Search Ad Campaigns

Google Ads Search Certification BadgeSearch ad campaigns have evolved in 2021 to accommodate new classes of devices, ad formats, ad extensions, smart bidding, ad automation, and audience targeting. Slowly at first, over the past 20 years of progress, innovation in search campaigns has made them more difficult to set up. But campaigns that take advantage of the latest capabilities have also become more successful.

Systematic Search Ad Campaign Development

search ad campaign

To create the foundation for high-performance search ad campaigns, Blastoff Labs created and a systematic development process. With each new campaign we develop, we look for opportunities to further refine this process.

The phases and individual steps in our search ad campaign development process are illustrated below.


Search Campaign TestimonialSteve and his team at Blastoff have really turned our PPC efforts around with concrete results. We’re receiving significantly more conversions than we did in the past, at a cheaper cost per conversion than we were accustomed to. Steve’s also keen to learn more about the particulars of your industry, to increase lead quality.

HANNAH LODGE, Vice President
ALTA Language Services, Inc.
Interpretation • Translation • Training
Atlanta, Georgia

Search Campaigns: Our 14-Stage Development Process

Competitive Assessment • CRO Feedback

Digital Ad Platform

Search Campaign Competitor Assessment

Once a search campaign project is onboarded, we study your website, products, and services then begin our paid search competitor assessment.

The outcomes are:

• Identify the significant direct and indirect competitors.
• Familiarize with their products, services, and positioning in the market.
• Familiarize with advertising history, ad copy, ad spend.
• Identify significant competitive trends.

This provides us with an understanding of how our campaign will be positioned in the competitive environment. We need to understand how your product is positioned and your unique selling proposition, including the most significant benefits, features, and differentiation.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Search Campaign CRO Feedback

Search campaign conversion rate optimization (CRO) feedback is provided to improve the conversion performance of landing pages.

Landing pages for search ad campaigns have a different role to play as compared to landing pages for display, shopping, and video campaigns. Search ad landing pages are guiding traffic to directly take an action to engage with your business.

Typical changes we might suggest for search landing pages might include:

• Changing the placement or flow of content.
• Transforming long “walls” (blocks) of text into bullet lists.
• Simplifying forms to increase the likelihood of conversion.
• Strengthening the central value proposition and features/benefits.

When needed, we’ll redesign the layout of landing pages to the extent that we provide wireframe-level design feedback. 

Keyword Discovery • Structure Campaign

Keyword Discovery Process

Keyword Discovery Process

The quality of the keyword base generated for a search campaign influences how well a campaign performs. The keyword base is the foundation.

We spider the competitor sites identified during our “PPC competitive research” process.  We also spider your site and landing pages to extract and filter keywords that go into a “keyword bucket” as shown in the diagram. 

While locating direct competitors, we also familiarize ourselves with their products and/or services. We take note of competing advertiser positioning, messaging, offers, and trends.

We then expand the number of keywords discovered using proprietary software tools until we’ve developed a comprehensive keyword base. 

Search Campaign Structure - Object Model

Search Campaign Structure

The ad group structure flows naturally from groups of words that are semantically related. This is one of the secrets to developing search campaigns with high “quality scores” (QS). When search campaigns are built around relevant groups of semantically related keywords, good quality scores follow.

By factoring, we organize the keyword base into ad groups around semantic relationships.  This is the process for creating a structured campaign – one with just keywords that mean the same thing in each ad group.

We then apply a workflow to assign keyword match types in a strategic fashion, to fit your market based upon an assessment of search intent.

Search Ad Design

Develop Ad Copy for Search Campaigns

Develop Ad Copy for Search Campaigns

Blastoff has experimented with and tested a number of methods for creating, improving, and optimizing ad copy.

Our ad design workflow for search campaign ads is illustrated in the diagram on the left. It’s based upon the classic creative process, adapted into a digital advertising workflow.

The search ad “extensions” which accompany ads are also a crucial element of search campaign ad copy and performance.

If a campaign is launched with “average” ad copy and it isn’t optimized, it will limit performance. There’s more to good ad copy than you might think. Arriving at strong performing ad copy requires a concentrated effort.

Although ad copy might appear to be difficult to gauge, an ad’s performance can be measured numerically with web analytics. So arriving at great-performing ad copy can become a systematic process.

