitive space. 

This multifaceted approach means your brand’s presence is felt across various platforms, each complementing the other to reinforce your messaging.

Appear for relevant events

Let’s say you’re a roofer, and there’s just been a major storm. Now’s your chance to reach everyone with a leaky roof. But even if your SEO is top-notch, you won’t automatically be visible to your target audience.

With Google Ads or a similar PPC platform, you can display ads directly to those searching for roof repairs post-storm. PPC gives you time-sensitive benefits through location- and time-based bidding (various dynamic bidding strategies). Appearing for relevant events helps boost return on investment (ROI) and improve sales.

Strengthen keyword research

PPC gives you a window into how users search for your products or services. You can analyze search query reports from your PPC campaigns for valuable keyword data, which you can then use to enhance your SEO strategy.

Plus, you can transition expensive PPC keywords to SEO efforts to save money. Similarly, if you struggle to rank for certain keywords in your organic content, target them in your PPC campaigns for better visibility and results.

Rank for keywords faster

It’s no secret that SEO is a long game, with the returns in traffic and conversions taking a few months or more for significant results to surface. By contrast, PPC is a “short game,” often resulting in faster results and, therefore, quicker ROI.

If your competitors rank for specific terms you’re missing, you can add those keywords to your PPC campaigns to appear in those searches. This lets you gain visibility for those terms more quickly.

Does this mean you should stop trying to rank organically for those terms? Nope! But it doesn’t hurt to complement your SEO efforts as they continue to mature. 

Laser-sharp targeting

You can target specific audiences with other forms of marketing, but there’s no guarantee you’ll reach them.

With Google and Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads), you can actively target niche audiences, like parents or small business owners, with greater precision. These platforms use advanced algorithms to analyze user behaviors and “signals,” ensuring your ads show to the right people.

Find conversion-ready leads

While it’s true that you can use paid ads for top-of-funnel campaigns, that’s not all you can use them for. Search campaigns can target intent-based keywords like “buy” and “hire” to provide warm leads instead of people still researching.

Using in-market audiences, which are groups actively looking to buy specific products or services, offers an additional strategy. By targeting these audiences, you reach people already in the mindset to make a purchase or sign a contract, significantly increasing the likelihood of conversion.

That’s one of the approaches HawkSEM used to get Columbia Virtual Academy (CVA) in front of more potential students. Through strategic paid search campaign restructuring and expansion, we helped CVA increase Google Ads conversions by 134% year over year (YoY) and their CTR by 45%.

Want that same fire in your PPC campaigns? Smart PPC management is the first step.

 Why PPC management matters

Bottom line? PPC ads management supercharges your ad campaign performance. It monitors algorithmic changes, and data analysis, using all those insights to ramp up your campaigns over time.

While the primary function of a PPC account manager is to, well, manage PPC accounts, that’s not their only job. They’re also an integral part of your marketing team, who generate data, test new messaging at scale, and provide insight into your audience.

Remember, too, that all of this is ongoing. Optimizations can be time-sensitive. For instance, ads that perform great during a summer sale might not keep that momentum once the season is over. Ads that promote a new product can lose their luster once that product is no longer “fresh,” and so on. 

Optimization never ends, and sometimes it’s necessary to reverse or abandon previous optimizations that no longer serve your campaign goals. 

When you’re competing for customers, you want to give them promotions, prices, and important features immediately. (Image: Adobe Stock)

 How to manage PPC marketing campaigns wisely

When it comes to PPC, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. The good news? A few fundamentals can set you up for victory:

  1. Set clear marketing goals
  2. Conduct in-depth keyword research
  3. Harness Smart Bidding
  4. Refine your audience targeting
  5. Craft your ads and landing page
  6. Split-test your ads and landing page
  7. Manage your budget strategically
  8. Don’t overlook the competition
  9. Continually optimize and monitor progress

Let’s explore these further:


 1. Set clear marketing goals

You can’t measure campaign performance without setting some clear goals from the jump. This can include brand awareness and lead generation, as well as measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) like CTR or cost per click (CPC).

