Don’t Forget To Check These PPC Settings

PPC Settings Review.

Most day-to-day management tasks are about finding new keywords, monitoring CTR, bids and budgets. But don’t forget to check these AdWords PPC settings when setting up or managing a new campaign.

Related: AdWords Daily Tasks & Improve PPC Performance

Locations PPC Settings

The default AdWords setting will actually show your ads to outside your targeted area. If you just want people in a specific region, you need to change this in your campaign settings. This will avoid people from other areas triggering your ad when they type, for example, “PPC Company Manchester“.

Commonly missed PPC settings
PPC settings

Ad Schedule Bid Modifiers

It’s very easy to set up ad bid modifiers and forget about it. You could change the day, time or device and only months later notice that things have changed and you are losing budget.

PPC Conversion Settings

Whether you are using the AdWords tag, a Goal imported from Analytics, or an imported file – make sure conversion is correct and accurately set up.

Duplicate Keywords – PPC Settings

Often you’ll find treasure in the search query report that you add over time and they are search terms that seem relevant to how they were matched.

It is easy to add duplicate keywords across multiple groups

AdWords is getting pretty clever in how it automatically identified duplicates and offers a solution in the form of an ‘opportunity’. So keeping on top of a well organised PPC campaign has never been easier.

Keyword Sculpting

This is a term used to describe how you funnel a search query to a keyword that’s being bid on.

If you are using Broad match types, Google tends to pick the keyword a search term is matched to, and it won’t always do this consistently. You could end up having one search term matching multiple different ad groups with varying levels of performance.

To match the search term to the best-performing ad group, set as an exact match negative to the Ad Groups or Campaigns where we want it to stop getting matched to. This forces Google to match it the way you want.

Search Partners and Display Select

The default setting for AdWords is to include these in your campaign setup if you are not paying attention.

It’s true that Search Partners can do well, but it can also do horribly and gobble up a budget. Test it on a new (separate) campaign.
Display – in my opinion – is good for raising awareness and brand promotion, but not great at producing a quick return on investment. If a rapid ROI is what you, or your client – is after, leave this well alone. If they are playing a long game with decent budgets, then this could play a key role.

Missing or Disapproved Ad Extensions

In addition to expanding your Ads these extensions, extensions can also help to pre-qualify clicks better and give more information to encourage a click from a user.

In Conclusion

AdWords is rarely a quick win. Campaigns evolve and require optimisation. If you are struggling with your AdWords campaign, please feel free to get in touch via the contact form.


Improve PPC Performance by Using Auction Insights

As the Auction Insight report is built into AdWords, most people will have taken the odd look out of curiosity. However, the Insight tool is a great way to discover how your PPC campaign stacks up against your competitors.

But with a little digging, it can also present PPC opportunities and even outline your competitors PPC strategy.

Related: PPC Management Manchester

Auction Impression Share

Impression share (IS) is the percentage of impressions that your ads receive compared to the total number of impressions that your ads could get.

Impression share = impressions/total eligible impressions

Impression share is a good way to understand whether your ads might reach more people if you increase your bid or budget. It also highlights if anyone is dominating impression share. It lists who all your competitors for the keywords are; and you can analyse this report by keyword, campaign or ad group.

Also on this report you will see:

  • How your impression share compares with your competitors.
  • How often you are outranking your competitors (the higher the better)
  • The average position of your ads.
  • Overlap rate – how often another advertiser ad is displayed and the same time as yours.
  • Position above rate – how often another advertiser’s ad is shown in a higher position than yours (when shown at the same time).
  • Top of page rate – how often you and your competitors ads are at the top of the search results.
  • Outranking share – how often you outrank each competitors ads (rank higher or displayed when theirs were not).

Changes to bids, quality and budget all affect the campaign performance results.

Auction Insight report
Example Auction Insight Report For a New Campaign

How the Insight Report Can Help Refine Your PPC Campaign

Scenario: Your impression share is better, and you outrank your competitors the majority of the time.
Option: Can you cut costs and still perform well?

S: Your impression share is better, but they typically outrank you.
O: Increase bids to see if outranking more of your competitors’ results in a significant gain

S: Your outranking share is better, but overall your impression share is worse.
O: Decrease bids with the goal of gaining impression share – get more for impressions your budget. (be careful with a test first).

S: Your outranking share and your impression share are both worse than your competitors’.
O: Increase budgets.

S: You have a lot of overlap with organizations that you don’t consider to be competitors
O: Review your search terms to see if you may be bidding too broadly.

S: Competitors seem to have a lot of overlap with you
O: Are you vying for the best keywords, or do you overlap more on keywords that are of lesser importance?

S: Competitors that have suspiciously low IS
O: Are bidding on keywords that we are missing out on? Check out a competitive research tool to see what your competitors are bidding on that you aren’t.

