The Golden 8W Rule for PPC Campaign Planning

The Golden 8W Rule for PPC Campaign Planning

11th April 2018

Among the most valuable skills of a PPC professional few things are so vital as the ability to ask the right questions to your contractor before starting a campaign. In my experience there are several things you should definitely know to create a winning structure for your accounts.

You can summarize them in what we could call the golden PPC 8W rule. In particular, you have to know: Why (campaign primary and secondary goals), Who is in charge (project manager), What to promote (products, services, non profits etc.), to whom (ideal target users), Which way we have to advertise it, When (ads timing), Where (geo-targeting), What budget?

If I had started to follow this scheme since the early years of my PPC professional career I would have avoided a lot of misunderstandings and problems that I had to solve afterwards (wasting a lot of time), when campaigns were already running. I hope this checklist will help you as it did with me 🙂

Campaign Goals (Why)

  • What is the primary goal of the promotion?
    E-commerce sales, lead generation or branding.
  • Are there any secondary goal?
    Marketing database increase, sales in physical stores, brand recognition, etc.

Project Manager (Who)

  • Who has the power to decide what has to be promoted and the budget?

Items to promote (What)

  • Is there any material (online or on paper) describing exactly what we have to promote?
  • Are there any homogeneous product/service groupings to categorize them?
    This will be the basic starting structure of your campaigns.

Ideal customers (To Whom)

  • Who are the ideal target groups of customers (or buyer personas)?
    Companies (size, type, etc.);
    Professionals (such as…);
    Final consumers (age, gender, income etc.).
  • Is any market report available for the sector? Customer satisfaction questionnaires? Feedback or chat logs from the site? Online reviews?
  • Which devices are they using to convert?
    Give a look to existing analytics, if possible.

Promotion mode (Which way)

  • Are campaigns designed to match an existing specific market demand, stimulate it or increase fidelity / repeated purchases?
    In the first case you will have to use mainly Search Campaigns, to stimulate demand you will need Display Network too. Increase customer loyalty you will definitely need remarketing.
  • What are the key characteristics of the items to be promoted?
  • What are the main reasons why customers buy these items and not the ones from competitors?
    This will be the basics for your ad copy writing.
  • Who are the main competitors?
    Do not trust who says there are no competitors. There always are. They may not know who or what is competing with them in the customer’s minds 😉
  • What turns on the “light of interest” in customers’ eyes when mentioned?
    Better to ask directly to the front line or sales representatives / support team.
  • Are there any industry-specific terms of “jargon” that we have to (or can) use in ads?
  • Can online questionnaires be launched to deepen these aspects?

Promotion timing (When)

  • Is there a specific seasonality for these products / services?
  • Starting date and ending date for each campaign?
    Be sure to ask the reason for this scheduling.
  • Is there a special daytime planning for ads which could make sense for any customers’ group to be targeted?
  • Is any promotion planned that we can take advantage of? When and what they consist of? Can we create any specific promotion for the campaigns?

Geographical areas of reference (Where)

  • Where are the target user groups located?
  • Are there any brick & mortar stores / resellers to consider in geo-targeting the campaigns?
  • Are there any specific areas which have to be targeted differently for any reason?
  • Which languages ​​do target users speak?

Spending (What budget)

  • When can we spend at most in one day / month?
  • How has the budget to be divided among categories, along the timeline of promotions and within geographical areas concerned?

In a perfect world you should have at least some clues about all the aspects touched in this questionnaire.  When I had to set campaigns ignoring some of these data it usually required me much more time and efforts to turn them into being profitable, unless I had a specific experience in the same field or some other trustworthy examples to count on to avoid the most dangerous errors.

That is exactly why in 2012 I created ADworld Experience (now the World’s largest vertical event based on real PPC case studies) and I obsessively kept it focused on case histories during all these years.

To paraphrase a famous spaghetti western from Sergio Leone: when a PPC man with the right information & training meets a PPC man with hypothesis & suppositions, the second one has to find a different job!
It is up to you to choose which kind of professional you would like to be 😉

Is there something more you would suggest to add to the list of must ask questions to set the perfect PPC campaign?


Written By
Freelance AdWords & CRO professional, Gianpaolo is among the first Italian web marketing professionals and ideated ADworld Experience, one of the largest PPC events in the world.
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