As digital marketing evolves, so too must marketers’ approaches and perspectives. Indeed, between search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), and Pay-Per-Click (PPC), innovation abounds. However, many businesses actually struggle with the fundamentals, which impacts marketing campaigns in their entirety. In particular, PPC campaigns are especially prone to this, as budgeting for them entails rock-solid, achievable goals. As such, setting goals for your PPC campaigns in advance prudently, yet boldly, can be the bedrock of success.

Defining PPC

Initially, a brief definition of PPC is in order. Knowing what it is and how it works should help pave the way for setting goals for your PPC campaigns.

As the name implies, PPC is paid ad marketing, whose fees are determined per user click. In other words, PPC costs are always directly proportional to actual clicks that ads produce. This is arguably a direct benefit over traditional ad marketing, where ad cost may be determined by impressions alone.  

A vector image of two hands, one holding a megaphone and one holding a dollar bill
PPC is a common, lucrative form of paid advertising.

Search engine advertising and brand bidding

In this context, search engine advertising is among the most popular PPC mediums. The way it works is simple, and most internet users have likely seen it in action.

Where such practices as SEO seek to drive organic search engine impressions and traffic, PPC does not. Instead, PPC ads will appear above organic results in search engine results pages (SERPs). That is not to say that keyword research isn’t due, of course; PPC only guarantees visibility in relevant search queries.

Finally, on the subject of keywords, brand bidding is a practice worth noting, as it can inform your efforts. Brand bidding is the practice of bidding on a third party’s brand terms and keywords, with obvious benefits. While many won’t likely insist on this strategy over long periods, bidding can be worth your time and money. It’s perfectly legal, as established by Google itself in 2008, and can have tremendous benefits if used wisely.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for your PPC campaigns

Having established how it works, setting goals for your PPC campaigns should still adhere to tried-and-tested concepts. Setting goals for all marketing campaign types can safely hinge on S.M.A.R.T. goals; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.


First and foremost, your goals should be specific. “Increasing sales” is a valid goal, but it’s not detailed enough. Instead, “increasing web traffic by x%” in accord with increased sales goals is specific.


Similarly, gauging your PPC campaign’s success depends on measurable results. You’ll need to set clear goals that can be measured; “increasing web traffic by x%” can be readily measured.


The attainability aspect of your goals is equally vital. Setting ambitious goals is admirable, by all means, but your goals need to remain realistic. If your current infrastructure and performance can’t support a 100% increase in web traffic, there’s no reason to set that goal.


Similarly, establishing realistic goals entails awareness of your resources. Your goals need to be realistic in relation to your budget and resources.


Finally, your goals need to have precise time constraints; “increase web traffic by x% by November 1st”. If they don’t, you’ll likely be less motivated to see them through, and they’ll be less easily measurable over time.

An illustration of a smartphone screen with popups on traffic metrics around it.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are realistic, data-driven, and measurable.

Business-to-business (B2B) versus Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

Another vital distinction to make is to consider whether your business is B2B or B2C. This brief section intends to highlight that setting goals for your PPC campaigns strongly depends on this distinction.

In much the same way as CRM strategies will differ, so will your goals. B2B and B2C have entirely different target audiences, and thus different timeframes and varied Call to Action (CTA) messaging. As such, your goals should still be S.M.A.R.T., but also in line with your business’s target audience.

Common goals for PPC campaigns

Regardless of industry or business type, common PPC campaign goals tend to be shared by most. Consider the following common goals and how they may align with your business’s needs.

#1 Increased web traffic

This is the goal that was used as an example above, and for a good reason. Web traffic is a worthy goal to pursue, and it’s relevant to most businesses. What’s more, it’s S.M.A.R.T. in every way.


Increasing web traffic naturally leads to more conversions and, in turn, more sales. However, when setting goals for your PPC campaigns, web traffic in itself might be the short-term goal.


To increase web traffic, your focus should arguably be on powerful keywords and visually compelling ads. Conversions and sales goals also have this foundation, but expand it.


Finally, gauging your web traffic gains is simple enough. Monitor your web traffic itself, as well as your click-through rates (CTR), to safely measure your campaign’s effectiveness.

#2 Brand awareness

Brand awareness is an equally common S.M.A.R.T. goal, which somewhat overlaps with increased web traffic conceptually. However, building brand awareness often hinges on different tools.


Building brand awareness aims to expand your target audience while increasing visibility. Brand awareness is the first step toward becoming a consumer’s final choice.


Ads that aim to increase brand awareness need to be visually compelling. To achieve this, you may wish to focus on more media-rich ads, as videos and images are demonstrably effective.

An iMac screen over a purple background, showing pictures of flowers and abstract designs.
Visually stimulating content is more enticing to viewers.


Finally, such ads hinge on impressions, so they’re easy to gauge. Impressions, reach, and frequency are vital metrics to track for such campaigns. 

#3 Conversions

Finally, increasing conversions expands on lead generation and focuses on successful conversions. Many sales strategies hinge on increasing conversions, naturally.


Such campaigns aim to increase revenue through completed sales by converted leads. As such, these are among the most lucrative and easily measurable campaigns.


Conversion strategies hinge on keyword research and landing page conversions. In this regard, such PPC campaigns will overlap with potential SEO efforts.


Finally, measuring conversion strategies is easy. Compare your cost per click (CPC) to your final conversions to gauge your keywords’ and content’s effectiveness.

In conclusion

With the above in mind, setting goals for your PPC campaigns should now hopefully be easier. Remember to be S.M.A.R.T., take your business goals and industry into account, and continue to monitor your efforts to ensure continued success.