Ultimate Guide to PPC Advertising for Startups

Almost every startup considers PPC Advertising as an option to drive more traffic, users and sales. Now PPC Advertising can be a great option to test the business and get quick users and some sales but it is not a cheap option and most of the startups often get the unit economics wrong.


For example, if you are selling a SaaS software at $20/month with ARPU (Average Revenue per User) of $100 and paying $2 per click with conversation rate at 1.5%, you are losing money in short and long term, both. And $2 per click is very reasonable cost per click for B2B terms as often they can go in $5 per click range.

At AeroLeads, we have used Google Adwords and LinkedIn ads to drive relevant traffic with mixed results. Google Adwords did well at times rest of the time it was just too costly. LinkedIn ads were costing us flat $2 per click and got 5 clicks with 10,000 impressions so it wasn’t driving any traffic.

In this article, let me take you through how PPC can be used by startups effectively to have positive ROI.

1. Choose your PPC Network

There are 3-4 major PPC ad networks like Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads and AdRoll with Google Adwords being the biggest one among all by some margin.

There are many ad networks built on Ad exchanges but you would want to stick to those which can be tracked flawlessly, such that you can get valuable insights from your campaign though you don’t end up getting expected number of conversions.

2. Start your Campaign

Initial Setup

Almost every PPC network will ask for your credit card details and various company and personal info. If this is the first time you are using and setting up, there are good chance you can get Free $100 credits as most of the ad networks offer this. Check RetailMeNot and other PPC coupon sites to find such discount codes. On AeroLeads, initially we had got $100 free.

Creating Campaign and Adding Keywords

The Internet is flooded with keyword generation tools though you probably want to use Adwords Planner as it integrates well with Google Adwords.

The Advertiser chooses keywords and creates individual campaigns. For ex: In case of AeroLeads

  • prospect generation software
  • Lead generation software
  • email finding software

Ad groups:

Each campaign can have more than one Ad group. But be advised to keep the number to not more than 3.  For ex:

Prospect generation software can have 3 Ad groups which are –

  • Software used for prospect generation
  • AeroLeads a prospect generation software
  • Increase sales using prospect generation software

Ad Text:

Once Ad groups are decided Ad texts are written – includes:

Headline – Up to 25 characters (including spaces)
Description Line 1 – Up to 35 characters (including spaces)
Description Line 2 – Up to 35 characters (including spaces)
Display URL – Up to 35 characters (including spaces)

Ad text must include targeted keywords and a call to action

Bing Ads – Same as google except for the fact that Description line 1 and 2 are combined to allow 71 characters.

To make Ad mobile specific select – Mobile option in the text ad 


Always use geotargeting or at least start with it as too many data from various countries can confuse you.

How can PPC Advertising be used for your Startup

Irrespective of being  B2B or B2C industry, you can leverage PPC in your marketing strategy to –

  • Increase Sales
  • Get more Leads
  • Increase Brand Awareness

Before jumping into strategy of PPC Advertising lets get these facts straight:

1. Get your goals aligned with your business:

Comprehend your business, What your business offers, Is it exceptional? Is it what your prospects are in need?

2. Focus on the right prospects:

Know who are your optimal prospects, where are they found and what do they do

3. Limits on budget:

This is very important. Make sure you don’t put high limits, most of the time for SaaS products, $200 for the first week is good enough which will give you the good insight into how campaign runs.

Do make sure you put an upper cap on per click value too otherwise you will burn your budget very fast. We normally put $2 to $3 per click with daily budget limit too.


1. Branding Awareness

There is an enormous competition to get the top spot in the paid advertisements segment. To accomplish this as a new bee in the industry might sound hard but the use of sitelinks of the products, discounts, coupons, services that you offer can help you buy your way up along with precise bidding strategy. Always aim for the top spot varying your budget, as it is thought to be the best component for branding. You never know investing slightest you might attain maximum impressions.

Almost every major company uses Adwords for their own name as they don’t want their competitors to use PPC to get shown above them. For example, when you search, HubSpot, I have seen HubSpot occupying first 3-4 results and even then the name gets shown on top in PPC.

2. Measuring profits

The main objective behind running a PPC advertisement campaign is to get more benefits out of the allocated budget. How this can be accomplished well – Look into search query results, bid low on ad not performing rather bid high on the ad which is reliable and taking off well, establish negative keywords doing so it’s easy to avoid ineligible traffic.

When PPC Advertising really works over SEO and Content Marketing

  • Instant measurable results
  • With the right budgeting strategy, ads appear on top of the SERPS
  • Algorithm updates won’t affect the ranking
  • With limited budget, it is possible to create an effective PPC campaign
  • Concise targeting options based on device, location, geographic area, interests, hobbies etc
  • Brand awareness and dominance
  • Complete control over the campaign

Where should you be careful?

1. Keywords:

Picking the right keywords is vital on the grounds that this is the means by which your prospects are going to discover in the SERP’s. The keywords you bid need not be on an estimate any longer. Researching on a Keyword is in the light of the fact that it helps you figure out the right keywords you ought to rank for. You need to go after long tail keywords as it involves vast search volume.  Utilise tools like the google keyword planner, Bing Keyword Research tool. Your desire must be to get the right sort of visitors.

2. Know your competitors

When you think of your product, look into your competitors, Know what keywords are they bidding for, what are they offering, how distinctive is their landing page, promotions, advertising strategy.

We at AeroLeads used SpyFu and SEMRush to look at keywords used by other software companies in lead and prospect generation. There are many such PPC tools which you can use.

3. Don’t set it and forget it

Carry out conversion tracking from the beginning of the campaign. Know which campaign is working and which is most certainly not. Likewise shift the financial backing. Increase the budget for the ones performing well. Use tools like Adwords, Google Analytics. Link your AdWords account and Google Analytics property to understand customer behavior like ad click, impressions, conversions.

4. Remarketing:

Remarketing is carried out to target the audiences who has abandoned you after landing in your landing page. To achieve this –

  • Segment the users and group them (Also called audience) based on page views, time spent on the website, which page did they abandon you, time spent on your site per visit etc.
  • Bid on audience like keywords based on relevance
  • Target

At AeroLeads, for a brief period of time, we used AdRoll and are planning to use it again. It looked to be a pretty good re-targeting tool since we didn’t have expected the traffic we decided to pull it off.


Ultimately it comes to available budget and goals. Though competing with the industry giants in your business area with deep pockets sounds impossible, it can still be achieved by targeting the right keywords, excluding negative keywords, understanding budget limitations and continuous tracking of ads performance.

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3 Thoughts on “Ultimate Guide to PPC Advertising for Startups

  1. Niraj Ranjan Rout on August 5, 2015 at 5:11 pm said:

    Excellent article, Vineetha. Found a lot of useful tips and tricks. Thanks, Niraj (Founder at grexit.com)

  2. Vineetha Shetty on August 10, 2015 at 6:22 am said:

    Thanks Niraj. So glad you found the article useful.

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