February 23, 2012
Scenario: you’ve watched your account’s clickthrough rate steadily increase over the past few months, but you’re not seeing an increase in conversions. Seems illogical, right? More clicks should mean more conversions?!?! As I’m sure you already know by now, your account metrics don’t always follow a domino effect; sometimes a seeming improvement in one area of your account doesn’t have the effect you think it should. (I’m sure you’ve all read Dave’s post from earlier this month on improving your clickthrough rate…)
So, why wouldn’t your conversions increase as your clickthrough rate improves? The first place to start your investigative work should be your landing pages. If you’re bringing more people to your landing pages, but they’re not converting, than perhaps some enhancements to your page could help. Or, maybe you just need to review your landing pages. Perhaps you have another landing page that is more relevant to a specific ad. Also, this may go without saying, but if you’re working on your landing pages with someone else, i.e. a separate marketing entity, or a third party, make sure there have been no inadvertent changes to your pages. We’ve all been there, something gets changed on a page that we don’t know about and suddenly it’s an entirely different ballgame in terms of its relevancy to our ads. A quick page survey or question to someone else can save you a lot of time unnecessarily analyzing other parts of your account.
If you’re landing page audit doesn’t turn up anything of note, try reviewing your search query report to see what terms are populating your ads. If you’re seeing a lot of terms that aren’t relevant, check your match type usage. Too many broad keywords could yield less targeted traffic. If you’ve done any keyword expansion recently, perhaps you just need to refine your list of negative keywords.
Last, but certainly not least, review your ad position and your competitive landscape. Maybe your competitors are offering a better deal and your ad has begun to show directly under theirs. People are clicking on your ad to do some comparison shopping, but they saw a better deal in the same search and aren’t converting on your site. Even if your competitor’s ads haven’t changed, if your ad position has shifted, and you’re showing in closer proximity to your competition, you could still be losing out. In many of my accounts I am able to maintain a decent conversion rate in a lower position, one that puts me on the side of the page and leaves my biggest competitors at the top. Sometimes you just need a little space. Of course, this could work the other way around too. If the competition is stacked heavily on the side of the page, try bidding for the top if you can afford it.
To recap, improving your clickthrough rate isn’t a surefire guarantee that your conversions will follow suit. I’ve seen the opposite scenario, i.e. a decrease in clickthrough rate, but an increase in conversions. So, when it’s all said and done the key to a successful account is relevancy, getting the right searchers to click on your ad and convert.