How long does it take to see results from a pay per click(PPC) campaign?

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This is a question that we have been getting increasingly frequently and so now seemed like a good time to answer it in a blog. While there are many trains of thought surrounding what constitutes “results,” the consensus seems to be the stage at which the PPC ads are generating more sales than they are cost. The annoying but accurate answer is that this usually takes place around the three-month mark. While it may vary depending on whether this is the first or the hundredth pay per click campaign you’re business has run, the team at Shop Style Design recommends a minimum of a three-month commitment to ensure time to optimize your ads and start seeing results fully.

Where does the three-month timeline come from?

PPC ad campaigns should always be looked at as a long-term strategy. While pay per click ads can work on a short-term basis when paired with a specific goal such as a seasonal sale or new product launch, your business is best served when running your pay per click ads as part of the overarching strategy.

By giving your PPC campaign at least three months to run and be optimized, it allows the platform you’re running it on to get to know your business and ads. While we understand that everyone would love for their ads to drop on Monday and hit $10,000 in sales on Tuesday, there are many factors that platforms such as Google and Facebook need to analyze within your account and ads that will affect performance. For example, Google’s algorithm is incredibly strict and complex; it can take up to a week before people even begin to be exposed to your ads and even longer for them to be served to the optimal audience.

As an example, a high quality score is essential to a top-performing PPC campaign. To receive a quality score of any level, simple exposure and impressions aren’t enough. Platforms such as Google and Facebook require time to collect enough clicks to understand your click-through rate which forms the basis of the assigned quality score. The ad platforms are looking to assess the relevance of your ads to their users.

Even though your campaign may be visually stunning and offer compelling content, time is required to gather the data that will be used to optimize and strategically deliver your ads. Put simply, the longer your campaign runs, the more data that can be collected, and the more informed each optimization can be; allowing for the delivery of increasingly positive results. Furthermore, seasonality plays a part in the performance of PPC ads, but this is easily overlooked when taking a short-term view and only optimizing based on the results of the first few weeks. Pay per click ads carry the connotation of being a quick delivery, short-term marketing approach; this is patently false. Every campaign contains numerous complex layers upon which it needs to be optimized and refined. Time delivers the best results.

Taking the required time provides not only the platform such as Google or Facebook to optimize your campaigns behind the scenes, but it also allows time to test and adjust the front-end content as well. Taking the time to understand the results your ads are producing provides an opportunity to run A/B tests which are vital to optimizing the content of any PPC campaign.

What is happening in months 1 to 3?

Here at Shop Style Design, months 1 to 3 are where the heavy lifting takes place. It’s during this initial period where our team focuses on the following:

  • Efficient campaign budgeting
  • Keyword adjustments to better understand performance, cost, and engagement
  • Search term analysis to understand which terms are triggering your ads to weed out unnecessary ones
  • Identifying opportunities to target your ads better
  • Running A/B tests to identify optimal copy and images
  • Expanding targeting through the addition of new keywords
  • Competitor research to identify avenues to boost offerings and performance
  • Audience assessments to identify the most effective conversion demographics
  • Tweaking strategies based on initial performance and goals

To be genuinely effective running a pay per click campaign, all the steps above need to be completed, but to complete any of them, it requires time to collect the data that will inform the activities. While it might seem like a leap of faith to invest in advertising without a guaranteed return on investment or an immediate increase in sales, building for the long-term is imperative for any business.

Working with a full-scale agency such as Shop Style Design ensures that this is not wasted time.

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