S: A new competitors appears
O: Learning more about their brand and how your positioning stacks up. Review their landing page – anything that might give you some conversion rate inspiration!

Segmentation – Auction Insights

Days of the Week

You can segment your auction insights reports and get more granular information – such as day of the week.

Which days are competitors are focusing on?
When are they not competing? This could be because they are not open, don’t have budget or they assume people aren’t searching on certain days (for example at weekend for B2B)

If competitors are not competing on certain days, is this an opportunity to get in front with less competition?


Similarly to days of the week, are competitors concentrating on mobile, meaning desktop may offer an opportunity?

In Summary

There are lots the auction insight report can tell you – it’s not something to do everyday, but reviewing it once a month can prove d ideas and inspiration to improve the campaign performance.

Finally, don’t make any account changes that go against your own data. Make sure you do the analysis yourself and test any changes on a small scale first.

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How Not to Hire a PPC Specialist

Related: How to Hire a PPC Specialist

Don’t, whatever you do, try recruiting freelance PPC specialists on People Per Hour (other freelance sites may be better!).

Once ‘they’ have even the smallest bit of information, they’ll find your email, send friend requests, connect on Linkedin, tweet, post, Whatsapp and Skype you till you can take no more.

Then, they will then start again the next day.

This lasts 2 weeks – unless you fake your own death.

I’m sure these types of sites must work for some people or sectors, but not in my experience.


How to Hire a PPC Specialist

Quickly hire a PPC Specialist with the skills needed to help your business.

How to hire a PPC specialist. Even if you are already an experienced pay per click practitioner, you cannot assess how someone will impact your business by reading an email and asking a few questions.

Start by taking a look at your business and understanding the person or company that will be required for the job. What tasks need to be completed daily, weekly or monthly?


If your business is in need of speed and growth, you simply cannot afford to hire someone who hasn’t been through that; a PPC specialist from a local digital agency won’t have the general business experience. You need someone that understands how to deliver a plan of experiments at scale and execute them quickly. Any learning curve will be expensive!

If you are looking for someone to play an integral part of your business, you need someone who is a better public speaker in addition to having technical PPC knowledge. Identifying, creating and explaining reports could also be key requirements.

Hire a PPC specialist – Analysing a report.

Provide your potential PPC specialist with a report – this should contain channels, Impressions, CTR, CPC, Clicks, Spend and conversions. Ask for recommendations based on the data. This report could be fictional, but it would be much more useful if it were at least based in fact.

Ideally, your PPC specialist will mention concepts like:

  • What are the business goals?
  • Which channels are being tested?
  • What are the primary KPIs, lifetime value and ROI targets?
  • Efficient budget allocations. What are the budgets?
  • Prospecting v retargeting balance.
  • What are the targeting options and how are the campaigns organised?

The report is a starting point and will allow them to show you how they think and make decisions.

Also, consider having a couple of odd results in the report, like one channel conversion being 0% and another being 50%. Totals that don’t add up our multiple exact counts. They should at least mention that the report looks unusual.

PPC Specialist Hiring- Business Market Awareness.

Ask your PPC specialist to carry out some competitor analysis. Candidates who know to follow competitor brands, engage with posts, or even go to their site and get into a retargeting pool is the one to look out for!

An AdWords PPC specialist should be able to not only have an understanding of keywords competitors might be using but also have a feel for how each brand positions themselves. Ask your potential PPC hire to evaluate the search landscape. This should include estimated CPCs, top keywords, ad extension ideas and copy competitors are using, what recommendations can they make?

This should include estimated CPCs, top keywords, ad extension ideas and copy competitors are using, what recommendations can they make?

In addition to understanding what a PPC specialist can offer, you are also provided with some valuable perspective that can further inform your decisions.

PPC Review and Recommendations

Grant read-only Google Analytics access to your potential PPC specialist and share your most recent budgets. This will allow your PPC specialist to review and recommend real life changes. A candidate who can identify areas where you are overspending or underspend — as well as new opportunities for tests — is one worth employing.

Some organizations are looking for someone to just conduct daily maintenance. But many others need someone to optimize and then scale quickly so you need to evaluate more than just PPC knowledge. General business skills, like budget allocation and return on investment, are crucial to the position.

Hiring a PPC Specialist

Hiring PPC specialist can be easy and insightful. Don’t take risks paying fees or salaries without knowing exactly what you are going to get.


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Contact Rob Wilkinson – Director and PPC Specialist – Online Customer Solutions.

Freelance AdWords PPC Resource – Flexible Agency Service

Freelance AdWords PPC Services for Agencies.

Online Customer Solutions owner, Rob Wilkinson, is a hands-on Freelance AdWords Consultant. Currently working for a number of clients; I specialise in AdWords but also have experience of Facebook and LinkedIn advertising.

