My company would like to start a PPC advertising campaign. Whilst I understand the concept and how to set everything up from a technical point of view, this is something I've never done before.

Logically, we'd like to test out a wide range of keywords that we think would lead to conversions, which we've put together through brainstorming and with some help from Google's External Keyword Tool.

Sub-question whilst I remember - am I correct in thinking that in Google's keyword tool, keywords that we think will perform well that have a low competition yet high monthly searches are good since there will be less advertisers, meaning our bid per click will be less?

Is there a common benchmark or process of doing a round of tests with keywords? Should we wait for 100 clicks on each keyword, see which ones have lead to the most sales (or rather, sales that are sustainable with the cost per click of that keyword), then drop the ones which aren't converting and put that budget onto the converting keywords?

We realistically have a few hundred keywords/phrases we would like to test, but spending $100 per keyword/phrase is going to work out as quite an expensive test. It would be nice to be able to spend $5-10 per phrase, but I don't think the sample size would be great enough to determine anything usefully reliable.

Another approach might be to setup all the keywords, and those that bring the most sales within x hours/days would be the ones we use.

What is the common procedure with things like this?

I know there are a plethora of companies that specialize in exactly this, but this is something we anticipate doing a lot in the future, so it would make sense to do it in house if at all possible.

2 Answers 2


Low competition but high volume could mean you found a hidden gem that will drive a strong ROI, more then likely though it's a non-comercial keyword that will drive a lot of traffic but not much in the way of sales. You have to do a bit of research beyond the data to tell which is which.

If I had a limited budget as you suggest I'd start with a few narrowly focused adgroups and try to get some statistically sound data from them rather then testing every keyword that might apply to the campaign.

I'd base any decisions you make off of ROI rather then clicks or conversion rates, you may find some keywords that have lower conversion rates but also low CPC and high average order size are more profitable then keywords with higher conversion rates but have a high CPC and low average order size.


What I've done in the past is if you're in the USA or UK, there is a phone number for the Adwords team, speak to them, say that you're setting up your account and they will credit your account with around $100 free in order for you to work out which keywords work for you.

The other thing I would do is set up conversion tracking and goals, then link these in with the Adwords account once this has been up and running for a week or two. You can get Adwords to 'self optimise'; it does this by looking at which phrases users have clicked on, and of those users how many of them went on to purchase / complete a goal. It will then serve your ads to people who are more likely to end up purchasing / completing a goal.

The final thing I would add is that your CPC (cost per click) will fall as your campaign goes on, this is due to the quality score... it works on a 1 to 10 scale (1 lowest). If your score is 10 you will pay only a 10th of what you would for the same phrase if your score was 1. Your quality score is determined by lots of things but some of the main considerations it looks for are the keywords you're bidding for related to your content on the landing page for that ad, and how many people click on your ad vs. the amount of times your ad is served - this is known as your click through rate or CTR, average is about 0.8% (depending on niche) so if you're getting 1.5% that will really help your quality score.

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