When it comes to ROI, Yadegar keeps a watchful eye on these KPIs:

  • CPC
  • Cost per conversion
  • Conversion volume
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)

This is exactly why HawkSEM developed ConversionIQ, as Yadegar highlights. This proprietary tech is designed to integrate these very KPIs at its core and then some. It centralizes essential ad data, helping businesses like yours attract more qualified leads and deeply understand target audiences.

Long story short? It’s our secret sauce that helps us help you overcome common digital marketing roadblocks to better drive sales and epic growth.

 2. Conduct in-depth keyword research

Keyword research is crucial to understand what your audience is searching for and how to effectively reach them. Otherwise, you’d just be shooting in the dark. 

Take your time to thoroughly research and identify relevant, high-performing keywords for your target audience. Harness keyword research tools (like Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs) for insights on search volume and competition. 

And don’t forget to regularly review and refresh your keyword list. Why? So, you can stay in sync with evolving search trends and the performance of your chosen keywords.

Stumped on where to start? No sweat — HawkSEM has your back with the ultimate keyword research guide to get you rolling.  

 3. Harness Smart Bidding

Smart Bidding has come a long way since its inception. Initially, it wasn’t always reliable, and PPC managers were wary of it. This caution stemmed from concerns about the effectiveness and precision of automated bidding.

Thanks to advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), smart bidding has significantly improved. Today, smart bidding algorithms are better at analyzing data, understanding nuanced patterns, and making real-time adjustments based on all kinds of factors (like devices, location, or time of day). 

With this real-time advantage, you’re able to optimize bids and use contextual signals to improve your performance. 

 4. Refine your audience targeting

If you’re not using a Smart Bidding strategy or if your chosen marketing strategy allows you to adjust bids, it’s time to get on board. 

Adjusting device, location, audience, demographic, time of day, remarketing list (RLSAs), and other bids will allow you to fine-tune your campaigns and control costs. 

When you do this continually based on campaign analytics and audience feedback, you achieve more efficient ad spend, better campaign performance, and ultimately, a better return on investment.

Just ask our client SwimSuit Direct, who saw more than a 109% increase in annual revenue with HawkSEM’s continued optimizations and targeting strategies. 

 5. Craft your ads and landing page

It’s vital to write compelling ad copy that clearly communicates your value proposition and includes a strong call-to-action (CTA). 

Yadegar explains:

“Brands should focus on creating a unique selling proposition and leveraging conversion-oriented landing pages with compelling content and a superior user experience to make sure they stand out,” he says. 

So how do you know what works? Design visually appealing ads that vibe with your brand. Then, test different versions to see which resonates best with your audience.

Once your audience clicks on your ads, they end up on your landing page, which seals the deal. That’s why landing pages must be directly relevant to your ad content. 

In fact, a revamped landing page is how we ramped up high-quality leads for our client, Datadog. Landing pages should load quickly, be mobile-friendly, and have an unmistakable CTA. 

 6. Split-test your ads and landing page

Use A/B testing to refine elements on both your ads and landing pages, like headlines, images, and layout for optimal conversion rates. 

Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to advertise your new workout app. You could test these two headlines:

  • “Revolutionize Your Sweat-Sesh with Your New Favorite Fitness App”
  • “Hit Your Goals Faster: Try Our Innovative New Exercise App Today”

Both ads would be identical in all other respects, such as body text, images, and target audience. The only difference would be these two headlines.

You’d run both ads simultaneously to see which drives more clicks, engagement, or conversion rates. 

Notice one headline brings higher CTRs than another? Well, that’s an easy decision to make for your future campaigns. 

You can also leverage split testing to improve CPC, and other metrics, or test new theories. Google even has built-in split-testing features in the form of experiments.

 7. Manage your budget strategically

No business owner or marketing director wants to see their marketing budget squandered or misused. That said, a poorly managed PPC campaign can quickly drain resources without delivering the results you’re after. 

