PPC Outside A Vacuum

By PPC Hero Ally | @Hanapin | guestblogger

This is a special guest blog post from Matt Umbro at theppcblog.com.

Any PPC campaign interface provides valuable metrics such as number of clicks on a particular ad or the click-thru-rate (CTR) of a certain keyword, but to solely look as these figures when determining the success of a campaign is a mistake.  To truly realize the value of your PPC campaign you must view your data in accordance with your analytics and determine the value of your conversions.

PPC does not stop when users click your ad.  It is necessary to make sure the landing page experience guides users to convert (whether that conversion is a purchase, a whitepaper download, etc).  Getting the click should never be considered enough just like going to the Super Bowl and losing is still a defeat.  Users may click your ad because it stands out the most, but if they do not convert you need to find out why.

This is where your website analytics come into play.  Say you are bidding on the exact match of the term “casual shoes” and the CTR is 12%.  Congratulations, you have a very good CTR for this term, but upon further inspection you notice that the keyword has seen 100 clicks and has only converted twice.  Users are finding the query relevant to the ad, but post click they are not converting.

You look at your analytics and see exactly how this keyword is doing post click.  Within the casual shoes ad group you have created two ads each utilizing a different landing page for A/B testing.  Both ads have the same message, but one goes to a landing page with business casual shoes and the other goes to a page with everyday casual shoes.  The business casual shoes landing page has been the destination URL 58 times while the everyday casual shoes page has been the destination for the other 42 clicks.  You see that the two conversions occurred when users landed on the everyday casual shoes page.  Whereas you have a total conversion rate of 2% for the keyword, you have a 4.76% keyword conversion rate when users land on the everyday casual shoes page.  Additionally, users are spending two minutes more on the site when landing on this page.

The analytics tell you:

1)     Users who search for the exact match of “casual shoes” tend to be looking for everyday casual shoes.

2)     The casual shoes ad group needs to be separated into two ad groups, one for business casual shoes and one for everyday casual shoes.

3)     Within the new business casual shoes ad group the ads need to better include the targeted keyword(s).

This is just one example of why it is necessary for your PPC campaign and analytics to be in synch.

You also need to analyze the quality of the conversions.  If you are running an e-commerce site you need to be able to track every sale back to the converting keyword.  You could very well find that a term is costing you more per conversion than the revenue it is bringing in.  Same thing goes with a B2B site.  Your conversion goal might be for users to download a whitepaper.  A particular keyword may bring five conversions, but none of these end up being good leads.  So even though a term is showing good PPC metrics, your business might actually be losing money.

PPC cannot be done in a vacuum.  To effectively manage and optimize a PPC campaign you need to know what is happening post click and make sure the right types of conversions are coming in.