After running your Pay Per Click campaign for a few weeks, you’ll want to take a look at the figures to see how it’s performing. Impressions, clicks, click through rate, conversion rate…there’s a lot of numbers floating around but how can you tell if your results are good or not? Let’s go through some of the metrics and what they might look like for a successful PPC campaign.
Understanding the Basics of PPC
If you’re new to Pay Per Click (PPC), whether that’s using Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads or another PPC platform, it’s crucial you understand these basic metrics and how they can help you work out whether you’re on the right track or not. They’re usually front and centre in your PPC reports no matter what platform you’re using.
Your impressions count is the number of times your ad has been displayed. It’s important to remember that your ad may have been shown multiple times to an individual so don’t think of impressions as people but instead think of them as views.
The number of impressions of your ad is, in isolation, unfortunately not much use. Unless of course there are none or a very low number. If you’re not getting any impressions at all double check everything is active and that your bid is appropriate. If your bid is far too low there’s a good chance your ad just won’t get displayed.
Clicks or sometimes Engagements is the number of times someone has taken action on your ad. This could be clicking through to your website, giving you a call, viewing a video, or handing over their email address. Similar to impressions, a person can engage with your ad multiple times.
Now it’s pretty obvious that you want to get as many clicks as you can for your money, but these clicks need to be quality clicks. It doesn’t matter if you get one or one thousand clicks if none of them ever take any further action. Quality rules when it comes to clicks and we’ll go into measuring that quality a little later on.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
The click through rate or CTR is a simple calculation, the number of clicks that came from your number of impressions, expressed as a percentage. For example, 1 click from 100 impressions would be a CTR of 1%.
Working out what a good click through rate for a campaign should be is something all marketers struggle with and there are so many different factors that can influence your CTR like industry, season, audience, platform, content, the list goes on! As a rough guide, expect to get a click through rate of 0.5%-1% when starting out and after a lot of experimentation and experience, aim for a CTR of 1.5%-2.5%.
You’ll have a CTR for your whole campaign but you’ll also have click through rates for your individual ads, each keyword you’ve chosen and more. To get the best click through rate possible take a look at the CTR for your individual ads and get rid of any low performing ads. You can then use the high performing ads to copy and experiment with. Change the copy slightly, experiment with the landing page or if it’s a visual ad modify the image a little.
Cost Per Click
The cost per click, or CPC, is exactly that, the amount you pay per click. When you’re creating a campaign you’ll have the option of setting your maximum CPC and in your reports you’ll see things like total cost per click and average cost per click.
It makes sense to keep this as low as possible; the less you pay per click, the more clicks you can afford! However it’s really important that you know the value of a click and keep your maximum CPC below that. In the next section we’ll look at conversion rates and how you can work out your cost per acquisition (CPA), understanding these will help you choose a cost per click that you can sustain and is profitable for your business.
There is no ideal CPC as it depends on the cost of your keywords. Some keywords only cost pennies and some can be in excess of a hundred pounds! The higher the competition for the keyword, the higher the cost. You can get really creative with this though by choosing keywords that are similar but have less competition and a lower CPC.
Take a look at these different keyword options (taken from Google Adwords Keyword Planner):
See the difference between ‘hamburger restaurants’ at £2.23 and ‘burger restaurant’ at £0.25. This is of course simply a suggested bid from Google, but it gives an indication that one of the keywords could be a lot cheaper than the other. Experiment with different keywords and try to find ones that are both good value and high quality.
Getting A Little Help From Google Analytics
For most people, the reason you’ve set up a PPC campaign is to get more traffic to your website. It makes complete sense then that you would use some data about your website visitors to help you decide whether your ads are performing well or not. It’s time to check in with your Google Analytics data. If you haven’t already linked your Google Adwords and Google Analytics accounts get on it asap! It only takes a minute and the benefits are invaluable.
When a person visits your website and only views the one page before they leave your site, this is known as a ‘bounce’. For most websites this isn’t great. You want someone to visit your site, check out a few pages and take some sort of action, whether that’s make a purchase or fill out your contact form etc. A bounce rate of 100% is usually a sign that something’s not right. It could be that your ad and landing page are misaligned. Or maybe your website took too long to load. It might just be that what you offer isn’t exactly what the person was looking for. Whatever it is, experimenting to get your bounce rate down should be a priority.