Current clients include recruitment, catering, furniture and fashion businesses.

Flexible AdWords Certified Resource.

If you are an agency with a peak in PPC work – but not wanting to increase overheads – I’d be happy to discuss how my flexible AdWords service works.

I work with total flexibility (subject to a minimum of 5 hours per job).

Given a brief, I can quote and pre-agree the number of hours required. Or, I can also get involved in the campaign design. I can help with PPC set-up, AdWords management, review, reporting or training.

Confidential No-Risk Freelance AdWords Service

I can work white-label, as one of your staff, or as an external contractor dealing directly with the client. I’d be happy to sign confidentiality, non-compete or non-disclosure agreements.

Based in Manchester, I’m happy to work on (£40p/h) or off-site. (£30p/h).

I am able to offer up to 20 hours per week to work on your AdWords projects.

More information can be found here and on this blog.

Contact Me Now to Access Freelance AdWords Services

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch using the contact form or email.

Feel free to check out my LinkedIn Profile here


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PPC Advertising for Small Business – Top 3 Tips

PPC advertising for small business enables you to connect with people searching for your products or services.

Don’t Over Spend

Start small, test lots, measure everything.

The only metric that really matters, in the end, is CPA – cost per acquisition. How much money are you getting back from your PPC campaign? But to improve this, you have to measure everything else. Visits, impressions, quality score, CTR etc.

Optimise your PPC campaigns using negative keywords, location, device and time of day settings. You need to know who your best visitors are and target them.

Select the Right Keywords

Consider keyword intent and select the right keywords.

Read more about customer intent here. You need to select keywords that are relevant to your services or products.

“Long-tail keywords” have a higher probability of conversions and lower cost/lower risk. These types of keywords are more descriptive than short-tail keywords – try and use the exact match as these will be assessed as being better more relevant to the search (better Ad position, lower cost).


Keywords, adverts and landing page all need to be about the same specific thing.

Your ads need to specify to the keyword and the landing page. Take what searchers are looking for and tie it to your unique value proposition. Keyword extensions increase your ad’s visibility and allow you to be more relevant. Fill in as many as you can without padding. Test at least 3 Ad variations with different headlines and descriptions.

PPC Advertising for Small Business: Further Reading

Read more about PPC for small business and how you can improve your ppc campaign performance.

If you’d like to get in touch, please fill out our contact form.

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Generate More Instructions with PPC For Estate Agents.

PPC for Estate agents – Optimising for New Instructions.

Generating new customer leads and instructions for people wanting an estate agent requires a holistic approach. PPC campaigns for Estate Agents should play a big part.


When people want to discuss selling their house, do they walk straight into a local estate agent? Or do they start their research online first? Even if it is to find out who the local agents are.

Have a look at the below screenshot for results from searching “Estate Agent in Cheadle” (we are an Online Marketing Company in Cheadle!)

ppc for estate agents
estate agent ppc search

PPC for Estate Agents: Competition

Competition is fairly strong, there are 7 paid Ad slots and the top is won by a national chain with a local presence. This advert is very good and tells us a lot about what your estate agency PPC campaign ad should contain.

  • The Ad contains a price and they use their brand recognised URL in the copy.
  • Their review rating is prominent.
  • Extensions – The call extension will undoubtedly be populated but isn’t triggered.
  • Site Links – Services, free valuation etc
  • URL extension – targeting people looking to sell (possibly filtering people looking for a house) and the location is also covered.
  • Call to action (and offer) – Book a free valuation

Site extensions enhance the relevance of the ads, so make sure they are optimised to the search queries you want to appear for.

I think the only thing I’d like to see (which could be in their portfolio) is mentioning the location in the headline (that the second results – another larger company – does do).

The third place ad is another national estate agent that is spending a lot of money on not just PPC advertising, but TV and traditional print. Their ad looks to play things simple with no extensions, fairly generic URL and a straight forward offer and action in the text. I suspect that it is the “estate agent” or “estate agent in” that could be triggering the Ad (there could be some work done listing all the towns in the UK to customise these Ads.).

Below the first 4 Ads are the 3 business listings, then the 10 organic estate agency results followed by another 3 Ads.

Which Estate Agents Need to Use PPC?

Being on the front page of Google is great, but if you have to get past 7 listings, even being #1 in the search results really makes you position 8! Every estate agent needs to consider supporting their traditional marketing efforts with a PPC campaign.

The more times a business features on the first page of the search results, the more this will enhance credibility and develop additional brand recognition.

Interestingly, in our PPC for estate agents example, none of the local estate agents – that feature high in the organic results – have an active PPC campaign. But the top PPC result also features in the SERPS (position 5). This combined approach is going to drive a lot of traffic that the local businesses are going to be missing out on.

