It’s a common occurrence for clients to question the value of brand campaigns. From their perspective they often see a brand campaign as being spend that cannibalizes conversions from the organic listings. We have covered many times on PPC Hero why brand campaigns are important, so I won’t get into selling the importance of the branded campaign. I will cover how you can measure the value and additional contribution of branded keywords using a case study from one of my ecommerce clients.
I recently saw branded traffic come though in a search query report. The client name in this case was closely tied to one of the core product lines on the site. However, the client sells more products than the core product that was driving some inadvertent branded clicks.
The first step I took was to set up the new brand campaign. Once the campaign was set up, I could clearly see that the campaign was performing well.
However, as well all know clients are smart and I know to be prepared for the next question, which is normally, wouldn’t we have gotten those conversions regardless?
Here is the data I used to answer that question, with AdWords Search Funnel metrics as well as Google Analytics Multi-Channel Reports.
Using Search Funnels
AdWords conversions are attributed using a last-click model of attribution. This means that the keyword that was last clicked is given credit for the conversion in AdWords. This model of attribution is misleading because many converters perform multiple searches prior to converting. Here is some data out of Google Analytics:
As the data shows, 47% of the conversions for this client included 2 or more interactions with the website. This data also shows that there is value in the subordinate interactions leading to conversion. But the key question is how much value? Furthermore, is the brand campaign assisting?
Here are the steps to measuring the brand campaign value using search funnels:
- Click to customize columns and choose ‘search funnels’.
- Add all the metrics listed below.
Once the columns are added you will see the data in the Adwords interface.
Assist clicks: This is the total number of clicks a keyword received minus the last click conversion.
Assist impressions: The total number of impressions a keyword received minus the impression that lead to a conversion.
Click assisted conversions: This is the total number of clicks before a conversion.
Impression assisted conversions: The total number of impressions before a conversion.
Click assisted conversion value: This is the monetary value of the conversions based on the clicks from this keyword.
Impression assisted conversion value: This is the monetary value of the conversions based on the impressions from this keyword.
Assist clicks/last clicks: This is the ratio of assist clicks divided by the total number of last clicks. If the number is greater than 1.0 then you know that the keyword acts more as an assister to a last click.
Assist impressions/last clicks: This is the ratio of assisted impressions divided by the total of last clicks on this keyword. This number tells you that a searcher simply seeing the ads leads to more last clicks.
Assist click conversions/last click conversions: This is the ratio of assist clicks divided by the total number of last click conversions. If the number is greater than 1.0 then you know that the keyword acts more as an assister to a last click conversions.
Assist impression conversions/last click conversion: This is the ratio of assisted impressions divided by the total of last click conversions on this keyword. This number tells you that a searcher simply seeing the ads leads to more last click conversions.
Looking at the data it is clear that the branded campaign is adding additional value to the account, above and beyond the conversions that take place on the branded keywords. Keyword 1 is acting as a contributor to conversions though impressions. Knowing this information I can make sure this keyword maintains visibility and stays in a high position in on the search page.
You can measure the additional value of branded traffic in two ways using Google Analytics as well. The simplest way to do this is to jump into the Conversion Reports. Go to the Multi-Channel Funnel reports and drill down to the Assisted Conversion Report. Once you are there click on the top of the report and change the type from ‘All’ to ‘Adwords’.
As you can see from the report, there is a simple listing of campaigns with the associated data for the campaign. Please understand that the numerical data varies from the Adwords data. This variation is due to many reasons. One reason is that in Google Analytics a goal completion is counted only one time during a session for a given user. Adwords however, can count multiple conversions per click. For the purpose of communicating value to the client, I find it best to chose either Adwords data or Analytics data and footnote the tracking for the platform.
A second more complex way is to go to the Top Conversion Paths report, which is also under Multi-Channel Groupings, then “Copy MCF Channel Grouping template.”
Next create a channel definition for branded traffic and add in your branded terms. Make sure when you define this you use at least the ‘Keyword Contains’ and ‘Medium exactly matches cpc’.
Save the data and then search for “Branded Traffic” and you will get to see a nice chart of all the channels over the time period that included some interaction with your branded CPC campaign. Personally, I prefer this method of presentation to the client. I find this method preferable because it is visual and the client can see the brand campaign impact across all the different digital marketing channels.
By applying this segmentation to the data we can now see numbers showing the impact of the brand campaign on the other marketing channels that contribute to a conversion. The nice part about looking at the data in Google Analytics over purely AdWords is that we can see the interaction between branded search and all the marketing channels outside of AdWords alone. This is an amazing benefit of getting outside of the engine for data.
Taking the time to measure the value of branded campaigns, is a way help clients better understand the contribution of brand to the account. While many times branded campaigns are considered easy converting campaigns, the data can help us to not only attribute direct value but to further optimize the campaign and potentially even shorten the path to conversion. I hope you take the time to dig into the data for your own campaigns and deliver valuable insights to your clients as well.