How the Numbers Reflect Your PPC Goals

Analytics, Paid Media Advertising

A Web of Potential

Pay-per-click advertising platforms like Google Ads offer a tempting bargain: Pay tribute to the overlords of the internet, and earn a place in the bustling ad economy across the web. Organizations of every shape and size are joining the fray for good reason. Google processes over 40,000 unique search queries each second, accounting for 90% of global search traffic. PPC algorithms use this data to grow more sophisticated every day. There has never been a more precise system for distributing and monitoring ads.

This guide explores a vital step in harnessing the power of PPC: Setting goals. You’ll learn how common business goals relate to the metrics provided by Google Ads, and some tips for analyzing them.

Take Aim

Setting goals enables success. Get a head start in PPC marketing by providing a common vision and clear benchmarks for your team. To begin, think about the organization’s needs in a broad sense, like “We need to generate more phone calls.” After setting a goal, you might refine it into a quantitative statement- that’s where it’s helpful to know the metrics.

We’ll take a look at PPC metrics through the lens of three common business objectives: Generating Leads, Brand Exposure, and Improving ROI.

Goal: Generate Leads

Key Metrics: Conversions, Cost Per Conversion (CPA)

Let’s use the example “generating phone calls” as our lead generation goal. Each phone call resulting from PPC ads will register as a Conversion. This metric tells you how many times PPC ads led your audience to take a specific action you find valuable. Conversions can take many forms: Phone calls, emails, and contact submissions are all common ‘lead generation’ conversions. Your refined PPC goal may look like: “13 conversions per month.”

Conversions are best understood when paired with their counterpart Cost Per Conversion. This metric divides the amount of money spent on PPC ads by the number of conversion results, informing you how much each result cost on average. Ten phone calls generated from $300 in ad spend would result in a $30 cost per conversion, or the common abbreviation ‘$30 CPA.’ (CPA technically stands for Cost Per Acquisition. The acronym ‘CPC’ is taken by Cost Per Click, another important metric).

Set a goal for a specific number of conversions, and another goal for a target CPA. Doing so provides a comprehensive picture of how efficiently PPC delivers leads to your organization.

Improve Lead Generation:

  • Include a call to action in ad text
  • Troubleshoot conversion tracking
  • Enable phone call ad extensions

Goal: Brand Exposure

Key Metrics: Impressions, Clicks, Click Through Rate (CTR), Average Position

PPC metrics provide a wealth of information about how well your brand resonates with your audience. Impression data shows how many times your ad was served. One Impression denotes a single instance that an ad appeared on a device and could potentially have been clicked. Monitoring this metric is vital to understanding brand exposure.

Impression data helps to reveal the PPC ad landscape within a target market. Campaigns with plenty of budget but low impression numbers could mean that your chosen keywords don’t have significant search volume. Campaigns with abnormally high impressions might indicate that your keywords are targeted too broadly.

Click Through Rate (CTR) shows what percentage of Impressions resulted in a Click. Together, these metrics provide a solid measurement of how relevant your ads are. A Click Through Rate below 3 percent is typical, but this number varies between industries. 2-3% minimum CTR is a serviceable benchmark for most.

A strong Average Position encourages more Clicks. This metric is especially important for maximizing brand exposure. An Average Position of 1.0 means that your ad appeared at the top position within a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Average position improves by increasing keyword bids and raising ad quality score.

Recent changes to Google’s SERP made Average Position even more important. Google now attempts to answer users’ search queries without requiring any clicks through to a website. This means that advertisements and organic search results are being pushed further down the results page, especially on mobile devices. Pay close attention to Average Position to make sure your ad content is being seen.

Improving Brand Exposure

  • Perform regular Keyword and Search Term reviews
  • Consider a display campaign
  • Adjust bids to earn first-page placement

Goal: Improve ROI

Key Metrics: Cost, Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

For many organizations, a PPC platform can’t reveal the full picture of Return on Investment by itself. You’ll get the clearest picture of ROI by synthesizing the metrics with your business’ unique internal data. For this purpose, compare the ad account’s total Cost to the actual value derived from ad results. PPC Ads may drive conversions like phone calls, but the value of each conversion often relies on whether it translates into a sale or other valuable action.

When evaluating ROI, also remember to analyze across multiple time frames. New PPC accounts often take several months to develop an optimization strategy and find their place in Google’s algorithm. Pinpointing ROI in a narrow window is a less dependable indicator of your account’s health than reliably trending toward ROI goals over time.

Improving ROI

Parting Thoughts

Google Ads and Google Analytics offer highly detailed information on goal performance, but the amount of data available raises the ceiling for optimization extremely high. Reaping the benefits of search engine marketing requires ongoing experimentation with Google’s algorithm, and setting goals is an indispensable step in that process.

Agencies like Intuitive Digital deliver results to their partners by constantly studying PPC tools and applying new techniques as they emerge. The information in this guide should help you translate your goals into marketing terms, promoting fruitful communication between you and your marketing experts of choice.

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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