Selling a house has very much the same considerations as many other services. How much does it cost to sell a house? What are the payment terms/guarantees? Is the service going to be good? Preferences on working with local versus national businesses.

Positive online reviews are essential and need to feature on the ads. All these elements (plus any USPs) need to feature in the ad creation.

Estate Agency PPC Keywords and Negative Keywords

As with many PPC campaigns, you’re not going to be focusing on people that are looking to purchase a house. Obviously, this is important, but sites like Rightmove, Zoopla are going to be the main driver for purchasing traffic. You’ll also be getting direct traffic from advertising boards.

So, positive keywords need to include “estate agent” / “letting agent” etc, include the locations that you operate across (making sure to include ‘near me’ and ‘local’). Also include queries such as, “how much does it cost to sell a house”, “sell my house” and words such as “best” and “top”.

As you are not going to be focusing on buyers with your Adwords campaign, you can exclude “buy”, “free”, “houses for sale” and undoubtedly much more.

ppc keywords estate agent
estate agency keywords


Location settings are the priority here but don’t discount mobile and time of day tests.

Competitor Bidding

PPC competitor bidding for estate agency seems especially relevant. Make sure your advertisement is displayed for searches for local competitors. This could sway people in your direction. Especially if you have a better offer!

This is a little more tricky as business searches are likely to also bring up the business listing. Click through rates and quality scores are likely to be low. But it is certainly worthy of a test or two.

Conversely, competitors may be bidding on your business name! Ensure that you are top of these results!

In Conclusion

Estate agency PPC campaigns should be fairly straight forward. Make sure you get the most from your spend and don’t waste your budget.

If PPC is working for the national businesses, then it can certainly work for you. You won’t be able to compete with national budgets, but you can on a local level with more focused ads and offers. Generate more instructions with a PPC campaign.

Get in contact now to discuss your estate agents PPC requirements.

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Free Online Lead Generation – 2-Week Free Trial Offer

Start or resume your online marketing with a free online lead generation strategy and 2-week trial.

If you have already started researching how to find leads online, you probably have a shortlist similar to the below:

  • Outsource Email campaign – £15 per lead.
  • Outsource lead generation (3rd party website capture driven by PPC or social) – £40 per lead.
  • Outsource content marketing – £5 per lead.
  • Your own PPC campaign – unknown cost per lead.

Across all the options, the conversion rate is the big unknown variable.If you have outsourced lead generation before, you’ll no doubt be aware that both quality and supply are variable, which is why your ideal solution is to develop a lead source of your own. Unfortunately, this takes some time to refine and conversion rates are untested.

Assuming you have spent time investing in your website, and you are sure that it will be able to convert visits, the challenge is obviously getting the right people to your site.

It’s likely at this stage that you have already tried PPC (probably AdWords) with limited success. This is usually because campaigns are set up to be fairly generic. It’s worth spending more time defining exactly who your perfect visitor is and what they are looking for.

Related: PPC Campaign Optimisation

Invest as much time in negative keywords as positive ones, utilise all the site extension and have a strong call to action on all adverts.

Free Online Lead Generation Advice

While you are building your own online lead generation processes, dont put all your eggs in one basket. Try and negotiate low scale tests of all your lead options whilst also trying to develop your own lead generation.

You will know what is too much to risk untested, and if the supplier has any faith in their service they will accept a lower trial. If they won’t then they are just trying to get your money off you. Also, be aware that any test will involve suppliers sending you the very best leads. Quality will only go down. Email and content marketing can sometimes sound too good to be true, but are worth a (very) low-risk test.

SEO and developing your own website is an essential long-term option. But long term can sometimes mean years if you are in a competitive industry. Keep adding some interesting copy to your website that people will find interesting and useful. This is the only way to improve your website performance (along with the other technical factors).

Focus on Your Own Online Lead Generation

Establish more specific keywords and refine your ad text. Also, test other settings such as device and time of day.

This should lead to visitors only interested in your service visiting your landing page. Conversion to visit and qualification could then be established. There are other online marketing options (for example social, content, email and affiliate) but I think AdWords PPC is your best chance for a quicker return on investment.

The Free Online Lead Generation Offer

Online Customer Solutions don’t charge anything to review and set up new AdWords Campaigns. We recommend a test AdWords budget of £250 over 2 weeks and fully detail the plan before putting the campaign live.

At the end of the 2 weeks, we can review the results. This could lead to increasing budgets; refining the approach and testing again, or establishing that other lead sources are more effective.

If we continue past the 2-week test then we would put forward a proposal for our time (c£170-£500 per month depending on the effort required).

It normally takes a couple of days to be ready to launch and progress is monitored daily.

If you are interested in signing up to our free online lead generation test, please fill in this form and quote:2WEEKTEST to get started!

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