This is why it’s so important to allocate your marketing budget based on your campaign goals. That way, you ensure every penny is purposefully spent. 

Other tips for maximizing your PPC budget include:

  • Consider your company size, industry standards, and campaign scope
  • Determine how each dollar will contribute toward hitting your KPIs
  • Balance cost-effectiveness with campaign reach for max ROI
  • Be ready to pivot and adjust in response to campaign performance

So, how much should you spend on management for your PPC marketing? Typically, around 10-20% of your ad spend, but it can vary according to your business, budget, and goals. 

Your best bet? Get a custom quote from your favorite SEM agency (wink, wink). 

 8. Don’t overlook the competition

Keep a close eye on your competitors’ PPC strategies. Identify gaps in their approach that you can seize or successful tactics you can adapt for your own campaigns. With this intel, you can refine and differentiate your PPC approach.

As for where to start, we recommend the following:

  • Identify the competitors in your niche (Who are they? What tools are they using?)
  • Analyze their ad content (ad copy, headlines, formatting, visuals, CTAs)
  • Gather insights on their keyword strategy (bidding, CTRs, conversion rates, quality scores)
  • Peep their landing page (aesthetics, layout, ease of navigation, mobile-friendliness, copy, CTAs) 

Once you’ve gathered all these juicy insights, you can use your findings to level up your PPC game. 

 9. Continually optimize and monitor progress

While it might seem obvious, overlooking regular maintenance is a common oversight among PPC newbies. But as Yadegar explains, the landscape is constantly shifting. For instance, he predicts automation is on the horizon. Others suggest the AI takeover is imminent.

This means that consistent, attentive upkeep is vital to stay afloat. Now, you don’t have to constantly make changes, but you should regularly check, analyze, and update your campaigns when necessary.

Here are some pointers to ensure you never miss a beat:

  • Schedule weekly or bi-weekly PPC campaign reviews on your calendar
  • At each check-in, look for trends, anomalies, or significant changes in your campaign analytics
  • Note which ads perform best so you can tweak and test the rest
  • Analyze keyword performance and update negative keywords to filter out irrelevant traffic
  • Make sure your ad copy and landing pages are in sync with your messaging
  • Track PPC trends, product changes, and customer feedback and use it to adjust your campaigns

Remember our proprietary tech we mentioned? It puts this process on cruise control, making it indispensable for monitoring ad performance at each step. ConversionIQ gives you real-time analytics and actionable insights to ensure you optimize every aspect of your PPC campaigns to the max.

 PPC management mistakes to avoid

As with any advertising strategy, potential pitfalls are plenty. Here are a few missteps you’ll want to avoid:

Inaccurate location settings

Accurate location settings can ensure your ads reach the right audience, which is more relevant for location-specific companies (like the roofer from our earlier example), brick-and-mortar stores, or customer-facing businesses. 

By setting your campaigns to ‘Presence: People in or regularly in your targeted locations,’ you connect with audiences who are physically present or frequently visit your chosen areas. Otherwise, your ads will appear to people outside your intended geographic area, who are less likely to be interested in your product or service.

Inefficient budget

Your PPC campaigns need sufficient funds to ensure your ads receive enough exposure, ideally generating several clicks daily. But this level of investment isn’t just necessary for visibility — it’s also crucial to gather data and drive conversions.

Not using your data for Performance Max (PMax) campaigns

A Performance Max campaign is a Google Ads feature that uses your customer data to its fullest potential. By uploading your customer list from your CRM software (like HubSpot or Salesforce), you give Google a model of what your converting customer looks like, which helps it find more people with similar profiles. 

However, it’s best to use caution with the audiences you add. For instance, including audiences that haven’t converted could confuse Google into targeting the wrong prospects, diluting your campaigns’ effectiveness.

Poor conversion tracking 

Not tracking your conversions is probably the single biggest mistake you can make with PPC management. 

Not seeing conversions? Verify that you’re actually tracking conversion events. 

