How to Future Proof Your PPC Program

When your business is killing it with sales from your PPC program, it’s tempting to just sit back and enjoy the returns.

After all, why mess up a good thing by making changes?

But this kind of thinking can leave your business vulnerable — particularly if your PPC success relies heavily on one factor, such as a single keyword.

If the situation should suddenly change — say more competitors come into the market or Google Ads changes its algorithm — those wonderful returns may drop off dramatically.

And you’ll be left wondering where to go from there.

So what’s the solution?

The best way to future proof your business is to reinvest some of those awesome returns back into your PPC program.

But instead of putting them into performance-based campaigns, put them into campaigns that will help you find new audiences and build your brand.

Just like you can’t grow your financial portfolio if you spend all the returns, it’s difficult to grow your PPC program if you don’t reinvest some of your PPC sales revenue back into it.

And one way to reinvest is to divert some of your PPC-generated sales revenue into brand-building campaigns.

In this article, you’ll find an example of how we’re implementing this strategy for a B2C business.

An Example: When PPC Success Relies on a Single Keyword

We have a client that’s doing fantastic in Google Ads right now.

They’re doubling their ROI. So for every dollar they’re putting into PPC, they’re getting two dollars in return.


Consequently, they’ve raised their budget from $6K to $15K per month (and with those returns, why wouldn’t you?).

But at the same time, this company’s PPC program success is vulnerable, even with these astonishing results.

The problem lies in how they’re getting those results.

In this case, the vast majority of their success relies on one keyword. One!

This keyword is a hot ticket in their industry right now, and it happens to perfectly describe the company’s new product.

So they’re getting great results from people searching for that term and clicking on their ads.

(Their product can be purchased and delivered online, which also helps with their rate of return.)

While we’re all thrilled with the results, this reliance on a single keyword makes me nervous.

Because as competition for this keyword increases — and it probably will because it exists in a popular, topical area — this company could easily lose its advantage.

And we definitely want to prevent that.

For this client, my advice is to take some of those returns and put them into the Google Display Network (GDN) and YouTube.

Then we’ll implement a process of testing and learning to find new audiences and grow brand awareness.

Finding New Audiences on the Google Display Network

As it happens, the GDN is a perfect tool for building brand awareness.

That’s why we implemented a program of testing and learning on the GDN to see what kind of targeting strategies will work for this client and their new product.

In this case, the product is B2C, so we have a lot that we can test for.

Here are just some of the GDN targeting areas that are relevant for this client that we can test:

  • Women’s interests.
  • Self-help.
  • Spirituality.
  • Fun tests and silly surveys.
  • Romance films.
  • TV reality shows.
  • TV talk shows.
  • Beauty and spa services.
  • Alternative and natural medicines.
  • Mental health.
  • Health news.
  • Marriage.
  • Romance.
  • Troubled relationships.

It’s great to have so many options. And this doesn’t even touch on custom audiences or in-market options yet!

With a daily test budget of $100 per day, we can’t test all of these at once. So we’ve created a timeline for testing that stretches out over several months.

We’ll test each option over a two-week period and keep winning options going, pause losers, and test new ones.

A B2B business most likely won’t have nearly as many testing options. But the approach would remain the same: identify relevant GDN areas and lay out a schedule for testing.

For example, we have a client in the life sciences area that’s in a similar situation. They have far fewer relevant targeting areas in the GDN, so our test and learn list is smaller.

And we often start with custom audiences of competitor URLs and keywords for B2B.

Finding New Audiences on YouTube

While we’ve looked mostly at the GDN as a way to future-proof your brand, it’s not your only option.

In the case of our B2C client, we were given a separate budget for YouTube advertising.

YouTube campaigns are a good fit for this client because its customers are younger and most purchases are made on mobile — both of which are a good fit for YouTube.

How to Budget for Testing and Learning

If you’re in a similar situation, you may wonder how much budget you should dedicate to this testing and learning approach.

Often, we’ll recommend dedicating a percentage of your PPC sales revenue.

However, some companies prefer to establish a set monthly budget.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong approach or amount. It all depends on your business and what you’re comfortable with.

How Will You Know Your Efforts Are Working?

Naturally, you’ll want to assess whether your future-proofing efforts are working or not.

Google Analytics will give you some insights. Metrics such as time on site, bounce rate, and pages viewed are good indicators.

(Unfortunately, we’ll lose these metrics with Google Analytics 4, but we might as well continue to use them as long as they’re available.)

Absent these metrics, you can also look at the success and increase of brand traffic and sales.

If your brand-building campaigns are a success, you should see your brand traffic and sales inch up over time.

Strong Sales Doesn’t Mean You’re Bulletproof

While it’s tempting to sit back when sales are strong and reap the rewards, that approach can leave you vulnerable.

This is especially true if your sales are heavily reliant on a single element of your PPC program.

Instead, put some of those great returns back into PPC.

This will require discipline, of course.

But it will be much easier to do now — when sales are strong — than when they take a sharp decline.

This article was originally published in Search Engine Journal.