When I was new to paid search I kept hearing about KPIs and whether or not they were being met. However, I don’t recall someone sitting down and talking me through the process of picking out KPI’s for each campaign objective.

KPI’s are often briefly discussed when creating strategies while tactics are more heavily prioritized. The opposite should be true.

KPI’s should be driving tactics and not the other way around.

Picking the right KPIs in any industry can help drive strategy and assure your client or boss that you’re heading in a positive direction. In this post, I’ll define KPIs, their importance, and provide 4 tips to choosing the most effective KPI’s. 

What are PPC KPIs?

In the PPC world, KPI’s (key performance indicators) are metrics you’ve identified as the most important because they measure the true success of your campaigns. They should be tied to the goals of your campaign and help you understand which actions you need to take to reach your goals.

For example, if the goal of my campaign is to drive a high quantity of webinar sign-ups via a website form, my KPI should be the webinar sign-up conversion (which hopefully I’m tracking and syncing with my paid search account).

Why are PPC KPIs Important?

Since KPIs are closely aligned with the goals of your campaign, they’re important because they help keep your goal in mind when making decisions. Therefore, it’s important to know the goals and objectives of your campaign, before picking your KPIs. Without clearly defined goals, you can’t take the necessary steps to measure success and provide value to your client or boss. 

Note: You may have secondary KPIs, too. You should not only rely on tangible metrics like conversions and ROI. Just like there can be secondary goals, there are also secondary KPI’s that can help ensure you’re on the right path to success (i.e. achieving your goals).   

4 Tips for Picking KPIs

Below are 4 steps I use when choosing KPIs. They can be applied across different industries and campaign objectives. 

  1. Make sure you understand the goals of the campaign. While your ultimate goal might be to increase conversions and reduce CPA, these aren’t the only goals you should be focusing on. For example, in order to increase conversions, you need to make sure you are capturing the available search demand. This can translate into monitoring impression share (how often your ads are showing) and how effective your ads are in generating clicks (CTR).
  2. For each of your goals, make sure you pick 1-2 KPI’s that you can use to measure the success of your goal. This is where setting SMART goals comes in handy since you’ve already gone through the process of picking out ways to measure your progress.  
  3. Define what success means. You can define what this means to your client or business, and you can also use previous performance or industry level benchmarks to evaluate your success.  
  4. Closely monitor your KPIs and re-evaluate if your chosen KPI’s still match your goals or any recent changes in your industry. 

To wrap up, the KPIs you choose for your campaigns will evaluate if your campaigns are successful and should be chosen carefully. The objectives and goals of the campaigns must be identified before KPIs can be defined. If you find you need additional help, Ryan Moothart’s blog, “PPC, KPIs, and the Marketing Funnel”, provides examples of metrics you can use based on the marketing funnel.