PPC

The Ultimate Guide to Tracking PPC Metrics

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Written by Fatih Alper Ozen
03/06/2020
       

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) is the fastest way to meet your target audience at the right time, and thanks to PPC you don’t have to worry about the complicated process of organic ranking of search engines.

So far, we have covered the concept of PPC – what PPC is, the important metrics you need to know, and which platforms are used for PPC operations. You can check our a-z PPC guide here

We have also covered how PPC planning* is an essential component of business growth and it needs to be to strategize wisely, calculating all the angles and components (main goal, budget, target audience’s needs and the characteristics of each paid media channel, etc.) to be able to measure, report and optimize.

*In order for you to plan and track your PPC activities easily, we have prepared a Paid Media and PPC Planning Guide for you to learn how to create a paid media marketing plan with some growth tactics to use in your paid media marketing activities. Moreover, here’s our tool for Paid Media and PPC Planning for you to practice and exercise on how to create new plans and track them.

After publishing your PPC campaigns, you need to measure the ad performance and increase your conversions by making the necessary optimizations. For this, you need to have a good understanding of some important metrics in the dashboards of the PPC channels. Here’s a guide that will help you determine which metrics to follow for your PPC and paid media marketing strategy.

The Main Metrics You Need to Know to Track your Campaigns’ Performance

Metrics to follow on the PPC dashboard

1. CTR (Click Through Rate)

CTR is the ratio of the clicks you received from your PPC campaigns to the number of impressions. For example, imagine that your ad received 1000 impressions and received 50 clicks in return, so your CTR value would be 5%.

CTR is an important metric that shows how your ads attract the audience. If this metric percentage is low, you should check your ads (text, banner, or video-based) whether you used relevant/attractive text and images to reflect your brand. If you think you have done everything correctly, try different ad variations, and perform A/B testing to get better CTRs.

Another important issue that affects CTR is targeting. If you target the wrong audience or use irrelevant keywords, your ads will have low click-through rates. For this reason, you should be very careful when targeting; add the right keywords to your ad groups in search campaigns, and do not forget to exclude the negative keywords.

When reviewing CTR, remember that search and display campaigns should be evaluated differently. CTR rates tend to be much lower in display campaigns compared to search campaigns. For example, while the CTR of a search campaign is between 2%-3%, this ratio can be between 0.60% – 0.90% for the display ad of the same campaign.

2. CPC (Cost per Click)

CPC is the amount you need to pay for each click on your ads. You need to consider some parameters when analyzing the CPC values in your PPC campaigns.

CPCs may differ according to industries and also depend on which period / at what time your ads run. For example, CPCs are much higher, especially during Black Friday and Christmas. Again, if you are selling a seasonal product, CPC values may increase as competition increases during periods when people are in search of that product/service.

CPC values may also depend on locations simply because of the sales price and the fact that competition of a product or service isn’t the same all over the world. Therefore, if you are going to create a global product or service, you should consider location-based CPC values.

3. Conversion

In order to start a PPC campaign, first, you must select your target and then set up the structure that is possible to count the target data. The target you set in PPC channels is placed under the name of “conversion” on dashboards.

Defining Conversion 

You need to define what your goal for that specific PPC channel is. These definitions can be a purchase, filling out a form or downloading the app and will vary based on the PPC channel.

Google Ads Conversion Tracking

First, you click the “tools and settings” button in Google Ads and click “Conversion” under the “Measurement” drop-down menu.

Here you can start creating conversion by clicking the + button. You will see a screen like this:

For Websites You can define a conversion goal for your business or brand, such as sales, filling out forms, and starting subscriptions on your website (see the conversion action screen below).

After defining your conversion action, you can choose each conversion from the same value or a different value according to your goal from the “Value” field.

In the “Count” section, you can determine whether you will count one user action as a goal once or every time when that user takes the same action as a conversion. The recommended count is 1.

From the “Conversion window” section, you can set the maximum day you want to count the conversion after your visitor interacts with your ad, which is usually set to 30 days.

Another important issue in this area is the attribution model. Here, you can determine your model as “last click, first click, linear, time decay or position-based”, taking into account the stages in which your visitor interacts with your ad before converting.

 

After all these selections, when you click on the “create conversion” button, you will determine how you want to place the conversion tracking tag.

Here you can either add the code manually to your website, send it via email to your web developer, or simply add it yourself via Google Tag Manager.

When you choose the Tag Manager, you will need to define Conversion ID and Conversion labels on all pages using Tag Manager.

For Apps

If you are going to set targets for a mobile app and run campaigns accordingly, you will need to proceed with one of the options below.

If you are using Firebase to analyze your mobile application, you can easily proceed by connecting this software to your application. You can click on this link for a step-by-step guide.

You can define the conversion for your Android application directly via the Google Play link.

By selecting third-party app analytics, you can track conversion rates by integrating 3rd party mobile app tracking tools such as Adjust and Appsflyer.

For Phone Calls

If you have a product or service sold over the phone, you will need to select this conversion tracking type.

Here you will choose whether the phone call takes place from the advertisement, the website or the mobile site. The process after this section will proceed in the same way as in the website section.

Import: If you have defined your goals as “creating goals through Google Analytics”, you can move your goals directly to Google Ads as a conversion from this tab. This method not only allows you to see the same data on Google Analytics but also lets you create conversions quickly without the need to add extra tags.

