Paid Search, Social and Programmatic campaigns

Published July 15, 2021 Est. reading time 8 Minutes Author Nadeem Amin

Paid Search, Social and Programmatic campaigns


How do you go about setting up your Paid Search, Paid Social, and Programmatic campaigns?

How do you go about setting up your Paid Search, Paid Social, and Programmatic campaigns? Here’s a list of things you can do to get things going.

Disclaimer: This is not an absolute list and you may have been setting up your campaigns and activities differently. This is something how we structure and set up paid search, social and programmatic. However more importantly the list helps those who are looking for all three Paid Search, Social and Programmatic in one place.



  • Start with defining audience, goals, and budget. Look at the campaign objectives, meaning is it awareness, engagement, or acquisition. Once this is identified, set up the campaign to achieve the desired goals. Example: If Awareness, then look at PPC to drive maximum traffic with click-throughs.
  • Create a Media plan, review and approve it or get it approved.
  • Conduct keyword research based on the insights gained in the first step, mapping back to objectives.
  • While doing this, also make sure that the Paid Search is not competing with the Organic Search (SEO) meaning – don’t use the keywords that are used for the SEO. After a quick analysis draft up the keywords plus the negative keywords for the Paid Search.
  • Check the budget to ensure you are not using keywords that may eat up the budget too quickly or are too expensive to bid due to budget constraints.
  • Do a quick competitive review and look at their keyword matrix to analyze keyword performance plus look at possible keyword confliction to formulate pricing strategy and tactics.
  • Write a content plan.
  • Review Ad copy to ensure quality is maintained which provides higher CTRs.
  • Next, define the KPIs, usually working with the client or if you receive the KPIs from the client, discuss it with them before implementing, making sure that KPIs are realistic. Share these KPIs with your team (very important).
  • Sometimes a landing page is recommended based on campaign requirements, if so, then ensure relevance, content, and full tracking options are implemented before deploying it.


  • Setup Google account structure and define campaigns and Ad groups (when running multiple campaigns).
  • Set budget at the campaign level and keywords at the group level.
  • Run the campaign and monitor it throughout. Set alerts and triggers where available and applicable. (Alert set for budget threshold).

Monitor and Report

  • Analyze campaign performance through the platform’s own dashboards.
  • Use additional reporting platforms if more in-depth details are required, like Google Data Studio, Datorama, SEM Rush, Supermetrics, Sizmek, Tableau, and others as required or requested.
  • Prepare scheduled reporting for clients (weekly, monthly, ad-hoc).

You can email and share the weekly reports, however very important that you present the monthly and quarterly reports in person.


There are a number of similar steps for paid social as paid search.


  • Start with defining audience, segmentation, goals, and budget.
  • Clear campaign objectives, like get maximum engagement through the posts – Comments, likes, etc.? Or get people to follow or do you want to convert them and make a sale (pushing them through the sales funnel).
  • Push people to the website for content consumption or conversion.
  • Stay within the social media platform to feed them more content and convert (make a sale).
  • Finalize budget and list down the social media platforms that deliver on the objectives like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snap chat, TikTok, and any local social media platform for a specific market in the region.
  • Brief creative, review, and approve creative that fit the campaign objective and agency standards for the brand.
  • Ensure correct formats and specifications are followed and met to ensure quick creative approvals from the platforms.
  • Always create at least two ad variants to test and validate messages. Monitor and measure impact for the next creative.
  • Determine if a specific landing page is required based on campaign requirements. Keep the content fresh and engaging on the landing page, make it snappy and lightweight for quick loading.


  • Setup the campaign on a relevant social media platform ensuring the team has the checklist when setting up the campaign. Double-check everything.
  • Set up start and end dates in the control panel.
  • Setup campaigns to either manual or auto budget allocation. Ensure that it is closely monitored to reduce the risk of overspending or over-running past end dates. (Learned the hard way that this is the single biggest mistake the people can make).
  • Upload all creative (images, videos) for approvals on the standards and specifications as per the social media platform requirements.
  • Once approved, launch the campaign.