If you’re not sure where to start, take a look in your Google Analytics reports under Behaviour and view All Pages. You can sort this by Bounce Rate to see the pages that encourage people to stay on your site rather than leave. What is it about these pages that keeps someone’s attention? Are they suitable as a landing page on their own or can you take some elements of them to make your current landing page more appealing?
There are times when a bounce rate of 100% isn’t a bad thing. For example, if you direct traffic to a landing page that has an in-store voucher for visitors to print out, people may be doing exactly what you want them to do, in which case take the bounce rate with a pinch of salt.
Pages Per Session
This is all about the average number of pages people view each time they visit your site. A lot of the time with blogs or information sites this number can be quite low as someone may only need to view one page to get the information they need. For e-commerce sites you’d expect (or hope!) that when a purchase is made there are a couple of pages to get through, the product page, the basket, the checkout etc. There’s rarely a right or wrong answer with this metric. It will vary hugely from site to site.
Similar to Bounce Rate though, if people are only ever viewing one page on your site it’s a good idea to investigate. And the opposite can be true too, if people are having to look through a lot of pages on your site to find what they need, you might want to try and cut that down.
Think about what the ideal customer journey looks like and how many pages that would generally involve. Use that as your benchmark.
The best way to find out if you’ve got an awesome PPC campaign on your hands is by using goals. If you haven’t setup any goals in Google Analytics yet, put this at the top of your list! You want to track the website actions that are important to you like someone filling out your contact form, signing up to your newsletter, downloading a white paper or making a purchase. You can (and should!) link your Google Analytics and Google Adwords accounts to feed information back through to Google Adwords about the segment of your audience that have completed goals. These goals then show as conversions in your Adwords reports.
If you’re using Facebook for your ads make sure you have the Facebook Pixel installed on your site and have set up conversions in Facebook Ads Manager. Same goes for Twitter, add the Twitter Conversion tracking code to your website and set up conversions in Twitter Ads.
If you’ve got a great click through rate and low bounce rate but people aren’t converting by completing one of your goals, you need to investigate. Do some experimenting, some A/B testing and work out why people aren’t taking that next step. It could be that your initial ad gives a different picture to what you’re offering on your website, maybe your website gives too many options and people don’t know what to do next, or maybe there’s a technical issue with your site.
A conversion is when someone takes a specific action on your website. Without setting up e-commerce (if you sell products online) or goals in Google Analytics it can be really difficult to track conversions so make sure you have these set up and tracking properly first.
The Conversion Rate is a simple calculation, the number of people who took a specific action on your site from the total clicks your ad received, shown as a percentage. In plain English – if 100 people clicked on your ad and 10 of those filled out your contact form, you’d have a conversion rate of 10%. It makes sense that you would want this percentage to be as high as possible so don’t stop experimenting until you hit 100%!
It is important to note however that if you don’t set up e-commerce or goals, or don’t import them from Google Analytics to Google Adwords your conversion rate will be 0% regardless. The same is true for Facebook and Twitter etc. If you haven’t implemented the Facebook Pixel or Twitter tracking code you’ll just get a big fat 0%.
Is My PPC Campaign Working?
Now that you have a good idea of what to look for the next step is to start experimenting. Test everything. Sometimes the smallest change can have the largest effect. A good thing to do is use your other website traffic sources as a benchmark. If you have a really low bounce rate for traffic that comes from social, take a look at the content you’re sharing in social media posts and the landing pages you’re using and experiment with them in your PPC campaign. If you find that you get a lot of conversions from organic traffic, again find out what’s working there and try to replicate that in your ads.
PPC is a process and what works for you today might not work for you in a month so never give up on trying to get better results!
Not sure you’re having as much success with your campaign as you’d like? We’d be happy to look over your account and make some suggestions, just get in touch!
Join our free PPC email course!
This course will take your Google AdWords account from meh to AWESOME in just seven days! From keyword types, to ad scheduling, we'll teach you everything you need to know to get a whole heap more conversions for a heck of a lot less.