4. Conversion Rate

One of the most important metrics you have to monitor after defining conversions is the Conversion Rate. This metric is calculated by dividing the number of conversions of your campaign by the total number of clicks. If your campaign has 1000 clicks and 10 conversions, the conversion rate will be 10/1000 = 1%.

Conversion rate is an important metric you should monitor in general. For higher conversion rates, many other metrics need to be tracked, too. For example, are you getting enough impressions and clicks? First, you need to get enough clicks to start considering the conversion. You also need to make sure that the audience that clicks on your ad is the right audience. If your click count is high, but your conversion rate is low, the problem is probably on your website or your Landing Page. Note that the conversion rate is a metric that is affected by all other metrics and your website performance.

5. Cost / Conversion (Cost Per Acquisition)

Cost Per Acquisition is the cost you pay to get sales or leads. For example, if you spend $80 on clicks and make 2 sales from these ads, this will result in a cost of $40 per acquisition.

Conversion cost is a metric directly related to CPC and Conversion Rate. Similar to CPC, one of the marketers’ primary goals is to have the lowest possible CPA. You can set your bid strategy as a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) when creating your ad campaigns (again similar to CPC).

In your CPA strategy, the channel you use tries to optimize your ads for the CPA you set. So, when determining this strategy, you need to identify and enter the max cost you are planning to spend on the dashboard. However, you cannot set your bid strategy as CPA at the beginning of your campaigns because your campaigns must have already reached a certain number of conversions for this strategy.

6. Quality Score

Google measures the quality and relevance of your ads, keywords, and landing pages and scores them between 1 and 10. Google gives its quality score to keywords based on:

  • CTR of your keyword and ads.
  • The quality of your landing page (speed, mobile compatibility, UX features).
  • The relevance of your keywords to your ad text and search terms.

Google takes into account both the quality score and the keyword’s bid amount when determining the ranking (position) of your ad. For this reason, a high-quality score will affect other metrics positively.

You can try these methods to increase your quality score:

  • Create well-organized ad groups.
  • Send traffic to keyword-rich and advertised landing pages.
  • Use the keywords you target in your ad texts.
  • Use brand value suggestions and features that differentiate your product/service in your ad texts and your CTAs (call to action).

Google Analytics Tracking Metrics

Google Analytics is a tool that you must use to track and analyze the important metrics such as Conversion Rate, CPA, and the quality score of the page you direct to your website in your PPC campaigns.

The key metrics you can track using Google Analytics are:

1. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is an important Google Analytics metric that shows the percentage of users who don’t take any action on your website page. If visitors do not click on any menu items, “read more” button, or other linked areas on the page, the bounce rate value will be high. 

Although the bounce rate is a value affecting the entire site, you should track it per channel. It’s important to track your bounce rate metric for the page where your ad campaigns are directed.

2. Page / Session

Page/session is a Google Analytics metric with which you can see how many pages a visitor visits on your website in one session. You can use this metric to measure the traffic coming to your page via ads, just like the bounce rate.

You can also track your ad performance on the Google Ads dashboard by integrating Google Analytics with your Google Ads account for Bounce Rate and Page / Session metrics. You can customize it by arranging the columns.

*Tip for monitoring Bounce Rate and Page / Session metrics: You can track your ad performance on the Google Ads dashboard by integrating your Google Ads account with Google Analytics. You can also customize by arranging the columns.

3. UTM Tracking, Source

In order to track your ad campaigns in detail with Google Analytics, you need to add some parameters to the link of the page where you direct your ads. These parameters are commonly called UTM parameters. With these parameters, you can track your campaign, ad groups, or even ad-based website performance and goals on Google Analytics.

There are four important UTM parameters that you need to use in your campaigns:

  1. Source: It’s the parameter where you enter the PPC channel you use for your campaign. This parameter should be the name of the channel such as Google, Facebook, or Linkedin, etc.
  2. Medium: You can enter the ad model you use in your campaign as the medium, e.g., banner, display, etc.
  3. Campaign: You can enter the name of your campaign in this field, e.g.  blackfriday2020, remarketing, etc.
  4. Content: You can enter the defining features of your ad in this field, e.g. responsive ad, generic, etc.

When you apply your parameters to the link to which the advertisement will be directed, your link will look like this:

https://www.example.com/utm_source=googleads&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=remarketing&utm_content=responsiveads 

You can automatically create UTM parameters of the link to which your ads will be directed here.

Google Ads Optimisation Score 

After creating your Google Ads campaigns, you will optimize periodically. As a result of these optimizations, you will see a score in the Google Ads panel. You can add this score as a column to the panel where you review the metrics of your campaign.

You can access this score in the “Recommendations” menu in the Google Ads panel. Here, you will also see suggestions that will increase your optimization score for your campaigns.

It is important to consider these suggestions by Google in order to increase your campaign and ad performance. We recommend that you check this menu regularly.

We have shared important key metrics to follow in your PPC campaigns and tips to improve your performance. We hope you spend more time to specialize in these metrics for the success of your PPC campaigns.

Bonus: PPC Tactics

Last but not least, here’s a wide range of PPC tactics we have prepared for you to implement your growth marketing activities. You can choose the tactics according to your main goals (Brand awareness + traffic generation, conversion, and retention) as well as the difficulty level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).

Related Content:

Growth-Driven Marketing Planning Guides – Paid Marketing and PPC Planning: Learn how to create a paid marketing plan step-by-step

Growth-Driven Marketing Planning Tools – Paid Marketing and PPC Planning: Practice how to create a paid marketing plan and execute your plan with our user-friendly tool.

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