Conversion rate seem suspiciously high? Make sure you’re not double-counting. 

A proficient PPC manager confirms that conversion tracking is correctly set up and continually makes sure everything is functioning as expected.

 Tools and perks of PPC management software

PPC management software offers time-saving automation, robust data reporting, and a second set of “eyes” to keep you from missing optimization opportunities. You’ll be able to work more efficiently and set alerts to keep you up to speed on every aspect of your campaigns. 

With the help of PPC management tools, you can potentially save on marketing costs, improve performance, and scale your account.

The top reasons you should use PPC software are:

  • Insights into your account
  • One-click optimizations
  • Alerts
  • Automation
  • Reporting on your most valued KPIs
  • Find missed opportunities

Some popular examples of PPC management software include:

Each of these tools has distinct features and benefits that cater to different aspects of PPC campaign management. However, harnessing them effectively is an art in itself. 

Professional PPC managers combine their strategic know-how with these software capabilities to maximize their campaign’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Quite a few things to remember when running a solid PPC strategy, right? This is where the expertise of a seasoned PPC agency comes in clutch.

The takeaway

Let’s face it: PPC management isn’t exactly easy-breezy, but its intricacies are what make it an incredibly powerful tool in digital marketing. When mastered, it opens the door to rapid visibility, precise audience targeting, and measurable ROI.

In other words, it makes the effort well worth it for impactful, high-powered ad campaigns.

What’s more, a skilled PPC marketing manager can make all the difference in amplifying your brand awareness, market share, clicks, conversions, or just more profits on your existing advertising.

Ready to pass the torch on your company’s PPC management initiatives? We’ve got your back.

HawkSEM’s team of senior-level experts is on deck to dive into your PPC campaigns with a hands-on approach. Together, they’ll work closely with you to maximize ROAS, ensuring every dollar spent contributes to your business goals.

It’s time to elevate your PPC game — let’s talk!

This article has been updated and was originally published in December 2022.

 FAQ about PPC management

What does a PPC account manager do?

A PPC manager is responsible for strategizing, executing, and managing your PPC marketing strategy. This includes the initial creation, launch, and ongoing optimization of your campaigns. 

What’s included in PPC management services?

Each marketing agency will have different offerings. That said, some typical PPC management services you can expect are:

  • PPC audit
  • Market research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Goal and conversion tracking review
  • Advertising platform review
  • Keyword and audience research
  • Campaign strategy and execution
  • A/B testing and optimizations
  • Reporting

How much does PPC management cost?

PPC management pricing varies from agency to agency, depending on the services you wish to use. You’ll likely see three common fee structures: flat fee, percentage of ad spend, and performance-based.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for each:

  • Flat fee: Anywhere between $1,500-$10,000+ per month.
  • Percentage of ad spend: Between 10-30% of your monthly ad budget.
  • Performance-based: You pay per lead.

At HawkSEM, we prioritize transparency. That’s why we charge a straightforward, upfront fee without any hidden or unexpected setup charges.

When will I see results?

PPC typically takes between 2 to 3 months to work. Think of the initial weeks of your campaign as a learning phase for your ads, helping you gauge what’s working and what adjustments might be needed.

And don’t forget data’s pivotal role — the more time you have to gather intel, the better your PPC campaigns will perform in the long run.

In short, while PPC can technically yield results overnight, you’ll want to give it ample time to truly gain traction and effectiveness.

Can I manage my own PPC campaigns?

Yes, you can manage your own PPC campaigns if you’re versed in paid digital marketing and have the time to learn and apply PPC principles. 

But remember, PPC management requires specialized knowledge and consistent optimization. PPC management companies have the tools and expertise to manage budgets effectively, target the right audiences, and analyze data for ongoing improvement.

Christina Lyon

Christina Lyon

Christina Lyon is an entrepreneur and writer from sunny SoCal. She leads Lyon Content, a tight-knit team of bold creatives, and crafts engaging written content that helps brands sparkle and scale.