Monitor and Report

  • Set up social media monitoring regardless of paid or organic content.
  • Monitor campaigns closely watching the budget and creative performance.
  • Use social media platform dashboards and tools to measure the performance and as-needed use additional and external tools.
  • Create reports to share with clients, present, take feedback, and apply it to the next campaign.
  • You can email and share the weekly reports, however very important that you present the monthly and quarterly reports in person.


Communication Strategy & Planning

  • Clearly define campaign objectives, goals, and expectations. Once determined, draft up the following criteria for programmatic campaigns.
  • What is the communication goal, who is the target audience, what should this campaign make the target audience do?
  • What is the single most important message you want to communicate?
  • How Programmatic will help other channels enhance the overall campaign?
  • What is the campaign budget, duration?
  • What are the campaign KPIs? Define if none exist working closely with the client, review internally before implementing and communicating it with the team.
  • What are the local benchmarks for similar campaigns?
  • Determine performance metrics covering CPM, CPC, Conversions (Post view and Post click), CR (Conversion Rate), CPS, ROI, CPL, CPI.
  • Determine Brand metrics covering reach, viewability.
  • Determine Video metrics covering GRP, CPCV, CPV,
  • How is data attribution measured and validated both locally and on the client’s side?
  • Determine PMPs (Public Market and Private Market Place) and what is suitable for the campaign.

Starting up

  • Draft yourself or get the campaign brief, set up a call with the related stakeholders (team) to have a quick session on campaign objectives, R&Rs, and KPIs.
  • Develop a campaign strategy, review and approve it before sharing it with the client for approval.
  • Determine if we need to set up a single campaign or sub-campaigns which consists of an individual combination and variation of the different parameters offered by the respective DSP to achieve the best CTR.
  • Determine the following:
    • Ad inventory – Relevant data points for the target audience that delivers on the campaign KPIs.
    • Devices – Mobile, desktop, multi-screen.
    • Whitelisting and blacklisting – Profanity list, risky and sensitive words/phrases to ensure brand safety.
    • Formats and specifications – Which standards to use IAB or anything else.
    • Visibility – Viewability percentage for maximum impact – keeping in mind the campaign timeframe and budget.
    • Keywords – Keyword inventory, negative keywords, Keyword A/B testing
  • Determine dayparting
  • Setup and create assets (visual, video) as per platform specifications
  • Campaign launch process – Best to develop the processes ensuring all stakeholders are completely aligned and there’s no confusion.
  • Media plan to detail the estimated impressions, clicks, CTR, conversions, cost per conversions, spends, budget platform wise as well as overall for any given month.
  • Programmatic Campaign Execution Form in a spreadsheet format that lists out the Programmatic campaigns KPIs, Floodlights Pixels Information, Creatives Sizes, etc. It’s basically a guide that the team follows to set up and execute the campaigns
  • Creative Specs & Guidelines, to list down the standard and guidelines to follow for the suggestion/approval of any new banner creatives across various formats, devices, screens.
  • Post campaign insights & analysis document listing down the post-campaign learnings, takeaways, and highlights that need to be documented as inputs for future campaigns.

Data Validation, Reporting & Tracking

  • Monitor campaign performance, review the data from the programmatic channel, for example, Google, The Trade Desk, etc. to analyze the campaign performance and export the data for your reports.
  • Setup reporting standard framework t largely cover creative, impressions, clicks, engagement (3, 7, 15 sec), conversions, CTRs, CVRs, CPM, CPC, CPA, media cost.
  • Run reporting on scheduled slots to determine campaign performance and help make decisions.
  • Use an additional reporting platform if more in-depth details are required, I have used Google Data Studio, Datorama, Tableau among others.
  • You can email and share the weekly reports, however very important that you present the monthly and quarterly reports in person.

We hope the above was helpful, please leave a comment if I’ve missed out on a major step or if you practice something in addition that generates great results and you want to share.


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