Is your paid search strategy all about click-through rates? If so, you could be missing the boat.

While your search campaign also depends upon your goals, business model, and budget, understanding the customer decision journey (CDJ) will help you maximize the impact of your campaign. Meeting your customers’ needs during each of the five CDJ phases — initiation, research, comparison, transaction, and experience — can help you ensure a more successful campaign.

Below are some tips to help you plan and structure your campaign.

Understand the Customer Decision Journey

All customers go through the five stages of the CDJ, although these stages can vary in length and level of importance, based on factors such as product cost, purchase frequency, complexity and shopper demographic. For example, a consumer will typically spend less time researching a clock radio than they will a dishwasher.

What this means is that you need to ensure you have the right information readily available for the consumer at their time of need. Shoppers in the research phase will want buying guides and recommendations whereas shoppers in the comparison phase will be looking at reviews and ratings and cross-product comparisons. Shoppers in the transaction phase will be scouting promotions or purchase locations. Ensuring your customers find the information they need at the time they need it will help you optimize the success of your campaign.

Snap to Your Business Goals

Your campaign must directly support your business goals, whether you want to increase brand awareness, boost product sales or expand your customer base.

Building brand awareness is key to growing your business. In a recent study, researchers from Bing found that 72% of brand ad clicks were preceded by a non-brand or conquest term in the user’s search journey. Which means that if brand awareness is your goal, you’ll want to ensure you are bidding on non-brand, brand and competitor’s keywords.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for new customers, you’ll be interested to know that 49% of consumers find products they want using a search engine vs heading straight over to a brand website or store location. Understanding your target audience and how they are searching can help drive additional customers to your brand.

Consider Your Budget

Budget limitations also play a role in planning a campaign. For small businesses with strict budgets, your best bet is to identify and focus on your most successful products or services for maximum impact. Your campaign structure should reflect this.

For example, if you have a clothing boutique, you may already be aware that dresses and sweaters have the largest margins and are therefore the priority. You’ll want to build campaigns for those products and keywords first. Only widen your campaign to a larger catalog of products once you reach a point of diminishing return for your best-performing products. This will yield better sales than spreading your budget too thin by targeting everything you sell.

Structure Your Campaign

How you structure your campaign depends upon your budget and goals as well as your business type. Local businesses, such as accounting firms, may need to organize by geography. Ecommerce businesses may need to organize by product type and B2B businesses may need to organize by type of user.

One tactic for structuring your campaign is to look to your website’s navigation. A well-planned website typically arranges available products in a way that creates a simple and logical user experience. The same organization technique applies when building pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.

Going back to the online clothing boutique, using one large campaign for all products would be the least effective structure. A better structure would be one campaign focusing on one type of product — dresses, jeans, skirts, or sweaters.

The right campaign structure will make it easy for you to optimize how your ads run based on searches for specific products or services and align ad copy and landing pages with keywords. The more you break campaigns out by theme, the better you can target and optimize.

Outline Campaigns and Ad Groups 

Before jumping into your account to build a new campaign, take time to create an outline. This simple step will save you time later and will keep the structure clean.

Using a logical naming convention for campaigns will help you keep track of what’s in each campaign. Don’t name your campaigns Campaign 1, Campaign 2 and so on. Use a short but descriptive name for each one. If you can’t keep it short, that’s a good indication the campaign is too general.

While planning your campaign doesn’t have to be rocket science, it does require thoughtful preparation based on insights and research. For more information on building out your search strategy, take time to view the free Bing Ads ebook, The growth marketer’s guide to search.

This is the second installment of this series, to view the first click here