Today’s article is provided by PPC Hero Ally Andrew Fellmuir on behalf of Ingenuity Digital.

PPC is a method of converting impressions directly into leads and sales. The typical measurements of success for begin with click through rate and conversion. PPC lends itself to this because of its simplicity in measuring – X clicks resulted in Y sales and the X clicks cost a pre-defined amount. Analysis is as simple as measuring the profit on those sales against the cost of the campaign to easily determine ROI and the benefit (or loss) resulting from the efforts.

Unfortunately, it is not actually that simple. While that may cover the nuts bolts well enough, just as in all other forms of advertising there are other benefits to be considered, such as brand and name recognition. By looking at these other benefits you will be able leverage your PPC for maximum efficacy beyond the simplistic 1300 clicks resulted in 56 qualified leads (or whatever end measure of success you are using).

Conventional advertising actively sells the value of image and branding as a positive result. Measuring the actual efficacy of this in the tangible terms of ROI (which is what really matters to any business) has always been murky at best. While there is no doubt that strong image and branding combined with name recognition can be a huge benefit for a company, actually making a connection from $25,000 invested in branding to increased sales is as much guess as science. Even with the rudimentary “we spent $25,000 and sales did not increase $25,000 the following quarter” doesn’t account for the possibility that sales would have dropped even more without it.

This merely leaves us with an assumption that branding and image are positive things. But, since calculating ROI is going to be difficult, we should try to incorporate it into an overall strategy that has measurable parameters to determine success or failure. This is an area in which PPC works exceptionally well. Since we can be certain that a campaign based on branding (an excellent example of this is given in this video outlining a Converse branding campaign using PPC) will not result in direct sales at the same rate as a conventional PPC campaign, any sales resulting from those clicks should be thought of as a positive result of branding. They were sales that came from a positive image as opposed to a direct call for action.

Also, if CTR increases across direct PPC call-to-action campaigns running at the same time as a branding campaign then the increase in CTR could be another positive effect of the branding. Measuring the CTR increase is more of a correlation than measuring standard conversions in this case. Conversions will still depend on the sales message and landing page, but the decision to at least read your ad and click is more of a direct effect of branding.

As an experiment, try out a branding message in your PPC ad on a phrase you already rank high on organically, preferably top 3 or 4 in organic SERP results. While some believe that use of PPC on branded/high ranking results is wasteful, there are numerous studies that prove that having both on the same page increases conversion rate. By placing a branding message in the PPC copy and the call to action (“Look at ACME summer clearance here for special saving now”) in the snippet of the organic results, you are capitalizing on the effect of multiple impressions on the same page and directing the traffic to the organic results that incurs no charge. It’s a case where it makes sense to be less action-oriented in your ad text – you’re trying for the organic click.  It is still easy to track the results based on keywords selected being from a highly placed organic result from your “search term used” on your analytics from website.  You can also use search funnels in AdWords to see impression-assisted conversions.

Remember that  you can still use creativity to tie your branding message to something concrete. In the aforementioned example of Converse’s domain branding message, the use of “first day of summer” was excellent because it not only gave a highly searched and visible term that was low cost for keywords but capitalized on the fact summer is a time for sneakers and they sell sneakers so there was still a clear connection.

Today’s article was provided by PPC Hero Ally Andrew Fellmuir on behalf of Ingenuity Digital, who mainly specialize in International search and Marketing but also have an active internal PPC team based in London, in the United Kingdom.