Chapter 5: How to Target Your PPC Ads to Your Ideal Customers


Everything You Need to Consider When Embarking on a PPC Campaign

Chapter 5: How to Target Your PPC Ads to Your Ideal Customers


Everything You Need to Consider When Embarking on a PPC Campaign



With a clear understanding of our objectives and audience, we can now determine how we want to target our prospects across the AdWords network.

Ad Formats


The following targeting options exist and it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each.

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Search Network Only


Shows ads on the Google search network and partner search sites (where selected).

Display Network Only


Display text, image, and interactive ads on websites relevant to what you are selling.



Display highly automated product-specific adverts above and to the right of the Google search results.



Connect with customers using video ads shown before appropriate Youtube videos.

Ad Format Tips

As a general rule of thumb, you will start with Search Network Only adverts. If you are looking to use display or re-marketing, it makes sense to break these out into their own campaigns with their own goals so you more easily understand what is and is not working.

I also like to conduct an audit of all the keywords we have selected and quickly Google them. This allows us to survey the results to ensure that what we see is relevant to what we want to show for. Google has a lot of data regarding search engine user intent, so this can be an enlightening step.


Finally, whilst Googling these keywords, we often see a ‘searches related to’ box at the bottom of the page which may well add a few more variations to your list.


With these three basic steps, we can choose our basic keyword targeting list.

Negative Keywords


Every bit as the keywords we wish to target are the keywords we wish to exclude. The suggestions returned by Übersuggest can be a goldmine for a pre-emptive negative keyword strategy (and a jump-in point for your own research on negatives). The more time you spend here the more wasted clicks (money) you will save and the quicker your quality scores will go up, helping you get the most from your budget.


The following match types exist from very tight to loose:

Exact Match – Square brackets indicate that an exact match of the keyword is required

Phrase Match – Double quotes indicate that the phrase must be matched but any words before or after will also trigger the advert

Modified Broad Match – Keywords with a ‘+’ symbol indicate that the specific word prefixed with a ‘+’ must be present in the search query

Broad Match – Google will match on this keyword or any related phrases or synonyms

Choosing match types that best suit your campaign can take some time and effort. Exact match will often result in too little volume for new campaigns and broad match shows your adverts for too wide an array of terms.


With new campaigns, we often start with our primary terms as exact match and modified broad match. We can then use the search terms report to see what exact terms are getting traction and then refine our keyword targeting and bids.


Ultimately, you will use a mixture of exact, phrase, and modified broad to determine what best works for your ad campaign.

Note* AdWords uses a concept of match types. That is, keywords can be very specific or loosely indicate a given topic where AdWords will show adverts for all related or variations on a term.


When you are showing banner adverts you can specify sites or even pages on sites where you would like your adverts to appear. This supplements keyword and topic targeting and provides a much more granular approach.

For instance:

Let us assume you sell green widgets. A user searches for ‘best green widgets’ and several widget related blog pages come up extolling the benefits of green widget A vs green widget B etc.


If these sites show adverts via the Google display network, you can show your ads on these sites. It may so happen that your ad would display here anyway, but by specifying a site or page you can fine-tune bids for these important pages to maximise exposure for your brand (or green widgets).


By profiling your customers and understanding the sites they frequent, you can use managed placements to run a cost-effective and targeted ad campaign.

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