Audiences • Serving Parameters

Search Campaign Parameters

Configure Search Campaign Serving Parameters

Ad Spend: Search campaigns may fall victim to the “digital cliff” phenomena as seen in telecommunications and economics. As a rule of thumb, a search campaign should be purchasing at least 15 to 20 clicks daily.

Geo Targeting: Controls the relationship(s) between search query and ad serving locations.

Bidding: Influences when a campaign participates in an ad auction, rank at ad auction, and which search engine result pages the ads appear on.

Campaign Serving Schedule: We set most b2c search campaigns to serve 24x7x365. We later use this baseline data to optimize the serving schedule.

Ad Rotation: For faster optimization, we launch most new search campaigns with 2 extended text ads (ETAs) rotating evenly. Later we phase in responsive search ads (RSAs).

Conversion Tracking • Conversion Value Model

search ad conversion tracking

Search Campaign Conversion Tracking Setup

Search campaign conversion tracking is crucial to success. PPC conversions are meaningful events including sales transactions, form fill submissions, phone calls, and other meaningful actions.

PPC campaign conversion tracking provides visibility into campaign performance. But the more important benefit to advertisers results from the conversion metadata being fed back into the campaign’s machine learning algorithm. The conversion metadata becomes the fuel for automated bidding.

When properly configured and optimized, machine learning will lift most campaigns to higher levels of performance.

Setup Reporting • Configure Analytics

Google Search Campaign Reporting

Search Campaign Reporting Setup

Before launching a search ad campaign, we’ll configure search campaign reporting.

The reports will be designed to fit your accounts, campaigns, and business objectives. We’ll add standard key performance indicators (KPI’s), or implement custom KPI’s most closely aligned to your business objectives.

Search campaign reports include a summary page for each type of campaign, along with pages for each individual campaign detailed across the reporting period.

Charts showing daily campaign behavior for the reporting period, and key performance indicator summaries for the reporting period compared to the previous reporting period.

Search Campaigns Reporting Sources

Configure Search Campaign Web Analytics

To configure web analytics for search campaigns, we link to the associated analytics accounts during project onboarding. This typically includes Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Search Console, Google Merchant Center, and similar Microsoft Advertising Accounts.

We may likely also request a login to the backend (Administrative access) area of your website.  Typically this is needed when we anticipate installing plugins such as the Google Tag Manager plugin or 3rd-party call-tracking plugins.

Search Campaign Launch

Blastoff Labs Project Launch

Search Campaign Launch Procedure

After a search campaign launch, most will require a day or two to develop serving momentum. Average-size campaigns usually require a few days to develop consistent serving patterns.

Once a campaign is launched and serving consistently, it’s now continuously generating valuable signals that allow us to optimize performance. Over 1 to 5 weeks we’ll maneuver the campaign into position for a transition to automated bidding.

Optimization • Automation • Management

Campaign Automation

Search Campaign Optimization & Automation

Most paid search campaign optimizations require 2 to 5 weeks to complete after launch. This is the point at which we transition most campaigns onto automated bidding. Simpler search campaigns, and campaigns operating in business sectors with limited competition, can sometimes be optimized in a week or two.

During the manual optimization period, it’s not unusual to make significant advances in performance as we become more familiar with the nuances of how the campaign serves. As a search campaign is optimized, the resulting data becomes more useful to split-test and compare changes.

Some clients operate in highly competitive markets, and their campaigns are mission-critical. They often can continue to benefit from attention to optimization after the campaign is transitioned onto automated bidding. This can occur daily, weekly, or based upon performance.

Ad Spend Allocation Breakdown

Search Campaign Performance Management

We set up search campaign reporting to “roll-up” (summarize) all search campaign metrics on a single-page report, as shown in the diagram.

Reporting is a crucial aspect of managing campaigns for PPC advertisers. Most of our clients receive reports that are generated monthly, detailing performance in the current period vs previous periods, and highlighting work on ongoing challenges/issues.

Rollup pages are accompanied by reporting pages for each individual search campaign. These go into more detail.

Search campaign performance management includes alert monitoring. We’re alerted in real-time whenever campaigns run into problems with disapprovals, platform outages, payment issues, and other critical issues.