Red, White and Blue of Paid Media Strategy

Paid Media Strategy

Yesterday our country celebrated Independence Day, which makes for a great excuse to write a holiday-centric PPC blog post. Building out a Google AdWords account can be intimidating, and for good reason. All too often digital marketers jeopardize the success and budget of their AdWord’s campaigns with the oversight of some rudimentary best practices. Marketers often execute campaigns without explicitly defining the end goal (no, driving traffic isn’t a sufficient goal) or frequently they will neglect to A/B test ads.

Below we delve into the red, white and blue of how we implement effective paid media campaigns at Katana. Consider adding these tips to your repertoire of online marketing tools, which can lead to an effective paid media strategy.

THE RED – Account Structure

Your campaign is only as good as your account structure. Your account structure is the strategic backbone of any campaign, allowing you to control the “when and where” of your ad placement. A well-executed account structure ensures that your ads are reaching a relevant audience, assures better quality scores and keeps you organized, which in turn is conducive for optimizing. Within an account, your focus should be on six essential components that make up the AdWords funnel.

  1. Campaigns: Depending on the size of the AdWords account, you’ll typically want to divvy your budget across a few broad campaigns.
  2. Ad Groups: Within each campaign are ad groups that speak specifically to the keywords you want to trigger your text or display ads. Be careful to not zealously overextend your budget across too many ad groups, keywords, ads and landing pages as your campaign’s performance may suffer.
  3. Keywords: When an individual types a search term into Google’s search query, specific keywords trigger ads related to the searched term. Although the amount of keywords per ad group vary by campaign, two to three keywords per ad group is a general best practice. Prior to setting your max cost-per-click (CPC), conduct thorough keyword research to concretely understand the different match types.
  4. Negative Keywords: To avoid spending frivolously on low-performing keywords, conducting a Negative Keyword Scrub bi-weekly/weekly should be an essential element of your PPC strategy. If you’re bidding on broad match or modified broad match keywords, your search term report will be cluttered with irrelevant search terms. As you scrub your negative keyword list, regularly update your negative keywords list.
  5. Ad Text: In order to get your ads approved, they must follow Google’s strict criteria that regulates character length, copyrighted or inappropriate ads and invasive content. Each ad group should include about two to three ads that direct the user to identical landing pages, and you should be actively running A/B tests to determine which ads are the most effective.
  6. Landing Pages: Upon clicking on your ad, the call-to-action’s destination should be relevant to the landing page. For example, if you’re promoting “Get Your Free Consult Today!” in your ad, the landing page should take the searcher to a form to sign up.

THE WHITE – Targeting

Google offers marketers ample targeting options for the Search Network, including keyword, location and language, device and audience targeting. Likewise, the Display Network offers contextual, keyword, topic, location and language, placement and audience targeting.

However, targeting vastly differentiates from client to client since each account will have its own goals. For the Display network, we recommend implementing Remarketing and Contextual targeting campaigns to initiate the greatest ROI and conversion volume. However, if your account’s goal is to increase brand awareness, you can do so by reaching a larger audience through Topics targeting.

The Search and Display Networks operate with different protocols, therefore requiring unique targeting strategies based on searcher’s behavior and intent. Generally speaking, Display Network visitors start in the “Awareness” stage while Search visitors begin in the “Consideration” phase with potential purchasing intent.


Since your campaigns should have several variations of ad copy, marketers can end up composing generic, indolent copy. Your text ad has the limited character length of 25, 35 and 35 for your headline, description line one and description line two, respectively. Your text ad should mirror the Search visitor’s end goal, offering a solution to whatever search term or phrase they searched.

Advanced Google AdWords’ users might utilize the dynamic keyword insertion feature – a code that is inserted into the ad text and changes what text appears to a user when triggered by specific keywords. To compete and maintain relevancy, your ads have to address a user’s end goal.

The entire success of your campaign depends on your ability to tests your ads and make the necessary adjustments based on the data you’re getting back. Even if your campaign is performing well, you should still be running A/B tests to continuously optimize the success of your ads.